Winter Beard Tips: What Effect Does Winter Weather Take On Your Beard?By Jack Shaw (Guest Post) | Last updated 17th November 2023
Winter is undoubtedly the most convenient time of year to have a beard. It keeps your face warm to help you tolerate freezing temperatures and harsh winds. If your beard feels different during the winter season, you’re probably noticing its response to the extreme weather changes.
Let’s discuss the effects that winter weather can have on your facial hair - plus some tips for keeping your beard in good shape during this frigid season.
How Skin and Hair React to Cold Temperatures
It might not surprise you to learn that human skin doesn’t like winter weather. The cold temperatures and low humidity combine to create extremely dry conditions, leaving your skin with inadequate moisture levels.
When your skin doesn’t have enough moisture, the following symptoms can quickly set in:
- Chapped lips
- More wrinkles
- Appearance or aggravation of skin conditions such as face acne, eczema and psoriasis
Cold air induces a natural reaction called “vasoconstriction” — reduction of blood flow to the skin, particularly the extremities — to help your body preserve heat. Less blood flow means your skin gets less oxygen and your hair follicles aren’t getting the sufficient amount of nutrients they need for healthy growth.
As a result of these effects on the skin, your hair becomes brittle and its growth slows down. According to a U.K. study on seasonal changes in hair growth, the beard growth rate is lowest in the colder months and highest in the warmer months. January and February have the slowest growth rate, but it increases by 60% from March to July until it peaks in the middle of summer.
Why You Should Grow a Winter Beard
After a few weeks of consistent winter weather, your beard might start to appear thinner and lighter. If you want to avoid this problem, you need to start growing your beard during mid-late autumn so it’s thicker than usual when winter arrives. Here are five reasons why you should let your beard grow in preparation for winter.
1.) Keeps You Warm
First and foremost, your beard will play an important role in keeping you warm. Hair’s basic evolutionary purpose is to regulate body temperature — the hair on our heads and faces in particular. Having a thicker beard will make you noticeably more tolerant to cold weather and strong winds.
You will be especially grateful for having a thick beard when you’re exposed to snowfall. The facial hair will block the snow from your skin and help you withstand those freezing temperatures. The common temperature range during snowfall is 0-10 degrees Celsius or 15-30 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than cold enough to cause frostbite.
2.) Helps Your Skin Retain Moisture
Growing a proper winter beard will also help your skin retain more moisture. A thick beard is a barrier that blocks out freezing temps and harsh winds, preventing your skin from drying out too quickly. It’s almost like you’re wearing a scarf around your face’s lower half that keeps getting thicker as the season progresses.
Additionally, the longer, thicker hair follicles will pack your epidermis with more nutrients. This effect should alleviate some of the negative symptoms we mentioned earlier — namely dryness, redness and itchiness. You can’t rely entirely on your beard to keep your skin healthy, but the extra thickness will provide a nice boost.
3.) Blocks Ultraviolet Rays
The third reason to grow a thick winter beard is to guard your face from ultraviolet rays. Although the weather is colder, the earth is actually closest to the sun in midwinter and the sun’s rays can cause more damage than usual. The more potent UV rays combined with cold temperatures and low humidity levels can wreak havoc on your skin.
Your beard will provide constant protection against the strong sunlight, helping you avoid sunburn in the short term and skin cancer in the long term. You could also put on sunblock every day, but the chemical ingredients in most sunblock products can do more harm than good to your skin. A thicker beard is a much better solution.
4.) Protects You From Disease
There is strong evidence that bearded skin is more hygienic than shaven skin because it helps the body produce more antibiotics. Beards can harbor infectious bacteria just like any other body part. But instead of immediately absorbing the bacteria, your facial hair gives your immune system more time to react and produce the necessary antibodies.
Winter is cold and flu season, so having a beard can significantly reduce your chances of getting sick. If you get the sniffles every winter, perhaps growing a thicker beard will strengthen your immune system and solve your problem.
