How we determined the best beard shampoo
After sifting through countless beard shampoos, washes, and so many other beard products, we found a few unique uber categories to help us narrow in on how we could easily distill all the information to figure out which product is really deemed worthy of the title “best beard shampoo of 2017”.
The categories we identified are as follows:
Performance – The most critical part of any beard shampoo will be how it will perform for your beard. Will it make your beard feel frizzy and dried out afterwards? Also we take a look at the likelihood of beardruff occurring with prolonged use of the beard shampoo.
Cost – While we are willing to pay top dollar for any top performing beard product, we want to make sure we always have the budget conscious beardsmen in mind as well. Therefore we set a soft ceiling of $20 for all the beard shampoos being reviewed.
Peer Reviews – This is simply what other beardsmen have thought about this product on both a quantitative and qualitative basis. In addition to individual data points, we also look at the ratings among major online retailers to see how purchasers of the product generally perceive it.
Ingredients Used – Essential to any beard products is the ingredients that actually make up the product. A quality beard shampoo shouldn’t contain chemicals that you can’t pronounce. Therefore we will exhaustively list all the ingredients for every product reviewed.
Reviews of the best beard shampoos
Honest For Men Beard Wash
Just like the Professor Fuzzworthy’s beard wash, this one is pretty spot on for beardsmen everywhere when it comes to a fine balance of ingredients and performance. Unlike the other beard wash reviewed (directly above), this one does not contain any harmful parabens or SLS or SLES ingredients.
In fact to get right down to it, Honest For Men Beard Wash contains the following:
- Coconut Oil
- Palm Oil (sustainable)
- Castor Oil
- Olive Oil
- Hemp Seed Butter
- Shea Butter
- Avocado Oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Patchouli Essential Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Orange Essential Oil
- Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Therefore when using this shampoo on your beard, you will have a gentle cleansing that won’t do long term damage on your follicles. While containing great essential oils like patchouli, lavender, and orange – some men might feel that the scent is a bit too strong upon initial use.
However, like all the other beard shampoos reviewed, this is largely just contained during the washing phase and should quickly dissipate upon drying out your beard.
If scent still remains an additional rinse may be necessary, however this is going to likely not be the case.
When compared head to head with the similar Professor Fuzzworthy’s beard wash, we feel this one is just a small bit behind regarding performance. The main differentiating factor between the two products is that Fuzzworthy’s does contain both beeswax and soy wax which help provide a nice protectant for your beard.
Ingredients and performance aside, this beard was among the cheapest that we reviewed and only costs about $7 a bar. Therefore if you are a beardsman on a budget, this is definitely a great product for the competitive price point.
We weren’t the only ones who loved this product, other folks found this beard wash “lathers like nothing I’ve seen” to their beard feeling incredibly more softer just after one use. From a quantitative perspective the online ratings were at an impressive 4.6 out of 5 on Amazon alone.
Lastly, the product is proudly made in USA (Indiana).
Medicine Man’s Itchy Beard Wash
Unlike the two other natural beard shampoos reviewed that came in a solid form, this beard wash comes in a liquid form like Spartans Den. However this beard was was sourced from all natural and organic ingredients, including:
- Coconut Oil
- Potassium Hydroxide
- Organic Olive Fruit Oil
- Organic Hemp Oil
- Organic Jojoba Seed Oil
- Sea Fennel Extract
- Citric Acid
- Lavender Oil
- Rosemary Leaf Oil
- Vitamin E Oil
Just like the other natural products reviewed above, Medicine Man’s beard wash has all the right carrier oils that provide a great compliment to your daily beard care regimen of adding in either a beard oil or balm.
Initially though, given that this is primarily an oil based product, the wash itself is relatively thinner and may seem almost too thin with initial application, especially if you are growing a yeard.
However, rest assured, after massaging it into your beard with a bit of effort, you should be able to build up a nice lather that will help to gently rid your beard of any dirt or pollutants that it may have picked up during the day.
