We’ve done the research and tests, and pored over reams of information to come up what we think is the best beard comb for you. In doing so, simply being “good enough” wasn’t, well, good enough, so coming up with our list of the best combs – with Baxter of California’s Large Comb leading the pack – wasn’t easy. But it’s a list of combs that we’d recommend for most men.
Besides providing you with our top 5 list of beard combs and what makes them so great, we’ll also explore how to properly use your comb, provide a “Beard Comb 101” that helps explain what goes into making a quality beard comb, as well as describe the differences and advantages of using a beard comb or beard brush.
- The 5 best beard combs review
- Beard combs 101
- How to properly comb your beard (A simple, 5 step illustrated guide)
- The benefits of combing your beard
- Beard comb or beard brush?
The 5 Best Beard Combs Review
So, let’s begin, the 5 best beard combs of 2017:
All Baxter of California combs are handcrafted in Switzerland (we’ll talk about the advantages of handcrafted over factory-pressed later) and produced from cellulose acetate sheets – which is a naturally-occurring polymer derived from cotton and tree pulp.
Producing a single Baxter of California comb requires a 12-step manufacturing process which, as mentioned, is done by hand. What you end up with is a comb that has rounded tips and gently-tapered teeth for better comfort and care.
The Baxter of California Large Comb measures in at 7.75 inches and comes in a tortoise-shell pattern. Baxter of California is sometimes referred to as a “cult favorite” among men’s grooming brands, but its Large Comb is a must-have in any beardsman’s kit bag.
One of its many great features is that the teeth are varied between thick and thin, which allows for greater adaptability to any type of beard grooming task – from sculpting to taming a cowlick that refuses to go away.
The gentle design of the teeth enables you to glide the comb through your beard hair without annoying pulling and tugging. Moreover, it’s suitable for all hair styles and types, and it has an ergonomic grip that makes it easier control, whether you grab it from an end or right in the middle.
The bottom line with Baxter of California’s Large Comb is that you really can’t go wrong with. It looks good, it’s hand-crafted, it can deal with whatever kind of beard hair it has to work with. It even feels good in your hand.
Good things do come small packages – as evidenced by Kent’s 81T Extra Small Beard/Moustache comb. Like Baxter of California’s Large Comb, the Kent 81T is made from cellulose acetate and hand-buffed to eliminate any potential rough edges on its teeth. That’s huge when you consider that tiny ridges left on the teeth will pull, grab and scratch until you’re driven crazy.
The Kent beard comb 81T is saw-cut in England, where G.B. Kent & Sons Ltd., have been in the brush and comb business since 1777 (and have received nine Royal Warrants for excellence in production).
Kent’s combs are known for their sturdiness, overall quality, and excellence finish, and just holding one lets you know that they’re handmade.
One of the 81T’s many strong points include that it’s highly portable, thanks to its size, and can fit nicely in your pocket or wallet. It has rounded, polished teeth that are spaced tightly together so that they won’t miss any hair.
Its handle is also well-designed and enables you to get a good grip without slipping. It’s also priced reasonably.
We’ve already talked about how quality combs don’t snag and tangle your beard hairs, and combs made of wood can certainly help you avoid that.
That said, the Wild Wild Nest pocket-size comb is made of sandalwood and buffalo horn that not only make it visually appealing but keeps snags and static at bay. Instead, you get a silky smooth grooming solution that delivers every time you use it.
The wood even leaves behind a pleasing-yet-subtle spicy scent that’s hard to resist, while the buffalo horn is excellent at preventing static.
Because it’s partly made of wood (and partly of buffalo horn), the Wild Wild Nest comb feels sturdy in your hand and provides a solid grip.
It’s also more durable than plastic combs and can deal with hair that’s particularly tangled and/or static-y.
One of its cons is that it’s a bit on the small size while its teeth are wider than many other combs. And at $30, it’s not cheap.
Established in 2015, Wild Wild Nest is committed to producing organic grooming products for men and women. It has a steadily-growing product line that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Back to the folks at Kent, who’ve come out with the Kent 87T Limited Edition Folding Beard and Moustache Comb that is certainly representative of the quality products that they produce.
Like all Kent combs, the 87T is saw-cut, hand polished and buffed to create softly-rounded teeth that won’t snag or damage your hair.
But the 87T also has other key features, not the least of which is that it’s a folding comb that fits nicely in your pocket and great for anyone who is on the go.
