The best beard brush will transform your scruff. That’s not hyperbole—bearded fellas disagree on plenty of grooming tools, but on this the experts are unanimous (as are GQ‘s especially picky hirsute staffers). The humble handheld device makes a huge difference in how itchy, scratchy, and straight-up dandruff-y your facial hair looks. The right beard brush will prevent flyaways, tangles, split-ends, and dry, brittle hair. And it also makes it a helluva lot easier to grow a beard from scratch.
All that’s to say: If you have a beard, you should have a brush. Serums, conditioners, and balms might be pitched as must-haves on your FYP, but the truth is, your beard can live without them. The best beard brushes, on the other hand, are genuinely essential.
The Best Beard Brushes, at a Glance
Your Beard Brush FAQs, Answered
They distribute natural oils; they give your beard a fuller look for styling; they make it easier to uniformly apply nourishing products (like beard oil). And just as importantly, their thick bristles exfoliate the skin beneath your whiskers, promoting blood flow to hair follicles, preventing beard dandruff, and whisking away gunk. They can also help you avoid tangles, although guys with thicker, longer beards will do better with a wide-tooth comb or pick.
Beard brushes all have a similar design: Boar bristles embedded in a wood handle. (These days there are vegan alternatives, too.) But you’ll find a lot of variety when it comes to size, handle type, and bristle firmness, so we tested a whole bunch of ’em—and called up a few experts—to help you track down the very best beard brush for your specific scruff.
The Best Beard Brush Overall: Zeus Boar Bristle Beard Brush
Traditional boar bristles are prized for their ability to distribute moisture. This one is 100% boar, 0% BS. Zeus’s popular brush has appeared in previous GQ guides, and it’s been personally tested and approved by one of our authors. We appreciate that it’s available with both soft and firm bristles, though Matty Conrad, GQ’s go-to beard expert, recommends the latter for most guys. It’s a pocket-sized brush that doesn’t take up too much room on the countertop, but in our testing, it’s actually just the right size for smooth brushing. Made in Germany from pear wood, it’s rough on scruff and easy on your hand.
The Best Budget Beard Brush: Diane Premium 100% Boar Bristle Brush
The Diane military brush (a term for a rounded, handheld brush with thick bristles) can help define natural waves in textured hair, and it’s also a handy facial hair brush for all men. The large wood handle contains nine rows of medium-firm bristles. This brush has all the detangling and dandruff-busting powers of our other selects (though, it likely won’t last as long), only at a lower price tag.
The Best Premium Brush: Kent BRD2 Boar Bristle Beard Brush
Conrad told us that he personally looks for brushes with blended bristles that provide a mix of soft and firm textures. And Kent’s high-end beard brush fits the bill, although it’s more of an investment than our other picks. Kent uses a unique combination of bristles, which are cut at a 45-degree angle to penetrate deeper into the beard. The long, soft bristles reach skin and new hair, while the short, firm bristles help control scruff. The BRD2 brush also features a unique angled handle for an ergonomic grooming experience.
The Best Versatile Beard Brush: Beardbrand Beard Brush
Beardbrand is a relative newcomer to the grooming world, with a suite of products for washing and styling those whiskers. We love that this brush comes in three different styles—round, oval, and with a handle—all with natural stiff bristles. If we had to pick one, we’d recommend the oval brush, which has a fine wood handle with grooves on the side for a smooth grip.
The Best Soft Bristle Beard Brush: Wahl Travel Beard Brush
Beard brushes can feel irritating to the skin—and they’re supposed to. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be very good exfoliators, and those overlooked follicles wouldn’t get the TLC they need. But if you want softer bristles for sensitive skin, then reach for Wahl’s travel brush. This pocket-sized tool uses beech wood and soft boar bristles to evenly distribute product and smooth out your facial hair.
The Best Large Beard Brush: Live Bearded Boar’s Hair Beard Brush
Live Bearded is a small grooming outfit known for its washes and butters, but it also makes a stellar brush beloved by one of our testers. The larger handle and width gives you fuller coverage while brushing. The bristles aren’t too firm if you’re worried about irritation, but still tough enough to control itching, flaking, and tangles. For avoiding dandruff and whipping messy beards into shape, it’s a long-lasting brush that won’t let you down.
The Best Heavy-Duty Beard Brush: Seven Potions Beard Brush
Seven Potions is a UK-based company, and one of the countless men’s grooming brands that have come into being in the last decade. Its compact brush is a popular pick on Amazon, and it uses a combination of pear wood and first-cut boar bristles. First-cut bristles are extra firm, so this is a good choice for guys with thick facial hair, beard dandruff, or stubborn flyaway hairs. The size is also just right—not too big, not too small.
The Best Vegan Beard Brush: Horace Vegan Beard Brush
A different Horace exfoliating product recently nabbed a spot in the 2023 GQ Grooming Awards. In addition to that excellent face mask, the brand also has a beard brush that doesn’t use boar’s hair (or any other animal products). So for bearded vegans, this is our top choice. Made in Germany, the brush uses bristles made from vegetable fiber and agave leaf as well as a colorful beech wood handle to keep your whiskers as well groomed as any carnivore’s.
Do I Need to Use a Beard Brush?
Even if you already own a beard comb, you still need a brush. Brushes are for beard care, and combs are for beard styling—with a lot of gray area. (It might be best to pick up one of each.) To find the right brush for every guy, we talked to Matty Conrad, a go-to GQ beard expert who also designs his own beard care products at Victory Barber. Conrad agreed with our assessment that brushes are a true necessity. In a phone interview, he also told us that guys should look for brushes with stiff, natural bristles.