Whether you live in the city or out in the wilderness, life is hard on a man and his beard. In the summer the sun beats down merciless, bleaching what shouldn't be bleached and leaving your hair parched, crispy and brittle.
Then the winter months bring cold and misery, biting winds and pouring rain, leaving beards flat and sodden.
Through all of this, you're expected to forge onwards despite it all. To look your best, no matter what, and keep yourself in tip top condition.
The only way to do that is to make sure you're doing everything you can to look after your beard. After all, you spent all that time and struggle growing it. And a major part of keeping your beard presentable is a good grooming regime with a protective product that gives you and your facial hair what it needs to look and feel its best.
You need beard oil, and you need it now.
Major Beard's top picks for beard oils for men
Smooth Viking Beard Oil for Men Use with Balm & Conditioner for the Best Facial Hair Grooming Kit, 2 oz Review
Smooth Viking make great products for men, and their beard balm is also one of our number one picks. Great smelling, all natural, and packed with essential oils, Smooth Viking's beard oil moisturizes and nourishes deep into the skin. Not only that, but you get a very generous amount for the price, too. Regarding downsides, there aren't many. Some people don't get on with the scent, but considering it's citrus and very light, I can't understand that. If you're looking for the best general beard oil out there for men, buy this. You won't be disappointed.
Fragrance Free Beard Oil & Leave In Conditioner by Leven Rose, 100% Pure Natural for Groomed Beards, Mustaches, and Moisturized Skin 1 oz Review
Unscented, this beard oil is perfect for a man who doesn't want a scent in his beard. It's also great for guys who know the scent they want, and are just looking for a beard oil for the moisturizing and skin protecting qualities. All natural cold pressed ingredients and fantastic moisturizing properties round this out. I'd still choose the Smooth Viking, mostly because it's slightly less expensive, but if you're looking for an unscented beard oil, this is a good choice.
Prophet and Tools Beard Oil and Beard Comb Gift Kit FOR MEN! The All-In-One Unscented Conditioner, Softening, Adds Shine and Faster Beard Growth - No Alcohol, Vegan and Nuts-Free! Made with Vitamins Review
The main attraction to this beard oil is that it's completely, 100% vegan safe as well as being all natural. It's another unscented oil, which is perfect if you have your own favorite scent or just want to rock your natural smell, and it comes with a solid quality comb as well, which is excellent if you're in the market for a decent hair comb as well. The only downside? I think our two top picks are better at moisturizing and protecting the skin. This still does the job perfectly, well, though.
The best hair growth stimulation oil we've seen, Beard Growther's oil works by encouraging more blood flow in the areas you apply it, delivering more key nutrients to the hair follicles and encouraging thicker hair and denser growth. On top of this, it's still a great beard oil. It smells good, if a little strong, and it's a good conditioner and moisturizer that protects all of your hair even as it grows more. If you've got a thin or patchy beard and want to rock the lustrous look, this is the oil you want.
If you want to see our complete list of the best beard oils out there, you can read our best of review here.
What is beard oil?
Short answer: It's oil for your beard.
(I'm a helpful man, I know.)
Long answer: Beard oil is a blend of carrier oils and essential oils that helps keep your beard clean, healthy, smelling great and looking sharp. A good beard oil should be part of every man's morning routine. After all, you already look after the hair on top of your head.
You wash it every day, throw some wax into it to keep yourself looking classy. What makes you think all the hair elsewhere is any different? People might even pay more attention to your beard, right? After all, it's right there on your face. That's why it's important to have a plan in place to keep your beard healthy.
The reason beard oil is so essential is simple. At the base of every single hair on your body is a sebaceous gland. Its job is to produce oil to keep your hair and skin moisturized and hydrated. As your hair gets longer, it naturally draws more of the oil into itself to keep the hair moisturized, supple and strong.
Problem is, each sebaceous gland can only produce so much oil, so once your beard gets long enough, it starts to need more oil than your skin can produce.
You can already see why this is a problem, right?
On top of that, because your hair is effectively drinking all of the oils that your body produces to keep itself moisturized, there's nothing left for the skin underneath, so the skin around that hair gets dry and flaky. If this goes on across enough of your face, you'll end up with face dandruff, or beardruff, and that's just not a sexy look.
