Overcoming the challenges of caring for your brown skin and textured beard doesn't have to be complicated at all. Many of us are just simply unaware of the basics surrounding our skin and facial hair, and how to use that knowledge to purchase the best products & develop a comprehensive daily care routine that works specifically for us. That being said, let’s dive-in to these basics and uncover what may be missing links to you crafting the ultimate skin and beard care routine!
Let's Talk Black Men's Skin…
Any skin regimen should begin with a bit of research to determine which skin type you have. Do you have normal skin, oily skin, dry skin, a combination of all four?
- Sensitive skin is prone to breakouts.
- Oily skin shines all day.
- Dry skin feels tight and flaky.
- Normal skin isn't extremely dry or oily.
- Combination skin has varying features, depending on different parts of your body.
It's much easier to choose the best skin care products if you know your skin type, and that awareness is the foundation of a solid skincare routine. Now, let’s talk about our skin…
Skincare for black guys is rarely discussed, and the fact that brown skin has been marginalized is no longer a trade secret. While steps have been taken to increase representation in the mainstream grooming industry, there is still an enormous gap in how black men's skin is understood and handled. Because some of the concerns associated with care for brown skin are attributable to the physiology of our skin itself, we must focus on characteristics and opportunities that are unique to our skin.
Many black men have an oily skin type, while others have sensitive or dry skin – or, a combination of both. Either way, it is first helpful to understand that black men's skin contains many melanocytes. Melanocytes create melanin, the pigment responsible for our brown skin tone. Because the pigment makes the skin appear thicker, brown skin tones appear more resistant to environmental changes; but this is not always the case. Many of us deal, or have dealt, with overactive oil glands, acne outbreaks, pimples, blackheads, and hyper-pigmentation – it’s part of the game. However, whether you’ve experienced these things or not, we can all benefit from a well-planned preventive daily skincare routine!
The Best Daily Skin Care Regimen for Black Men
Luckily, the most effective skincare regimen for black men is also the simplest. You most likely already have regular habits when it comes to things like picking out your clothes for the day, getting a haircut, and buying groceries. A skincare routine is no different, and these five easy steps can quickly become a habit that will reward you with a healthy, smooth complexion.Habit #1: Clean your face with a non-drying face wash.
If you are used to grabbing the nearest bar of soap or using a few pumps of liquid hand soap, stop! Not only do these products irritate and dry out your skin, but they are also not the best for removing the buildup of dirt that clogs your pores and causes blemishes and acne. Harsh soaps compromise the natural protective layer of your skin by stripping away your skin's natural oils.
Instead, use a high-quality, non-drying face wash that contains glycerin and hydrating ingredients such as aloe vera. You can also look for gentle exfoliants and antioxidants such as black tea extract and tea tree oil, which help prevent oily skin by purifying and regulating sebum production.Habit #2: Gently exfoliate.
Perhaps more than any other steps you take to keep your skin healthy, exfoliating is the best. Dry, dead skin cells can clog your pores, cause ingrown hairs and razor bumps, and make your face look ashy if you don't exfoliate. Exfoliation increases the rate of cell renewal and stimulates the repair mechanisms of your skin. The result is smaller appearing pores and a smooth skin tone. You will also decrease the likelihood of ingrown hairs when you shave and have healthier, hydrated skin that better absorbs your moisturizer. Blood circulation also increases when you exfoliate, which allows beneficial nutrients to reach the surface of your face.
With all that said, you must remember never to use a facial scrub to exfoliate your face. They are generally much too harsh for the skin on your face and can damage, irritate, and dry out the skin. If you're looking for the quickest method to exfoliate, you can easily find healthy daily washes that also exfoliate simultaneously.Habit #3: Carefully shave and care for your beard.
Our skin is more susceptible to ingrown hairs and razor bumps, so it is critical that you take extra time and care when shaving. Start by preparing your skin with a protective, nourishing shaving cream followed by a moisturizer. Use a healthy shaving cream that does not damage the skin. There are plenty available that decrease irritation and protect your skin while lubricating the razor, so it glides more easily across the skin's surface. Healthy shaving cream ingredients contain glycerin, aloe vera, tea tree oils, shea butter, and apricot stone oil to hydrate and soften the hair.
The best time to shave is right after you shower because the heat and humidity help open your pores and relax the skin. Applying a hot towel can do the same thing, of course. When you use your shaving cream, massage it in so your skin and beard can absorb all the healthy nutrients it contains. This also helps to soften the hair, making it easier for the razor to glide across your skin as it cuts.
Never shave against the grain! It promotes ingrown hair and irritates the skin. If you are able, it is also best to only shave every other day to help your skin recover.Habit #4: Use a lightweight mattifying moisturizer.
Our skin is prone to oiliness which can cause unwanted shine. Immediately after washing your face and shaving, apply a mattifying moisturizer that prevents oiliness and promotes hydration. Moisturizers should absorb easily and never leave a shine.
Superior skin moisturizers for black men should contain anti-aging ingredients that keep your complexion looking youthful and smooth. The best products reduce the wrinkles and fine lines around your eyes and even out your skin tone. Some contain an ingredient called hyaluronic acid, which smooths your skin tone and hydrates your skin deeply. A high-quality eye cream with vitamin C serums and anti-aging peptides is best for the sensitive skin surrounding your eye. It will stimulate collagen production and prevent damage from free radicals while diminishing dark circles or bags under your eyes.Habit #5: Apply sunscreen.
