Unless you’re an ancient Assyrian, you probably don’t want curls in your beard. Fortunately, there are a few options for easily getting rid of beard curls.
Before going further, I suggest that you reserve straightening for when your beard is super curly or if you want to look especially good, the reason being that heat can damage and dry out your beard hair, and over a very long period of time will lead to breakage, which in turn ruins all the work you put in. That said, it would take a long time for that to happen. I mean, look at your girlfriend. She probably tortures her hair, but she’s not bald yet. But it is something that can happen, so it’s good to be smart about it.
Blow drying your beard is the easiest way to straighten it by far, if for no other reason than you likely have a blow dryer somewhere in your house, and you probably can figure out how to use one even if you’ve never done so before.
It’s important to use a heat protector for your beard before applying any form of heat. Heat protectors prevent the heat from drying and damaging your hair, reducing frizz and other unwanted issues. They make dedicated heat protectors, generally for ladies to use on their hair while straightening it, but I would advise against that, simply because not all of these will contain the right pH for your beard and may contain other ingredients that just aren’t beard-friendly.
For heat protection, go for a beard oil that is made from natural oils that have a high smoke point. Coconut oil is a popular beard oil, but its smoke point is only 350F. This is bad for blow drying on high heat and it could be catastrophic for straightening your hair, because straighteners can easily reach that temperature and beyond, meaning the coconut oil would start smoking and your hair could become damaged or even singed.
Different types of olive oils have different smoke points. Refer to this chart from naturallycurly.com to see how much different olive oils vary in smoke point, and notice how the difference between extra virgin olive oil and extra light olive oil is extremely significant.
Grapeseed oil, argan oil and avocado oil are all great heat protector choices because they each have smoke points of 420F and above, meaning you’re unlikely to see smoke unless you fall asleep while straightening your beard. Just remember to avoid beard oils that contain other oils with low smoke points, like coconut oil or virgin olive oil.
First Botany Cosmeceuticals’ Moroccan Argan Oil Therapeutic Grade is a great choice for hair protector while blow drying or flat ironing your beard. The only ingredient is 100% pure and organic cold pressed argan oil. That way, you only have to worry about one oil and one smoke point, simplifying everything. Plus, if you don’t straighten your beard often, it’s good for other applications too, because it’s a very versatile oil.
The Blow Dryer Method
To blow dry your beard, work a beard oil with the previously discussed high smoke point and comb out any tangles. If your blow dryer has a diffuser attachment like the Revlon 1875W Infrared Hair Dryer have, start of using that. It will take away the frizz. After you’ve gotten your beard to a good and smooth place, you can take off that diffuser attachment and add the concentrator attachment, which is great for straightening hair. This is the phase where you’ll really be getting out the lingering curls as well as ensuring your beard is shaped like you like it. Once you’re done, finish up with a comb or brush and your usual styling products.
The Flat Iron (Hair Straightener) Method
If you prefer to use a flat iron instead, make sure you know how to operate one, and remember that they reach temperatures far greater than a hair dryer, meaning you will burn a hole in your hair if you leave the flat iron in one place for a long time. I cannot stress this enough. If you find that you’re having trouble getting a section of hair to straighten, move along and come back to it after that section has had plenty of time to cool off—don’t leave the straightener in one position thinking you can “make it” straighten.
The easiest way to flat iron your beard is to have some non-slip hair styling clips handy like these from Mokale. Hair styling clips (which are very different from decorative hair clips) keep the hair you’re not working with out of your work area. This also prevents you from redoing and double heating the hair you’ve already done as well, so they’re very practical.
After applying a high smoke point beard oil, place the hair styling clips on sections of your beard you’re not ready to work with yet, getting them out of the way. Take a section of hair about two inches wide and not too thick and slowly run your straightener over it. It should be straight or almost straight if the straightener has reached its full heat. (Most modern straighteners will have an indicator for when they’ve hit their operational heat level.) Repeat that process over and over, clipping away hair that you’ve already done to keep it out of the way of the flat iron.
How long it takes to straighten your beard with a flat iron varies, but generally it won’t take that long unless you have extremely curly hair in your beard.
For when one method isn’t enough, Eric Bandholz walks you above how to use both methods to achieve his signature look in the above video.