Beard Oil – Why Use it and How to Choose?
What is beard oil?
Beard oil is basically a blend of carrier and essential oils specifically chosen to moisturize, nourish and hydrate your beard and the skin beneath it.
The carrier oil makes up the bulk of the blend, typically used are those such as jojoba, coconut, grape seed and argan, each selected for their individual beneficial properties and ease of absorption into the hair and skin.
Added to these, most commercial beard oils are scented using one or more essential oils, although there are unscented beard oils available if you prefer, or if you have very sensitive skin.
Why bother with it?
You may well be thinking that men have been growing beards for centuries, without worrying about such fripperies as beard oil.
However, this could not be further from the truth, with the first beards oils dating way back to ancient history.
They may well have been rather more primitive back then, but even without the benefit of modern scientific knowledge, the ancient man appreciated and took advantage of many of the benefits of oiling their beards.
There are a number of very good reasons for using beard oil:
Presumably, at least one of the reasons that you grew your beard in the first place was for the look. It therefore makes sense that, after the effort of enduring the initial discomfort and patchiness, you should want to ensure that your resulting pride a glory appears at its best!
A good beard oil should make it much easier to control and untangle the beard as it causes the hair to be softer, less brittle and more easily brushed or combed through.
It is particularly useful for those with longer beards which, if you are not careful, are inclined to become dry and wispy, with split ends and a rather wild and unkempt look.
The moisturizing nature of beard oil leaves the hair with a healthy looking sheen, and makes the hair more compliant, so that it is easier to subdue and pull any strays into shape.
The healing and enriching components of the natural oils used in beard oil are absorbed into the skin and hair, to nourish them and keep them supple and healthy.
When you grow a beard, the skin beneath it tends to be overlooked somewhat, and beard oil acts as a natural skin conditioner.
A good carrier oil may include anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals.
All of these benefits contribute to the general wellbeing of the skin and hair, as well as stimulating strong, healthy beard growth.
As we have already mentioned, beard oil is a great moisturizer and, together with good hygiene and beard care will help prevent seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) commonly nowadays known as beardruff.
Yes, this condition can not only affect your scalp but also your face, and is a commonly experienced, unwanted side effect of sporting a beard. After all, it is no more attractive to have white flecks of dry skin falling from your face, than it is from your head.
Beard oil massaged thoroughly into the skin beneath the beard as well as the hair, after shampooing, will help to hydrate it and keep it soft and smooth.
Anyone who has ever grown a beard will understand how utterly irritating and distracting it can be in the early stages.
The unrelenting itchiness causes many to just give in and shave it off, before they ever get to see the end result that they hoped to achieve.
The use of beard oil to soften and moisturize the skin can offer much relief and make it bearable to carry on.
When deciding to grow a beard, do bear in mind that stubble and short hair growth can have a rather abrasive effect and that this may be something of a passion killer.
After all, no lady wants to risk a rash brought on by kissing someone who has the equivalent of coarse sandpaper on their chin!
Beard oil absorbed into the hair will help to make your beard more soft and sensual as opposed to harsh and uncomfortable.
What to Look For
There are a lot of very good commercially produced beard oils on the market, so how do you choose which one?
Well, it is largely down to personal preference as regards scent and feel e.g. some will give more shine than others depending on an individual’s skin and hair composition.
However, there are a few things to consider when checking the ingredients:
As previously mentioned, the carrier oil is the main ingredient and there are many options.
They should be non-comedogenic, which means that they will not clog the pores, and are easily absorbed by the skin and hair.
We have looked at a number of popular choices and outlined their main properties and benefits:
Jojoba oil is a very commonly used and it is actually a liquid wax that most closely resembles the skin’s natural secretion, sebum.
It benefits from a long stable shelf life when compared with some other vegetable oils and contains therapeutic ingredients including iodine (82%) vitamin E, vitamin B complex, silicon, chromium, copper and zinc.
Jojoba oil contains three fatty acids; gadoleic, erucic and oleic.
As well as being non toxic and non-allergenic it does not leave the skin feeling as greasy as some oils and is safe for use on sensitive skin.
Vitamin E - improves moisture and elasticity of the skin and helps to reduce inflammation. It gives the skin some protection against the effects of pollution, cigarette smoke and UV rays and helps to thicken the hair.
Vitamin B complex helps to protect the skin from cell damaging effects of free radicals and premature ageing.
Jojoba oil also offers the benefits of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut oil is well known for its beneficial effect on skin and hair.
It has a high concentration of saturated fats and so has a good shelf life.
These fats act to moisturize and hydrate the skin whilst capric, lauric and caprylic acids have disinfectant and antimicrobial properties.
Vitamin E and proteins help prevent wrinkling and premature ageing
Lighter than coconut oil, grapeseed is easily absorbed into skin and hair and is an odourless oil with some antioxidant properties.
It contains Lineolic and Oleic Acids which benefit the skin and a small amount of vitamin E.
