How does beard hair compare to scalp hair?

There are nearly twice as many cuticle layers in beard hair as in scalp hair hence the diameter is twice that of scalp hair.

  • The amino acid composition differs – the cystine content is lower, hence there are less disulphide bonds in beard hair than in scalp hair. This explains the lower elasticity of beard hair, the faster swelling rate and a higher reaction rate with a variety of reagents.
  • Hydration can reduce the stiffness of beard hair by 30 – 65% - it is easier to shave or shape wet beard than dry beard.
  • The average daily growth rate of beard hair ranges between 0.3 and 0.5 mm, which is similar to the growth rate of scalp hair.
  • Beard hair as compared to scalp hair have lower emerging angles which partially explain the occurrence of ingrown hair and razor bumps.
  • Beard dandruff, like scalp dandruff, is caused by one of the microbes that live on your skin called Malassezia globosa. It feed on sebum and breaks it down into oleic acid, a fatty acid, and, under the right conditions (including stress) could be irritating to skin, causing redness, itchiness and flaking of the skin. Our anhydrous dispersion of zinc pyrithione, aMaloCoat AD, can be incorporated into beard treatments to address this condition. A thin micro-emulsion spray could be useful to keep the skin moisturised – please refer to the Emulsifier article.

Need guideline formulations? Contact us for our Brilliant Matt Hair and Beard paste that is sticky enough for medium hold and non-greasy, and Golden Wood Beard and Face Oil, a light oil that will increase elasticity, volume and brightness. Both formulations are supplied by Natura-tec. Our Kikui seed oil, a great source of all three essential fatty acids,is known as a light, drying oil, has a high shine index and because of its quick dry properties, is great for use on hair.


  1. Eva Tolgyesi “A Comparative study of beard and scalp hair”, Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemist., 34, 361-382 (Nov 1983).
  2. M. Maurer”The male beard hair and facial skin – challenges for shaving”, International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 38 (Suppl. 1), 3-9 (Apr. 2016).