Your Ultimate Guide on How to Groom a Beard

While most trends come and go, well-groomed facial hair is always in style. Unfortunately, maintaining a healthy, full beard is also tricky to master. You’re probably well-versed in using the shaving cream and razor in your Dopp kit, but keeping your facial hair neat and soft requires a bit more effort than your standard morning shave and occasional trim.

Whether you prefer a big, bushy beard or just a little scruff, we’re here to help you figure out how to best care for your facial hair. Ahead, you’ll find our official Kiehl’s guide to proper beard care. You’ll learn how to groom a beard, how to get a close shave, and more. Plus, we’ll provide recommendations on the best grooming products to maintain your mane. Read on for everything you need to know about keeping your beard looking its best.

KCR Tip: The skin underneath your beard is just as important as your facial hair.

Step 1:

Wash Your Beard With a Softening Cleanser

Every grooming routine, be it skincare, body care, or haircare, starts with cleansing. Proper beard care is no different. While you’re in the shower, shampoo and condition your beard to soften the hair and remove oil and other debris. We recommend Grooming Solutions Nourishing Shampoo + Conditioner, a unique two-in-one cleanser that you can use on your head of hair and facial hair. The formula features a unique blend of essential oils, including cedarwood, sandalwood, and eucalyptus oil, to soften the hair and remove buildup. Together, they impart a subtle woodsy aroma and help maintain a soft, healthy-looking appearance.

KCR Tip: If you plan on grooming your beard but not showering, simply apply a small amount of this nourishing beard cleaner to wet facial hair while standing at the sink. Work it into a lather and rinse thoroughly to remove all residue.

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Step 2:

Cleanse and Exfoliate Your Face

Caring for the skin under your beard is just as important as maintaining your facial hair. Before breaking out the clippers or razor, wash your skin with a facial cleanser. This can help soften the hairs and make it more manageable. Washing your face also helps remove dead skin, dirt, and oil from the skin’s surface that can clog or dull your razor.

To cleanse your skin effectively, we recommend reaching for an exfoliating cleanser formulated specifically for men, such as Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub. Men’s skin is slightly different than women’s, such as it tends to be thicker and oiler. This effective face wash takes those differences into account. It contains caffeine, menthol, and powdered apricot seeds to gently exfoliate the skin and cleanse away impurities. It’s also uniquely formulated to soften tough facial hair for a more comfortable, closer shave.

KCR Tip: We recommend exfoliating no more than three times per week, depending on your skin type. For the other days, check out our full lineup of facial cleansers for men.

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Step 3:

Shave Your Beard Line and Trim The Hair

Next up in your beard care routine: Shaving your beard line and trimming your facial hair. How you do this will depend on the style and length of your beard. If you plan to shave to clean up your edges (rather than just trim the hair), you’ll need to smooth on shaving cream to protect your skin.

We recommend Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream White Eagle, which is formulated with emollient sesame oil, menthol, and camphor. Together, they help prime skin for a close, comfortable shave. Apply it wherever you plan to shave and use a sharp, clean razor to remove hair. Once you’ve finished shaving, you can move on to your chosen method of trimming and shaping your beard.

KCR Tip: Shave in the direction of hair growth (in other words, with the grain) to minimize irritation and reduce razor bumps and burn. Also, make sure to rinse your razor after every pass and replace the blade after five to seven uses.

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Step 4:

Soothe and Hydrate Your Skin With Aftershave

Shaving can sometimes lead to irritation in the form of razor burn or bumps. Razor burn is minor irritation caused by friction from the razor. Razor bumps, on the other hand, are caused by inflammation from ingrown hairs. While there is a genetic component to ingrowns (they’re more common in those with thicker, curlier hair), an aftershave can help keep irritations at bay.

After shaving, soothe and nourish your skin with Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief. The unique formula contains gentle lipo hydroxy acid to exfoliate the skin’s surface and reduce the appearance of ingrown hairs. It also has soothing willow herb extract and aloe vera to cool and calm the complexion. To use it, apply a small amount to the areas you shaved, and let it absorb, before applying moisturizer for hydrated, calm skin.

KCR Tip: According to Jeremy Heiser, Kiehl’s training and education expert, you can train your beard to lay the way you want it to with proper beard maintenance. This involves shaping and trimming the beard regularly, as well as combing and using grooming products to “tame” unruly hair.

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Step 5:

Nourish Your Facial Hair

Once you’ve finished cleansing, shaping, and trimming your beard, you’ll want to restore hydration to your facial hair with a grooming oil. This serves a few purposes: It softens the hair, adds shine and hydration, and helps keep it in place. We recommend Grooming Solutions Nourishing Beard Grooming Oil as the last step in your beard care routine.

This lightweight, non-greasy oil is formulated with Amazonian pracaxi oil, sandalwood essential oil, and cedarwood essential oil to soften and tame coarse beard hair. It also helps moisturize the skin and refine texture for a nourished, well-groomed appearance—whether you have a full beard or just a light scruff.

KCR Tip: When applying your grooming oil, be sure to massage it into the skin as well to keep your complexion hydrated, smooth, and healthy-looking.

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Next: The Ultimate Men’s Skincare Routine

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