What Is the Difference Between Beard Shampoo and Regular Shampoo?

All hair is not created equal and you need to treat the hair on your face differently from the hair on your head. You cannot kill two birds with one stone. Your beard shampoo and your regular shampoo need to be different – but what’s the real difference?

The difference between a beard shampoo and a regular shampoo comes down to the goal. Beard shampoos clean both your beard and the skin beneath while adding moisture through natural ingredients including argan, coconut, and jojoba oils. Regular shampoo is designed for the less delicate head hair and is too harsh for use on your beard.

Read on to learn how beard shampoos and hair shampoos differ and which brands will give you the best results based on past reviews. 

Beard shampoo vs regular shampoo

Shampoos were created to clean, but the type of cleaning it does will depend on the type of shampoo it is. So, while both beard shampoo and regular shampoo clean, beard shampoo is designed to gently cleanse your delicate hidden skin and your beard while moisturizing both. 

These are the differences between beard shampoo and regular shampoo:

  • Ingredients
  • Moisture retention
  • Dandruff elimination
  • Softening and smoothing

Let’s dig into each of these differences to see why it’s important to have a dedicated beard shampoo.


When you’re searching for a beard shampoo, you want to look for one with as many natural ingredients as possible.

Keep your eye out for beard washes and shampoos with the following ingredients:

  • Argan oil – A natural oil that will hydrate your beard and the skin underneath it. It will leave your facial hair shiny while preventing acne on your skin.
  • Aloe vera – Aloe gel is soothing to the skin and is an anti-inflammatory that can prevent breakouts while hydrating your beard.
  • Jojoba oil – Rich in vitamin F which helps fight off UV rays and will help retain moisture in your beard and skin.
  • Coconut oil – Stimulate growth while softening and protecting your beard hair.

While you’re searching for products with natural ingredients, you should avoid:

  • Mineral oil – Prevents hair follicles from absorbing moisture.
  • Chlorine – Known to cause breakage and split ends.
  • Sulfates – Cause hair cell damage and dry out hair.

Moisture retention

Hair shampoo strips the hair of its natural oils leaving the hair brittle, dry, and susceptible to breakage.

Beard shampoos enhance the naturally occurring oils to keep your facial hairs soft and supple.

Dandruff elimination

Beard shampoo or wash prevents dandruff in your beard. The gentle cleansing oils (usually argan, coconut, or jojoba) remove dirt and grime without drying out or damaging your skin.

A beard wash will moisturize and provide a solid foundation for your beard.  

Dandruff thrives on dry skin.

Softening and smoothing

Traditional shampoos wash away the natural oils in your beard making it brittle and hard to manage.

Continued use of a beard wash will keep your facial hairs moisturized and easy to tame.

How important is beard shampoo?

A good beard shampoo is essential for the proper grooming and hygiene of your beard. You need to select a cleansing product that will work best with your skin type. Using natural products will help prevent dryness and irritation.

Finding the right beard shampoo and using it correctly will give you a clean, debris-free beard that is easy to manage and smells great. 

Beard shampoos contain ingredients that gently remove dirt and debris that can cause skin irritation and breakouts. 

Keep reading to learn the additional benefits of using a good beard shampoo, including reduced itching, no foul smells, and reduced frizz.

Reduced itching

Your beard needs a healthy foundation.

Clean, healthy, moisturized skin gives your beard a strong foundation to build and grow on. Moisturized skin isn’t irritated so you won’t be scratching and damaging your hair follicles or the delicate skin beneath.

No matter your skin type, you need to moisturize as part of your beard grooming routine.

No foul odors

You already know poor hygiene will cause your beard to stink.

Beard shampoo is formulated to gently wash away the dirt and grime that causes odor without damaging the structure of the hair follicle.

Reduced frizz

Beard shampoo cleans away harmful dead skin cells and odor-causing bacteria.

Softer, more pliable beard hairs mean saying goodbye to the frizzy, unkempt look.

Beard shampoo is helpful for this because it leaves behind the nutrients and oils essential for soft, manageable facial hair. 

How often should you shampoo your beard?

You should shampoo your beard 2 to 3 times a week. If you shampoo your beard every day, you will be washing away the nutrients necessary for healthy beard growth. 

