Having a good looking beard can do wonders. Not just for your appearance but for your confidence too. Sometimes it can make the difference between a good day and a bad day.
Beard hair can come in all sorts of varieties, and even the curliest of beards can be considered attractive, hygienic and healthy, provided that it’s really well taken care of and properly maintained.
But let’s be honest, many black men find their beards uncomfortable (and sometimes painful thanks to the ingrown hairs) and they can be quite difficult to maintain, especially when the hair curls to form scruffy strands at the ends. Black men’s facial hair can present some difficulties because it’s tightly coiled by nature, which is due to the flat, ribbon-like structure of the hair follicle.
If you feel that straightening your beard will give you a fresher, more sophisticated and appealing look, then please read on. We’ve got a number of different ideas, methods, tips, tricks, and techniques for you on how to get your beard that bit straighter and more well-groomed.
Embracing Your Beard and Letting It Grow
Beards have really been super popular in recent years, and it looks to be a trend that’s set to continue.
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and grow your beard, we recommend that you let your facial hair grow out for at least 4 weeks, maybe 6, before cultivating your own personal beard style.
Waiting this long will allow you to see how your facial hair grows and will show up any areas that are patchy or extra thick. And if you’re happy with the general look, you can follow our handy tips below, and with any luck get the beard you’ve always wanted.
Have a Beard Grooming Routine
Having a good routine of beard maintenance in place and then sticking with it is the most effective way of getting it to look good and keep it looking good. For most of us it’s a daily task, but more important than how often you do it, is how it’s done.
For daily grooming, you may well prefer to carry it out in the morning, so you can rest assured that you’ll look good through the coming day ahead.
This routine should absolutely include washing your beard. You can use regular soaps and shampoos, provided they’re not loaded with harsh chemicals. A gentle soap or shampoo will do just fine.
Our best recommendation for this routine however is to wash your beard with a mild cleanser specifically designed for use with beards. Then you should apply a beard conditioner afterward. You won’t believe how much of a difference this can make.
The one thing that we can’t recommend strongly enough, is routinely washing your beard. And conditioning and brushing can really help too.
Straightening by Brushing
No, we don’t mean brushing it with a hairbrush. There are a few different tools you can use to straighten your beard, and a beard brush is one such tool.
What you’ll need is a good quality beard-brush, some silicone cream, and a low-heat hair dryer.
Once you’ve carried out your essential routine of shampooing and conditioning your beard, while your beard is still damp, slather it with the silicon cream. This makes it easier to brush and straighten your beard.
Be mindful not to use too much of silicon cream however, as this could work against you.
You can then use the low-heat hair dryer to dry off your beard. Do NOT use too much heat, as hot air can make the beard hair more brittle. Some hair dryers have a cold air setting, and this would be ideal. Dry it on the lowest setting and angle the dryer in the direction of your beard hair, rather than at a 90 degree angle.
When this is done we also recommend that you use a nice beard oil, ideally one that’s 100% natural and organic.
Many beard products contain some really nice essential oils and can smell really great which is always a bonus.
Straightening by using Beard Relaxer
Here’s another method for straightening your curly beard.
You can buy special beard relaxer creams. These are designed not only to fortify your beard but to help it to grow too.
Here’s the technical bit (feel free to skip ahead). A chemical beard relaxer is a lotion that contains alkali which straightens up beard curls by breaking down the keratin-bonds inside your facial hair. Please note, there are many different beard creams out there and they are not all beard relaxers.
There are several steps to using a beard relaxer. First of all, wash your beard with a beard relaxing shampoo.
Then, to use the beard relaxer cream you should wear gloves, as you need to avoid any direct contact with your skin. Then you need to divide your beard hair into small sections, gently applying the cream to each segment, being careful not to get the cream on your skin.
Once you have applied the cream, you should then distribute it throughout your beard using a beard comb.
After about half an hour or so you can then give your beard a good rinse and wash the cream out. (You don’t have to apply the shampoo again.) In case you opted for a leave-in product, you're all set and no further rinsing will be required.
You should then find yourself with a somewhat straighter beard. If it’s still not to your liking, you can then go ahead and use a beard straightener.
Which brings us nicely onto our next section.
Straightening with a Beard Straightener
Heating a beard with something like a hair dryer is not usually recommended for us black men’s beards, and in fact it can be quite disastrous. But luckily using a dedicated beard straightener (and not a hair straightener) is another matter entirely.
A good beard straightener can make a huge difference to your beard. You simply plug the straightener in, give to a moment or two to heat up, then iron out your beard in segments.
The smaller and narrower the beard iron, the easier it is to use, and the better efficiency you get.
Sometimes it helps to get someone to do this for you.
Straightening by Trimming
Trimming your facial hair has to be one of the more important aspects of appearing smart and well groomed. It will keep you looking neat and tidy.
Trimming the beard not only adds shape to it, but also removes split ends too, which is often what causes it look more scruffy.
Is Beard Straightening for Black Men Worth it?
It’s not for us to tell you how you should look, or whether you should be straightening your beard. It’s a personal decision based around how you want to look, and what measures you think are appropriate.
Most of the beard straightening techniques we’ve gone through with you above are no more difficult or time consuming than your other personal grooming processes.
That said, you should be careful about what chemicals you put on your skin, and be careful when using electric straighteners that you don’t burn your skin at all (it does happen).
Basically, our recommendation is to just give some of the tips a try. If a straighter looking beard is what you like, it will give you more confidence about your appearance. And if you’re happy with the results then you can keep the routine up.
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Maintaining a nice beard can sometimes be a mighty task for us black men. But I hope from the advice we’ve provided above that we’ve successfully taught you that it can be done.
However maintaining is not necessarily the same thing as beard straightening. And, if your beard is being stubborn about remaining curly, then there’s only so much you can do.
Some methods are more effective than others, but regular washing and conditioning is an absolute must. As is trimming. And these methods, along with beard brushing are absolutely worth a try.
You might feel a beard relaxing cream to be expensive on top of having to buy the beard shampoo and the beard conditioner. So you’ll have to decide for yourself whether it’s worth the investment. Also if you don’t have the right kind of hair dryer in the house that could be a problem.
Beard straighteners meanwhile only require one one-off payment, and are quite affordable.
We always recommend trying the more natural methods first off, and moving towards the chemical and heating methods only when the more natural methods have proven to be of little use for your particular beard.
At the end of the day, it’s all about making the most of what you’ve got. Curly beards sometimes look patchy when they’re not well maintained, but hopefully the advice we’ve given you today will help to give you at least a better beard if not an entirely straight one.
You never know, we may one day see the invention of specially designed beard straightener for black men. That would be a dream.