What Does Beard Oil Do?
Beard oil serves a number of purposes:
- It moisturizes facial hair. When your beard hair gets dry, it may become coarse, brittle, or even weak. Coarse hair is difficult to maintain and tends to grow wild, while brittle and weak hair is prone to damage, breakage, and thinning. By adding a layer of moisture to the beard, beard oil protects the hairs from dryness and damage.
- It moisturizes the skin. While beards are already protective for your skin (the presence of hair increases skin oil production), adding beard oil into the mix will provide another extra layer of protection that will prevent dryness.
- It tames and softens facial hair. The beard oil prevents your hair from becoming coarse, and the ingredients help to soften the hair, making it easier for you to groom. Beard oil is like using hair gel or wax, allowing you to style your beard and keep it neatly in place.
- It reduces beardruff. The ingredients in beard oil can help to kill off P. acne bacteria, but it will also kill off the bacteria responsible for dandruff. The hydration and infusion of nutrients into your skin can prevent a high skin cell turnover rate, which contributes to beard dandruff (also known as "beardruff").
- It can speed hair growth. By infusing your hair follicles with nutrients, the beard oil can speed up the growth of your beard. Not only will it help your hair grow longer, but also thicker and stronger.
- It improves your smell. Beard oils are usually made with sandalwood oil, cedar wood oil, and other naturally good-smelling oils. The addition of beard oil can add to your masculine scent, making you more attractive.
Beard oil is more than just a grooming product—it's a useful tool for helping you keep your beard and facial hair in good shape!
Beard Oil Ingredients
Beard oils are made with two types of oils: carrier oils and essential oils
Carrier Oils – Carrier oils are similar in chemical structure to your skin oil, which means they are absorbed easily into the skin without increasing sebum production. They are used to "carry" the essential oils, diluting them and preventing them from damaging your skin. Some of the most popular carrier oils include:
- Jojoba oil, which is a potent conditioner, thanks to its high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content. It's also a strong antibacterial agent that can reduce acne and dandruff.
- Grape seed oil, which is loaded with protective Vitamin E and antioxidants to prevent oxidative stress from damaging your skin and hair.
- Argan oil, which also contains a lot of Vitamin E, along with Vitamin A and other potent antioxidants.
- Castor oil, which is rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids that are easily absorbed into the skin, protecting it from damage.
- Almond oil, which is lighter than other carrier oils and provides A LOT of nutrients: Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D, and E.
Without these carrier oils, you'd be applying hyper-potent essential oils directly to your skin—NOT a good thing! These oils are mostly used for protecting your hair and skin, both from environmental toxins and the potent ingredients in essential oils.
Essential Oils – Essential oils are natural compounds found in plants, seeds, flowers, stems, and herbs. For example, when you squeeze a lemon peel, you get a naturally oily substance—lemon essential oil. Same as when you crush roses or extract the oil from peppermint.
Essential oils are potent, both in their antibacterial properties and their fragrance. It's these essential oils that give beard oil their rich smell. They also contain medicinal and antiseptic properties, which is what makes them so useful.
A few examples of essential oils include:
- Lemongrass oil, which invigorates and refreshes your skin, providing Vitamin C required to produce collagen.
- Cedarwood oil, which provides a musky, manly scent and antibacterial properties to kill off acne bacteria.
- Amla oil, which is highly effective at repairing damaged hairs.
- Eucalyptus oil, which can reduce skin irritation and kill off bacteria that cause beardruff.
- Peppermint oil, which can refresh the skin and infuse it with moisture, helping to restore dry or damaged skin.
Each essential oil serves a unique purpose, as well as providing a unique scent. Finding the right balance of essential oils is vital for getting a beard oil that smells nice and is effective at conditioning and protecting your face and beard.
How to Apply Beard Oil
Follow this step-by-step guide to applying beard oil properly every time:
Step 0 – If you have the time, take a hot shower before applying the beard oil. Not only will your beard hair be cleaner and softer after a shower, but the heat will open up the pores of your skin, allowing the oil to be absorbed more easily into your skin. Make sure to dry your beard completely before applying the oil—water and oil DO NOT mix.
Step 1 – Put a few drops of oil into your palm. The amount of oil you use will be determined according to the length of your beard:
- Less than 1 month of growth, use just 3-4 drops of oil
- For 1 to 3 months of growth, use 4-6 drops of oil
- For 3 to 12 months of growth, use 6-10 drops of oil
- For more than a year of growth, use 10 or more drops of oil
Remember, longer and thicker beards need more oil, as there is more hair to protect.
