Having a beard is like having a puppy…
Yes, women love both.
And guys seem to be catching on to this:
Also, you have to take care of both. You can’t just buy a puppy and not feed him, groom him, and take him for walks. Similarly, you have to fuel your beard and keep it tidy.
Recently, there has been an explosion of beard care products on the market. Many of them are not necessary for the average guy- at least half of these products are just garbage- but there is one essential beard care product you should have if you haven’t shaved for a week, a month, or even a year. It’s beard oil.
Unfortunately, personal care products are as unregulated as the supplement industry is. This means there is mass confusion between what’s fact and what is just marketing. Let’s change that. Keep reading to separate the fact from fiction today and become just a bit more handsome with the complete guide to beard oil
It seems that today you’re never fully dressed without facial hair, right?
While making you look more attractive, boosting your testosterone, AND drawing over all the ladies- having a beard takes responsibility too.
The key is to have a beard that looks clean and neat, otherwise you’ll end up looking like the guy at your friend’s wedding who borrowed his dad’s suit…
See what I mean?
Even more important, research illustrates that hair growth attracts bacteria to your skin because the hair follicles add a bit of sugar and fat to your sweat (1). Gross right?
That’s just the start- more hair and more bacteria can lead to odors, increased acne, and even beard-druff (2). Yes, the dreaded dandruff that falls from your face.
Not to worry though because we have beard oil!
Imagine, if you will that each little hair follicle that makes up your beard is like a single tree is a forest.
Just like those trees, your hair follicles need to take in water, minerals, and proteins to stay healthy, strong, and hydrated. Your beard is a growing living thing and needs its nourishment!
When your beard reaches a certain length, which depends on your individual body chemistry and diet, you start sending more oil into your beard hair than your skin normally produces (3).
As your beard grows thicker and longer this oil drain takes a toll and starts to seriously dry out your hair follicles.
Luckily, beard oils can jump right in and help supplement your natural oil production to keep your beard at its healthiest.
But that’s only half of the oil shortage issue...
Dreaded beard-druff, if you’re not familiar, is when your beard is taking up too much oil from the skin leaving your skin to dry out (4).
When skin dries it starts to flake and flaky skin falls out as beard-druff.
Beard oil isn’t just for your beard though, it works to moisturize the skin. Really, it works from the tip of each hair to the root to nourish your beard. It goes beyond keeping you looking sharp but helps your beard to grow fuller and longer because with healthier skin you have a better foundation for your beard to grow.
Have you ever tried to start a campfire in the woods?
Of course you have- look at that beard.
Anyways, you have to use the dry branches and sticks to fuel your fire, otherwise they’ll be full of water and won’t burn.
So, what’s the best way to test if a branch is wet?
Try to bend it! With water inside it is strong and pliable while dry sticks snap.
With your beard lacking hydration- even slightly- you start to have hairs that pop out of place and it can become tougher to keep your beard looking neat or kept together. That’s where a beard oil can help. By increasing that hydration your beard will be more pliable and easier to tame with a brush or comb and stay in place throughout the day so you look dapper from the morning to bedtime and not disheveled by 10 in the morning.
Different lengths and styles of beards work with difference faces.
If you’re looking to instantly up your attractiveness and highlight your jawline to look even leaner then you want not just a beard but a trim and styled beard.
Remember Big Suit Guy?
Just as a suit can make you look like a celebrity… or like a kid who snuck over to the adults table a well-kept beard will put your appearance over the time, while a scraggly dirty looking beard will scare everyone away.
As we mentioned before beard oil keeps your skin moisturized, your hair healthy, and makes your beard easier to style. All necessary points for your beard to make you look the most attractive as you walk down the street to lead women to want you and men to want to be you.
Beard itch is the worst because not only do you look like a heroin addict when you scratch your face in public but also scratching can lead to your skin drying out even faster (5).
We already covered that beard oil is super hydrating, but it works to soften your beard hair too (6).
You see, a common cause of beard itch is that your beard hair is more coarse and manly than the hair from your head, so as it grows and rubs against the skin it can irritate the area (7).
Plus, a beard naturally traps in more debris from skin, dirt, and any food you may drop into it leading to more irritation (8)!
And the longer the beard the worse the beard itch.
So we moisturize the skin, we soften beard hair follicles, AND your beard hair is more tame with beard oil so you can comb it to clear out any debris or irritants that may have gotten trapped.
Beard oils contain a mixture of essential oils. New to essential oils? They’re like spices of the personal care world.
Just as you can season a dish with salt, pepper, or basil you can add in eucalyptus, orange peel, or lemon pepper to beard oils for different scents.
