These days, there are innumerable beard products and countless tutorials that tell you which ones you should use. Beards have always been popular, but today there are probably more options for beard care than ever. If you’re one of the privileged ones with a beard, what should you use to maintain your glorious mane? You’ve got beard oils, beard shampoos, and beard waxes.
Today, we’re going to look at another beard product – beard balms. What is in a beard balm and what is it used for? This tutorial will try to answer those questions and, more importantly, show you exactly how to use a beard balm. Follow along – we’ll start by looking at what a beard balm is and why it is important before explaining how to use one.
What Is It?
So what is a beard balm? A beard balm is applied after showering as a styling or conditioning product. Basically, it’s a slightly thicker product than beard oil and designed to give extra body to your beard and allow you style it. A beard balm would be the distant relative of a hair gel or mousse, only intended for beards and usually without the extra holds of some hair products.
You can use a beard balm if your beard tends to have an unruly shape or stray bits that like to stick out. A beard balm will help hold those bits in and allow you to shape and control your beard better. A good beard balm with also give your beard some extra shine and nourishment. In that way, a beard balm is similar to a beard oil but with added ingredients for the hold.
What’s in It?
Here’s where a beard balm differs from a beard oil. Most beard balms contain some kind of sealant, which gives your beard some stiffness when applied. Shea butter and beeswax are two of the most commonly used sealants for beard balms. A good beard balm will combine those sealants with moisturizers and heavier oils, like jojoba oil and tea tree oil. Often, Vitamin E is also added to help nourish the hair and skin.
Do I Need It?
That’s the big question, isn’t it? Beard oils perform similar tasks and are probably more common; they are even easier to use. But a lot will depend on your own beard. If you wear a short beard, and if you generally like the natural shape of your beard, then you may not need a beard balm. However, if your beard is longer than a couple inches or so, you may want a balm to help you style it.
This is especially true if your beard has an unusual shape or a tendency to lose its shape over the course of the day. You may choose a beard balm to help control an otherwise shaggy mane and give it more of a dapper look without doing a lot of trimming.
What Else Do I Need?What tools will you need to follow this tutorial and properly apply a beard balm? Good news – not a whole lot! Just make sure you have the following basics, and you should be set.
- Beard shampoo – A clean beard is a basic prerequisite for any beard product. Make sure you’re using a good, natural beard shampoo to keep your beard clean.
- Beard comb – A vital ingredient to any bearded man’s kit. Use it to keep your beard snaggle-free.
- Beard brush – Typically, I prefer a beard comb to a brush; but for applying a beard balm and shaping your beard, nothing beats a good beard brush.
That’s all you’ll need! Now let’s look at several steps for how to use a beard balm.
Steps to Properly Apply a Beard Balm
Step One: Start with a Clean Beard
This is a simple point but one that bears frequent repetition. It does no good to apply a beard balm to a dirty beard. Or rather, it might do you some good for a little while – but in the end, you’ll just end up with a greasy, dirty beard. Use a good shampoo; you can find them all over the internet in both liquid and bar soap forms. Wash your beard thoroughly, and pat it dry.
Step Two: Comb and Straighten
Using your trusty beard comb, work through your beard to straighten it and free it of any tangles. You can also make sure your beard is following the general shape you want – this will make shaping it with the beard balm a bit easier later on. Make sure you work out any knots in your beard. You’re trying to avoid any tangles that might turn into a greasy mess after you’ve applied the balm.
Step Three: Apply Beard Balm to . . . Your Fingernails?
Because beard balm is heavier and often beeswax-based, it usually comes out of a tin in a solid form. This is normal; just use your fingernail to scrape some out. Then rub the wax between your fingers. The friction will heat up the balm and cause it to soften and liquefy. Once it has thinned out, then you’re ready to apply it to your beard. But don’t use too much beard balm.
How much is too much?
Well, that will obviously depend largely on the size of your beard, but start with a small amount – about the size of a pea. You can add more, but too much balm and your beard will look greasy or have spots of unabsorbed wax. Also, be aware of how oily your hair is naturally; if it tends to be oilier from the start, you probably won’t need to use as much.
Step Four: A Balm to My Face
Once the wax has softened, apply it to your beard. I rub the wax on the first three fingers of my hand and then run my hand through my beard from top to bottom. My beard isn’t horribly long – if yours is a longer beard, you may want to start from bottom to top or even on the underside of the beard by your neck. Watch this excellent video to see how. Move your hands steadily; you’re trying to avoid getting any clumps of balm in your beard. Work the beard balm in thoroughly.
Step Five: Brush!
Now is the time for your beard brush. Brush your beard thoroughly – the bristles on the brush will help to distribute the balm evenly throughout your beard. Once the balm is completely worked in, you can use the brush to help shape your beard and style it. Do this relatively quickly because, depending on the wax content of your balm, it may “set” pretty quickly. At this point, you can also determine if you’ve gotten enough beard balm in your beard; if you think you need more balm to cover all of your beard, you can add more and brush again.
Bonus: Insider Tips!
- Comb your beard IMMEDIATELY after your shower.
This is a bit self-explanatory, but there’s a huge difference between how smoothly my beard combs just after I’ve had a shower and an hour after my shower. The heat from the shower relaxes your hair, and the shampoo will also help to untangle it. Comb your hair right away, and you’ll notice it combs easier and the hair lies smoother.
- Use your comb to extract some beard balm.
Don’t like getting wax in or under your fingernails? Use the back of your comb to scrape some beard balm out, then swipe it off the comb. Voila! You’re ready to continue with step three above.
- Beard balm can also be used in conjunction with beard oil.
An oil will penetrate deeper into thicker beards, reaching the skin. Particularly for men with longer beards, a combo of a beard balm and beard oil can be beneficial. In that case, apply the beard oil first, comb in thoroughly into the beard, and then apply the beard balm to style the beard.
- Mustaches like beard balms.
There are also dedicated mustache waxes, of course, but for “quick-and-dirty” styling, a little beard wax can help keep your mustache up and out of the way.
- DIY Beard Balms
Beard balms have pretty basic ingredients, so they’re actually fairly simple to make at home. Beeswax, cocoa or shea butter, and a carrier oil are about all you need, so if you want to try your hand at your own bespoke beard balm, you can check out this recipe.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful! All in all, a good beard balm can be incredibly helpful for your beard styling needs, particularly if you have a longer beard. Ditto if your beard tends toward the “shaggy” end of the spectrum; that’s where my beard lives, and I have to say that a little wax goes a long way towards keeping everything in control. So let us know about your beard balm experiences, and be sure to fill us in on any additional tips and tricks!