File this one under things I didn’t need to know! But now we do, so of course we must share it with you. A 2018 study conducted by Swiss researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic found that there was more harmful bacteria in men’s beards than in dog fur. Whoa! Now, we might be tempted to accuse Swiss men of being unkempt or their dog grooming skills to be on point, but the facts can’t be disputed. In fact, 100% of the 18 men in the study had high counts of bacteria.
The clinic didn’t set out to study this phenomenon. Rather, they were looking to discover if men could contract dog diseases from an MRI machine shared by veterinarians. Researchers tested swabs from 18 men (aged 18-76) and 30 canines (age undeclared). Every single man in the study had high microbial counts while only 23 of the canines showed similar counts. Just under half of the men (7) had levels of harmful bacteria that could make them sick. Even the swabs of the MRI machine showed higher bacterial counts after human use rather than dog use.
So, once you get past the ewwwww factor, we must ask ourselves “now what?”. Must we (gasp) shave? Well, we still won't suggest that you let your dog take over grooming duty. But you might not need to lose those whiskers.
This doesn’t mean you have to ditch the beard. While your clean shaven brethren may actually be cleaner (maybe, the jury is still out on this one), it doesn’t have to be that way. We just need a change in our beard care habits to promote healthy growth and hygiene.
If you aren’t willing to give up your sexy scruff, then get a specially formulated beard shampoo. Don’t just think a quick rinse in the shower is enough to maintain a germ-free mug. You need to work a lather into those whiskers.
- Beardbrand Silver Line Beard Wash, Tea Tree is an exceptional product that uses tea tree oil (known for its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral properties) to eliminate bacteria and other nasties. They have also added peppermint oil for an additional punch, but it is gentle enough for daily use.
- Try Bluebeards Original Extra Conditioning Beard Wash, which is made especially for beards. Even if you think you are cleansing your beard with a traditional shampoo, they often dry out your skin and leave a sticky residue behind -- the perfect trap for germs. This shampoo uses lime oil to break down trapped dirt and oil, aloe to soften and soothe your skin, and vitamin B to improve growth and elasticity.
Now that you have a squeaky clean set of whiskers, keep them in tip top shape with any number of balms, waxes, conditioners, and oils. And while these beard care products enhance growth, tame fly-aways, and soften your beard, don’t forget to keep coming back to a good beard wash like any of the above. Here are some best selling beard care products at West Coast Shaving.
- Grave Before Shave Beard Balm, Bay Rum - This deeply conditioning and nourishing balm contains coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, tea tree oil and more to create healthier strands. (And can we get a shout out for more tea tree oil? Win.)
- Abraham’s Beard Tamer, Barbershop - Made with all-natural ingredients this solid pomade will help your whiskers stay where you put them. It conditions as it tames to leave you with a refined, healthy, full beard.
- Brooklyn Grooming Beard Oil, Williamsburg - This combination of oils - sesame, hempseed, jojoba, argan, and more - will nourish and moisturize your whiskers to prevent the drying that might come with frequent (but necessary, as we’ve established) washing.
What do you do to groom your face forest? Do you have a favorite beard care product?