Since your beard is right below your nose be sure to pick out a beard oil you like the smell of!
Some scents last longer than others though. In the world of beard oils, essential oils are split into base notes, middle notes, and top notes- not unlike a song.
The base notes are the more subtle smells that last longer throughout the day such as cedarwood. The middle notes are, well, in the middle and include essential oils such as clove or nutmeg. Top notes are going to be strong smells that fade rapidly like orange, spearmint, or lemon.
When picking a beard oil look for essential oils of scents you enjoy and that won’t bother you throughout the day.
Men and women without beards already use essential oils in their homes and offices to make their rooms smell better, increase focus, and fight stress.
The compounds in essential oils don’t just smell good, they’re also chemicals that cause different reactions in the body!
Some oils, like peppermint and rosemary, are seen to increase focus (9).
Other oils, like orange peel and bay leaf, work to increase circulation (10).
There are even some oils, like sandalwood and tea tree oil, that are antibacterial (11)!
Finding the right balance of essential oils can lead you to being more productive, growing your beard faster, and reducing acne by killing bacteria.
Because beard oils tend to not have many additives they don’t irritate skin- even if it’s sensitive.
A beard oil is only made with two types of ingredients for the most part.
You have your carrier oils, which we will talk about in a moment, and your essential oils. Both classes of chemicals are mild on the skin and great whether your skin is oily or dry (12).
While reactions to beard oil are rare you tend to the reactions from beard oils that use citrus essential oils such as orange and grapefruit mainly.
When selecting a beard oil you’re already thinking of the price, the amount, and the brand- but you also want to take a look at the ingredients.
Specifically, the carrier oil, which can be 90-95% of the entire product!
The carrier oil is so fundamental to the beard oil that some beard oils are just 100% carrier oil because that’s where the main moisturizing benefits come from, the essential oils just add in the scent and their unique benefits.
So, a cost-effective option for you could be to simply buy a good quality carrier oil to use on your beard.
But which carrier oils are the best?
When you look for a carrier oil you want something that is not irritating and mimics the natural oils of your skin because when you get close up your skin is a battlefield of hair follicles, bacteria, different pH balances, and skin flakes.
The ideal choice is going to be a mild jojoba oil simply because it is a close match to sebum, the oil your skin naturally produces (13). Plus, this mild plant-based oil will support your skin without you becoming dependent on it because it’s an open circuit.
Open circuit?? What I mean is that some products will give you the same benefits of a jojoban but only in the short term. A great example is if you shampoo your beard, or the hair on your head, everyday and end up drying your hair out in the long term. That’s a closed circuit because the shampoo pulls your body out of balance making it tougher for you to balance your skin’s pH and oil levels. On the other hand, jojoba oil complements your skin’s pH and oil levels to take on some of the work without letting your body get lazy and slack off (14).
If you can’t find jojoba oil or prefer another choice both argan oil or grapeseed oils are mild and match sebum as well.
Beer and beard oils should both be purchased in dark containers.
Why? Because both products contain volatile components (not explosive, just sensitive). When a beard oil, which can last you a few months, is sitting and getting hit with sunlight the fats in the carrier oils are changing and becoming rancid (15).
Rancid is NOT what you look for in beer or beard oil.
They don’t exactly sell cans of beard oil, but you can find beard oil in amber or dark blue glass bottles.
This dramatically increases shelf life so you don’t find that one morning your beard oil smells funky and has to go in the trash.
If you have to use your beard oil more than 3 times a day then you need to get a better one.
If you need to use your beard oil more than 3 times a day you may need another product, like a beard balm (keep reading to find out what that is).
Typically, you use your beard oil in the morning, after you wash your beard, to keep it fresh and moisturized to handle whatever the day has to throw at it, from frigid winds, blistering heat, or a stampede of girls who can’t get enough of your long soft stylish beard.
There are some companies that look good but actually put out products with many comedogenic compounds. I just learned a new word writing this!
Comedogenic means that the ingredient will clog your pores and lead to more black heads, zits, and pimples.
Definitely an ingredient you want to avoid in a beard oil.
In general, soybean oil, wheat germ oil, red palm oil, sesame seed oil, and palm kernel oils are comedogenic (16). Really the issue is with beard oils that include additives. Carrier oils and essential oils either evaporate or are absorbed into the skin and don’t block pores so you don’t have to worry about acne with high quality beard oils.
Alright, that’s a bit extreme, but still NOT what you are looking for in a beard oil.
Here’s a lineup of the silicone-based compounds you’ll want to avoid:
Ok, ok you don’t have to memorize this or even print it out to compare to beard oil labels, just avoid ANY additives in general.
