When you enter the world of the beard, the array of products on offer can be downright overwhelming. From beard oil and beard balm to beard butter and moustache wax.
Figuring out both what you need and what the products do is admission in itself. Well fear not, we’re here to help.
Let’s start by looking at the two most common beard products, beard oil and beard balm.
The primary difference between beard oils and beard balms is that balms have a wax and butter base, consisting of products like shea butter and beeswax.
Beard oil is made of both carrier oils and essentials oils and excludes any kinds of butter or waxes.
Let’s dig in and find out!
Beard oil is generally made of carrier oil and essential oil. Carrier oils help to dilute essential oils and provide a host of benefits, from antioxidant properties, reducing inflammation and moisturising your skin.
Common carrier oils found in beard oil are jojoba, grapeseed and almond oil to name a few. Each oil provides it’s own unique properties and it’s not uncommon to find a combination of carrier oils in your beard oil.
Essential oils can be used to add distinct aromas to the beard and also provide benefits to the skin. A 2014 study looked into the effects of peppermint ( an essential oil) oil on hair growth and found that ‘the peppermint oil group showed the most prominent hair growth effects; a significant increase in dermal thickness, follicle number, and follicle depth.’ 
By layering scents, essential oils provide beard oils with unique and in-depth aromas that are near limitless in combination options from using cedar and cypress for a forest aroma to using clove and orange for a warm winter scent, essential oils help to elevate your beard oil.
It may surprise you to find that one of our beard oils primary use is focused predominantly on the skin underneath your beard.
Beard oils help to moisturise the skin underneath your hair. This is beneficial as keeping the skin healthy, we are more likely to improve the overall health of our hair, resulting in a fuller and thicker beard overall.
As noted in the peppermint beard oil study, people will sometimes use beard oils to help promote hair growth but the primary focus of beard oil is to keep your beard feeling softer and looking fuller.
As our beard is constantly dealing with environmental exposure, our hair degenerates from the root to the tip of the hair with changes to its texture leading to tangling, drizzling and breakage.
Our hair naturally produces its own oil called sebum, which coats and the hair shaft. When both our skin and hair are exposed to external stressors, free radicals, sun pollution etc it can impact our bodies ability to naturally produce enough sebum for healthy hair.
By regularly applying beard oil, you enhance the lubrication of the hair shaft, which can help prevent hair breakage and the overall health of your beard.
What to look for in beard oil?
Since we’re applying beard oil to look after the skin and enhance our beard hairs health, look for ingredients that will be beneficial for both. Some examples of these could include:
Oils such as jojoba have wax esters that are identical to those produced naturally by our own skin. By utilising jojoba as a supplement for natural wax easters, we can work to slow the aging process, by keeping it moisturised consistently. The wax easter also coats skin and hair, which keep it healthy and reduce breakages.
Look for oils that provide benefits to both skin and hair.
Almond oil is a lightweight oil, almond oil won’t clog pores. It’s antibacterial properties are also beneficial for the skin under our hair, as they can help to reduce the cause of dandruff and beard itch.
Why use beard oil
Beard oil is a great choice for those who want a no greasy beard taming solution. Beard hairs’ coarser texture can make it difficult to manage at times.
Beard oil helps to soften hair and make it more manageable, allowing you to tame unruly hairs. Unlike beard balm, it won’t leave your with a greasy or ‘heavy’ feel to it.
The main difference between the balms and oils is the use of butter and waxes found in a beard balm.
Waxes are a combination of fatty acids and fatty alcohols. They can be derived from plants or animals, with the most common being beeswax and carnauba wax. However, there are plenty more varieties ranging from rice wax to castor wax.
The use of waxes helps balms to be more resistant to both oxidisation and bacterial infection. This allows the products to have a longer shelf life and reduce the need for chemical preservatives.
Butters, such as Shea and cocoa, is also utilised in balms. These natural fats help to provide a creamy softness to moisturize skin.
They also help in soothing skin and providing antimicrobial properties, further reducing the risk of your product becoming infected.
Balms, like beard oil, contain both carrier and essential oils but to a lesser extent than beard oils. Essential oils can be used in balm for both thor natural benefits, as well as being used for aroma.
Carrier oils provide the same benefits as they do in beard oil and are often blended in with the waxes and butters as they are heated and melted together.
Why use Beard Balm
Beard balm is a great choice for those of us hat have unruly beard hair.
Being coarser than head hair, some beards may not respond to a light dose of beard oil. Balms butter/ wax content gives the user greater control of how they style and shape their facial hair.
Not only does this provide relief for manic beards, it allows bearded men a greater opportunity of expression, though being able to style their beard.
Downsides to beard balm
While it has many benefits, there are some downsides to beard balm.
As it contains waxes, these can create a barrier on the skin, clogging your pores. Clogged pores can lead to
Given the number of waxes, oils and butters, balms can leave some beards feeling both greasy and heavy, a feeling some beard owners may just not enjoy.
Which is better?
Not to cop out but this one’s down to personal choice.
Some people are going to love the simplicity of applying a few drops of beard oil a day.
Others will like the ability the style and tame their beard that’s only offered by beard balm.
Then there are the blokes who go all in and use both balm and oil, giving their beards the best of both worlds.
We recommend trying both and finding what’s the best fit for you and your beard.
Both beard oil and balm are great choices for your beard. Both are going to provide key nutrients that will be of benefit to your beard.
Now we want to hear from you.
What do you use, beard oil or balm?
As always, let us know down below.