Beard oils are specially formulated to match the oils produced by your skin as closely as possible, keeping your beard and skin hydrated, eliminating beardruff and making sure your beard is as healthy as possible. Because beard oils are usually packed with vitamins and minerals from all the essential oils in them as well, they replenish all of the other things your hair needs to grow stronger and longer, like iron, zinc and B vitamins.
On top of this, beard oils also have a bunch of other benefits.
First, regular application of beard oil will go a long way towards softening and conditioning your beard. The hair will absorb some of the oil, staying softer and more flexible, reducing the chances that hairs will break when you brush your beard (you do brush your beard, right?) and making it a much more attractive prospect for any errant partners who might want to get close to that magnificent mound of hair you've been maturing meticulously for months on end.
Second, it helps with beard itchiness. Now I don't know about you, but back when I was first growing a beard, it really started to itch at around the second or third-month mark. I dunno whether it was the fact it was summer, the air conditioning in my office, or just that my face wasn't used to all that extra weight, but it started to itch. Bad. Thinking back at the time now, it's hilarious.
Here I was sitting at my desk scratching at myself like a dog with a sound like someone sawing wood, and not realizing anything was wrong. I got odd looks from the other guys, my suits were constantly flecked with little white bits. People even started avoiding me. It was a bad time.
It took a good friend of mine, who's had a beard as long as I've known him, leaning over the table in the bar one night and saying' Dude, you know you've been scratching your face for about 20 minutes, right?' before I realized anything was wrong. I asked him what I could do, because he never seemed to have that problem, and he told me, in low whispers like someone imparting ancient secrets and great knowledge, just two words. 'Beard oil.'
Then he burst out laughing and went to get another beer.
But it worked. I'm not the only one, too. For most men, daily application of beard oil will scratch that itch permanently in just a few days.
Beard oil is also gonna get your beard on point and looking sharp. The natural oils and moistness keep it looking just shiny enough to catch the eye and seem healthy without looking greasy, and the regular attention you're going to be giving it will convince your beard to grow just the way you like it, as long as you keep brushing it and applying the oil in a consistent pattern.
Right. So I'm going to get myself some beard oil. What do I need to know?
Most beard oils are made up of only two things. A carrier oil, which will make up the vast majority of the oil by volume and does the brute work in keeping your beard oiled, supple and healthy, and one or several essential oils, which are there mostly for scent, but can do double duty delivering several other effects straight to your face.
The most popular carrier oils are jojoba, grapeseed and sweet almond, with several others also being used like argan and coconut oils.
If you've ever paid attention to adverts for women's beauty products on the tv, then you've probably heard these names before. There's a good reason for that. These oils are generally the closest match to the natural oils on your face that you can find in nature, so they're less likely to cause allergic reactions and give you the maximum benefit for use.
As a bonus, they're all natural. I don't know about you, but as an avid outdoorsman who tries to keep relatively fit and healthy, slathering my face in artificial chemicals and letting that crap just sink into my skin doesn't feel good.
As to essential oils, they're there mostly for the smell. You know what essential oils are. Ever go into a hippy shop and see little tiny bottles with things like 'mint extract' and 'sandalwood' written on them? Yeah. Those.
Essential oils normally make up a tiny chunk of your beard oil, but you'd definitely notice if they were gone. That's because they're hyper-concentrated and incredibly strong. There's a reason it's all sold in such tiny bottles. A few drops is normally enough.
As to what to look for? That's up to you. Like I said, most essential oils are added primarily for the scent. The other aspects, like delivering minerals directly to the skin and acting as antibacterials and disinfectants to keep your face and beard extra clean, are just a sweet sweet bonus.
I keep hearing about beard balms? What are they and do I want one?
Luckily for you, we've got an in-depth guide to beard balms right here.
In case you don't have the time to read that, though, here's the cliff notes.
A beard balm is basically a beard oil that's been mixed with a carrier agent and a wax so that it's thicker and sits heavier on your face. It looks and feels kind of like a thin hair wax.
Beard balms and beard oils contain the same active ingredients, and in terms of keeping your beard healthy and moisturized, will do about the same job.
