Beard Brush vs. Comb: Compared and Reviewed


Ah, the great debate: beard brush vs comb. How is one to decide? Should you use a thick boar bristle brush with an elegant wooden handle to distribute beard oil and exfoliate your skin, or should you stick with a comb to just fluff things up when you need a bit of a lift?Elegant

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  • Breezelike Sheep Horn Beard Comb
  • Polished white beard comb made of sheep horn
  • Natural Materials
  • Gentle
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  • Smooth Viking Beard & Comb Set
  • Boar’s hair bristle brush and sandalwood comb
  • Natural Materials
  • Gentle
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  • Price: $

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  • Grow-A-Beard Brush & Comb Set
  • Absorbent boar’s bristle brush & bamboo comb
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  • Kent Combs
  • Hand-Polished Cellulose Acetate Combs
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  • Gentle:
  • Easy to Clean:
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  • Kent Brush
  • White boar’s hair bristle brush with wooden handle
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  • Gentle:
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  • Tombstone Beard Brush
  • Wooden brush with synthetic bristles
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That’s not all you may be asking. How do you brush/comb out your beard, and how do you find the best tools? Is metal better than natural horn, or should I go for synthetic. Maybe my girlfriend’s plastic comb will do the trick? If you wake up and walk out the door every morning without giving a second thought to grooming your beard, than this article is for you. We’ll explain exactly how to properly take care of your beard and, of course, answer the great beard brush vs comb debate once and for all.

Anatomy of a beard brush

Before we can get into the differences between a brush and comb, it pays to understand the different parts of the brush. Let’s explore the parts of a beard brush.

The Handle

First, there are two different types of handles to choose from. There is the military-style brush that is oval shaped and fits in the palm of your hand.

Then there is the kind that has an elongated handle that you grip with the bristles only on one end.

Either one works just as well as the other. It’s more of a personal preference as to which one you prefer.

The material can vary from wood, predominantly pear or cedarwood, bone or plastic-like resin. The best probably is the resin as it will not get water damage. Since you’re likely to be using your brush in the bathroom, it may end up getting wet often.

Cleaning the brush is also easier when it’s made out of plastic as it can be washed with soap and water. A wooden one needs to be brushed out with a comb or another brush to get all the stray hair and detritus out of it.

The Bristles

This is clearly the most important part of the brush. It is extremely important to avoid brushes made out of plastic bristles. They will do so much damage to your beard that you’re better off not using a brush if that were your only option.

The bristles are generally roughly made with ridges that snag your beard and tear the follicles.

Not only that, but they will scratch your skin as they are very rigid. Using plastic bristles is very uncomfortable.

Look for boar bristles that are gentle on your beard. They are flexible enough to be comfortable on the skin and rigid enough to get between the follicles and smooth them out.

If you are vegan or Halal, there are some plant based bristles that mimic boars hair. They are generally made out of the agave plant so you aren’t forced to use plastic when you want to avoid using an animal based bristle.

For Halal, there are also beard brushes that use horse hair.

Anatomy of a beard comb

I don’t think there are many people who don’t know the difference between a comb and a brush. There are, however, some features of a beard comb that are helpful to understand.

The Body

The type of material varies, like the brush. And just like a beard brush wood is the most common. It doesn’t create static electricity, they are cheap and easy to make and some even are scented like cedar or sandalwood.

Like the brush, you want to avoid cheap plastic. Never use a comb for your head on your beard.

There is cellulose acetate which is like plastic but isn’t the same so it is gentle on your beard.

The Teeth

Teeth should be spaced enough to run through the beard without getting snagged. Otherwise, it can tear your hair out or create split ends.

beard comb vs. brush

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There are plenty of reasons to choose one over the other, but the truth is that you really don’t have to choose–you can use them both alternatively in different situations. In general, I’d say that beard brushes are more useful to men with shorter beards while men with longer beards tend to prefer combs. 

While boar’s hair brushes are wonderful for your hair, the bristles are not stiff enough to properly brush through a long, thick mane. Most men with a beard of at least a few months prefer to use a beard comb because they can untangle knots and set hairs in order much more efficiently. 

However, if your beard is less than two months old, it’s probably less than an inch long. In that case, you’re better off with a beard brush. Your beard probably isn’t long enough to get in too many tangles, and so the comb won’t really do all that much besides maybe scratch an itch. The teeth are too wide to make much of a difference.

A brush will set all of your hairs going in the same direction, exfoliate your skin, and give you a slightly neater appearance. Even if your beard is very short, you should really start using a beard brush from day one. That being said, there are plenty of men who use beard brushes for long beards and combs for their scruff. These aren’t hard and fast rules by any means.

