To use beard oil or beard balm is one of the most frequently asked questions by bearded men. Beard maintenance isn’t always clear-cut, with so many products at one’s disposal.
Both beard oil and balm are used in the care and maintenance of facial hair. Beard oil is a mixture of essential oils such as jojoba, argan, and castor oil. These oils add moisture to facial hair and help your beard retain moisture.
Beard oil is primarily for moisturizing the skin underneath while leaving your beard smelling fresh. On the other hand, beard balm is a leave-in conditioner that helps moisturize and condition the beard.
Beard balm also helps in softening a beard. Beard balms are made of essential oils and wax like beeswax and shea butter to help protect the skin and seal-in moisture.
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What Is Their Purpose
Whether you have a Ragnar beard or a Van Dyke style mane, beard oil is a must-have in your beard grooming kit. Beard oil provides deep penetrating moisture that helps nourish and maintain a healthy beard. It is, therefore, essential to have as a beard shampoo.
Beard oil contains carrier oil and essential oils that help hydrate the whiskers and are absorbed into the pores to restore and condition the beard from the inside out.
Beard oil is a multi-purpose product that helps eliminate the dreaded beard itch and beard dandruff and keeps your beard smelling fresh all day. Beard balms act as leave-in conditioners to moisturize, condition and soften the beard.
The primary purpose of beard balm, however, is to help in the styling of a beard. The superior blend of shea butter, beeswax, and essential oils helps lock in moisture, while the thicker texture gives you more styling control for those unruly strands.
While both products are used in daily beard maintenance, there are a few differences:
- Beard oil contains essential oils and carrier oils that work together to nourish your beard. However, these oils don’t provide any structure or support for the beard. Beard balm contains beeswax and shea butter that provide the necessary hold when styling your mane.
- Beard balm is used mainly by men with medium to long-length beards to help shape the beard and tame flyaways. It is used to style mustaches in the case of French beard styles or sideburns. Beard oil is primarily used at the early stages of beard growth to help eliminate beard itch typical with that phase.
- Beard oil is made mainly of essential and carrier oils and is runnier. Beard balm contains the same oils but with added beeswax and shea butter. Because of that, beard balm is creamy and needs to melt before you apply it to your beard.
- Beard oil is lighter and therefore doesn’t weigh down your beard or clog up the pores no matter how many times you use it. Beard balm contains beeswax and other ingredients that can clog up the pores.
- Beard balm gives a beard more shine, something you can’t say about beard balm.
- While beard oil can make your beard appear fuller, beard balm does a better job. You can use beard balm to tame a patchy or thin beard, add volume, and make it look thicker.
Why Do You Need Them Both
Beard oil conditions your beard, and balm controls. Beard oil specifically coats your beard and skin. Beard oils come packed with nutrients, precisely what your facial hair and skin need to facilitate healthy beard growth. Beard balm is for controlling, taming, and shaping a beard.
It also contains some vitamin-rich ingredients to enhance the work of beard oil. When grey beard styles get scraggly, frizzy, and have unruly strands, you need to apply beard balm.
The waxes and butter in beard balm helps moisturize and tame stray hairs, while the weight of the ingredients calms the fluffy and poofy look that occurs when your beard is too dry.
When Should You Use Them
You can use beard oil anytime, but the best time is after taking a shower; this way, you can get the most out of the product. Warm water opens the pores, which helps the oil penetrate deep into the skin.
Quality beard oils contain non-comedogenic oils, so you never have to worry about the oil weighing down your beard and clogging the pores, causing breakouts. Start applying beard oil as soon as your beard grows out.
Beard oil contains ingredients that help manage most beard problems you experience in the initial phases, like beard itch, dandruff, and brittleness. Use beard balm after applying beard oil. Beard balm, as mentioned, is mainly for styling your beard.
But don’t massage beard balm too deep into the beard like beard oil. The ingredients in beard balm are known to clog pores leading to breakouts. Beard balms are specifically for your beard.
The ingredients help keep the beard hairs nourished and conditioned, but mainly you should use them to tame wild hairs and when you want to style your beard.
How to Choose
Beard balm is similar to beard oil in many ways, except for the large percentage of butter and waxes that help tame frizzy and wild hairs. It is, therefore, ideal for a thick beard with more texture.
Beard oil is a good choice when you begin growing a beard to create a clean and well-balanced foundation for your beard to grow. Beard balm works best when you have a longer beard for grooming and minor upkeep.
It is the perfect product to style your beard while moisturizing the whiskers.
If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, pay attention to the ingredients in your products. Beard balm contains ingredients that work to style and tame your beard. However, beard oil can weigh down a beard and clog pores leading to acne breakouts.
Beard oil contains non-comedogenic ingredients like sunflower and jojoba oil and, therefore, won’t clog your pores. At the same time, most beard oils contain scents that help complement your cologne. If you have sensitive skin, though, you might want to choose a scent-free oil.
Even better, consider using a DIY beard balm or beard oil since you can use the best ingredients.
- Use beard oil daily and sometimes a few times to keep your beard moisturized and conditioned.
- Start using beard oil as soon as you are ready to grow a beard. You can use the oil to moisturize and condition the skin even when clean-shaven.
- Use beard balm as needed; it’s best for those unruly days to give you the styling control you need to keep your beard looking great.
- Due to the conditioning properties of beard balm, over-application can cause product build-up that weighs down your beard.
- Give your facial hair a month to grow before applying beard balm.
Is beard oil or balm better for your beard?
Both products are essential for your beard since your facial hair could use all the moisture it needs. Apply beard oil first and then finish with beard balm to help with styling.
Should I use beard balm and oil?
Use both; beard oil helps create a good base, while beard balm helps lock in the oil and moisture.
Should you use beard oil every day?
Use beard oil daily to condition and moisturize your beard to prevent beard dandruff, flakes, and itching.
Should you use beard balm every day?
Use beard balm daily to protect, condition, and style your beard but only apply the recommended amount so you don’t weigh down your beard and clog your pores.
The never-ending beard oil vs. wax vs. balm debate makes it even more confusing when choosing the best grooming products. Beard oil and balm are a must-have in your grooming kit. Beard oil helps create an environment where your beard can thrive.
Beard balm helps condition the beard, but it’s more helpful when styling your mane. Ideally, you can substitute beard balm for beard wax. Both offer the same benefits; the only difference is the hold level.
Anthony Giannotti is a senior writer and editor for Beardoholic and a licensed barber for more than 13 years. He owns 3 barbershops and has his own hair care product line that is sold in barbershops worldwide. Known for his impeccable technique and skills, Anthony is an expert in hair and beard care and he knows the best products and tools to get rid of all beard problems and have an amazing beard.