Another key ingredient that we were delighted to see within this product was Vitamin E oil. While we didn’t cover it earlier given its relatively rare appearance in beard shampoos is a welcome addition to making sure that you have strong and healthy hair follicles. Vitamin E can help make your beard appear more lustrous and generally healthier looking. In addition, Vitamin E can help prevent split ends on your beard as well.
If there was one gripe about this product though, its going to come with the price. With a price tag of nearly $20 its the most expensive beard wash being reviewed.
This product was rated pretty favorably from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective as well. With beardsmen saying that it “has a very good lather” and that it “stops itching almost immediately”.
Like the Honest For Men Beard wash, this product was made in the USA (Brooklyn, NY)!
Professor Fuzzworthy’s Beard Shampoo
While Professor Fuzzworthy’s beard shampoo may not by your typical shampoo that you are used to (being that it comes in a block form similar to a bar of soap rather than a liquid form), don’t let the name or form confuse you – this stuff is the real deal.
Made in the land down under (Australia), this beard shampoo is without a doubt one of the best on the market. There are several reasons why we like this beard shampoo, but lets first take a look at the ingredients listed on the side of the box:
- Mount Wellington spring water
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Castor oil
- Soy wax
- Leatherwood beeswax
- Tasmanian Seaweed extract
- Leatherwood honey
- Cocoa powder
- Essential oils
Noticeable ingredients that are missing from this product are:
- Parabens (Preservatives)
- Synthetic fragrance
- Palm oil
Made up of all natural ingredients, this beard shampoo won’t make you feel like you are compromising cleanliness in order to get something that is “all natural”. A delicate balance of oils, waxes, and essential oils will give off a bit of a subtle woodsy smell. However, being that you are using this product in the shower, its no substitute for a beard oil and the scent will likely dissipate as soon as you use a towel to dry off your beard.
One thing to note about this specific beard shampoo is that since it comes in block form, you will want to rest it on a soap dish or metal rack that has a bit of drainage.
Being that this doesn’t have synthetic ingredients that help keep it hard, it may dissolve quicker than a traditional bar of soap. For maximum life you may want to wash your beard outside of your shower and keep the bar stored in your medicine cabinet (although this isn’t necessary).
When it comes to the actual washing part of your beard, just a bit of a application of the bar will go a long way. So unless you are sporting a yeard (beard for a year), exercise caution when making the initial application. The suds from the bar will form rather quickly giving you a nice rich lather.
Another note regarding performance is that since this product contains several of the key ingredients found in traditional beard balm (carrier oils, essential oils, and beeswax), you may notice a reduction in the amount of beard oil or balm that you will be using after washing your beard.
Therefore this product makes for an excellent compliment to your other key beard products, unlike some of the other beard shampoos we reviewed.
In regards to the actual cost of the Professor Fuzzworthy’s beard shampoo, its not bad at all. Typically beardsmen have to pay a premium for products that are all natural or organic, however with this beard shampoo it typically retails for less than $15 (far below our $20 threshold) making it one of the cheaper beard shampoos being reviewed.
Lastly, when it comes to beard shampoos, Professor Fuzzworthy’s is pretty well regarded within the bearded community with some beardsmen saying that they “constantly get compliments on how soft it is” to “definitely recommend”.
To drive home the peer review even further, Professor Fuzzworthy’s Amazon rating is a staggering 4.7 out of 5 (with over 900 reviews). To note, since this is an Australian made product, chance of you finding this at your local barbershop may be a bit tough, therefore online retailers like Amazon regularly stock this product.
Spartans Den Premium Beard Shampoo
This beard shampoo seemed to completely miss the mark on being one that will properly take care of your beard in the long run. While it comes in a traditional pump bottle, the ingredients are really where this product falls completely flat.