One thing is for sure. Whether you use a comb or brush is irrelevant to some degree. What is important is that you use one or the other or both. After reading this article you should be able determine which one will actually be better for you, but this is the one important takeaway I want to make sure you have.

So this beard brush vs comb comparison continues and we’ll delve deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of each in the next couple of sections.

So Why Use a Beard Brush?

Let’s begin the beard brush vs comb comparison. A beard brush is perfect for hair of 3/4” or less because it will train the hairs to grow in the proper direction. Beard hairs unfortunately don’t all grow as you might want them to, and while gravity will eventually drag them in the downward direction, if it’s short, it may be a bit unruly on its own.

A brush can help you get those hairs facing the right direction. Even if your beard isn’t very long at all, you’ll want to start training it from day one. If you let the hair grow as it will, it will become accustomed to facing whichever way it pleases. By regularly brushing it, you can teach it to grow with the grain of your beard.

Even if you are not thinking necessarily about styling your beard, you do need to make sure the hairs are not working against each other. You’ll find that by having the hairs going the same way will make your life much easier when it comes to getting the most out of your beard.

It will also help to exfoliate the skin on your face leaving your chin soft and smooth. If you thought exfoliating your skin was a useless step in an already tedious skin-care routine, think again. It’s important to brush off dead skin cells if you want to keep your skin healthy. OIls and balms won’t absorb properly if you have layers of dead skin on your chin. 

Lastly, because the boar’s hair is designed to absorb oils, it will easily spread an even coat of beard balm or a simple beard oil over a short beard. Beard oil can completely transform the softness of your facial hair, but a few drops won’t do any good if they’re concentrated in one area. You’ll need to distribute the product evenly if you want it to be effective. A beard brush can do just that.

So, if you’ve been weighing the benefits of a beard brush vs comb, definitely don’t count out the  brush! You could be wasting a lot of money on beard oil if you’re not also brushing out your beard properly.

beard brush or comb

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The Combs

If your beard is longer than an inch or two, then congratulations, you’re a regular beardsman. You’ve made it through the unbearably itchy phase of your beard growth, and you’re ready to show off your manly mane. Nothing says virility like a thick, full beard, but if you don’t comb it out properly, you’ll be stuck with a scraggly wisp of hair pasted on the end of your chin. No one wants that.

So how do you render your beard worthy of a lumberjack’s symbol of pride? Simple, you comb it out.

A beard comb can help you get some stubborn crumbs out that might have lodged themselves in your hair when you were munching away on that donut this morning, but it can also separate and fluff out the hair to give it a fuller, healthier appearance. You’ll want to start under your chin and comb outward and upward to achieve the full effect.

After the shower is the perfect time to whip out your  comb. After you’ve thoroughly washed out your beard with beard shampoo, you’ll need to comb through it. A healthy dose of beard balm and/or beard oil should help you detangle the hairs enough to comb through it.

You don’t want to comb through a mass of tangled hair for fear of tearing and damaging the strands. A beard brush is pretty useless on wet hair, but a wide-toothed comb can glide through easily. You might even consider starting with a wide-toothed comb and touching up your beard with a smaller one. This is where you see the beard brush vs comb difference.

You may even find yourself enjoying the ritual of combing your beard and look to do it several times per day. Maybe you will carry a beard comb around with you during your day out so you can always have ti ready for a quick groom session that just feels right no matter where you are!

A beard comb is also perfect for a midday touch up. During the afternoon, your beard might look a bit tired, but a beard comb can provide the perfect pick-me-up for your miserable mustache or wistful whiskers!

beard brush or comb

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How Easy Is It to Comb Your Beard?

Combing your beard isn’t exactly like combing your hair. For one, your beard doesn’t have a part, and for two, it’s facing in a different direction. So, when you comb your beard, you’re going to want to attack the hair in two ways.

First, you’ll want to start from the top of your neck and comb upward and outward to fluff out your beard. The point is to separate the hairs and give the entire beard a bit of extra volume. If your beard is really thick, you can follow up by picking up some of the top layers and combing them out separately.

Then once you’ve combed from underneath, you’ll want to tame it by quickly combing through it from the top just to make sure everything is in order.

This is the point when you will start to see the fruits of your labors. After a few days or weeks, when your beard is all growing out the way you like, it only takes a second to comb down your beard to get everything smoothed out and see some nice lines.

Once your beard is combed out you will notice when some hairs just won’t cooperate and that is how you know when you need to do a beard trim.