However, if you have an active lifestyle, an extremely physical job, or just happen to sweat a lot, you may need to shampoo your beard more frequently.

Here’s a video from a member of the bearded community discussing how often you should shampoo your beard and why.   

Is regular shampoo bad for beards?

The purpose of hair shampoo is to remove dirt and oil from the scalp to keep your hair from being and looking slick. Therefore, if you use regular shampoo on your beard, you’ll strip your facial hair of vital oils that protect your beard and the skin underneath it.

Hair shampoo contains ingredients that will rapidly deprive your beard and skin of its natural oils. 

If you use hair shampoo instead of beard shampoo, you are at risk of:

  • Dry beard
  • Itchy, irritated skin
  • Damaged hair follicles

Dry beard

Hair shampoo will strip your beard and skin of its natural oils causing dry skin and leaving you susceptible to skin irritation and conditions like beard dandruff. You’ll end up with ugly, white flakes all over your beard.

A dry beard is not only hard to manage, but you can also lose facial hair due to the follicles being starved for moisture and natural oils.

Itchy, irritated skin

Irritated, itchy skin occurs after hair shampoo depletes your skin of its natural nutrients. Your beard and skin’s protective layer are damaged.

Scratching or rubbing will only make matters worse. 

You always need to try to avoid rubbing or touching your beard and face to keep the germs and oils on your hands off your face and beard.

Damaged hair follicles

Normal hair shampoo is too harsh for facial hair; when natural skin oils are stripped away, hair follicles will suffer.

Shampoos are formulated to remove dirt and grime from your scalp and your facial hair and skin are much more delicate.

What can I use if I don’t have beard shampoo?

If you ever find yourself out of beard wash, don’t use body wash or hair shampoo. You can apply a mild conditioner to your beard, gently massage it into your beard and rinse with lukewarm water. 

Never use harsh shampoos or body soaps on your beard. It will cause damage to your skin, the foundation your beard lives on.

You can also use just lukewarm water, gentle massaging motions, and then apply some beard oil to seal in the moisture until you can replace your beard shampoo.

Is baby shampoo good for beards?

Baby shampoo is a good beard shampoo if you have allergies or sensitive skin, or if you just find yourself without it.

Baby shampoo is a good option for a beard shampoo because it is made for a baby’s delicate skin which is similar to your face. Select a baby shampoo that has conditioning and detangling properties. 

There are no special instructions, just apply the baby shampoo to your beard, gently massage to form a lather, and rinse with lukewarm water. 

Watch this video to learn how to select a baby shampoo for your beard. 

Is conditioner good for a beard?

A beard conditioner is a great way to soften and hydrate your beard.

You can choose between a traditional conditioner, which goes on like a lotion; or beard oil, another type of conditioner. 

Both beard conditioner and beard oil serve the same function: to moisturize and soften your beard.

Is beard wash the same as beard shampoo?

If you’ve been stumped in the haircare aisle, you may have found yourself wondering what the difference is between beard wash and beard shampoo. The simple answer is: there isn’t one.

Beard wash/shampoo are designed to fortify your beard’s natural oils for healthy growth and great shine. 

So whether you call it beard wash or beard shampoo, they both work in the same manner.

The best shampoos to use on your beard

Now that you know how to “boss up” your beard game with beard shampoo, here are some top choices to pick from:

  • King C. Gillette Beard and Face Wash – A light, refreshing beard wash with coconut water, argan oil, and avocado oil.
  • Horace Beard Shampoo – A sulfate-free, natural beard shampoo containing nutrients like Jamaican black castor oil and Linseed oil.
  • Billy Jealousy Beard Wash – A sulfate-free cleanser, softener, and detangler all-in-one made with aloe leaf juice and green tea extract.
  • Scotch Porter Moisturizing Beard Wash – A refreshing cleanser that hydrates with aloe vera and other botanicals.
  • Duke Cannon Best Damn Beard Wash – This plant-based cleanser has citrus oil and makes your beard more manageable without stripping your skin’s natural oils. 

You should take some time to consider your beard and skin type and choose your beard shampoo and conditioner accordingly.

Proper beard hygiene will keep your beard healthy and thriving for a long time. 




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