How To Get Your Beard To Lay Flat (Grooming, Training, and Styling!)

You’ve decided to grow a beard – congratulations! After two months of growth though, you’re beginning to doubt your decision. Instead of a uniform, straight beard, it’s a wild and hairy mess. Why are your beard hairs growing in all different directions?

It is normal for beard hairs to stick out or grow in different directions, especially in a new beard. Hairs that stick out can be trained to lay flat by cleaning your beard regularly to remove buildup, applying beard oil, combing out any tangles, styling with a balm or wax, and brushing to distribute the styling products and reinforce the shape.

Keep reading to learn why your beard hair sticks out and how to make your beard look smooth and well-groomed.

Why do beards stick up or grow out in different directions?

You had dreams of a perfectly coiffed beard, but those dreams are shattered when you spot multiple hairs sticking up in all different directions. What is going on?

Beard hairs grow in all different directions due to the shape and dispersion of the facial hair follicles. Short beard hairs tend to stick out from the face instead of lying flat. 

There are several reasons why your beard is experiencing odd growth patterns:

  • Shape of hair follicles – The shape of your hair follicles determines the type of hair that grows. Round follicles produce straight hair while oval or triangular follicles produce curly or wavy hair. Your facial follicles are more varied in shape than those on your scalp, thus the hairs won’t be as uniform in appearance.
  • Dispersion of hair follicles – The hair follicles responsible for facial hair can be scattered and grouped in certain areas. The hair shafts can also grow at different angles. This can lead to an uneven distribution of hair or hairs that stick out in weird directions.
  • Genetics – Your family genetics is the number one determiner of your hair growth. The shape, dispersion, and angle of your follicles and hair growth can be traced back through your ancestry. Chances are some other men in your family have experienced the same thing.
  • Short hair – New, short hairs are always going to stick out when growing in. The longer they grow, the greater likelihood they will straighten out and lay down. If you are over trimming your beard, it’s time to exercise some patience and let those babies grow.

Trimming and grooming

Growing a beard comes with some maintenance tasks to keep it looking its best.

A regular trimming and grooming routine can tame beards that are unruly and stick out. The trimming frequency will depend on your goals. Grooming your beard will keep it looking neat and sharp.

Let’s look at some specific trimming and grooming steps and recommended products.

Let it grow

This is probably the most difficult step if patience isn’t one of your virtues.

If you are growing out a beard, letting it grow will most likely take care of short, crazy hairs. Letting it grow will also let you see beard patterns and help you determine the ideal beard style.

Try to go 6-8 weeks before your first trim.

Trim and shape

If you already have a few months of growth and still have hairs all over the place, it’s time for a good trim and overall shape up. Over time, hairs can split on the ends causing them to stick out and look scraggly. 

The first trim is a great time to visit a professional. Make sure to go to someone that has beard experience. They can help you decide on a style and give you a great reference point. Take pictures with you to see if your desired look can be achieved. 

A good set of beard trimmers is a must if you want your beard to lay flat and stay in top condition. Here are a couple of highly-rated picks:

  • The Wahl Groomsman is an inexpensive, quality choice. It’s battery-operated, lightweight, and comes with 4 different guides for versatile looks.
  • The Philips Norelco Multigroomer is a versatile, maintenance-free trimmer boasting 19 attachments and a rechargeable battery.

Washing and beard care

Just like you wash and moisturize your hair and skin, the same maintenance should be done to your beard.

Keeping your beard clean, hydrated, and moisturized is necessary to keep hairs in good condition and in their place.

Specially-formulated beard products are widely available for different hair and skin types.

Beard washing

A clean beard is a healthy beard.

Washing your beard in the shower with a shampoo made specifically for beards will eliminate dirt, dust, and debris. It’s important not to overwash as that can be drying.

Your skin type, hair type, and lifestyle will determine how often you need to give your beard a good cleaning and which beard shampoo you should use, although this one for Viking Revolution is a good general choice.

Hydrate and moisturize

Keeping your beard hydrated and well-moisturized will aid the hairs in laying down. This step will also reduce split ends that can cause curling and leave your beard with shine and softness.

To prevent breakouts and skin irritation, the American Academy of Dermatologists recommends you match your moisture to your skin type. If you have acne-prone skin, a beard conditioner like this Scotch & Porter Leave-In is a great choice to add hydration. If you have normal to dry skin, a beard oil like this one from Honest Amish can replenish moisture while hydrating the skin beneath the beard. 

Styling

After performing your beard cleaning and moisturizing tasks, it’s time to style the hairs into place. 

Make beard hairs lay down with special drying, combing, and shaping techniques paired with the correct styling products for your desired hold.

Drying

Damp, unruly hairs can be heat set into place using a blow dryer on low heat. Using a boar or badger bristle brush, brush the hair in the direction you want it to lay while applying heat.

Once you style the hairs the way you want, give a cool blast of air to set in place.

Balms, waxes, and styling products

Beard balms, waxes, and butters can give additional hold to your beard hairs.

Balms are on the low hold end, while waxes provide extra hold. Butters fall mid-range. 

Combing and shaping

After applying the styling product, it’s time to add the finishing touch – combing and shaping the hair into place. This is where you can pay extra attention to those last unpredictable hairs. 

Steps to get your beard to lay flat

While you can’t change your facial hair follicles or your genetics, there are some steps you can take to manage unruly hairs.

Beard hairs that stick out and grow in different directions can learn to lay flat by utilizing grooming, training, and styling techniques. It’s important to note that short hairs may simply need time to grow longer.

Steps to get your beard to lay flat

If you thought growing a beard would save you time since you don’t need to shave every day, think again. A good beard requires effort!

Follow these daily steps to get your beard to lay flat:

  1. Clean 
  2. Hydrate 
  3. Comb 
  4. Style 
  5. Brush

Clean 

Removing all the gunk of the day is the first step to creating your perfectly groomed beard.

You can wash your beard in the shower, but make sure to use lukewarm water instead of hot. Use a beard wash designed for your skin type to avoid breakouts.

Don’t use shampoo designed for your scalp hair. It can be too drying. 

Hydrate 

Your beard is exposed to many drying elements like sun, wind, and the environment.

Keep it hydrated with a beard conditioner and/or beard oil. The perfect time to apply beard oil is when your skin and beard are damp from the shower.

Comb 

Use a beard comb to distribute your hydration products evenly while training your hairs to lay in the desired manner.

Combing also releases tangles and snags.

Style 

If you still have renegade hairs, it’s time to apply the styling products.

Choose a balm for light hold or wax for a stronger hold.

A beard brush is recommended to distribute the styling products evenly.

Brush

Don’t forget the final step.

A beard brush is recommended to distribute the styling products evenly.

Brushing puts the final touch on your overall beard shape and also helps train the hairs to go in the desired direction.