Honest Amish Beard Oil might be the king of the "craft beard oil" market. It's well-known, wildly popular, American-made, and founded on a principle of high-quality, natural and organic oils as its ingredients.
The objective is to moisturize and soften facial hair and the skin beneath it, as well as deliver vitamins and antioxidants. Honest Amish Beard Oil takes a "whole-food" approach to doing this—instead of adding individual vitamins or minerals to their formulation, they use nutrient-rich oils to begin with, delivering the vitamins and antioxidants in their natural form.
The most popular variant of Honest Amish Beard Oil, their "classic" blend, is based around several food oils that are tremendously healthy. These include avocado oil, pumpkin seed oil, apricot kernel oil, and almond oil. There's also some more exotic cosmetic oils, like jojoba oil and argan oil (used in a few other custom-blend beard oils for their skin and hair-nourishing properties), and kukui oil, a product of a plant native to Hawai'i.
Avocado oil, the first ingredient in the formulation, works great for beard and especially skin health. When it's minimally processed, it has a high concentration of vitamin A, D, and E, as well as its composition of healthy hydrating fats. It's been used since the 1930s in high-end ski care cosmetics (1). It is costly to produce, as you might imagine, but it has superior tissue-penetrating abilities, meaning it can power its way into the skin, softening and soothing it. This is particularly useful along your beard line, where aggravation from your razor can cause rough or irritated skin.
Almond oil is not a very common cosmetic product ingredient, but Honest Amish might be ahead of the curve. As reported by Harper's Bazaar, pumpkin seed oil is a great source of vitamin E, zinc, and several omega three and omega six fatty acids. According to an article by senior digital beauty editor Alexandra Tunell, it protects hair follicles and increases their luster (2). If you've got a thick, dark, scraggly beard, this could be just what you're looking for.
Apricot kernel oil is even less common—scientific investigations into its chemical composition were still ongoing as of 2007 (3). It's seen some exposure in the market as a moisturizing massage lotion, but aside from that, it's a relative newcomer to the cosmetic arena, so its benefits and advantages are not well-known (4).
The better-known cosmetic oils included in Honest Amish Beard Oil are jojoba oil and argan oil. Jojoba oil is widely coveted for its ability to hold in moisture along the skin, and argan oil is an effective anti-inflammation, anti-acne, and anti-irritation agent. In a 2010 review study, a group of researchers at the Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne in France summarized the therapeutic potential of argan oil, highlighting its ability to reduce acne and fight infections (5). Often, the redness, bumps, and irritation that you can get on the skin under your beard or along its border with your neck and face are the result of bacteria worming its way into your pores and hair follicles. Hopefully, argan oil can help root them out.
The classic formula for Honest Amish Beard Oil also includes two essential oils for a faint, pleasant smell that's been described as "light," "crisp," and "subtle." If you aren't big on added fragrances, there's also a fragrance-free version with the same ingredients, save for the essential oils that give it its distinctive scent. Note that it won't be smell-free—there's still going to be undertones of the natural oils used in the product.
Honest Amish also offers a "premium blend" version of their beard oil that adds several more artisan oils to the mix, including black cumin oil, boabab oil, and seabuckthorn oil. These are pretty far ahead of the cosmetics curve—some research suggests that black cumin oil functions as a powerful anti-oxidant and free-radical scavenging compound, but there's no direct evidence this could be useful in maintaining skin or beard health (6). One medical report does caution that, very rarely, some people can suffer from contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction on the skin, when exposed to cosmetic products containing black cumin oil (7). To be safe, test it on a small spot of skin for a few hours before applying it to your beard for the first time.
How to use
Honest Amish Beard Oil comes in an amber glass bottle with an eyedropper top, so all you have to do is put a few drops on your fingers and vigorously work it into your beard, making sure to get some of the oil on your skin underneath your beard and along your beard line.
Since the formula is comprised of several delicate oils and is rich in anti-oxidants, you want to store it in a cool cabinet, away from the light. The amber glass will help protect the oil, but you don't want it sitting out on your counter if your bathroom has a window in it.
Honest Amish Beard Oil is a great all-around product, especially for men with thick, dark beards. Their classic formula has several ingredients that help keep your beard soft and your skin underneath smooth, hydrated, and irritation-free. It's got a mild, crisp scent, but it also comes in a fragrance-free formulation. Unless you are a true believer in the Honest Amish oil artisans, starting with the classic formulation instead of the premium formulation is the best way to try out this product.