Health  |  News & Politics

Is Your Face Mask Giving You “Beard Dent”? Perhaps We Can Help.

Beard dent = the stubborn horizontal line that a face mask leaves on your otherwise magnificent face curtain.

Shopping list: Milk, bread, beard dent. (Photograph by Ljupco, via iStock.)

By now, everyone with a substantial beard knows the heartbreak of beard dent. That’s what I call the stubborn horizontal line that a face mask leaves on your otherwise magnificent face curtain. For me there’s an even further insult: The mask pushes my beard neckward, making me look somewhat respectable, even employable.

Eric Bandholz is the founder of the grooming company Beardbrand, and he seemed like someone who might be able to help. Bandholz is a fan of wearing a shemagh as a mask, as it protects against Covid-19 and beard dent. Scarves work, too, he says. “That’s a great way if you have a bigger beard to not deal with the beard dent,” Bandholz advises.

The next option is some emergency styling. “By wearing a mask all day long, you’ve set a new direction for the hair,” he says. Attack this problem by dampening your beard, then use a conditioning product like beard oil or his company’s utility balm. Use a round brush—not a comb—and a hair dryer to curl your beard in a less dent-y direction. Styling balm works great, too, he says.

Bandholz’s last suggestion is a bit more radical: If you have a really long beard, he says, you can tie it up so you can “tuck it into your mask without an issue.” Of course, he says, that will put you in “a whole new world in terms of kinks and twirls.” That sounds like it would require so many hours with the round brush that you might look back fondly on your beard dent.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute,, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.