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June 08, 2021

Being a true rugged bearded bro is about more than being tough. It’s about being wise, too. Just because you look and feel indestructibly virile, doesn’t mean your beard and face actually are. To look their best at all times, they need to be nurtured and pampered. What they don’t need is harsh scrubbing and industrial grade products.

With beards becoming so popular in recent years (YES!), it’s inevitable that the market has become saturated with beard care products. Some are great, while some are dodgy to the max, yet pretend they’re great.

The wrong products can cause any number of problems: dry beard, brittle hair, split ends, frizz, beard dandruff, itching, allergic reactions, rashes, irritation, and more. Issues like these have been known to make some bros wanna give up on bearding altogether.

So how do you know which beard care products are legit and which are worthless or harmful?

The Rugged Bros to the rescue! Here’s our guide for weeding out and avoiding trash products - and boy are they everywhere!

Avoid these Shady AF Ingredients Like the Plague

Want your manly mane to be magnificent? Then steer clear of products that have the ingredients below.

You might ask, “Is it really that important to avoid these?” Yep! These ingredients can stunt growth and ruin your beard dreams by turning it into a ragged, crusty nest of weeds. Forewarned is forearmed!

  • SULFATES. Look for names like sodium laurel sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. Then stay away. It’s the word “sulfate” that’s the problem. You’ll see it most frequently in beard shampoos and cleansers. Sodium laurel sulfate was originally used as an engine degreaser and it’s well known to irritate skin. While sulfates help make a soapy lather, they strip away natural oil (sebum) and dry your skin, causing dry, brittle hairs that split and break. Lather has nothing to do with healthy cleansing.
  • MINERAL OIL. Mineral oil is just petroleum jelly. That’s right, Vaseline. Sometimes it’s listed as paraffin. This stuff creates a greasy seal on both skin and hair that blocks out any nourishing moisturizing agents from penetrating. The reason some companies include it is to extend their products’ shelf life.
  • SILICONE. Another greasy, slippery and unnecessary artificial ingredient that forms a slippery film on the surface of skin and hair but prevents goodness from penetrating strands, follicles and pores. Many operators slip this stuff into beard balm.
  • PARABENS. Cheap and nasty preservatives for extending a product’s shelf life. Absorbing parabens into your skin and blood stream can disrupt your hormones and can even potentially lead to cancer.
  • PHOSPHATE. While phosphate might be good for plants and might help with pH balance in a beard care product, when it gets washed down the drain it has a terrible effect on water systems and wildlife.
  • DIMETHICONE. Similar to silicone. This stuff seals off your hair and pores, causing beard itch, rash, or beard acne.
  • POLYETHYLENE GLYCOL. This stuff might soften your stool, but it has the opposite effect on your beard by making it dry, coarse and brittle.
  • PHTHALATES. Aside from being difficult to pronounce, these nasties that are often used as solvents and in plastic packaging can end up in some beard care products. They’re terrible for the hormonal balance you need for growing a healthy beard. They’re also banned for kids’ toys, so there’s that.
  • ARTIFICIAL FRAGRANCES. These dry and irritate your skin. Worst of all, some bros have seen their beards lose hair from them.

Choose the right beard shampoo

Any bro knows that keeping his beard clean is essential. That means choosing a good beard conditioner shampoo.

A standard shampoo and conditioner combo from your grocery store aisle is a poor choice, not just because it will contain any number of the toxic ingredients listed above. It will also cause/worsen beard itch and the dry, flaky skin condition known as beard dandruff or beardruff. Even Head & Shoulders, a specialty dandruff product, is way too harsh for your beard and face.

What’s needed is a beard shampoo that will not only wash the hairs but also cleanse and nourish facial skin. It’s gotta include some organic oils and some essential Omega-6 and Omega-9 essential fatty acids.

What to look for in a beard moisturizer

When you’re scanning that label for nasty ingredients, be sure to check for the right kind of beard moisturizer ingredients. You want things like vitamin E, antioxidants, linoleic acid, and essential Omega fatty acids. These are the ingredients that soften your beard hairs and facial skin and eliminate beard itch.

What to look for in a beard oil

Beard oils are a dime a dozen. A good beard oil is rare. So how do you choose?

To truly tame your beard from frizzing and drying out, and to make your skin underneath able to withstand all the elements, organic oils are a must. Look especially for the natural nourishing power of argan oil, jojoba, avocado oil, sesame seed oil, sweet almond oil, and even prickly pear seed oil and black seed oil.

Beard balm

A beard balm is for more than just giving your whiskers some shape and hold. It should also (1) tame the flyaways that insist on sticking out and (2) keep the goodness of your beard oil from being drawn away from the hairs.

The last things you want are the industrial grade crap ingredients listed above.

To truly care for your pride and joy, beard balm should have a base of butters – especially shea butter – blended with pure oils and a touch of natural beeswax. This sort of combo will provide hold while moisturizing and conditioning hairs.

Wild boar brush only – combs are the WORST

I mean, sure, use a beard comb – IF you like snags, tangles, painful pulling, and frizz. And that’s just a metal comb. A plastic comb causes all that harm, plus it generates annoying static. Metal or plastic, both kinds of beard combs do absolutely nothing for your skin beneath your beard, except scratch and irritate. No exfoliating, no massaging, no lifting ingrown hairs, nothing.

A wild boar bristle beard brush is the only way to fly. With each comfortable stroke, it will organize and straighten your beard hairs, increase your beard’s luster, distribute oils perfectly, exfoliate your facial skin, and provide pure distinguished control.

No synthetic bristle brushes allowed, bro! They scratch badly.

Some operators will try to convince you to go with a horse hair brush, but this kind just doesn’t handle thickening hairs comfortably or efficiently enough. Wild boar bristles only!

If you’re considering a brush where the bristles are all cut perfectly to the same length, steer clear. Those uniform bristles struggle to get down to the skin. Slightly irregular length bristles – otherwise called offset – are far more comfortable and can get right down to the skin.

As for the brush’s body and handle, we recommend avoiding plastic ones. Plastic may be cheaper, but it just doesn’t meet the quality standard. Same goes for bamboo. A handmade wood handled beard brush is all about quality – which is what you and your manly mane deserve. Go with wood that has a nice curve to fit the contours of your fingers or palm. You get better control and comfort for your beard and face, while the wood feels great in your hand.

So when choosing beard care products, choose only the best, my man, so your beard can be the best! You’re worth it!

Beard on with brilliance, bro!