Is It Better to Brush or Comb Your Beard?

Is It Better to Brush or Comb Your Beard?

The comb vs brush dilemma is one that most bearded men go through. For a lot of them, the comb feels like the natural choice because they see something not-so-manly about using a brush on your beard – it’s mostly attributed to all the culture and media around us, portraying brushes as a womanly item.

Beard brushes are perfectly fine tools, however, and there’s nothing non-manly about brushing your beard. So, beard brush vs beard comb, what are the drawbacks and advantages of both tools, and what are they meant for? Let’s take a look.

What is a standard beard comb meant to look like and do?

Beard combs, like bread brushes, are not exactly made out of many different components. The standard beard comb will be comprised of two parts – body and teeth. Still, there are plenty of variations that can come from even just these two parts, so let’s take a look at them in detail.

A beard comb’s body

Combing your beard can feel quite different depending on what the comb is actually made out of. There are several standard materials used for the body of a comb:

  • Wood. Beard combs made of wood are widely regarded as the best ones for multiple reasons – they don’t cause static, they look good, they feel good to the touch, and they can retain the scent of your beard oil over time. They don’t work well with wet beards, however, and lower quality wooden combs are among the worst things you can get for your beard grooming needs – either get a high-quality wooden comb not none at all.
  • Plastic. On the other end of the spectrum, plastic combs are viewed quite poorly by most specialists. They are typically poorly made and don’t last long, they create a lot of static, and they are just not sturdy enough. They do well with wet beards, however, so if you find a truly high-quality plastic comb, don’t skip it automatically.
  • Cellulose acetate. Combs made out of this synthetic material are quite durable, don’t create static, and don’t snag your hairs. They feel quite rubber-like which is why some people don’t like them but they usually do a good job.
  • Ox horn. A despised choice by nature-lovers, combs made out of ox horns or the horns of other animals actually make for good beard grooming. They are very durable and comfortable to use and handle.
  • Metal. Lastly, there are also beard combs made out of various metals. They typically create static, however, and their teeth are usually not too smoothly cut which is not great.

A beard comb’s teeth

Most beard combs have with two sets of teeth – one that’s wide (i.e., the space between the teeth is wide, not necessarily the teeth themselves) and one that’s more narrow. The wider teeth are designed for longer and thicker beards, while the narrower ones are meant for softer and shorter beards.

What is a standard beard brush meant to look like and do?

Like the comb, a beard brush has two main components – the body and the bristles. Both are quite different, however, and are designed with slightly different purposes in mind.

A beard brush’s body

While the body of the typical comb is narrow and meant to be gripped with just your fingers, the body of a brush is much wider. It takes a whole hand to properly hold a brush but the control is also better as a result of that.

The materials that a beard brush’s body can be made of are essentially the same as those for comb, with bamboo brushes being the only exception. The pros and cons of the different materials are also pretty much the same so we won’t waste your time repeating them.

A beard brush’s bristles

This is where the big difference between beard combs and brushes comes form. Where the comb’s teeth are designed to just straighten your beard and remove any entanglements, the bristles of a brush are meant to do much more. They are supposed to condition and clean your beard, as well as to help you tame your whiskers.

The bristles are also good at reaching down to the skin under shorter beards and removing dead skin. They are also great at distributing the natural sebum oil your skin produces evenly across your beard hairs.

All this means that beard brushes are mostly meant for men with shorter beards that want to take the best possible care for them. They are also intended to be used on dry beards only, as most of them don’t’ do well with water.

As for the different types of bristles, there are two main categories – natural and synthetic bristles.

  • Natural bristles are made of animal hair – typically boar or horsehair. Boar hair bristles, in particular, are widely known as the best possible bristles a beard brush can have. They distribute sebum oil evenly, they offer excellent brushing and are very durable. Natural horse bristles are also excellent, however.
  • Synthetic bristles on a beard brush can work too if they are of a good enough quality. They are typically cheaper, even when they are good, and they are more animal-friendly, which the animal-lovers tend to appreciate. They can be a bit more aggressive to your beard and can irritate your skin, but if your hair and skin are not too sensitive, that may not be a problem for you.

So, beard brush vs comb, which should you use?

The beard brush or comb discussion boils down to that brushes are better for overall beard care while combs are meant just for straightening and untangling your beard. The latter are best used on wet hair, while the former work best on dry and short hair.

In other words, if you want the best for your beard you’ll likely want to have both a good beard brush and a good comb to go with it.

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