Its smooth teeth help stimulate the natural oils inside the hair – and we know how important oil is for your beard – as your hair is being combed. Those oils encourage the cuticles on each hair to lie flat, thus creating healthy, strong and shiny hair. In other words, say goodbye to split ends and tangles and enjoy the buttery feel of a quality comb as it runs through your beard.
The only real drawback with this comb is that it’s part of a limited production run, so no one knows how long it will be manufactured.
The good folks at Leven Rose give you plenty of reasons to like their Wooden Beard & Moustache Comb, including its versatility. Made of 100% bamboo, this comb is great for coarse beard hair grooming because of its wide teeth, but still fine enough to reduce static and frizzies (you can even use it to tame a wild eyebrow or two).
Critics would argue that the teeth are too wide to work with a shorter beard, but you’ll have to see for yourself. And it does glide smoothly through dense, thick beard hair, no question. Besides, if you don’t like it for the feel that it’s not doing a good job with your type of beard, Leven Rose will completely refund your money, no questions asked.
Another thing it does is provide a curved handle to allow for a clean grip as you draw natural oils through your beard for added conditioning.
While it’s considered a pocket comb, it’s bigger than other combs that are similarly billed, but still fits comfortably in your pants pocket and allows you to give your beard a touch-up no matter what time of the day or where you are.
Beard Combs 101
Let’s get down to the basics – including the how’s and why’s – of beard combs. At this point you may be asking, “Won’t any old type of comb do?” Not a bad question, but it ignores the point that if you want to create a high-quality anything, you need high-quality tools. We’ve already set you on the right path with beard trimmers, electric razors, and stubble trimmers, and our mission is to always help you keep your beard looking good.
But back to the question about using any old comb on your beard – you can find them practically anywhere and at a, ahem, very reasonable price. Cheap means cheaply-made, however, and this video delves into the topic very nicely:
In short, cheap combs are arguably the worst thing you can do to your beard, and not combing your beard is often a better alternative than using an el cheapo. Here are some reasons why:
Stamp Press vs. Hand Cut
Cheap combs are made on a large press that stamps out one product after another. The end result is a comb that has microscopic jagged edges along each tooth. Running one of those mass-produced combs through your beard will literally tear at every hair follicle in your beard. Not fun. Not only that, but they can also produce an impossible tangle of split ends, as well as static, which can be a pain in the ass when you’re trying to get out the door in the morning.
Finally, cheap combs break easily. So, while you’re saving yourself several bucks by buying a cheapie off the shelf of your local convenience store or pharmacy, you’ll also be returning soon enough to buy another one when yours snaps in half. Or, the comb’s teeth will begin to break, which only exacerbates the pulling, tugging damage they do to your beard.
Handmade/hand cut combs occupy an altogether different world, however. They’re typically made of sturdier material such as wood or horn, and the teeth are individually saw cut, which eliminates the jagged edges like those found on factory stamp-pressed models. After they’re cut, the teeth and ends of saw cut combs are then polished. The end result is a smooth, aggravation-free combing experience.
Here’s another thing, if you run your finger over the teeth of a handmade comb they’ll barely move. But do the same thing with a cheap plastic comb and they’ll move easily.
The production process is an important thing to consider when buying a beard comb, but teeth width and the comb’s material are similarly important. Let’s look at teeth width first.
One reason why you should never use a hair comb to groom your beard is that the teeth on your hair comb may not be spaced far enough apart to glide easily through coarser beards. But the teeth on beard combs have various spacing that can be used depending on the thickness/coarseness of your beard.
If you have a softer beard, a comb with teeth that are spaced closer together is usually your best option, while curly and coarser beards call for wider spacing between the teeth. Bottom line: Finding the best beard comb for you depends on the length and coarseness of your beard.
Beard Comb Materials
A variety of materials can be used to make beard combs. We’ve already touched on plastic, which – for our purposes – means cheap and poor quality. Here are some other materials used in the production of beard combs:
Wood – A common material for making beard combs, wood is a good option if you’re serious about beard care (and overall grooming). They come with varied teeth widths, are hand-cut to avoid the rough edges that will tug and pull at your beard, and they simply look good because they’re hand-crafted. About the only disadvantage is that they’re not waterproof, although you should also consider the quality of wood before you buy.
Metal – What, metal? Yes, there are such combs and, honestly, they should be avoided. They don’t have smoothly cut edges, meaning they’ll stage an all-out attack on your beard hair follicles, plus they’re far from being anti-static.
Cellulose acetate – Think of rubber when you think of cellulose acetate (or vulcanite) as material to make beard combs. It’s considered among the best material from which to make a beard comb. Combs made from this don’t produce static, and they’re easy to clean. A lot of high-quality combs, including some on our list of best beard combs, are made from cellulose acetate.