Spartans Den is advertised as having “premium ingredients” however, the label says otherwise. Contained in this product are the following:
- Argan Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Avacado Oil
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Jojoba Oil
- Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Lauamid DEA
- Lauryl Glucoside
- Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate
- Fragrance (Parfum)
- EDTA Citric Acid
- Propylen Glycol
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS)
- Diazolidinyl Urea
- Sodium Choride
- Fragrance (its really listed twice on the bottle)
As we highlighted some dangerous ingredients to look out for at the beginning of this article along with the harmful effects that they cause – this shampoo unfortunately contains many of them.
While its great to see the addition of some natural ingredients at the beginning of the list, we simply can’t overlook SLES, fragrance, and parabens contained within this product to recommend it for any of our fellow beardsmen out there.
From a performance standpoint, even though it has many of the critical oils needed for proper beard care, the ALS and SLES drys out a beard making it become both dry and itchy. Our thoughts were that the manufacturer mixed in both ingredients to try and even it out, however, with that being said, it was largely a miss.
Ingredients and performance aside (which is a very large task), the smell of the shampoo is one that is definitely a bit more masculine in nature and can be a bit overpowering for some. We found that it does mostly dissipate however once you are done with the shower. But if you are averse to scents its likely best to avoid this shampoo.
One thing to note is that the product is “Made In The USA”, however we couldn’t verify where in the USA this was actually produced. When looking for additional info on the manufacturers website, we were unable to locate a mailing address (strange for a company not to have a mailing address). In addition, when we tried to find contact info about the domain name, that was also privately registered as well leading us to really wonder.
Peer reviews online we didn’t find many beardsmen discussing the product, however it was rated very well on Amazon.
Regarding the cost of this product, it currently retails for about $15 which is a moderate price for a beard shampoo. But given its loaded with harmful chemicals, its a bit overpriced.
Beard shampoo vs. regular shampoo
If you are using a low end shampoo that you typically use on your head and also use it on your beard – stop.
Many of the generic shampoos on the market contain several harmful ingredients. Some of the most harmful ingredients found will be:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): is a cheap detergent that gets beneath the surface of your skin and can actually circulate within your body for up to five days! That aside, SLS strips away any oils (sebum oil) from your hair and skin which can have a direct cause of skin irritation and ultimately beardruff.
- Parabens: These guys aren’t great at all and have been found in numerous studies of causing both reporductive, infertility, obesity, asthma and even allergies.
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): Very similar to SLS mentioned above, SLES is used to try to tone down the nasty side effects of petroleum based products. Unfortunately though SLES is actually a known carcinogen (substance that is capable of causing cancer). Unfortunately the by product of SLES is dioxane which can float around in your body for quite some time as the liver just simply cant metabolize it effectively.
- Polyethylene Glycol: This stuff is actually banned in California as it might actually interfere with human development.
- Fragrance: Being such a generic and lighthearted word can also cause severe long term damage. “Fragrance” is derived from over 3,100 ingredients and are extremely toxic. These chemicals are so harmful that they may cause allergies, brain fog, obesity, cancer, asthma, and many other conditions.
As you can see just from a few ingredients listed above, cheap shampoos shouldn’t even be placed on your head, let alone on your beard.
Chemicals aside the biggest differing factor between a generic shampoo and a beard shampoo will have to do with you your naturally producing oils are treated.
At the root of every hair follicle you have these tiny glands called sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for ensuring that your beard follicle is moisturized and well nourished. Not only do they make sure that your beard follicle looks and feels great, but they also give a lot of nutrients to your skin as well.
When you use a generic shampoo, its core focus is to “wash” your hair and effectively strip out all of the dirt and oils from the follicles. When you use this type of shampoo on your beard you are doing a huge disservice to yourself.
Therefore with that being said, the best beard shampoos are designed to not completely wash away all the oils from your face.
But don’t worry about your beard feeling oily. In fact beard shampoos are intended to only give a gentle wash and are a compliment to your sebum oil – we will go over this more in a minute.
Are you currently experiencing beardruff after you wash?
