A good quality beard brush or comb is a crucial element of your beard grooming kit. As your beard grows, you will need either one to keep it looking dapper.
Whether you pick a beard brush vs. comb largely depends on two things: your beard length and your preferences. Beards with significant lengths (think ZZ Top) will benefit from a comb. It’s just hard to brush that foot-long monster with a brush.
If your beard is a medium length and thickness, you can use either a beard brush or comb: both will do a reasonably good job.
The length of your beard makes the choice between a beard brush or comb simple enough. As you delve more into using either, however, you discover there are discernable differences in your experience. Here we go deep into how using a brush vs. comb gives you different results and experience.
What’s The Difference between Using a Beard Brush and a Beard Comb?
Beard brushes and combs essentially achieve the same three goals:
- To detangle any knots and put your hairs in place;
- Spread evenly your beard oil or wax;
- Stimulate and exfoliate the skin under your scruff.
The difference between the two lies in how they achieve these results.
Detangle Knots and Put Hairs in Place
By design, beard brushes consist of tightly packed hairs (natural or synthetic) on a flat surface. When you brush your facial hair, each whisker passes through the tightly clustered bristles of the brush and falls into the direction of movement.
Put simply, a beard brush exercises significant control over the direction the whiskers of your beard. This is why, they are the preferred tool for short or medium-length beards.
A comb can also direct the position of your facial hair but it is not as effective as a brush. In general combs exercise less control on your facial hair because the teeth of the comb are not as tightly packed. This is why, if you try to comb a short-to-medium length hair, some whiskers will pop back out of place. There is simply not enough friction and pressure to permanently redirect their position and growth.
Combs, however, do a perfectly adequate job in shaping and directing long whiskers. Long hairs have already grown into the right direction and just need to be slightly reoriented and detangled.
Distributing Oils and Beard Products
Brushes also tend to be more effective in distributing any beard products and the natural oils produced by your skin. The even distribution of oil goodness is crucial for the healthy growth of your beard.
Combs can also distribute oils or wax they do so in a more clunky way. A proof of that is the residue of product you find on the teeth of your comb. If you use too much product and have thick beard, the comb can leave ridges in your beard, just like it does when combing your wet hair. The tightness of a brush doesn’t leave such ridges and allows for more even distribution.
Massaging and Exfoliating the Skin
Brushes do a better job at exfoliating and stimulating the skin under your beard. The hundreds of bristles scrubbing your skin at a given time are way more effective at exfoliating and massaging than the sparsely placed teeth of a comb.
Even though in many respects brushes are the better tool for medium beards, combs remain unsurpassed when it comes to long manes. If your beard goes past your chest, you can’t get away with not using a comb.
A Beard Brush or Comb: Which One is Better?
Styling and shaping long beard
Distributing natural oils and beard products
Massaging and exfoliating the skin under your beard
When You Don’t Need A Brush or Comb
Even though we rave about using a brush or comb, there are instances when you don’t need either. If your beard is just a stubble (or close to that), there is no need to brush it or comb it. No amount of brush tightness can redirect the growth of a half-inch whisker and you’ll do better job using your fingers to distribute any beard oil or wax.
You don’t need a comb or brush if you have very thin growth. A good friend of mine doesn’t have to shave more than once a month. His hair is so thin that tweezers might be more effective at removing it than a razor.
Where to Buy Beard Brushes and Combs
If you’ve already made up your mind which way to go, here are some good options for beard brushes and comb.