I Have an Extra-Long Beard, and I Depend on These 7 Products To Tame It

How to Care for a Thick Beard | Anthony Mastracci
Anthony Mastracci | SPY

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Did you ever have a stuffed animal or a security blanket as a child that, no matter how scared you were, was the thing that made everything so much better? Yes? You now understand what it feels like to have a full, thick beard. 

Hi, my name is Anthony, and I’m addicted to having a beard. (Cue music).

I started growing my beard after I chose to spend the last 20 minutes before class sleeping instead of shaving back in my college days. What started as a five o’clock shadow turned into a 10 o’clock shadow within an hour, but that’s what happens when you’re Italian and hairy AF. The shadow beard turned into a very sexy short beard and then something mid-length. A few months later, I’d forgotten I had a chin. 


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Instead, I had a whole new set of problems to the tune of regularly maintaining a thick beard. It’s like having a pet. You have to brush, wash and hydrate constantly to avoid people asking if a family of birds is currently nesting in your face. And then COVID-19 struck, and finding a mask was a whole other issue. 

But after nearly a decade of being a proud beard dad, I’ve found the sweet spot of regular care that allows me — and everyone else — to just enjoy it. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from an out-of-control beard, here’s everything you’ll need to get that chin forest back under control. 


Conair 77203z Velvet Touch Large Round Brush

You’re gonna need a brush, my guy. This brush from Conair is the one I’ve been using every day for the last six years. The two most important specs here are shape and material. The round shape allows you to dig into the beard, roll to collect more hair in the bristles, and then pull down to elongate the hair and undo any knots. I’ve found the plastic material is the best option for reducing friction during the untangling process. It’s the most comfortable feeling against the cheek and has the smoothest glide through hair and across the sensitive skin beneath. I use the dig, roll, pull brushing method across the whole jawline to bring out the sick length of my beard.

Courtesy of Amazon


HEETA Scalp Massager

This is very similar to what I currently keep in the shower to exfoliate. That’s right — even though you can’t see the skin underneath the beard, it needs to be exfoliated. Doing so with a scalp massaging brush like this will help prevent flakes. Thick beards get itchy, especially in cold, dry months. Simply take this brush and massage the bristles into the chin and all along the jawline. Get all the itchy spots, and then use this tool to brush and rinse the beard at the same time. These exfoliators aren’t frequently thought of, but they’re one of the best beard care products to have. This is the first product I use in the shower. Scroll down to see the second.

HEETA Scalp Massager Courtesy of Amazon

Bulldog Original Beard Shampoo and Conditioner

After my sensual exfoliation, I’ll hit the chin with roughly one tablespoon of beard shampoo. Just eyeball it. The need to use shampoo to cleanse a beard of dirt and oil is non-negotiable, but the brand is. I’m currently using this shampoo and conditioner duo from Bulldog, but most beard wash products you’ll find are worth your money. I’ll use this shampoo once every other day or two. In between washes, I still hydrate with the next product. 

Bulldog Beard Shampoo and Conditioner Courtesy of Amazon


Cremo Beard & Scruff Cream

Cremo Beard & Scruff Cream works so well that I wrote an entire review about its magical healing powers. Take heed. The single worst part of maintaining a thick beard is dealing with beard itch. That exfoliator is fantastic for dry skin removal, but what happens when you can’t shower? You hydrate. On non-shower days, I’ll brush my teeth first (note the sequence), then wet and dry my beard over the sink and finally take about a thumbnail and a half of this beard cream to work into the damp hair. Really get all up in there, underneath and on top as well. Pay attention to the jawline as that skin region tends to itch the most. Once that’s in there, the last step is to brush it out and shape it into something cool. Cremo’s beard cream softens the heck out of beard hair while retaining shape very well, so it doesn’t require additional styling products. However…

Cremo Beard & Scruff Cream Courtesy of Amazon

Cremo Styling Beard Balm

This beard balm is what I use to get some extra hold if I’m heading to a thing where I need to look good for hours on end. Cremo does very well in the beard department, even with, dare I say, shaving products. But this beard balm is the real deal. It’s a smooth combination of beeswax, shea butter and essential oils and blends well into my coarse beard hair to make it incredibly soft, shiny and shapely. Whereas I use a larger amount of shampoo and cream, the balm only requires maybe a pinky nail-sized amount to effectively tame my thick beard. A little goes a long way. If you use too much, the glare off your beard would blind the general public, and you would smell of product all day long. Less is more here. Now on the topic of going out and needing to look put together…

Cremo Beard Balm Courtesy of Amazon

Cremo Boar Bristle Beard Brush

A beard brush on hand helps tame the beast when you’re getting rough on the streets. My boss recommended this brush as a beard tool, too. I understand most of this story talks about brushes or Cremo products, but I’m telling you, I know what I’m doing. I use this brush for two reasons. First, the natural boar bristle fiber is one of the better materials for putting finishing touches on and shaping a beard. Second, it just looks sexy. I’m not trying to bring the Conair brush to the bar. That would go over like a fart in a spacesuit. The Cremo beard brush fits well in a back pocket or a jacket pocket and is what you want to be seen with. 

Cremo Beard Brush Courtesy of Amazon

Wahl Stainless Steel Lithium Ion 2.0+ Beard Trimmer

We’re talking beard maintenance. It’s easy to go from cool beard to fool beard if you’re not careful. Ideally, we’d all have enough money to just let our barber take care of it for us every 10 days, but that isn’t a reality for most. You need to rely on your trusty trimmer; here’s mine. I’ve had this Wahl beard trimmer for three years, and with it, I clean up all the undercarriage, the messy sideburns and any crazy hairs that stray along the perimeter. I also use the kit comb to straighten out my ‘stache and get the drippy hairs out of my lip line. Mustache trimming is key and, when done well, makes you look like you know what you’re doing. 

Wahl Stainless Steel Lithium Ion 2.0+ Beard Trimmer Courtesy of Amazon

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