Beard oil. Oil for the beard. Oily…beard… Greasy hair is a turnoff, so why would I want to risk slathering my face in actual oil? Grime and dirt sticks to oil, doesn’t it? As it happens, friends, the benefits far outweigh the risks of beard oil. Beard oil is a friend to the beardsman. Let me help you learn the finer points of how to apply beard oil.
Hang on, what’s in this stuff?
Basically, beard oils are blends of one or more carrier oil, essential oils, and supplements. Carrier oils serve as the base. Essential oils add scent and aromatherapeutic properties, and supplements aid your beard’s growth and protect against the elements.
Carrier pigeons, carrier ships, carrier…oils?
Maybe some of you have some insight into essential oils and already know about carrier oils. For the rest of us, here’s the scoop: Carrier oils are the neutral base oils used to dilute essential oils, which can irritate the skin when applied directly.
In beard care, plant oils are the all-around preferred candidates for the job. Oil that has been cold-pressed is a must. Expeller pressed oils are heated during extraction, and this can “boil out” the good nutrients which means they aren’t as effective for nourishing your beard. A few good ol’ reliables are sweet almond oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and jojoba oil. Some benefits of these oils are as follows:
- Sweet almond oil has been known to reduce inflammation and/or irritation of the skin. It also assists in softening and smoothing the skin.
- Coconut oil is reportedly good at spot treating acne, and it can condition and protect without leaving a very greasy residue after application.
- Grapeseed oil has no scent of its own to speak of, so it doesn’t add too much to blends. Grapeseed oil is “dryer” than other oils too, so if you have a particularly oily beard, you might prefer a beard oil with a grapeseed oil base.
- Jojoba oil is most closely comparable to human sebum, the oil that occurs naturally on human skin to preserve its suppleness and moisture.
Pretty packaging doesn’t matter…Does it?
Actually, it does. You might have noticed that many beard oils are sold in amber bottles, often with dropper lids. On the surface, this seems like part of the vintage / hipster aesthetic, but there’s a practical reason: Amber glass is phenomenal at blocking out light. For the same reason good beers are sold in amber bottles, quality beard oils are packaged to guard against light, which can destroy or disturb some chemical compounds. So skip any beard oil not sold in amber glass. Other features to look for are dropper lids and orifice reducers so you don’t pour $40 worth of beard oil into your hand. If the oil you’re considering has an amber glass bottle, natural ingredients and supplements, and won’t break the bank, then I will here offer you my congratulations–you’ve found a winner! It isn’t too perplexing a decision once you know what you want from the product.
What to do with a good oil once you’ve found one?
Put it on, brother. Now that I’ve let you in on the features of oil blends and their basic properties, let me move on to the part you were really interested to read: how to apply beard oil properly.
First, determine how much oil you will need to cover, but not saturate, your beard and the skin beneath. The common rule of thumb seems to be 2-3 drops per half inch of growth, but you’ll find your own groove. Coarser hair might want more oil; finer hair may need a bit less. You may need to adjust based on your skin type (dry/oily/combination) as well.
Another thing that can support your beard grooming routine is a beard wash. Beard washes are available for purchase through many companies and can help exfoliate the skin so that your follicles are free from any debris of dirt and/or oils that could irritate the skin. Because of this, a good beard wash is a handy-dandy grooming item to have around the house.
Ok, here’s how to apply beard oil.
The best time to apply beard oil is after washing your beard. Many men have made it routine to groom their beards after a hot shower. The heat of the water will open up your pores, literally opening the gateway for your skin to absorb oil. Don’t apply the oil while your beard is still soggy, though – it can be a little damp, but too much water will prevent your beard from absorbing the oil. If you’re going to apply oil at a different time, rinse your beard with warm water and towel dry it before applying the oil. Also, be sure your hands are clean and free of other substances before touching your beard.
Begin by measuring a couple of drops of into the palm of your hand. Next, rub the oil over your palms and fingertips and distribute the oil evenly over your beard. Place your hands over your beard and rub the oil down across the hair from jawline to chin. Do the same in the front and then over your mustache. Start working the oil deeper into the hair and down to the skin, using your fingertips. Finish by combing through your beard and mustache to set the hair back to the style you wear it. End your routine with a good glance into the mirror to behold your own glory.
What about balms and waxes and stuff?
We’ve focused on beard oil to this point, so let me give honorable mention to beard balm and mustache wax. These are both very useful tools for beard grooming, but their usages are a bit more specialized than beard oil. While beard oil supports growth and overall manageability, beard balm will provide a firmer hold for styling and control.
Mustache wax is a level up from beard balm for hold and control for styling. Both balm and wax will have varying amounts of beeswax and natural butters (like cocoa or shea), which is what gives these products their holding qualities. Both balm and wax are solid in their containers, but once rubbed between your fingers it becomes a smooth substance to distribute over your beard and mustache. Same as oil, the best time to apply balm or wax is immediately after a hot shower.
There you have it, folks! That about sums up what you need to know about beard oil and how to apply it. Did I answer your questions, or have I just left you dazed and confused? Drop a comment in the box below!