Beard oil, beard wax, beard balm. What are they? What’s the difference?
They are 3 staples in beard care and while they are all similar they all serve different purposes.
In case you’re wondering why should you use beard oil in the first place, just keep in mind that your beard is no different than your scalp hair when it comes to maintenance.
You have to take care, clean and condition both of them to help them look their best.
In fact, facial hair is much coarser than your head hair, which means it actually needs more tender love care from your side.
The longer your beard grows, it will need more care, providing that the natural nutrients your skin provides can’t get to the end of the hairs. That’s where a beard oil jumps in.
This product will hydrate and condition not only your beard but the skin under it too, giving you the one-two punch.
By using it regularly, your skin and beard will always be moisturized, in addition to being much softer and enjoyable to touch. Benefits of facial hair oils don’t stop there.
In turn to softening a beard, an oil also eliminates beard itchiness and irritation that follow, especially in the first stages of beard growth when the hairs are very rough to your skin.
Beard Oil Ingredients
All the advantages you get from this product are made possible thanks to its ingredients.
The best beard oils are actually a mix of carrier and essential oils. Carrier oils are the base of the product and the most used ones are jojoba, grape seed, almond, castor oil and vitamin E.
All of them have amazing moisturizing and nourishing properties and are entirely hypoallergenic and natural, which allows them to work wonders on your face skin and beard.
Eucalyptus, tea tree, pine wood, fir needle, sandalwood, cedarwood are some of the most common essential oils used in beard oils.
Each of them has unique benefits to your facial hair, but they all work together in making your face mane moisturized and smelling irresistible.
There are also unscented facial hair oils that are highly popular among men who like to wear their favorite cologne, while at the same time being at the top of their beard game with the use of beard oil.
For those who prefer that their oil has a manly smell, it’s important to mention that essential oils also work as antiseptics and will clean up your pores and help you get rid of acne and eczema.
When Should I Apply Beard Oil
Fair question, taken into consideration that some men refuse to use oils on their beards because they consider them too greasy.
Sure, a facial hair oil can be greasy, but only if you put too much of it.
Most men put the oil on in the morning after washing their facial hair, because the hair follicles and pores are open and easily absorb it.
An optimal number of times to apply the oil into your beard is two times a day – in the morning and before going to bed, but you can do it more often if you prefer so, although it’s not necessary.
Make sure to always shower or at least wash your face before the application process as this will open your pores allowing them to absorb more of the oil.
However, note that your face shouldn’t be too wet because the water can dilute the oil. That being said, it would be ideal that your face is damp rather than soak in water.
How to Use Beard Oil
Rub your palms together until the light coating is formed on both hands and begin massaging the product into your beard and skin.
The best way to do so is to start from the skin beneath the beard and then working your fingers up gently and through the facial hair.
The hairs are the driest on the tips, so make sure to apply the oil all the way to them. Don’t forget that a beard oil is one of those products that don’t need to be rinsed off.
If you want to distribute the product evenly, you will have to use a boar hairs bristle brush.
In addition to spreading the oil uniformly, this type of brush will also make your beard seem much fuller.
Once you experiment and decide on your favorite product, you can use it as a stand-alone option or combine it with a beard balm for the best results.
Ranger Grooming Oil
Known mainly for its powerful sculpting properties and a thicker consistency than both oil and balm, wax keeps a styled facial hair in place.
Of course, that’s not all it does. As it contains numerous moisturizing agents and essential oils rich in nutrients, the wax will hydrate, nourish and condition your beard as well.
Over time, this product has shown to work the best for men who have long beards because those are usually harder to tame and control.
Nevertheless, having a shorter facial hair doesn’t mean you don’t need to use a wax. Quite the contrary, you should, if you want to have a manageable beard from the beginning.
Facial hair waxes are suitable for beards of all textures, which only adds to their appeal. They also usually smell nice, but less overwhelming than oils and balms.
In case you’re debating what is better, beard oil or wax, the answer is both. Beard oil relieves itchiness, eliminates dandruff, speeds up the growth process and more.
Wax is more of a styling product. So, the success formula would be to massage the oil into your facial mane and after that style it in the desired way with wax.
In essence, a wax is the beards equivalent of hairspray, but it’s good for your beard and the environment.
Wax is widely used at beard competitions to help sculpt and hold the beard in place.
Wax is great because it helps keep your beard looking nice and strong while keeping it protected from weather elements such as wind and rain.
Beard Wax Ingredients
Typical ingredients for wax include beeswax, coconut oil or shea nut butter and scented oils.
As you can see, based on the ingredients you would assume that the wax is almost the same as the balm. However, that’s not the case because the proportions of the ingredients differ.
In waxes, beeswax is more dominant in the mix, to provide a stronger hold. Also, some of these products also have lanolin.
Lanolin is yet another waxy substance that further enhances holding properties of the wax, giving your beard an additional hold.
The best beard wax is, therefore, the one that can hold your beard’s flyaway hairs in place for hours, maybe even the whole day.
Make sure to always check the ingredients to ensure there are only natural ingredients included for maximum results.
