Beard Hair vs. Head Hair

Side profile of a man with a full beard and an undercut hairstyle.

Beards are pretty on-trend at the moment, and there are so many great beard hair products that you, like me, may have asked yourself the question: what is the difference between beard hair and head hair? If you find yourself in this state of confusion, fear no more! We have gone through the subject with a fine-tooth comb to bring you the answers you are searching for. Let’s jump into the topic of beard hair vs. head hair.

Beard hair is typically thicker than the hair that grows on the scalp and is wiry in texture. The skin beneath the hair is also different, as the scalp tends to get more oily than the face.

Did you know that the human body grows three types of hair throughout our lives? The different types of hair serve specific purposes and grow at different stages of our development. Beard hair starts to grow during adolescence and replaces the soft hair already covering the whole body.

It’s different from head hair and other body hair in several ways, and that means that care for beard hair is different from that of head hair. Let’s have a look at beard hair and head hair in more detail, check out the differences and have a look at how to care for the different types of hair.

Beard Hair vs. Head Hair: What’s the Difference?

The two main differences between beard and head hair are:

  1. Texture
  2. Color

Let’s look at these in a little more detail.

The first difference you may notice between head and beard hair is the texture.  

Disheveled black beard against the white background.

Beard hair, like pubic hair, is wiry, thick, and curly, even if the hair on your head is straight. This is mainly because of the shape of the hair follicles. The follicles on your face tend to be more sensitive to androgen hormones, like testosterone.

The hormones make your follicles twist, giving them a more oval shape, and so the hair growing out of them is a little bent or twisted. Beard hair is also called androgenic hair after the hormones called androgens that help give the hair its texture.

Another difference you may notice between beard hair and head hair is the color.  You may have completely different colored hair on your head, your eyebrows, and your beard, and there’s a logical reason for that.

Inside every hair follicle, there are not one, but TWO different types of pigment, waiting to determine the color of the hair that grows there. The pigments are:

  • Eumelanin: this gives hair a black or brown color
  • Pheomelanin: this gives hair a red or blonde color

Every human being has pheomelanin within our hair follicles. When people have dark hair, the pheomelanin is hidden by the darker shades of eumelanin. That means that if you have brown hair with golden or red tones, you are witnessing your eumelanin shining through.

Eyebrows tend to have particularly dark shades. This is because the follicles in that area tend to produce more pigment than in other places. From an evolutionary perspective, this may help us better understand facial expressions as a form of communication.

Caring For Beard Hair vs. Head Hair

Beard hair is different from head hair in texture and color, which means that caring for the different hair types will entail other products and methods.

First up, the skin beneath the hair tends to be different. Scalp skin is usually more oily than that on the face. That means that a cleanser may be good for your head hair, but leave your face dry after cleaning your beard.

Let’s look at a few pointers for caring for your beard hair and your head hair. We present to you our 5 top tips for both.

5 Top Tips for Caring for Your Beard

Close-up of a man's face putting oil on his beard.
  1. Wash it daily. You may wish to use your regular shampoo with a conditioner or invest in a dedicated beard wash and conditioner.
  2. Trim it. Depending on your style, you need to trim your beard every few days to keep it neat and well maintained.
  3. Maintain it. If you plan to keep your beard, you will need to get yourself a beard trimmer with different attachments and a comb. 

Keep the idea of how you would like your beard to look and keep it maintained and fresh.

  • Keep it neat and tidy. All beards grow differently, and so it’s difficult to get straightforward advice about keeping it tidy.  If yours grows in an unruly fashion, you may wish to use beard oil (on dry hair) to soften the hair before you comb it. Another great product is pomade, which is good for shaping a beard or mustache.
  • Do not feed the animal. While eating and drinking, be mindful not to let any food or drink fall into your beard. While you’re at it, try to keep stroking and petting the beard down to a minimum too. The more you touch it, the more oils and dirt will settle in the beard, giving it a dirty and unkempt look.

5 Top Tips for Caring for Your Hair

Hair stylist shaving his client's hair in the barbershop.
  1. Know your hair. Get to know what type of hair you have. 
  2. Knowing whether your hair is oily, dry, damaged, brittle, limp, or treated will give you insight into choosing the correct products.
  3. Use the correct products. Once you know what type of hair you have, do some research into the ingredients of the products you want to use. If you have a particularly sensitive scalp, consider using natural products, as they contain no, or fewer chemicals.
  4. Clean and fresh. If your hair is oily, wash it often or daily. If your hair is dry or damaged, wash it every few days, and use a conditioner.
  5. Dry in different ways. You may need that super sleek blow-dried look from time to time, but if you want to keep your hair looking healthy, leave it to dry naturally as often as you can.
  6. Keep it trim. By having your hair trimmed every six weeks or so, depending on how quickly it grows, you will allow your hair to grow well while keeping it looking neat and well maintained.

Whether you are growing beard hair, head hair, or both, remember that your beauty shines from within. If you want healthy locks, eat and drink healthy foods and get exercise.

Does Beard Hair Grow as Fast as Head Hair?

Reflection of a man in the mirror applying shaving foam on his beard.

How quickly you can grow your beard hair depends on the level of testosterone in your body and your personal genetics. Beard (and other facial) hair does grow more quickly than the hair on your head, though. 

This is a good thing since growing an impressive beard is not only a sign of a strong, warrior male but also takes a lot of care and patience.

Although beard hair tends to grow more quickly than head hair, for some men, growing a good beard can cause anxiety, as it grows in patchy, or there is simply not enough of it.  This may be because they are not yet sensitive enough to the hormones that cause beard growth or low hormone levels.

If you want to speed up your beard growth, try these ideas:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Include quality proteins, good fats, and carbs in your diet
  • Be sure to get enough quality rest and sleep
  • Keep stress to a minimum

Keep the mantra: “healthy body, healthy beard” in mind, and you should start seeing the benefits of higher levels of testosterone and beard growth.

Let’s Sum It Up…

The differences between beard and head hair are mainly in texture and color. Different hair grows in different textures and colors because of hormones, the shape of the follicles, and the pigment inside each follicle. 

The hair in your beard will be different from your scalp and will need additional care to keep it looking neat and well maintained. Although beard hair grows more quickly than scalp hair, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle to look after both.

References:

Milkman Grooming Co: BEARD HAIR VERSUS HEAD HAIR: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Business Insider: The truth about why your beard hair is wildly different from your head hair, according to science

Philips: How to Maintain a Beard & Keep It Healthy

Beardoholic: 5 Simple but Effective Steps To Grow Your Beard Faster

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