Why? Well, silicone actually helps your beard look healthier. It coats the hairs that make up your beard and gives it a more silky look.
Remember that whole open circuit/close circuit thing we talked about before?
Well, since silicone coats the beard hairs, it can make it harder for your follicles to take in oils and nutrients to stay healthy (18). It’s like having a bowl of wax fruit in your house. It looks nice, until someone tries to take a bite out of the apple and chips his tooth!
Another reason to avoid additives AND stick with a beard oil that mainly has jojoba oil is to avoid the dreaded shiny beard look.
Just like the guy you work with who uses way too much hair gel and leaves his hair looking wet and greasy all day every day- you don’t want to be shiny beard guy.
Shiny beards don’t only look unattractive but also can lead to more issues such as more debris stuck in your beard, increased acne, and increased beard-druff.
Shiny beards are caused because you have too much oil sitting on top of your hair and not being absorbed. This can be due to silicone-based compounds in your beard oil, which is another reason to avoid any additives.
In the personal care market some companies try to get away with using additives and other junk in their products without you knowing.
How can they do this??
Even though they have to list the ingredients on the label they don’t have to list all of them.
So, if they add in some silicone-based compounds, which some guys don’t like for good reason, they can include those compounds in the proprietary blend section of the ingredient label.
See, if a compound is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the FDA companies can simply include it in an umbrella term ingredient without specifically listing it out.
To be honest, most moisturizers are just watered down beard oils. This means that you may buy a moisturizer at a lower cost per ounce BUT an ounce of moisturizer is less effective than an ounce of beard oil!
Even worse is that there is water in these moisturizers. Water is the enemy of every single personal care product out there because water is essential for life. All across the Earth there are organisms that can survive in blazing heats, frigid waters, places with no oxygen, and even places where the sun doesn’t even shine- BUT all organisms need water.
With water being added to these products there is a risk of bacteria growth. This means that either…
Do yourself a favor and avoid moisturizers.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that is as good for your heart as it is for your hair!
It’s fat solubility allows it to mix in with the beard oil and be delivered to the skin and hair where it is needed. Now, it’s uncertain how vitamin E specifically works to improve hair health, but top researchers believe that it speeds up hair growth and nourishment by improving the health of the capillaries, or tiny blood vessels, just beneath your skin (19).
But wait- there’s more.
Vitamin E is also an antioxidant, which may explain how it can strengthen your hair, keep it look luxurious, and even prevent early greying (20).
While you don’t need vitamin E in your beard oil, it is an extra perk. The reality is that most men can easily consume enough vitamin E in their diets if they include good sources of vitamin E. A few such sources include leafy green foods, avocados, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
That makes sense, right?
Urban Beardsmen, a brand of beard oil and beard accessories, put out their recommendations for the amount of beard oil you should use depending on how long you’ve been growing your beard:
Here you can see that a drop will do it for most guys out there. If you use too much not only will you be burning through your beard oil supply but you’ll also end up with a greasy beard!
Tim Ferriss refers to this as the Minimal Effective Dosage, the intersection of results and the least amount of effort needed.
This information is also handy in the next fact...
Ideally, for around $20 you can buy 2 ounces of beard oil, or about 1200 drops. If you say, conservatively, that you have a 6 month old beard you need about 6 drops per day. In turn, 2 ounces of beard oil will last you 6 months and $40 dollars will last you through the year.
Plus, if you’re rocking a baby beard that’s under a month old your $20 bottle of beard oil will last you the whole year.
Definitely a small investment that is worth the small cost.
Winter is likely to be the harshest season on the skin and the time most men even think about keeping their skin moisturized and healthy.
However, while the weather can affect your skin by drying it out, the root of your problem is that your beard is draining too many nutrients from your skin.
Unless you shave your beard during the summer then you don’t need a beard oil!
Otherwise, your beard needs maintenance and nourishment, so spoil him with a good quality beard oil.
Beard balm and beard oil are similar in that they use carrier oils and essential oils to improve the health, shine, and look of your beard.
While a beard oil is more of a liquid, beard balm is more thick, like peanut butter. The difference is that beard balm includes beeswax and a butter (like shea or cocoa butter- NOT butter you put on toast).
While you can use a beard balm and a beard oil together, beard balms are more useful for longer beards because the butter and beeswax gives you more hold so you can deal with a longer beard better.
Ultimately, it comes down to your budget and your preference.
To start every beard beginner should have at least a brush and a bottle of beard oil. Beard oil works as a cologne, a conditioner, AND a moisturizer. As long as you stick with brands that are free from additives and smell good to you you’re all set.
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