While our skin has better natural sun protection, the amount of melanin in the skin is still insufficient to go without sunscreen. UVB rays cause sunburn, and UVA rays cause further damage by penetrating the top layer of the skin. Consequently, it's no secret that sun damage is related to many skin problems, including skin cancer and premature aging. Even if you don't burn easily, you should still apply a high-spectrum sunscreen every morning and throughout the day, if possible, to protect your skin from the sun's rays.
Many sunscreens, especially those that contain minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, leave a white shade on darker skin tones. That problem can be solved by using a clear or brown-colored sunscreen. Try a few different products until you discover one that works for your skin - one that feels comfortable to wear, protects, and doesn't leave your skin looking chalky.
Let's Talk Black Men's Beards…
Every black man with a beard has invested time and energy into getting the look and feel of their facial hair just right. But for many, managing and caring for a beard properly has its challenges. If you want your beard to look its best, you should establish a simple beard care routine such as the one below.Cleanse
Because your beard is constantly exposed to the environment (pollution, dust, food, etc.), cleaning it regularly will keep it fresh and looking great. Of course, you can't just use any ordinary shampoo to clean or wash your beard. Traditional shampoos and cleansers are abrasive, and their primary purpose is to remove filth rather than apply nutrients. They will often dry a beard out and strip it of its natural oils.
What you need is a gentle, natural cleanser that is sulfate-free and cleans while hydrating your beard. The vegan-friendly Zenore Beard Wash is scented with eucalyptus and bergamot and infused with ginger root extract, broccoli seed oil, sea kelp extract, and green tea extract. For those oily skin types, lathering up daily or every other day will give the best results, while those with dry skin should limit their use to twice each week.Moisturize
You should regularly moisturize your beard and the skin beneath it, just as you would your hair. Because your hair follicles and pores are most open after you shower, that is the best time to moisturize your beard. Use our Zenore Beard Leave-In Conditioner, scented with eucalyptus and bergamot, to smell great and keep stray hairs at bay.
Stay away from silicones and unnatural chemicals; they will damage your beard and make it look shiny. Instead, you can also moisturize with our Zenore Beard Oil to keep your beard healthy, soft, and manageable. Filled with eucalyptus, rosemary, hemp seed, baobab, broccoli seed, and peppermint oils, your beard will be hydrated and easier to style and maintain.Comb or Brush
Combing or brushing your beard should be as common as putting on your shoes. Regular combing gets the knots out to make your beard look full and tidy and contributes to overall beard health. Combing or brushing your beard also trains your facial hair to grow in a particular direction and allows you to create your preferred shape over time.
You will have some options when it comes to the combing or brushing tools you use:
- Beard Brush - Due to the natural scales along the boar's hair bristles, boar's hairbrushes are the best for evenly spreading oils and balms through facial hair.
- Beard Comb - A decent beard comb should have smooth edges and teeth. When using a cheap comb, the teeth will have sharp edges, causing facial hair to snap or break when combing.
- Mustache Comb – It may seem insignificant, but a well-made mustache comb may make a significant difference in the appearance of your facial hair. For a more precise style, use a mustache comb because it has finer teeth.
To start with, your best bet is to choose a good beard brush made of natural bristles. Sebum, a natural oil produced by the body, is more easily dispersed with this type of brush. Apart from distributing sebum, it also serves as an exfoliant, helping to eliminate dead skin and preventing dandruff. When purchasing a beard brush, it is in your best interest to buy one made of horsehair or boar hair to clean your beard more effectively.
You should brush or comb your beard once each day, but if your beard is regularly exposed to harsh conditions, 2 to 4 times per day is best. After each usage, be sure to clean your beard brush. Hold your beard brush face down and tap it on the back to remove any dead skin or hairs. Run your fingers through the brush to remove any remaining particles. When you're done, place the beard brush on a paper towel or in a pouch.Trim
If you are growing (or re-growing) your beard for the first time, a good rule of thumb for black men's facial hair is to allow 4 to 6 weeks for it to grow out before creating a personal beard style. This will enable you to observe how your facial hair grows and identify any uneven or too thick spots, which may influence the beard style you select. Regardless of style, you'll want to keep it groomed by trimming it appropriately.
As your beard grows and takes on a shape you like, you'll want to keep it under control. A regular trim will help you style your beard and remove any unruly spilt ends. Always comb before you trim to ensure that all of the hairs are pointing in the same direction.
Because black men's hair is generally textured, razor bumps and ingrown hairs are common. Although dermatologists agree that growing a beard is a form of protection, they also agree that waiting too long to treat razor bumps and then growing a beard over them is a grave mistake to avoid. If you don't treat them as soon as they appear, they can damage your hair follicles and stunt the growth of your beard.
To avoid any skin problems related to trimming, the most important thing to remember is to treat razor bumps as soon as possible. If you don't want to wind up with scars on your face, don't try to pull out your ingrown hairs. You'll only trade your ingrown hairs problem for a scarring problem if you're overly aggressive. If you're still having trouble getting rid of your ingrown hairs despite your efforts, we recommend seeing a dermatologist or aesthetician for additional specific counsel customized to your condition.