Beards and colds are not the best of friends. All that sneezing, sniffling, and coughing in such close proximity to face fuzz can make those whiskers more than just dirty; it can turn them into follicular flophouses for germs. Especially on sick days when you’re not doing much more than lying in bed and watching TV.
Common sense dictates that you should keep your beard clean, especially after repeatedly sneezing on it, but what you might not guess is that your beard can actually do you some good when you’re feeling the crusty effects of a cold. Your beard won’t wipe the snot off your face or go to work while you stay home resting, but it can be treated with the right kind of product that not only keeps it hydrated and fresh, but also gives off a a germ-fighting VapoRub-like scent.
“Tea tree oil couldn’t be guaranteed to ward off flus or colds, but it acts similarly to a vapor rub, getting into the airways when you breathe in the scent,” says Diana Duncan, certified naturopathic doctor at Bastyr University. “And because it has broad antibacterial-antiviral action, it could potentially kill illness-causing bugs hanging out in your airways.” By using a tea tree-based beard oil or balm, you can reinforce your facial hair with some potential cold and flu-fighting powers, not unlike drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods high in vitamin C.
Beard Brand Tea Tree Oil ($25 for 1 ounce), is one of our favorites, and if you’re more of a balm kinda guy, then try the new tea tree scented Da Balm from Badricks ($19.95 for 2 ounces). Both have qualities that are nourishing and disinfecting to skin, so you can also spread them over your nose to keep all that tissue-rubbing from drying your nostrils out.