Step 2 – Rub your hands together to spread the beard oil around your palms and fingers. Don't worry that you'll waste the oil by letting it absorb into your palms. As long as you don't rub too vigorously (heat destroys the nutrients and breaks down the fatty acids in the oil), the oil will not be absorbed.
Step 3 – Apply to your beard. Brush your palms along the sides of your beard, starting at your sideburns and running down your cheeks and jaw toward your chin. Do the same along the front of your beard, starting beneath your nose and running down your mouth and chin. Run your fingers through your beard from beneath, letting the oil between your fingers soak into the hair on your chin. Finish by running your fingertips along your moustache and the hairs around your mouth. Your hands should now be mostly oil-free, and your beard will be ready to comb.
Step 4 – Break out your beard comb and get combing! Comb your moustache either down toward your upper lip or out to the sides. Comb the sides of your beard downward, along with the hair on your bottom lip and chin. This will give you the simple, straight-beard look—you'll have to try different combing techniques if you want a fancier beard hair style. Combing your beard will help to spread any drops of oil evenly around your beard.
Step 5 – Wash your comb. This will help to eliminate any oil residue, leaving your comb clean for the next day's use. Make sure to wash your hands with soap to get rid of any remnants of oil as well.
How Often to Apply Beard Oil
Ideally, you should apply beard oil once per day, usually first thing in the morning. The oils should last all day long, and keep your beard nicely in place.
However, for some men, it's worth considering applying oil twice per day. This is especially recommended for men who work outdoors and are exposed to vehicle exhaust, dust, debris, wind, and sunlight. Applying beard oil in the morning will help to protect the hair, and applying it after work will nourish the beard and repair the damage done.
Day vs. Night Treatment
The best time to apply beard oil is first thing in the morning, as that will help to keep your beard looking good all day long and protect it from the dryness, environmental toxins, wind, and UV rays it will be exposed to throughout the day.
However, some men find that applying the oil once a day isn't enough to protect or condition their beard, especially if they have a very long beard. Sometimes, a night treatment with beard oil can help you to keep it neat and healthy for easy grooming in the morning.
The problem with night treatments is that a lot of the oil will be absorbed into your pillowcase. This increases the chance of acne, thanks to the clumps of oil, dead skin cells, and dirt.
If you're going to treat your beard at night, make sure to do so at least 2-3 hours before going to sleep. Take a hot shower or apply a hot towel to your face to soften the hairs, and apply half as many drops of beard oil as you would during the day. The heat will help your skin and hair follicles absorb more oil, leaving less on your beard to be absorbed into your pillowcase.
Beard Oil Tips
Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your beard oil:
- Keep it in a cool, dry place. Heat and direct sunlight can break down the nutrients in the essential oils and degrade the carrier oils.
- Be gentle. The last thing you want is to attack your beard with the oil. Rub the oil gently between your hands, and apply it gently to your beard.
- Wash your beard regularly. Beard oil can attract dust, debris, food particles, and dead skin cells, increasing your risk of acne and skin irritation and infections. Wash your beard regularly (no less than thrice weekly) with soap and/or shampoo and conditioner.
- Get the right tools for the job. You need an eyedropper to apply the right amount of oil to your beard, a comb to help you style it, and a pair of shears or scissors to trim up runaway hairs.
- Try before you buy. Never buy a beard oil sight unseen. You need to find one that feels good on your skin, smells nice, and offers the consistency and ingredients you want for your hair and skin. Once you've found a couple of beard oils you like, stick with them—your hair and skin will acclimate to the ingredients, and you'll have an easier time layer on the smells (cologne and deodorants).
Make Your Own Beard Oil
That's right, you can make your own beard oil fairly easily!
Basically, you need anywhere from one to three carrier oils. Both Dr. Axe and Art of Manliness recommend a mixture of coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil. You will need roughly 1 ounce of mixed carrier oils, which you will pour into a glass jar (which comes with an eyedropper).
Next, you need essential oils. This is where you need to get creative and experiment with different smells. A few of the more popular essential oils include:
Each essential oil has their own benefits, but you need to focus on making the right combination according to their scent as well as their properties.
You really only need about 10 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oils. If you're going to use very powerful scents, use less—say 3 to 5 drops.
Once you've added the essential oils, all you need to do is mix the ingredients together and test them out. Adapt your formula as desired, and have fun experimenting with a broad selection of carrier and essential oils to make the perfect beard oil!