Beard oil and beard balm. This ubiquitous pair of products has essentially become to the go-to duo in every bearded man’s beard care arsenal. But what if you’re new to the bearding game, or perhaps you’ve bearded for years but have just now decided to dive into the wonderful world of beard care? What is beard oil? How do you know if it’s time for you to add beard balm to your daily beard care regimen? If I had to compile a list of five questions that I’m asked most often, I’d definitely put this one near the top of the list:
“What’s the difference between a beard oil and a beard balm and how do I know which one is right for me?”
Treating hair with oils and other conditioners is certainly nothing new. The ancient Egyptians used olive oil to condition and straighten their hair while the advent of modern hair conditioner as we know it today got its start a little more than 100 years ago with the presentation of a product named “Brilliantine” by Frenchman Edouard Pinaud. Brilliantine, french for “brilliant,” was introduced at the World Fair in 1900 and was designed to soften hair like moustaches and beards. While hair conditioners have been around for centuries, the recent resurgence of beards and beard care has seen with it a corresponding growth in the products that bearded men can use to take care of their facial hair. Enter beard oil and beard balm.
So how is a bearded man supposed to know which beard care product to use? Perhaps the best place to start is at the beginning. Let’s take a look at these two pieces of the beard care puzzle and find out what makes them tick.
What is Beard Oil
At its most basic, a beard oil is a liquid, oil-based product formulated to treat facial hair and its underlying skin. The vast majority of commercially available beard oils are a combination of three basic ingredients:
- A carrier oil of some kind like sweet almond oil, olive oil, or, in the case Lesher’s Beerd Oil®, grape seed oil
- Essential oils that contribute their own treatment effects and/or aromas. Common essential oils including extractions of citrus and spices.
- Fragrance oils whose sole purpose is to provide some type of aroma to the finished product. The majority of fragrance oils are synthetic, meaning that they are not actually derived from a plant or other natural ingredient. There are naturally-derived fragrance oils that are simply blends of essential oils cut with a carrier oil.
- Other stuff. While not all that common, other ingredients like colors and preservatives can sometimes be used as well.
Speaking of beard oil ingredients, it’s no secret what’s in our Lesher’s Beerd Oil, it’s on each and ever label. Grape seed oil, coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, argan oil, vitamin E and real hops essential oil.
Why Should I Use Beard Oil?
Beard oil is really there to do a couple of basic things while it’s on your face and its effects are shared between the actual beard hair and the skin. First, let’s take a look at the beard. After all, it’s in the name, A well-designed beard oil should “condition” the facial hair. What exactly does this word “condition” mean? According to the Google definition, condition is a verb which means to “apply something to (the skin or hair) to give it a healthy or attractive look or feel.” As you’ve probably surmised, conditioning is a rather subjective term. Conditioning can mean many things – softening, straightening, detangling, fragrance, shine – the list is quite a long one. A well-made beard oil should at least soften and detangle the beard, with some like Lesher’s Beerd Oil offering additional benefits like enhanced shine, protection against the elements, and, of course, the wonderful hops-infused aroma.
As for the secondary effects of beard oil, specifically on the skin, these fall mainly into the camp of moisturizing and softening. When used on the skin, most oils will create a moisture barrier that does two things, 1. prevents moisture from escaping the skin and 2. enhance the skin’s natural healing process. This can be a great thing, especially for men that suffer from dry skin. Dry skin, especially when it’s underneath a beard, can lead to flakes and flakes can lead to beard dandruff – beardruff. Using a quality beard oil regularly like Lesher’s Beerd Oil can help to keep your skin soft, moisturized and flake free.
When Should I Use Beard Oil?
I tell all of our customers that they should use a beard oil every day. Since our formulation isn’t heavy or greasy, you can safely use it as part of your daily grooming routine without having to worry about walking around with an oil slick on your face. Beard oil is best applied immediately after your morning shower, to a towel-dried beard. Warm, moist beard hair and skin are much more receptive to the absorption and incorporation of oils and fragrance.
What Is Beard Balm
First, it may help to look at the word “balm”. A balm at its most basic, is a solid or semi-solid preparation normally made from plant-derived ingredients that’s designed to be rubbed into the application area rather than smeared or spread. a beard balm begins with the same basic components as a beard oil. It too has a base, or carrier oil and along with some combination of essential oils, fragrance oils and/or other additives and ingredients.
What makes a beard balm a balm, however, is the addition of some type of thickening and/or tackifying component. Most beard balms use some combination of butter and wax to accomplish this feat with some of the more common ingredients being cocoa butter and shea butter along with either beeswax, soy wax or candelilla wax. A beard balm is designed to administer all of the same basic conditioning effects as those found in a beard oil – softening, detangling, shine, fragrance – along with the added benefits of extended protection and control.
Each tin of Lesher’s Beerd Balm contains a unique blend of all-natural, plant-derived ingredients. Grape seed oil, coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, pumpkin seed oil, argan oil, hops essential oil, vitamin E. That’s it. Nothing else.
Why Should I Use Beard Balm?
Whether or not a gentleman should use a beard balm versus a beard oil essentially boils down to one thing – beard length. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re using a comb or brush on your beard regularly, you should probably be using a quality beard balm like Lesher’s Beerd Balm® brand beard conditioner. While there are certainly guys out there with short beard that use beard balm, the true benefits of such a beard care product are truly realized on beards of an appreciable length, say a quarter inch and longer. With the two main reasons for using a beard balm being control and detangling, it would only stand to reason that if you’re beard isn’t long enough to catch some wind it’s probably better off with a beard oil.
Another benefit of using a beard balm is that it simply lasts longer. The addition of thicker butters and oils along with wax serves to not only keep your beard in place, but to lock in the beard balm, keeping it on your beard hair longer and just generally providing for a deeper, more effective conditioning effect than would a beard oil or other lighter product. Another cool thing? You can revive a beard balm application by simply running your hands under some water, shaking them off, fluffing your beard with your now damp hands, and combing or brushing as usual. The water works with the balm that’s still in your beard creating an emulsion that serves to rejuvenate and refresh your beard between balm applications.
When Should I Use Beard Balm
Like its brother from another mother (that’s beard oil, btw), beard balm is best applied and combed through a freshly showered (not necessarily washed) and towel-dried beard. I often recommend to guys with beards longer than one inch, that a daily application of beard balm is more than sufficient to keep their beards looking great and feeling strokeably soft. However, if you’re on the cusp with an average-length beard, I’d recommend you apply a beard balm alternately with a beard oil, say every other day or three times a week. This should prevent any unnecessary build-up or wasted product. Sure, we want you to use more Lesher’s Beerd Balm, but we also want you to look your best.
The Beard Care Bottom Line
So there you have it. To balm or not to balm. The essential basic beard care conundrum has been corralled. If I had to sum it up, I’d put it this way. If your beard’s brushable, balm it. Otherwise, a daily dose of beard oil should do the trick. Just remember, no matter how you choose to take care of your facial hair, make sure you’re using only high-quality, all-natural products like Lesher’s Beerd Balm and Lesher’s Beerd Oil. But even if you don’t choose us, choose someone. Your beard deserves it. Interested in learning more about how to take care of your beard? Check out our Beard Care Dos & Don’ts post.