Beards are more popular than they have ever been, which has led to this massive surge of products available to us beardsmen.
The shelves of your barbershop and your local supermarket are loaded with beard care products.
This is both a blessing and a curse.
We have an unprecedented choice, but unfortunately, there are a lot of low-quality products masquerading around with premium names & price tags.
It is all too easy to make a poor choice and end up with an expensive beard care product that doesn’t work as advertised, or worse yet, damages your skin and facial hair or causes an allergic reaction.
No one wants to waste money OR make their beard look bad, so I am here to help.
Before you rush out and buy a handful of products to care for your epic beard, you should educate yourself on these top 5 ingredients to avoid.
5 Ingredients You Should Avoid
The following ingredients are popular in both beard care and other ‘grooming’ products.
Just because they are popular does not mean they are good for your hair or skin, or even safe!
Although everyone reacts differently, these 5 ingredients are the top offenders when it comes to allergic reactions.
Sulfates are ‘cleansing agents’ and commonly used in household cleaning products, detergents and shampoo.
The one you will see on most labels is ‘sodium lauryl sulfate’. This is what gives shampoos their foaming effect and is the active ingredient that strips oil and dirt from your hair.
They certainly do their job, but might do it a little too well when it comes to your beard.
Sulfates are far too harsh for the vast majority of beards. They strip your facial hair and sensitive skin on your face of natural oils (sebum).
Without this natural oil, your whiskers and face can become dry and scratchy.
Avoid this problem by using an all-natural shampoo or soap formulated for facial hair that does not contain sulfates.
(you're not supposed to be able to say it, that's okay)
These bad boys are so nasty they have been banned in many countries, including the European Union, but can still be used for products sold in the USA.
Phthalates are a chemical used in the production of plastics, which are also used as a binding agent or solvent in a wide range of cosmetic and skincare products.
Also commonly referred to as ‘plasticizers’, there are a number of known side effects such as decreased sperm count, infertility and birth defects.
As you can see, this goes beyond the health of your beard and actually puts your physical health at risk!
Be on the lookout for terms such as DEHP, DMP, DBP and DEP on product labels. These are all Phthalates.
It is honestly scary that phthalates can still be used in products that you put on your body!
When you find a good quality product that does not use phthalates, be sure to share the word to support ethical companies.
The FDA classifies formaldehyde as a carcinogen and out of all the chemicals mentioned in this article, it is probably the one you have heard of already.
Formaldehyde is bad. I know it’s bad, you know it’s bad.
It is mostly used for its anti-bacterial properties and to extend the shelf life of products, but has some really nasty side effects.
So why is it still in shampoos and body washes?
Formaldehyde has been linked with dizziness, cancer and heart palpitations.
On the less life-threatening and more beard threatening end of the spectrum, it has been linked with HAIR LOSS.
Don’t risk your beard by using products with formaldehyde!
Check product labels for DMDM and glyoxal. If you see either of these, don’t walk, run.
4. Petroleum Jelly
A load of personal care products use petroleum jelly. In fact, it is even a popular product in its own right.
When used in other products, you will see it marked as petrolatum, white petroleum, paraffin wax, paraffin oil or liquid paraffin.
Now, unlike some of the other products mentioned, petroleum jelly isn’t potentially life-threatening, but it is bad news for your beard and face.
If you put petroleum jelly on your face, it blocks up your pores and prevents them from breathing.
Do you know what happens when your pores get clogged up like this?
Welcome back to your freshman year!
The last thing you want as a full-grown man is pimples and acne. It looks and feels bad.
A lot of men think their facial hair is the problem and shave their bears off, not realizing it is the products they are using.
Do you skin a favor and avoid all products that have petroleum jelly.
5. Synthetic Fragrances
Even though your beard products may be advertised as ‘natural’, many of the scents used are actually synthetic and not that great for you.
Smells are big business and specialized labs combine more than 3000 compounds to create the most popular scents used in personal care products.
These fragrances are not natural, they mimic nature.
Rest easy, any beard oils that you see on our website contain 100% natural ingredients. From the carrier oil to the scented oils, it's safe and natural.
Some people find that these synthetic fragrances cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. In high quantities, they can even be carcinogenic!
It can be hard to spot synthetic fragrances, but they are usually listed as: fragrance, parfum or perfume.
Look for products that actually list the natural ingredient that provides the desired scent instead.
Only Use High-Quality Beard Care Products
The 4 products mentioned above are just the most common offenders when it comes to harmful chemicals in personal care products.
There are literally too many chemicals and compounds out that can cause harm to mention here.
A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, be suspicious!
The best products for your beard and face are those with all-natural ingredients.
Especially when it comes to beard oils and balms, natural ingredients are the best for you and much more effective than synthetics.