If you’ve brushed it up and down a couple of times and there are still some fly away hairs, then those should be trimmed back to get your beard looking smooth again.

Be careful not to comb through your hair too often though. Aggressive brushing can lead to hair loss. You really shouldn’t need to comb through your hair more than a couple of times per day.

If you’re still not quite sure how it’s done, watch this helpful video to see for yourself before we move to the next section of this beard brush vs comb comparison.

How Do You Brush Your Beard?

When you brush your beard, you’re going to want to brush with the grain. Most men will tell you that they shave up and down. I’m here to say that that’s nonsense. When you’re grooming your beard, you’re always either going with or against the grain. The direction of the growth for the hair on your face is a downward curve toward the chin.

The entire point of brushing your beard is to help it look neat and trim, and the only way to do that is brush the hair in the right direction. So start on the sides of your face near your ears and brush the hair down toward your chin. This will also help to train it to naturally grow in that direction as it gets longer.

You’re also going to want to brush the hair on your neck in the direction of growth. However, this hair might be growing the opposite way. Some men are lucky, but for many of us, brushing the neck hair in the direction of growth might, in fact, be brushing against the grain. If that does happen to be the case, don’t worry. Start brushing early and you’ll train your hair to grow in properly.

Now some men can grow a thick, luscious beard with no trouble. If you come from anywhere in the Middle East, for instance, you’re probably a bit hairier than some of your western brethren. Regular beard brushing can help you cover up a patchy beard. Simply brush your beard hair to cover up some of the patches. It might take a while to get the beard to grow to the point where it’s long enough to manipulate, but if you’re patient, you can compensate for a lack of coverage.

If you already have a long beard, on the other hand, you can use your beard brush to help fix a terrible bed head (or bed beard?). If you’ve ever woken up with your beard pointing in weird directions, you know exactly what I mean. A beard brush is the perfect tool to get all that hair under control. To get it all into shape, simply brush your hair out and up before brushing it all down. If you have really thick hair, you’ll want to brush it all down underneath your chin to keep it neat.

Check out this great video on how one man brushes his beard in the morning before we move on to the next interesting part of this beard brush vs comb comparison.

How to Find the Perfect Beard Brush & Comb

Discussing a beard brush vs comb is really not pertinent at all if you can’t find high-quality tools in the first place. Not all beard brushes and combs are created equally. Some are definitely better than others, and you need to do your research ahead of time if you care about grooming your facial hair.

A beard comb should be made from a natural material if possible. Plastic combs have sharp edges that will tear and damage your beard. You can find a number of combs available in wood and animal horn. Wood is nice and solid, but it can absorb oil and bacteria. Horns are taken from animals, but they can be polished until they look quite elegant.

However, you’ll also find a number of combs made from cellulose acetate. Because the polymer is synthetic, combs made from cellulose acetate usually come with narrow-set teeth, but they are smooth enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about tearing through the hair. Plus, they’re often hand-polished. While cellulose acetate isn’t as striking as a natural material like wood or horn, they are far cheaper and completely cruelty-free. Also, the narrow-set teeth are perfect for grooming a mustache.

A good beard brush, by contrast, should come with high-quality bristles. Boar bristles are ideal because they naturally condition the hair. They also absorb oil, so they can help distribute product through your hair evenly. If you’re worried about animal cruelty, you can find some decent synthetic brushes, but animal hair brushes really do a much better job of improving the texture of your hair.

In this beard brush vs comb comparison, you may also consider whether its important for you to have a handle. A good number of brushes that I’ve seen come without a handle. That’s fine for some, especially if you happen to have a short beard. However, if your hands are wet from the shower or oily from the product you’ve put in your beard, you may find the brush a bit too slippery to hold.

beard brush or comb

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Some Final Thoughts on The Beard Brush or Comb Debate

I’m not a guy to pick sides, so if I had to state my preferences with regards to the beard brush vs comb debate, I would say both! Beard brushes and combs do different jobs, and since you can pick up a great combo pack like the Smooth Viking beard brush and comb pack on for less than $15, there’s no reason not to indulge. If you plan on investing in a high-quality brush like a Kent White Boar Bristle Brush on, you’ll have to shell out a bit more cash, but not an overwhelming amount.

So, beard brush vs comb? A beard brush and comb are important tools that should last you a very long time, so it’s worth making the time now to find the right one. Have you ever used a beard brush or comb? In the comments section below, tell us what your opinion is on this beard brush vs comb debate. Do you prefer a beard brush or a beard comb? We want to hear your thoughts!


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