Why does my beard brush smell? And What To Do About It!

two beard brushes

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two beard brushes

Once you’ve started to grow your beard you’ve probably also bought your first beard brush.
You’ve followed all my advice on how to best care for your beard (link), and now you’re starting to get the hang of it.

However now you’ve faced a different issue. Your beard brush has started to smell awful! What can be the cause of it?

Oils and balms

A key factor in keeping a beard and skin healthy is by applying oils and other balms to keep it from drying up.

However, over time these oils and balm build up residue on your brush, making a layer of oils and dead skin cells all over your brush. Leaving a nasty smell on your beloved beard brush! So, you need to start taking care of that beard brush of yours!

Also if you are using oils and balms that are non-organic, chances are that you will start to build up nasty chemicals on your brush. Over time this will accumulate and build-up to the point that it will start to smell. You do not want to get to this stage.

If you want to know how to apply beard oil correctly, and how to make your own, click here!

What kind of brushes are there?

There are a plethora of brushes out there so it can be hard to know which one you either have or are planning to buy.

The ones I use most frequently are the boar brushes, but there are also brushes made from horsehair and synthetic hair.

So which one would I recommend buying? I would say that going with a boar bristle brush is your best option because it’s firstly natural, and secondly, it does a really good job spreading the oils naturally throughout your beard and will make it softer. I’ll leave three links below to Amazon, to my favorite types of brushes and combs.

My Top 3 Beard Brushes

Our Rating

Amazon link


ZilberHaar - Stiff Boar Bristles Brush


Superb quality. Can be used with all type of beards. Very good at distributing beard oil throughout your beard. A must have in every mans drawer.

Hunter Jack Beard Comb


A great wooden comb. Especially good for you guys on the go. Have one fine teethed and one coarse side. Should always be in your pocket.

Round Wooden Beard Brush


Round wooden beard brush, that should always be in your travelling bag. It comes in a metal casing, which makes it ideal for travelling. A must have on the trip.

Boar hair is also very fairly stiff, but enough to untangle your beard if that’s an issue for you.

Lastly, you need to look at the handle, some beard brushes come with a handy handle that extends from the brushes body. And there are other brushes without the handle making it look almost like a shoe polishing tool.

I have both mentioned models above, and I use the one without the handle for traveling (less prone to breaking), and the one with the handle for everyday care at home.

Beard combs

There is also something called beard combs on the market. You have probably seen these at your local supermarket, or in various other beauty-shops. Sadly those are often made out of plastic, which is damaging to your beard. I’ve even seen combs that I thought were wood, and bought, to later realize that the comb was only wooden colored. Thanks, local supermarket!

However, I have found that finding a good quality beard comb, is not that easy to come by. I would always recommend buying a beard comb that is made out of wood (like the one I’m using). You want to have a fine side and a more separated teethed side on the other side of the comb (if possible).

my wooden beard comb

This is the one I use, and always bring it with me wherever I go. Can’t let that beard be untamed you know!
If you are to buy a comb today, this one I would seriously recommend. I love this. It smells amazing due to the beard oils that are being absorbed in the wood, and it fits in your pocket right next to your wallet and takes up nearly no space at all. I’ll leave a link to amazon below:

If you buy the same one as I have, you also get a good leather pocket for the comb, so you do not get dirt and cotton stuck in the teeth of the comb. Trust me, you have a lot of crap piling up in your pockets without probably knowing!

Cleaning the brush

So, your brush started to stink huh? Well, it happens one day or another, but fear not! You should not throw it away just yet.

The easiest way to clean a beard brush is by using:

  • Your brush (duh)
  • A fine teethed comb (optional, but it helps)
  • Soap
  • Warm water
  • A bucket or container

  1. Start by using a fine-toothed comb. Start to comb the sides of the brush to remove as much residue as you can. Work your way towards the ends of the brush and repeat until you start to see much of the reside gone from the brush.
  2. Take the bucket or the container and fill it up with really hot water. Remember we’re trying to get oils to loosen from the brush.
  3. Take some soap and work up some foam in your hands. Start to gently apply it with a moving motion on the brush-hairs.
  4. Scrub the brush as well as you can.
  5. Rinse the bristles through hot running water. Repeat until you’re satisfied with the result.
  6. Use a towel to tap out excess liquid and place the bristles face down on the towel to dry. If you do not do it face down, you risk the bristles from coming loose.

When you’ve done all these steps, your brush should both smell amazing, and look as good as new!

But hey, we’re all guys here right? Well, there is a tool for just this. The brand Zeus has done an amazing job coming up with this, sort of rake, for your beard brush. Highly recommend if you live under the philosophy, the more toys you have the more fun! This will definatly make your job cleaning the brush a lot easier.

beard brush scraper


It’s not hard at all to take proper care of your beard brush, or even your beard comb for that reason! You just need to clean it all up when you see residue starts to build up. So do it every other week just to keep it fresh. You do not want to brush your face with old oils and skin cells, do you? 🙂

So, go buy a good quality beard brush, comb, and later if you want it thoroughly clean, the beard cleaner. Which is linked above this section. Remember, buying good quality now minimizes the need to buy a new one in the near future due to bad quality.

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Rick - Founder of Turbobeard

I've got my first hair on my face at about 15 years old. That's pretty early! It took me to about my 30's to consider growing it all out. After this decision, I've done tons of trial and error, and with that knowledge created this blog to help others in the same situation.

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