Where they differ, though, is when you should use them.Generally, beard oils are favored by guys with shorter, more manageable beards, cause it's easier to work the oil right into the roots of the hairs and because it's a lighter, more fluid mix it sinks right in and dries fast.
Guys with larger, denser, heavier beards tend to favor balms. Because it's a thicker mix, you can work it all the way down the entire length of your beard, massage it right into the roots without missing anything, and it's going to stay in your beard for longer. Because there's normally a little bit of wax in beard balms, they're also great for adding a bit of hold and control to longer, wilder beards. Something guys with short beards just don't understand. (Yet.)
My opinion is this. They're both excellent, and they both do great jobs. I've used both, and I like both.
In fact, I still use both. I use a beard oil every morning, straight after I'm done with the shower, switching up for a beard balm once or twice a week, whenever I feel like I need it. The best advice I can give you is to experiment. Every man's beard is different. Every man's beard has different needs, and a different feel. So try out both and you'll soon settle into a rythym.
So I've got this bottle of oil. How do I get it into my beard?
Applying beard oil to your face is deceptively easy.
First, make sure that your beard is clean, so you aren't rubbing dirt into your pores. Your face is warm, so your pores are dilated, and damp but not wet.
The single best time to put on your beard oil is after your morning shower. Not only does it hit all three of our criteria, but it's generally when you're just about to go out and face the day, ie, the time when your beard needs the most protection.
To apply your beard oil, pour out several drops into your clean palm, work it between both hands to cover both evenly. How much oil you need is down to personal preference, but as a general rule of thumb, you're looking for one drop per 3 months of growth.
Start to work it into your beard, starting at the bottom of your neck, near the adam's apple.
Work upwards, making sure to drive the oil all the way through your beard and into the skin underneath. Once you've finished the neck and throat, massage it into your sideburns and down towards your lips and nose. Finish by using one or two fingers to apply oil to your mustache.
Once you've applied beard oil to the entirety of your beard, grab your beard brush and go to town. A good quality brush will help to spread the oil evenly through your entire beard and open up and knots and tangles you might have, as well as training your beard to lie in the style that you prefer.
If some is good, more must be better right?
Calm down, bub. We've all known people who never seemed to wash their hair, and walked around all day with their hair looking oily and greasy.
Good look? Didn't think so.
Now if you slather your face with more oil than it can handle, what do you think's going to happen to you?Exactly.
It's important to use the right amount of oil. Both because you'll look terrible if you don't and it's bad for your skin in the long run. As well as overloading your beard hair, too much oil will clog your pores and lead to spots and other skin problems in the future.
If you don't think you're using enough beard oil, feel free to experiment, but increase the amount you use by only one drop at a time.
Cool. And how often do I want to do this?
How often do you wash the hair on your head? There's your answer.In all seriousness, you don't have to use a beard oil or balm every day. Like I said earlier, every man has a different set of needs for his face fuzz, and where I might need to apply a beard oil once per day, you might get away with once every couple of days.
The single best thing to do is experiment, and see how your face responds.
Your site also mentions beard conditioners. Is beard oil a beard conditioner?
Yes and no.
Yes, because beard oil will help to condition your beard. Regular application will make your beard softer, more supple and more resilient, as well as improving its look and feel.
No, because beard conditioner is its own thing. Specifically, a wash that you use in the shower when you're washing everything else, that's designed especially for cleaning and looking after beard hair.
If you're interested in learning more about beard conditioner, just follow this link to our guide.
What's in the best beard oils?
As I explained earlier, beard oils are made of two main ingredients. Carrier oils and essential oils.
The main carrier oils used in beard oils are jojoba, sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil.
Grapeseed oil: Made from grapes. Grapeseed oil is fantastic for the skin, and specifically, doesn't clog pores, so it's great if you suffer with oily skin or acne.
Sweet almond: Sweet almond oil is crazy high in vitamin E and proteins, which makes it fantastic for rebuilding damaged hair and skin cells. If you're outside a lot or exposed to harsh weather or the sun, sweet almond-based beard oils are perfect.
Jojoba: Just as great for the skin as the other oils, jojoba is the closest oil to natural skin oils, so it's by far the least allergenic. If you have problems with allergies or skin rashes, you'll want an oil with jojoba as the main ingredient.