5.) Makes You Look More Attractive
A clean-shaven look might suit you better in the summer, but winter calls for a different style. According to surveys, women find heavy stubble the most attractive, with a full beard coming in second place. It can also make you look younger by preventing and covering up wrinkles.
Of course, you still need to periodically touch up your beard if you want to look more attractive. Simply growing a longer beard won’t be enough. Remember to trim your cheeks and neck once these areas start to look unkempt. Smooth cheek- and necklines are key parts of what makes a beard look so appealing.
Winter Weather Beard Maintenance Tips
Speaking of periodic touch-ups, beard maintenance becomes even more important during the winter months. Since your skin is more sensitive, you will need to make several key adjustments to your facial hair care routine. These maintenance tips will help you keep your beard full and clean all season long.
1.) Apply Moisturizer Every Day
You might be able to get away with not moisturizing your beard in the summer, but not in the winter. You should apply a natural beard oil every day to ensure that your skin and hair follicles get enough moisture. The best beard oils are non-greasy and lightweight, keeping your skin soft and hydrated without overpowering it with too many ingredients.
The best time to apply beard oil is after showering or washing your face. The warm water will open up your skin’s pores and help your hair absorb the nutrients. Make sure you pat dry the skin to ensure the oil isn’t diluted by water.
2.) Shampoo Your Beard Less Frequently
Men with longer beards only have to wash them once a week to begin with, so you might end up washing it every 10 days or two weeks. This timeframe might seem too long, but your skin will appreciate the change. Less exposure to artificial cleaning ingredients will prevent it from becoming dry and itchy.
However, you still need to rinse your face and beard with water every day to remove dirt, food particles and other nasty microbes. A face wash product is fine, but you should only use it on your upper cheeks and forehead. Try to keep it away from the thickest parts of your beard.
3.) Avoid Hot Showers
A hot shower might feel like heaven after a cold winter day, but it’s not ideal for your beard’s health. The hot water extracts natural oils from your facial hair, making it become dry and brittle more quickly. You’re better off taking lukewarm showers or taking baths and keeping your head above water. This minor inconvenience is worth the effort if you want a full and healthy beard.
Cold showers are ideal because they tighten your skin’s pores, help it retain moisture and restrict the entrance of foreign particles. We understand if you don’t want to take cold showers every day in the middle of winter, but you should give it a try. Your tolerance for cold water will improve over time.
4.) Brush or Comb More Often
You should also brush or comb your beard more often, depending on your preference. This simple maintenance practice serves two key purposes. In addition to making your beard look more organized, it also evenly distributes the hair’s natural oils to stimulate even growth. A fuller beard will be more effective at protecting your skin against winter weather.
5.) Trim Around the Edges
With a great beard comes great responsibility. If you want to grow a thicker beard for the winter, you’ll need to devote more time to trimming. Your cheeks and neck will become overgrown and unkempt more quickly than usual, so you might have to trim these areas every few days. Keep those stray hairs under control so you look professional.
6.) Stop Playing With Your Beard
Nearly all men with beards have a bad habit of playing with their facial hair. Some guys even pluck individual hairs when they’re bored. This habit can cause patches and ingrown hairs, which puts some major holes in your beard’s protection against winter weather. Try to avoid playing with your beard during the winter months.
7.) Cover Your Face When Necessary
Although your beard does a great job insulating your face, it can’t always do the job alone. In cases of extreme weather — snowstorms and dangerously low temperatures, for example — you should cover your face with a scarf or balaclava. Give your beard a break from the elements every now and then.
Build a Better Beard This Winter
Winter weather can have negative effects on your skin and beard, but you can minimize those effects by growing a thicker beard beforehand. You’ll be healthier, feel warmer and look better. Daily maintenance will become more of a chore, but the effort you put into your beard will lead to a better quality of life.
Start growing your beard now so it’s thick and strong before the winter weather sets in!
Jack Shaw is a writer, editor and grooming enthusiast. His explorations of men’s health, fitness and fashion can all be found on Modded, a men’s lifestyle publication on which he serves as the senior writer.