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Knots and tangles can make a bearded man want to go back to shaving. There’s nothing worse than having to do a herky-jerky start and stop because of endless tangles when all you want to do is comb your beard and get on with your day.
Some would say that tangles are just another part of the bearded experience. It’s not reasonable to expect that your beard will never tangle, but there is plenty you can do to prevent excess tangling.
Embrace your texture
To be clear, no one’s hair is naturally tangled, and straight hair is not immune to tangles. However, some beard textures are more prone to having a tangle problem than others.
The hair on the top of your head may be straight, but your beard may be naturally curly. You can’t do the same things to straight and curly hair and expect the same results. You may not exactly have Shirley Temple-esque tendrils flowing down your chin, but, if your beard is not exactly straight, this advice is for you.
Beards that are coily, curly, and anything in between need oil on a regular basis. With straight hair, sebum (the body’s natural oil) has a straight path down the hair follicle. With textured hair, there are twists and turns, and gravity doesn’t exactly make it easy for sebum to travel down a path that is not straight. When you keep your follicles lubricated with nutritious conditioning beard oil, it is much harder for them to tangle into pesky knots.
Hair with more texture to it is usually easier to style, comb, and detangle when damp (not dripping wet!) rather than dry. With that being said, there are some guys who learn that trying to detangle after applying water is just a way to cement the knots. Learn to embrace the beard you have and rock it with Beard Confidence. Get to know its natural texture, and learn what works best for you.
Use the right tools
You could be causing the tangles by using plastic combs and brushes. Plastic causes static. This isn’t a major issue when we use plastic combs on our heads, but on a small beard, a plastic comb can wreak havoc.
Wooden combs are perfect for beards because they have wider teeth, better for the thicker, coarser hair follicles that some men naturally grow in their beards. Wooden combs can also absorb oil, whether that’s the sebum naturally found in your skin or the beard oil you use. The comb leeches out some of that oil as you use it, so it helps to condition and detangle at the same time as combing.
When it comes to beard brushes, boar bristles are where it’s at! They are strong enough to actually move your hairs in the right direction without being so strong that they cause damage.
Trim Split Ends
Split ends flay out in a million weird directions. Having thin pieces of weakened hair poking their way into otherwise orderly follicles can cause some gnarly knots. That’s why regular trimming is so important.
Especially for longer beards, the bottom of your beard may be constantly brushing up against the rough fibers of your clothes. If most of your tangles seem to start at the bottom of your beard, split ends could certainly be the cause.
Split ends don’t just stop at a certain point. Left unchecked, they keep on going up higher and higher until the whole follicle is split in two. Even if you’re trying with all of your might to retain length, split ends are not going to help you in your endeavors. They are unhealthy follicles and their presence can cause knots, which can eventually lead to you ripping out healthy follicles when you try to comb or brush them out. When you regularly trim your ends, you’re getting rid of millimeters per month, rather than being forced to slough away inches later down the line.
Tangles happen to the best of us, but there is plenty we can do to make sure we deal with them as infrequently as possible.