Beard Shampoo vs. Regular Shampoo

Bearded man shaving his beard with a straight razor in the shower.

The human body is a magnificent beast, and one of the most telling features is all the hairy bits. Hair not only carries with it biological duties but aesthetic appeal, too! Men have the option of growing a full head of hair or a beard.

Having had long hair and a grown beard, I can attest that although they share similarities, these are very different, and they each require their tailored shampoo products to thrive! 

Beard shampoo doesn’t strip facial hair of its sebum oils that help fight off dryness, thinning, and beardruff. It uses natural products like tea tree oils. Most regular shampoos contain harmful chemicals such as Parabens designed to strip away grease, dirt, and build-up on your scalp.  

What you use on your body, whether for your beard or hair, can have potentially devastating consequences (you don’t want to have to regrow your hair or beard), so let’s take a closer look at the differences!

Beard Shampoo vs. Regular Shampoo

Man in the shower washes his beard with a shampoo.

There are genuine differences between beard shampoo and regular shampoo. The primary reason lies not in the composition of these products but rather that of the human body.

The hair that makes up a beard is androgenic hair. It is hormone-controlled and in dire need of natural sebum oils. On the other hand, Scalp hair is non-androgenic, does not require hormones to grow, and is not too reliant on sebum oils.

Sebum is an oily, waxy substance generated by the sebaceous glands in your body. It hydrates, protects, and coats your skin.

For this reason, beard hair should be treated differently than scalp hair. Beards require shampoo and other hair-softening treatments that do not dry out the hair. If you use a shampoo designed for scalp hair on your beard, it won’t soften your hair sufficiently and dry it out too much.

Androgens like testosterone make follicles twist, and their resulting hairs get kinked. Follicles in the face and pubic area are considerably more susceptible to these hormones.

Because regular shampoos have a habit of stripping away all the healthy, natural oils, leaving the scalp or skin irritated. It can interrupt the hair development cycle. Furthermore, this will leave behind breakage and frizz.

The ingredients that give shampoo its suds are known as sulfates. Sodium and ammonium sulfate are popular names for these substances. Sulfates can cause skin irritation and hair damage.

Parabens, which are used to keep shampoos fresh, are found in many shampoos.  Unfortunately, parabens may penetrate the skin, making hair frizzy and dry.

Many hair products include phthalates, which give them their scent. They also contribute to the “gel-like” texture of shampoos. This chemical has the potential to influence male fertility.

What Are The Benefits Of Beard Shampoo?

Man in red shirt washes his beard with shampoo.

It’s no secret that beards can become dirty and stinky without having to try. When they become grimy, they irritate the skin underneath and make it a nightmare to maintain.

Similarly, beards that aren’t washed become scratchy. Beards that have been cleaned with ordinary shampoo become even itchier. Thankfully, beard wash softens and cleanses the skin behind the beard to relieve inflammation.

When a beard is softened, it allows for easy grooming and styling.  A soft beard saves precious minutes, especially in the mornings before work or in preparation for the night out with that special someone!

How Often Should A Beard Be Washed?

Beard-cleaning will depend largely on individual factors. The frequency will depend on the lifestyle you lead. If you frequently spend hours working outside in the sun or do a lot of manual labor at work, you will need to wash your beard more often.

However, as a rule of thumb, wash on average three times a week to keep your beard soft, irritation-free, and smelling good.

Remember that you want to avoid washing your beard too frequently; otherwise, you’ll strip away all the natural oils (Sebum oil) and do more harm than good to your beard.

Thankfully, if you wash it more often than usual, using beard shampoo is still safer than if you were to use regular shampoo.

Does Beard Shampoo Help Your Beard Grow?

Man washes his beard in the barbershop.

Your beard will not grow if you only use shampoo. However, there is some truth to this. Massaging your beard promotes and improves blood circulation in the skin and hair follicles, essential for hair development.

Additionally, when your beard is clean, and the skin underneath is nourished, it allows the beard hair to absorb the natural oils more easily because no dirt can hinder it.

Finding the best beard shampoo for you will not only adequately condition your facial hair but make sure that it is hydrated and therefore prevent it from drying out and breaking.

Do You Need To Use Conditioner With Beard Shampoo?

In the same way that a regular conditioner hydrates head hair, a beard conditioner nourishes both your beard and the skin beneath it. It keeps your beard from becoming (and feeling) excessively wiry, as well as your skin from being flaky. 

However, keep in mind that some beard shampoos come with a built-in conditioner, so if you’re running a little low on cash, this is the way to go.

As your beard becomes more extended, you’ll need to start applying additional beard products. It is unavoidable, as the size of the sebaceous glands is limited, and the more significant the beard, the more oil it requires.

Of course, this also includes beard products such as balm, wax, oil, and butter.

Even if you don’t wash your beard, you’ll need to apply beard oil at some time, and cleaning it with generic shampoo would require you to use excessive quantities of oil.

Man in the shower holding a shampoo bottle as he washes his hair with the other hand.


Because beard hair is harder than head hair, beard shampoo has been specially formulated to be gentle enough to clean it without stripping the oils that it needs to remain healthy.

A regular shampoo contains chemicals designed to strip all the dirt and oils, making it very harsh on the scalp. It can be significantly damaging on a beard that where the skin underneath is much more sensitive.


Reddit: Are beard shampoos any different to regular shampoo?

Bulldog Skincare for Men: Why Beard Shampoo Really Works

Beard Organics: Beard Shampoo vs Regular Shampoo: What’s the Difference?

Healthline: What Is Sebum and Why Does It Build Up on Skin and Hair?

Beard Resource: Beard Shampoo vs. Normal Shampoo (What’s the Difference?)



Quora: Is the hair from my beard the same as the hair on my head?

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