Summer is just around the corner. Now, what this means to you will depend, of course, on where exactly you're summering. Is it possible to keep your beard through the summer without turning into a sweaty, funky mess?
In fact, it is. Read on, to learn how to prepare your facial mane for the sweltering approach of the sunniest months – and maybe learn a few new facts about beards, too.
1. Consider the length
You might at this point ask: is it even worth having a beard – at all – during summer? One of the purported evolutionary purposes of body hair, after all, is that it's meant to keep us warm. But the truth is, scientist still aren't completely sure why we have the body hair we have, especially given the huge differences in hair growth between individuals.
That said, any beardsman will tell you that a full beard DOES offer a lot more protection from the blustery winter winds than being clean shaven. That said, a beard doesn't need to be a summer heat trap. Trimming it back by just an inch or two can make a huge difference in how hot you get. And if you insist on keeping your beard long? Great news! According to an Australian study, beards provide a Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of up to 21.
Ultraviolet Protection Factor, is the sun protection rating system that's most often used for fabrics. It's not exactly the same as SPF, but largely equivalent in practice. Suffice it to say that beards do prevent statistically significant percentages of UV rays from reaching the skin! (They are not a substitute for sunscreen, however; think of them, rather, as an added layer of protection.)
And the final benefit of having a longer beard hot weather? You can wet it! It's basic thermodynamics: the evaporation of water out of a longer beard will wick away significant amounts of heat, leaving you cool as a cucumber, and your baby-faced pals jealous.
Whatever length you decide to wear your beard over the summer, remember that hot weather increases your skin's production of both sweat and sebum (skin oil) – which means that keeping your beard clean is especially important in summer. Several of our other articles cover beard hygiene, if you're unsure where to start with your grooming routine.
It's always best to wash your beard at least a few times a week – but listen to your skin. If the skin in your beard area feels dry and itchy, you may be over-washing, or using irritating products. On the other hand, breakouts, or beard funk, usually mean you're not washing enough. This is more likely to be the case in summer, but every face is a different, so pay attention to what yours is telling you.
One time it IS always necessary to wash your beard? After working up a good sweat. Sweat that's allowed to dry in the beard can facilitate bacterial growth and odor, so always make sure to use a gentle beard-safe cleanser after a heavy workout or serious sun time.
3. Don't forget to condition!
And finally – just because your skin is oilier and sweatier in summer doesn't mean you can skip out on conditioning your beard after washing it. Every time you wash your beard, you're washing away not only bacteria, but also natural conditioning oils. These need to be replaced. Which is where beard oils like Scruffy Jack's Beard Oil comes in. Apply a few drops to your towel-blotted beard, while it is still slightly damp.
Then you may, depending on your styling needs, follow up with a bit of Scruffy Jack's Beard Wax. You can also just skip straight to the balm, if you're a minimalist – but oil, because of its texture, has an easier time thoroughly coating your beard hairs evenly. So, unless you regularly use a LOT of balm, a few drops of oil is usually the best way to condition your beard, whether you follow with a wax or not.