Essential oils are far less important, but still worth considering.
There's massive variation in essential oils, and a colossal amount out there, far beyond the scope for this guide. We've already got a great starter guide to essential oils and their uses right here.
I can't believe I've lived so long without beard oil. My face is itching just reading this. Where can I get it?
Most reputable pharmacies will stock beard products, but they're not going to have a great range.In my experience, the single best place to get specialised man products like this is definitely the internet. Not only is there a colossal selection, you've got built in reviews and instant comparisons.
I buy the vast majority of my beard essentials from Amazon. Not only is their selection the biggest on earth, they delivery straight to your door in as little as 24 hours. Amazon have just started a subscription service that delivers the products you use to your door every month, or whenever you specify, so you can rest easy when the bottle starts to get low, knowing that another is on the way.
I'm a do it yourself kind of guy. Can I make this stuff at home?
You sure can, buster.
Since beard oils are a relatively simple recipe, just carrier oils mixed with however many essential oils you want, it's not difficult to make your own mix at home.
Not only does this give you absolute control over how your beard oil looks, feels and smells, in the long run it can end up saving you money. Plus there's always a satisfaction in using something you've made yourself, especially when it's something that other people can see the benefits of.
Our in-depth guide to making your own beard oil at home can be found here.
I love my beard oil, but I also like beard balm. Can I use them both together?
Absolutely. Not at the same time, obviously, but using beard oils and beard balms on alternate days, or using one in the morning and one at night, is great for beard health.
Beard balms are generally better for longer beards, and beard oils are generally better for shorter beards, but like I always say, every man's beard is different, and the only way to find out what's good for you is to experiment.
If you're interested in the best beard balms for men, check out the sister guide to this piece.
You've mentioned brushing your beard a few times too. I don't do that. Should I?
Definitely. Even if you aren't using beard oils, I recommend regularly brushing your beard. The benefits are enormous.
The best brushes for beards are boar bristle. These provide the hold and stiffness a good beard needs.
You could also pick up a dedicated beard comb. Beard combs normally have wider teeth that's more suited to the coarser, more wiry hair your beard is made from. Good beard combs are made of non-synthetic material, so they don't build up static and cause your hair to go all frizzy.
So I've heard about beard oil and beard balm. What about beard butter?
Beard balm, beard butter and beard oil are all based around the same, simple process. Beard oils are made from carrier oils and essential oils.
Beard balms have the same carrier oils and essential oils, suspended in a butter based formation with some added wax, generally beeswax, for a stiffer, firmer hold.
Beard butter is somewhere in the middle. It's the same carrier and essential oils, with just the butter as a suspension medium. The most used butters are usually shea and cocoa butters, which are used all over the world for their skin-protecting and moisturizing qualities.
Beard balms are better for longer, thicker beards that appreciate a firmer hold.
Beard butters are somewhere in between. They provide a little bit of hold, but nowhere near the same firmness as a balm. Where beard butters do come out on top is long term hydrating and moisturizing. Because of the way beard butters are made up, they're by far the best when it comes to replenishing dry skin after a long, hard day.
I'm trying to grow a beard to be proud of, but it's coming through scrubby and patchy. Help!
You're lucky. You've come to the right place.
Because it nourishes the skin and promotes healthy hair growth, using a dedicated beard product like a good beard oil naturally causes your beard to grow thicker and stronger.
On top of that, because it protects your beard from the vast majority of the damage day to day life can cause, the beard you've already got is less likely to wilt like a dying flower at the first sign of trouble.
If you're really struggling, there are specific beard oil you can buy that are specifically designed to grow and thicken up thin and scrubby beards.
If you're in a rush, you can find our top choice of oil for beard growth in our recommended products above.
So there we go. Everything you ever wanted to know about beard oils, and a lot more besides. Read this. Absorb it. Meditate on it and act upon it, and grow the beard you were born to have.
If you want to see our complete list of the best beard oils out there, you can read our best of review here.
Any Other Questions?
We've attempted to answer all the questions we've been asked over the years, however if you've got a question that you want answering, please ask it below or contact us diectly via our contact form here.
Last update on 2018-01-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API