Good To Know: How To Make Homemade Beard Wax (DIY with Recipes)
How to Use Beard Wax
Scraping a thumbnail size of the wax from the tin, begin rubbing it between your palms to melt it down. You can add more later if needed.
Wait until it has completely melted and then start massaging it into your facial hair. Start at the roots of the strands and proceed upwards to the tips.
Once you have covered the entire beard, style it in the desired way with a facial hair comb or brush.
Make sure to do this thoroughly as your beard will stay that way throughout the day because of the firm hold wax provides.
Urban Nomads Wax
Ladies Man Beard Wax
As the lovechild of oil and wax, a balm has the conditioning components that help revive your beard with the hold of wax.
Like the wax and oil, it comes in many scents, and they’re a little less subtle than the wax because it has an oil mixed in.
While balm has the holding elements of wax, it’s not as strong of a hold so it’s suggested that balm is best for shorter beards.
With a balm, your beard will be more conditioned, moisturized and softer, easier to style and with added volume.
The balm will also give your facial hair the essential nutrients and vitamins that will make both your beard and skin look and feel healthier.
By now, you can tell that these are all the same benefits that facial hair oil also offers. So, why would you get a balm then?
First of all, because a balm is also a great styling agent that works pretty well in holding bushier and scruffier beards at bay, looking more polished and neat.
This is due to its very thick consistency that is very much different than the texture of the oil.
One good thing to remember about this product is that it tends to leave a residue on your fingers if you touch the beard after you apply it.
If you can avoid doing this, that would be great, but we all know how tempting and almost impossible this can sometimes be.
Beard Balm Ingredients
The most important advice regarding the facial hair balm ingredients is that you should look for the ones that are 100% natural.
Balms are usually made of four essential ingredients. Those are the carrier oils, essential oils, moisturizing agent (usually shea butter) and a sealant (usually beeswax).
Most of the benefits in your product come from the carriers oils, like argan and jojoba oil. These oils make sure that your beard is softer and eliminate beardruff.
There are, of course, other carrier oils, but jojoba and argan are your safest bet as they are similar to your skin’s natural oils and won’t cause any allergic reaction or acne.
Essential oils are the ingredient that gives your balm its unique scent. On the other hand, they sometimes tend to be harsh on the skin.
To avoid this problem, always apply the product on a small skin area first to test whether it will cause you allergies.
The most popular choice for a moisturizing agent is the shea butter, followed by the cocoa butter. Besides their moisturizing qualities, these butters can also add volume to your facial hair.
An ingredient that is often used as the sealant is the beeswax. Beeswax is responsible for retaining the moisture in your facial hair and giving it a slight hold.
Can You Use Beard Oil and Balm Together
Given the similar ingredients, most men usually ask themselves what to choose – an oil or a balm. Or maybe both?
But is it good for the beard and skin to use both? Of course it is.
Although both products can make your facial hair softer, a balm tends to keep it that way for much longer because of its thicker consistency and the fact that the beard needs more time to absorb it.
Next, a beard oil should be massaged not only in your beard but the skin beneath too. That’s not the case with balm, that should be applied on your beard only.
So, combining a beard balm and oil can be the best solution, given that this way you will take care of both your skin and facial hair at the same time.
The right order of application would be to start with oil, then balm. This should be repeated once every morning and again at night.
How to Apply Beard Balm
The application of a facial hair balm is pretty straightforward. First off, scoop out about a thumbnail size of the product out of the tin.
Rub it between the fingers until it has fully melted and coated them. When it fully melts, start applying it in the beard.
For the best results, use the balm on a slightly damp facial hair, but make sure there isn’t any excess moisture.
Begin with the root of your facial hair, starting from the neck and gradually proceed toward the tips of the hairs.
After that, reverse the process and run the fingers in downward motions from the top back down to the roots.
If you want to be 100% sure that the product is distributed evenly, run a boar bristles beard brush through your facial mane.
Remember that you can leave an all-natural product in your beard until you wash it.
However, if your balm has the petroleum jelly in it, rinse it out before going to bed to avoid that it damages your beard.
Smooth Viking Balm
I prefer a beard that has oil in it. I can actually run my hands through it and feel how soft the beard is without getting wax or balm residue all over my hands.
And the scents of the oils are fantastically amazing. Don’t get me wrong, wax and balm are both great but I like a softer more silky feel and look.
Since beards have become more popular, most of my friends have them now.
When we are getting ready to go out for dinner or a quick drink I am in charge of making their beards look presentable.
I usually put the balm or wax in, oil is more of a first thing in the morning kind of thing.
It’s always fun to see how proud they are of their beards after they are styled and look great.
If you or someone else is applying the oil, be sure to remember that less is more and don’t overdo it.
All three of these are great beard care products in their own way and hopefully, they will become some of your favorites as they are mine!
Photos from: improvisor © 123RF.com, dzohny / depositphotos.com, baloon111 / depositphotos.com, Dean Drobot © 123RF.com, YGphoto / depositphotos.com, Vikingur / depositphotos.com and dima_sidelnikov / depositphotos.com.