Wintertime brings forth a lot of changes: cold weather, holidays, and a vast influx of men who decide to grow beards. We enter December immediately after the No-Shave November and Movember movements have converted clean shavers into new beardsmen who want to keep their new found growth. It is important to note that there are a few things to consider in regards to maintaining a healthy beard during the winter months.
The colder air can lead to dry and damaged hair. It can also dry out your skin, especially beneath the beard, resulting in dry skin flakes (beadruff) making an unsightly appearance in your beard.
Cold air can lead to sinus colds. Sinus colds then lead to snotty noses and snotty noses tend to land bacteria on your upper lip; one now covered in a nice woolly caterpillar of hair. Washing your beard in combative response has now increased and while you may be keeping your face clean, you're also stripping it of the natural oils that help keep your beard and skin moisturized.
They key to balance is to use a beard wash specifically formulated to cleanse your beard without stripping it of oils or coating your beard in surfactants. Surfactants, to summarize plainly, will coat the hair, making it harder to absorb any moisturizing oils, whether those oils are naturally produced by the skin, or those applied from beard oil itself. This means staying away from regular retail shampoos meant for the top of your head. I'd recommend starting with the two-three times a week wash pattern, but if you're sick or work in dirty conditions, adjust accordingly. I'd also recommend washing your beard in warm water vs. hot water as regular exposure to hot water can be drying to the skin.
You'll want to use a beard oil or beard balm daily as well as after each washing. Beard oil and beard balm both work as conditioners, restoring moisture to the skin and beard hair. This will help decrease coarseness and increase the softness and overall appearance of your beard. With beard oil, we recommend starting with 4-6 drops for short to medium length beards, bump up to 6-8 for longer lengths.
On top of your product care regimen do not be afraid to make use of your winter garments. Pop the collar on the jacket or utilize a scarf to shield your neck and face from wind gusts and direct exposure to cold air.
Following these suggestions will help keep your beard healthy and you comfortable all year long.