While you could be in the shower scrubbing your beard with a generic shampoo or even a bar of soap, you may notice even later that same day or a day after little white flakes coming from your beard.
This is especially noticeable if you are wearing dress shirts or dark color shirts during the day.
These while flakes are essentially dandruff on your beard – or as many seasoned beardsmen call it – “beardruff”.
As your beard gets longer and longer there comes a point where the sebum oil that is produced by your sebaceous glands just simply can’t keep up. When this happens your beard follicles and skin begin to dry out.
Once dried out, your beard will start to feel itchy due to this lack of moisture. Continued itching on your beard will eventually cause beardruff.
When using cheap generic shampoos, like the ones we covered above, the problem is magnified due to the harsh chemicals contained within the products that completely strip out all the oils.
Given the gentle nature of beard shampoos and washes, the likelihood of beardruff will be greatly reduced, but not completely.
Understanding beard shampoos greater role in the beard care world
Properly maintaining your beard doesn’t begin and end with just a wash of your beard in the shower with a beard shampoo!
In fact another key product that you should be using in tandem with a beard shampoo is going to be either a beard balm or oil.
Balms and oils are largely very similar products with a few exceptions.
First off beard oils are typically made up of only two key ingredients: carrier and essential oils.
Carrier oils are mostly derived of nuts and seeds and are going to be completely all natural. Some of the most popular carrier oils on the markets are found in many all natural beauty products and deliver a great heap of benefits for your beard.
Commonly used carrier oils include jojoba, argan, grapeseed, sweet almond, and several others.
Carrier oils themselves will typically make up about 90-95% of the beard oil solution and are largely responsible for delivering all the core benefits – namely keeping your beard hydrated and well nourished.
The other key ingredient of a beard oil will be essential oils. Typically derived from plants and seeds, essential oils, like carrier oils, are completely all natural and are generally pretty safe to use.
Essential oils provide both a scent as well as an extra layer of benefits to any beard oil including blood flow, antiseptic, anti-aging, and several other benefits. There are a ton of essential oils used within beard oils to really create some unique scents. Some of the most popular essential oils include sandalwood, pine, bergamot, patchouli, tea tree, and several others.
We actually go over a large list of all the popular carrier and essential oils in our DIY beard oil guide. Be sure to check it out when you have a minute! Or if you aren’t into the whole DIY thing, check out our review of the best beard oils here.
Beard balms, much like beard oils is made up largely of carrier oils and to a lesser extent, essential oils.
However, where beard balms differ from beard oils is the addition of two other ingredients:
The beeswax found within beard balms act as a great skin protectant and will give you typically a very slight hold throughout the day. If you are looking for a much firmer hold, then you would want to look into mustache waxes.
Beard balm butters aren’t your typical dairy butter that you have laying around in the fridge. Instead, a butter found in a beard balm is used to help with its spreadability during application along with providing an extra layer of hydration.
Some of the most popular butters found in balms are going to be either a shea or cocoa butter (typically found in lotions as well). But don’t be surprised if butters are absent from a balm as some manufacturers like to substitute a butter with an animal derived product like lanolin (oil from a sheeps wool) – as seen in our best beard balm winner.
The underlying takeaway here is that both balms and oils are key in helping keep your beard healthy, hydrated, well nourished, and to help it feel incredibly soft.
Used in tandem with a beard shampoo will make your beard look epic and beardruff free.
How often should washing your beard?
Even though some beard shampoo manufacturers may want you to wash your beard on a daily basis, that just isn’t necessary.
Whether you live in a bustling city or in the rural fields of the midwest, your beard does pick up dirt/grime or pollen throughout the course of the day.
A general rule of thumb that many expert beardsmen follow is to wash their beard once every couple of days.
This will help ensure that your sebum oils stay within your beard and that you don’t dry out your beard too much.
Even the best beard shampoos if used excessively may cause some irritation on your beard due to dryness. So its important to not overdo it.