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Beard Oil or Beard Balm? What's The Difference?

We’re biased of course, but in our view, beards are the most important hairs that a man has. The state of a man's beard can tell you a lot about him, so it is vital that you take good care of yours. A long beard shows a sense of masculinity and freedom. They show that you are proud to be the-man-in-control. On the other hand, a short, neat and well groomed beard portrays a man with a keen eye for detail.

Beard Balms or Oils?

Beard care products

By far the most common of all the beard care and male grooming products on the market are beard oils and balms. However, a lot of people don’t realise the value that they offer, or know the difference between the two. It is worth noting that each of these products are essential in keeping your beard well groomed. Whether you have a long, flowing beard or are just starting to grow one, these products will be useful tools to help you get the most from your beard.

So, which is the right choice for you; beard oil, or beard balm? This is without a doubt one of the most popular questions we are asked! Both of these products are intended to treat and maintain your beard and are a must have for every beardsman. They will each keep your beard and skin healthy. And most importantly, they will identify you as someone who looks after your beard, not a wild bushman!

Although many people think oils and balms are the same thing, they are indeed distinct. Their ingredients, purpose and application methods mark the difference.

Beard oils contain natural oils which mimic those which your body produces (often Jojoba and/or Argan oils), along with essential oils for fragrance.

Beard balms are usually a blend of similar oils with butters and/or waxes (such as shea butter and beeswax). Before we look at why each product is important, let’s assess the natural conditions which favor the growth of beards.

Natural skin and beard oils

Can you recall ever resting you heard against a window? If so, then you must have witnessed a smudge left on the glass. That’s natural oil (sebum) produced by your skin. The oil not only moisturises the skin and hair but also makes them waterproof. A moisturised waterproof hair is durable, elastic and healthy.

Dry skins are the reason why people suffer eczema and other hair complications. Especially, when the hair around your follicles is dry (whether it is in your armpit, eyebrows, head or beards), you are likely to have flaky dry skin. The skin peels off in powder form- what people call dandruff. But, you shouldn’t rush to buy dandruff and dry scalp treatment products. The majority of them are specifically for head hair - and that’s quite different from a beard.

Apart from the dry scalp, you are also likely to suffer from itchy beards and acne sometimes. Or you may have inconsistent hair around the jawline and cheeks. All these are hair conditions that find a solution in beard oils and balms.

Beard oil

Beard oils moisturise and condition the skin and hair. Most manufacturers package it in bottles (with or without droppers) and pumps. The oils moisturise the skin below your beard, and moisturised skin ensures you do not suffer itching or ‘beardruff’. Even if you do not have noticeable problems with your beard, these oils still help to strengthen your facial hair.

It is from hair follicles around the chin and face that beards grow. So, the strength of the beards depends on the health of the follicles. Beard oils nourish and treat the follicles which will in turn result in a strong and healthy beard. It is important to look for beard products with natural ingredients like Jojoba, Argan, and Aloe Vera. We stock from suppliers who craft their beard care products from the finest natural ingredients.

In short, beard oil is not just used to help your beard directly, but to keep the skin underneath it healthy. Beard oils also contain fragrant essential oils offer some delightful scents. Using the oil reduces acne, itching, dry scalp, and other unwanted hair conditions.

Beard Oils

How to use beard oil

Most beard oils come in bottles. They are intended to softening your facial hair and provide a great fragrance. Many men encounter beard oils when they already have quite long and thick facial hair. However, using beard oils during the first few weeks of beard growth can be a saviour. This is because they will help prevent any itching and soreness that come with the early stages of growing a beard.

To apply, first wash your beard with a natural beard soap and then pat it dry. Once dry, add a few drops of the oil into your palm. Spread the oil on your palms and fingers. Then, run your hands through your beard and massage the skin underneath your beard. Ensure that you distribute the oil evenly on your facial hair. We recommend a beard brush to make sure you have complete coverage. Beard oil can be reapplied during the day when necessary. As they are natural, beard oils do not need to be rinsed out and are simply absorbed by your skin.

Beard Balm

Beard balm usage is generally more common with longer beards, so if your facial hair has reached the size that attracts lumberjacks to hand you an axe when you are around a forest, beard balm is for you!

Beard balms have a higher viscosity than oils. The thickness is because balm generally contain beeswax or/and shea butter. Like beard oils, balms offer moisture, volume and nourishment for your hair and skin. However, they have another added bonus; they can offer a light hold to keep stray hairs and wispy beards in place.

Balms most often come in cans or tins and the butters are absorbed slower so will last longer on your skin than the oil, offering moisture for longer.

Most balms are thick enough to comb down obstinate beard hairs that fly away from your intended style. They can also style your chin hairs, moustache and sideburns and give them a straight edge, though won’t control the hairs as much as a stronger beard wax will. Some users have discovered it keeps tattoos bright- but that’s a story for another day.

Beard Balm

How to use beard balm

After washing and drying your beard, scrape out a pea-sized amount of beard balm with your index finger. Rub and spread it between your palms and fingers. Then spread it throughout your facial and neck hair by running your fingers through your beard. Use a brush to distribute it evenly and straighten the hair.

Which is for me?

Beard oils and balms are both essential products to keep your facial hair neat and healthy. Both moisturise, deodorise and nourish the skin and beard.

For shorter beards (under 1 inch) we would recommend using beard oil. If your mane is slightly longer, or has a tendency to grow a little out of control, consider using beard balm.

You may also want to consider using both. They can be used together on a daily basis, or use one daily and the other just a few times a week. Personally, I like to apply beard balm in the morning to keep my beard in check during the day. I then apply beard oil after washing my beard in the evening, so it can work some magic overnight.