Grapeseed oil has a very slightly astringent quality which helps to tighten and smooth the skin.
Argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the Argan tree, indigenous to Morocco and is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids.
It is quickly and easily absorbed without leaving a greasy feel, making it a good, natural moisturiser for both skin and hair.
The antioxidants in Argan oil help to reduce irritation, dry or itchy skin and it has anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Essential oils are used to provide a natural scent. Usually this will be a blend of two or more oils to produce the desired fragrance.
Ideally, you want to look for a beard oil that uses natural products rather than artificially produced scents that can be drying to the skin.
When you check the ingredients, choose an oil that lists essential oils rather than just using the word “fragrance” as this is the giveaway that the scent is not derived from natural oils.
Essential oils are strong, which is why they are used in small quantity with larger quantities of the carrier oil.
If you have sensitive skin, it is the essential oil which may irritate it, and so you may prefer to opt for an unscented oil.
How to Use Beard Oil
Ideally, you should use beard oil after a bath or shower when you have shampooed and conditioned your beard and prior to moisturizing (if you are using one).
Washing or showering with hot water opens the pores and softens the hair so that the oil is more easily and quickly absorbed.
Dry your beard after washing, but leave very slightly damp.
Add 2 or 3 drops of oil to your palms, rub through the beard, and massage into the skin below. Take your time over this to ensure that it is evenly distributed throughout.
Finally, comb through for a neat, well-groomed finish.
How often you use the oil is really determined by your individual need, but it is a good idea to use it each time you shower to replenish the oil in the skin.
This lightly scented beard oil comes in a boxed, 2oz (60ml) brown glass bottle complete with dropper and is made in the USA.
It contains 8 organic, natural carrier oils to produce a nourishing, easily absorbed oil which softens the hair and moisturises the skin.
The mix of seven essential oils blend together to give a very pleasant, subtle aroma of cloves with a hint of licorice.
Natural Organic oils: Avocado oil, Virgin Pumpkin seed oil, Moringa Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel oil, Golden Jojoba oil, Virgin Argan oil and Kukui oil
Essential Oils: Cedarwood, Clove, Anise, Grapefruit, Lavender, Cinnamon, and Peppermint
This beard oil gives a lovely subtle sheen to the beard without leaving a greasy feel and is good value for money for the quantity at the online price of around $14.
This product has the same organic oils as the Honest Amish Classic oil, but is fragrance free, so does not contain the essential oils.
This version is perfect if you have very sensitive skin or simply do not desire a scented product.
It is offered in the same size bottle with dropper, at a similar online price of around $14.
The Gentlemen's Beard Oil is made from a blend of 100% natural and organic ingredients.
It is free from fillers, additives, parabens and GMO's and is completely unscented, so contains no essential oils or artificial fragrances.
It comes in a 1oz (30ml) brown glass bottle complete with dropper and box.
Organic Helianthus anuus (Sunflower) seed oil, Organic Argania spinosa (Argan) seed oil, Organic Oenothera biennia (Evening Primose) seed oil, Organic Simmondsia chinensis (JoJoba) seed oil, Tocopherols (Vitamin E)
The oils are specially selected to be easily absorbed to leave a shine to the beard without leaving it feeling oily.
The 1oz bottle is small, but as with most beard oils, a little goes a long way and it should last a couple of months (depending on frequency of use and beard length, of course).
This is a good quality, if higher priced oil which is suitable for sensitive skin, available online for around $20.
Made in the USA from 100% all natural ingredients (not necessarily organic - some are, some are not) this beard oil represents very good value for money.
It consists of fewer ingredients than some, with just 3 carrier and 3 essential oils, and has a light, slightly woody scent reminiscent of cedar.
The Beard Oil by Mountaineer Brand, Barefoot is an unscented version, omitting the essential oils, available at the same price.
It comes in a squeezable blue plastic, 2oz (60ml) bottle without a dropper, but with a limiting cap to easily dispense a few drops at a time.
Carrier Oils: Grapeseed Oil, Almond Oil, Castor Seed Oil
Essential Oils: Cedarwood Oil, Fir Needle Oil, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil
A great beard oil for hydrating the skin to reduce flakiness and itching, it is the least expensive oil featured, at an online cost of around $12 for 2oz.
I have included this oil as it comes in a designer glass skull bottle complete with dropper and classy black and gold presentation box, to make a great gift.
Coupled with this, it consists of arguably the two most beneficial ingredients for hair and skin; 50% Argan oil and 50% Jojoba oil.
These are the only 2 ingredients and so it is virtually unscented, with a very slight hint of nut, which quickly dissipates.
Suitable for sensitive skin, it softens and hydrates to reduce split ends and the shaggy beard look.
The only downside to this product that we can see is that it comes in a clear glass bottle, so not the best for preserving the life of natural oils.
However, given the 1 oz quantity, this is very unlikely to be an issue.
Available online for just under $20 this beard oil would surely be a welcome and novelty gift for any beard sporting man.