You probably grew your beard to achieve a more rugged, masculine look. However, your beard hair is more delicate than it appears. Let’s say you’ve lathered up with beard shampoo for a deep clean. You have a full Gandalf, so your beard is dripping wet and you want to dry it as fast as possible. You think, “I’ll just blow dry my beard. That’s the fastest solution.” While it’s true that blow drying your beard may be the fastest solution, it’s not the best one.
To air dry or blow dry? It’s a debate that has raged on for decades and, until now, hasn’t had a definitive answer. For best results, you’ll combine the air dry, towel dry, and the blow dry. It might sound like a lengthy routine but it’s the best way to promote long-term beard health.
“But shouldn’t I air dry my beard?”
Air drying your beard seems logical and natural. It involves the least amount of effort, and most guys assume it’s the only way to avoid damaging the beard hair. But air drying your beard can be dangerous too.
Since the water has nowhere to go, it causes your follicles to swell. The swelling continues until the water dries completely. During this time, pressure builds on your follicles and damages the proteins involved in hair growth. Over time, repeated air drying can lead to weaker beard hair and excessive breakage.
“So, I shouldn’t blow dry my beard?”
Not so fast. Most guys use their blow dryer on the highest setting. The excess heat damages the hair cuticle, which is the protective outer layer. Water gets trapped inside and starts to boil. Instead of simply drying your hair, you cook it like a pot of chicken noodle soup. This type of poor treatment also leads to weaker hair down the line.
“How should I dry my beard?”
There’s a way to do it without causing damage.
Follow your normal wash routine, whether that’s using beard shampoo for full beards or using facewash for shorter beards. Then, use a towel to pat it dry. The goal here isn’t to dry it fully; you want your beard to be damp as opposed to dripping wet. Also, be gentle with your towel dry. You’ll be tempted to dry your beard quickly and with force. But your beard hair is at its most fragile when it’s wet. An aggressive towel dry can cause additional tangles, breakage, and even loss of hair. A shortcut now could lead to beard hair loss and unattractive patches later.
From there, let it air dry just a bit until it’s about 80% dry. Apply a couple drops of beard oil as a protective layer.
Grab your blow dryer but switch the temperature to the coolest setting possible. Turn the blow dryer nozzle downward, hold it 6 inches away, and blow dry. While the blow dryer is going, use a beard comb to straighten out tangles and spread the beard oil evenly throughout your beard. This is also a point where you can start styling your beard.
Once you’re done, apply some beard balm for an added coat of moisture. Moisturizing beard products are essential if you plan on blow drying your beard often—even on the coolest setting. You want to ensure you restore any hydration that’s lost during the process.
The final verdict
Blow dry, air dry, or towel dry? There’s a right way to dry your beard, and it involves all three methods. This detailed and delicate process will ensure you keep your rugged look in the best condition possible.