The Beard Shampoos That’ll Keep Your Facial Hair Looking Its Best

Keep your facial hair looking and feeling clean, healthy and irritation-free with our favourite beard washes on the market.

Words by: James Uden

Over the last decade beards have exploded and continue to grow in popularity. A 2017 YouGov study showed that between 2011 and 2016, more men in Britain (42% vs 37%) were growing out facial hair. When looking further into the 18-39 age demographic, 61% had grown some form of facial hair in 2016 compared to the 43% recorded in 2011.

Celebrities have inevitably played their part – George Clooney, James Harden, Brad Pitt, Jon Hamm, Idris Elba, Jake Gyllenhaal… the list of famous men who simply ‘look better with a beard’ is seemingly endless.

The aspirational grooming milestone of growing a beard for men around the world shows no sign of slowing down, but they don’t just happen overnight. A beard takes a good amount of patience to grow for a start, and what differentiates a great facial hair from unkempt wildness comes down to good shaping (where skilled clipper and scissor work comes into play) and thorough cleansing (where products created exclusively for facial hair – such as beard shampoo – work their magic).

‘Specialist’ beard products are still relatively fresh in the men’s grooming market, but with demand for better beards reaching what feels like an all-time high and guys holding greater value and pride in their facial hair, they are becoming just as important and as prominent in bathroom cabinets as hair styling pastes, body washes and face moisturisers.

What is beard shampoo?

Anthony Conditioning Beard Wash

Anthony Conditioning Beard Wash

First things first: beard shampoo is a purpose-made cleansing product for men’s facial hair. Growing a beard is one thing, but keeping one in top condition takes more dedication and effort than you might realise.

If you’re serious about growing a beard, committing to looking after it in the long run just makes sense. If you’re reading this website, you likely care about your clothes and appearance – so why wouldn’t you want to keep your facial hair looking and feeling clean, healthy and irritation-free?

A decent beard shampoo will help you with all the above. With regular use, you’ll soon be the owner of  a beard that causes nothing but envy with every satisfyingly smooth stroke.

Why you need beard shampoo

Whether your beard is more frequently exposed to an office, building site or gym, dust and dirt from the daily grind is unavoidable and can bring a varying degree of irritation to your beard, affecting the condition of the skin underneath it.

Beard hair is thicker and coarser than the hair on your head (nearly twice the size in diameter) and despite being a convenient option, washing regular shampoo through your facial hair isn’t going to do it any favours. Hair shampoo can make beards notably dry and frizzy because it aggressively strips moisture away, leading to irritation, especially if it contains harsh synthetic ingredients.

A good beard shampoo will use a specially formulated to gently cleanse the hair while retaining a healthy amount of moisture and also looking after the skin underneath. An itchy beard can be a nightmare to deal with (beard dandruff is real) and with ingredients better suited to the needs of facial hair, a quality beard shampoo will immediately help to treat this common issue.

A selection of reliable, beard-friendly ingredients to keep an eye out for include: aloe vera, which cleans and helps relieve any itching and dryness; coconut oil, which can help to detangle hair and hydrate skin, keeping it nice and supple; and vitamin B5, which keeps hair strong and healthy.

We’ve tested hundreds of beard products over the years, and these are our recommendations for all budgets, beard lengths and skin types.

Acqua di Parma Barbiere Beard Wash

For the beard that’s worth it

Acqua di Parma Barbiere Beard Wash

Acqua di Parma Barbiere Beard Wash

If you’re searching for an indulgent upgrade to your beard care routine, look no further. This luxurious wash works with water to create a creamy foam that gently cleans the skin and leaves facial hair with a soft and silky finish. It smells great too.

Buy now: Allbeauty

Anthony Conditioning Beard Wash

For a thorough beard and face cleanse

Anthony Conditioning Beard Wash

Anthony Conditioning Beard Wash

This cream-based formula is cruelty-free, allergy and dermatologist tested, and free of parabens, phthalates, GMOs, DEA, triclosan and gluten (lots of important stuff you should be looking out for in your grooming products).

It ensures the skin underneath your beard is just as well looked after as the facial hair itself, which will be left detangled, soft and free of irritation.

Buy now: Cult Beauty

Bulldog Original Beard Shampoo and Conditioner

For the new beard

Bulldog Original Beard Shampoo and Conditioner

Bulldog Original Beard Shampoo and Conditioner

Highly accessible and affordable, Bulldog’s Beard Shampoo and Conditioner is a two-in-one cleanser and softener that smells great and will go a long way helping you through that inevitable early itching stage.

Buy now: Amazon

grüum Bård Solid Beard and Hair Wash

For a cleaner beard and cleaner environment

grüum Bård Solid Beard and Hair Wash

grüum Bård Solid Beard and Hair Wash

This beard shampoo is handmade in England, plastic-free, vegan friendly and free from artificial colours, synthetic fragrances, parabens, EDTA and petrochemicals. It’s about as clean as it gets and is formulated to ensure your beard is treated gently while maintaining a soft, hydrated balance.

By lathering straight from the puck you can also keep it stored handily in the shower, knowing it won’t get lost amongst a collection of plastic bottles.

Buy now: Lookfantastic

Jack Black Beard Wash

For a beard that’s going to turn heads

Jack Black Beard Wash

Jack Black Beard Wash

This formula works to remove dirt, oil and sweat from beards while moisturising the hair and skin underneath with a boost of jojoba protein.

It lathers great. It smells great. Enjoy the compliments that will come.

Buy now: Amazon

Murdock London Beard Shampoo

For the healthy beard aficionado

Murdock London Beard Shampoo

Murdock London Beard Shampoo

This sulphate-free formula is signed off by barbers who believe ‘facial hair needs special care’, so you know your beard is in good hands.

It wont strip the natural oils that it needs to stay healthy and soft and ensures that after a wash through, your beard won’t feel dried out or irritated.

Buy Now: John Lewis

Proraso Azur Lime Beard Wash

For a great smelling beard

Proraso Azur Lime Beard Wash

Proraso Azur Lime Beard Wash

This delicate formula from Proraso foams up nicely to soften dry, bristly facial hair and gently remove any dirt from the surface.

Refreshing citrus notes of lime will also leave you feeling clean and energised.

Buy now: Mankind

WAHL Beard Wash

For a clean beard trim follow-up

WAHL Beard Wash

WAHL Beard Wash

WAHL make excellent grooming tools for barbers and at-home groomers alike and this shampoo supports the beard trimming process by ensuring you aren’t left with any post-shave irritation or sensitivity.

If you’re at the stage with your beard where you’re regularly trimming it at home, treat those sharp, freshly-cut hairs with a wash of this afterwards.

Buy now Cult Beauty

How To Use Beard Shampoo

Man applying a beard wash to his beard

Jack Black Beard Wash

You can’t go too far wrong when it comes to applying beard shampoo but it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be using it every single day. For most guys, just two-to-three dedicated washes spaced out through the week should be sufficient enough, unless you have a particularly long or thick beard.

For the best results, give your beard a wash while in the shower so you can comfortably rinse it through in stages. Start by rinsing the beard with water and then take a small amount of your beard shampoo to hand. Really massage it through the hair with your fingers right down to the skin and give it a minute or two to soak in.

Finish with another rinse through and enjoy that clean, healthy, great-smelling beard once it’s dry.