Beard Oil or Balm?
I’m pretty sure that someone asks me whether beard oil or balm is better every single day of the week. So in response, I’m here today to discuss both grooming products so that you can make educated purchases quickly, and give your beard the love it deserves. Also, I don’t want to see anyone going around lookin’ silly, here. We’re all brothers in this together!
What’s the Difference Between Beard Oil and Beard Balm?
I really hate to answer a question with a question, but you have to ask yourself a few first:
- What are your “beard goals”?
- What length are you planning to grow to (or currently have)?
- What style of beard do you keep (or want)?
- Do you prefer it to shine or look natural?
- Do you have dry, average or oily skin?
For some people, the beard oil vs beard balm dilemma matters less. Either their skin is accepting of anything they put on it, or they simply have no beard goals and therefore don’t care how it looks. The bottom line is the health of your skin and facial hair, so I hope that that at least matters to those outliers. By the end of this, you’ll have decided for yourself what option or combination works the best for you.
Okay let’s start with beard oil. Another funny question we get is "does beard oil work"? Yes, it works -- as long as it's not made with cheap, artificial ingredients! A better question: what does beard oil do? Beard oil is the most common facial hair product for the modern wild man, and for many good reasons. Beard oil is used as a leave-in conditioner and light moisturizer for your face sweater and the skin underneath it, and is ideal for regular-to-oily skin. It relieves the itching that a growing beard (you know that early 6-8 week range) is prone to, and promotes healthy beard growth. If you’re going through this stage, please get help. Don’t get back on the shaving bandwagon. Consider us your BA (Beard’s Anonymous) support system.
Beard oil is usually made with a mixture of essential oil blends, carrier oils and fragrance oils. It’s extremely easy to use, due to the common eyedropper bottle or pump action vessels they’re normally packaged in. This is helpful, since it’s suggested that you use beard oil 1-3 times per day for best results! We prefer to use beard oils with all-natural ingredients, mainly because we consider it to be an important part of our daily beard maintenance and overall health.
How Do You Apply Beard Oil?
You typically only need about a dime-sized amount of beard oil, but this totally depends on the length of your beard and how thick it is. You can find your right amount through simple trial and error while you grow. Just massage that dime-sized amount of oil into your face with your palms, brush through with your beard brush to distribute evenly, and re-apply up to 3 times per day. Some oils are made for application on dry hair, and others on damp. Similarly, some require more than others, and so I’m suggesting that you read the bottle of whichever brand you choose and apply appropriately.
If your beard is on the short-to-medium length end of the spectrum, beard oil is your best bet. If you’re looking for a flat finish rather than a shiny finish, then beard oil is the way to go, as it is absorbed much faster into your facial hair and skin.
One last note that is often overlooked is that beard oil kind of acts as deodorizer for your face (yes, your beard can get pretty rancid if you’re a smelly dude out in the woods). Think of it like a nice cologne for your face!
Beard balm is basically a pomade made of moisturizers and sealants. It’s most often recommended for men with medium-to-long beards, for several reasons. Much like the aforementioned beard itch that deters a lot of would-be beard owners from continuing down their path, beard balm solves another problem: flyaways.
Those small hairs that seem to be growing on their own agenda (from personal experience, this was most often the case in the sideburns and moustache areas), are often trimmed away on an ongoing basis while growing a beard. This can be dealt with by applying beard balm instead, which will control and style those unruly hairs, while making your beard appear thicker overall. Though it takes a bit more effort to apply, it’s value is easily found when you see the results.
If you have a shorter beard, balm is also great for relieving dryness and the feared beardruff. It’s less absorbent than beard oil, so it stays on your beard and skin for longer, and has a lasting shine.
How Do You Apply Beard Balm?
Start with a fingertip-sized amount of balm and work it into your (dry) beard from the neck upwards, making sure to also rub it into the skin beneath. Then, do the opposite. Brush your beard with a boar’s hair beard brush to evenly distribute the beard balm, and scrunch it in your hands if you prefer a more textured look. This can be done up to 3 times per day, as needed.
Beard Balm Ingredients to Avoid
If the beard balm you’re using contains all-natural beeswax and/or shea butter, it’s safe to leave it in until your next wash. Some oils like avocado or grapeseed oils have a tendency to go rancid if left in too long, so I recommend that you wash those out daily. Another ingredient to look out for in beard balms is petroleum jelly — not only is it unnatural, but it can also damage your hair and skin if left in for longer than a day.
So...Is Beard Oil or Beard Balm Better for YOU?
If you have a naturally thick beard, you may find that beard oil is easier to work with, as beard balm takes a bit more work. However, a thick beard makes it harder to reach the skin underneath, so a combination of beard oil and beard balm might be your best bet.
If you have flyaway hairs (any length of beard), use beard balm to shape it to your personal preference. Whether you’re using beard oil or beard balm, they both act as a moisturizer for your beard and skin. Balm will do the trick better than oil as far as moisturizing goes, but that still depends on your skin and beard type.
Always be mindful of the ingredients in the products you are putting on your beard. All-natural ingredients are best, but some still leave your beard smelling if you don’t wash it out daily. Your top priority when growing or maintaining your beard should be it’s overall health. The better you treat your beard, the more consistently and quickly it will grow.
Think of your beard as an oak tree in a mighty forest: whether it is fledgling or mature, it is part of a bigger ecosystem that has requirements to stay healthy, strong and protected. Beard oil or Balm, that is the question...
Here's a quick read on one of our brands that makes beard oil and beard balms that are great: "New Brand: Like Grandpa"
Stay wild, my bearded brothers!
Labrador Supply Co.