How to Properly Comb Your Beard in 5 steps
Combing your beard doesn’t come naturally, at least not at first. I mean, we’ve grown up combing our hair, but once you grow a beard, it’s a completely different animal. Yet, attaining that well-groomed beard demands that we know and can practice proper combing techniques. There’s a lot of information out there, including this video;
but let’s run through the process of combing your beard.
1. Choose the right teeth
We’ve touched on this, but it’s worth repeating: the wider the teeth on your comb, the easier it will glide through your beard. But the comb should also have smaller teeth to help with your mustache – so you have one comb but two functions. What the comb is made of is of vital importance, as well. The wrong material, like plastic, will cause snags, static, and other annoying things.
2. Getting started
We’re assuming that your first comb of the day will come after you’re out of the shower and while your beard is air-drying. First, hold your comb with the teeth upward and start from the bottom of your beard. The process should begin at your neck and work its way towards the chin cheeks. This method separates all the hairs, allowing them to lay naturally against each other. It also gives your beard that full, “fluffy” look.
3. Hitting snags
There’s a chance that you’re going to hit snags in your hair along the way. The important thing is to not tug and pull at the snag, but stop and then slowly come through it. Often it’s not a full-fledged snag, but just a couple of hairs that have crossed over each other. Be gentle. And don’t forget, a good beard oil will help that comb slide through your beard with the greatest of ease.
4. Combing down
After you’ve combed your beard upward to separate the hairs and fluff it out, comb the hair downward so that you can style it the way you want to. Combs are generally best when you have a fuller beard; when the beard hair is shorter, it’s tougher to style it with a comb (a point will touch on in a bit). While you’re at it, don’t forget to comb your mustache off to the sides and away from your mouth.
5. Watch Your Grip
There’s no need to apply a white-knuckle grip to your comb as you groom your beard. Use a lighter touch, just enough to keep the comb from falling out of your hand, not the kind of grip you’d use while hoisting a barbell at the gym.
The Benefits of Combing Your Beard
Now that you have the basics of combing a beard, let’s look at some of the benefits that come with it:
It prevents ingrown hairs
What appear as little bumps and red spots around your cheeks and neck are ingrown hairs that got curled around and began growing under your skin. Combing your beard every day will ensure that the hairs grow in the right direction.
It helps line up hairs
The appearance of a fuller beard begins with your beard hairs aligning perfectly around your face. When you comb your beard hairs, you’re training them to grow in a certain way. That’s what styling is all about.
It keeps your mouth clear
Combing prevents those pesky hairs around the mouth to grow away from it. It also helps rid your facial hairs of food particles that inevitably end up in your mustache and beard.
Helps when applying beard oil or moisturizer
There’s only so far you can reach when you apply beard oil or moisturizer by hand. Combing your beard helps you evenly distribute the product the areas of your beard and face where it’s needed most.
Beard Comb or Beard Brush?
You may be thinking that a beard comb and beard brush accomplish the same thing, and in a very basic sense they do. But it’s not quite that simple.
Generally speaking, a beard comb becomes more useful the longer your beard grows. In the early stages of beard growth, you can usually keep it in line with a beard brush; using a comb probably won’t keep the hair directed in the shape you want it. This video helps explain it:
A beard comb, however, is great for styling your beard as it grows longer. And when you apply beard oil or balm, using a comb will greatly help in shaping your beard.
A beard comb used in combination with scissors or a good beard trimmer is the perfect tool for proper beard grooming. Your beard comb will provide greater control and accuracy when you need the kind of shaping that becomes necessary with a longer beard.
Another advantage of using a beard comb is that you can use it whether you have wet or dry hair; you should only use a brush when your hair is dry. That said, beard brushes can be used fairly early in the beard-growing process – even as early as the second month, some will say.
Finally, you can comb your beard more often throughout the day. Folks will argue that you shouldn’t brush it more than once a day because doing so makes it more likely that you’ll develop split ends. If you’re going to brush it, do so right after you’ve showered and dried your beard. Combs aren’t as harsh, and most are portable and easily within reach whenever you need them, but you want to be careful not to over-do it with a comb, either. Use when needed is always a good policy.
So, there you have it fellow beardsmen. There’s more to combing your beard – and choosing the right comb – than meets the eye, but go forward with confidence. There are many great combs to choose from and adding the right one to your arsenal will help you groom your beard like a man. Enjoy.
What are your favorite beard combs? Don’t hesitate to let us know what’s worked, or not worked, for you.