Beauty Hair

Here’s The 411 On Beard Balms vs. Beard Oils

I don’t have facial hair, but when getting my brother his facial-hair-loving-self a gift, I decided to look into beard oil vs. balm. I’d heard good things about them… but I didn’t know much about the differences.

In my brain, oil = nice and moisturizing, while balm = conditioning. Similar, but different. And I’m kind of right! But there’s a lot more to it.

Beard oils and beard balms are both beneficial (like my alliteration?), but which one is for you? I’ve got you covered – here’s the 411, plus good products to try out.


Beard Oil

Beard oil is good for the beard, def – but it’s also really good for the skin underneath.

Unsurprisingly, they have… well, oils. Lots of them. Here’s why.

Beard oils are meant to soften your beard, helping relieve the wiry feeling that comes with coarse hair. At the same time, it hits your skin, helping to stop the itch at its source. If you have beard dandruff, beard oil can also help with that.

Many people claim that beard oil helps with growth, but there is no scientific evidence proving this. However, it can help create a healthy environment for beard growth. Using certain essential oils doesn’t just mean a nice-smelling beard – they also have properties that contribute to overall beard health.

Basically, beard oil gives you a healthy environment hair- and skin-wise, making for fuller facial hair and happier skin.

Beard Balm

Think of beard balm as a leave-in conditioner, basically. You wash your beard, then put in your beard balm and go about your day. (Nope, you don’t put beard oil in at the same time as the balm – usually. More on that later.)

Beard balm is filled with waxes and butters that help condition your hairs, while also giving you the flexibility to get wily hairs in place. It’s what you should use prior to shaping your facial hair, because it won’t harden like a gel (ew) but will still keep you tame.

Like with beard oils, you might find essential oils in the formula as well, thanks to their benefits.

What’s In Beard Oils vs Beard Balms?

You’ve made it to the formula part!

In beard oils, there are many that treat both your facial hair and your skin. The big one: sunflower seed oil. This is due to its abundance of oleic and linoleic acids, which stop hair breakage, while also soothing inflammation – aka, it’s great for acne-ridden and dandruff-y skin.

You’ll also find coconut oil, which is great for sealing in moisture, AND argan oil, which can stop split ends and strengthen hair, therefore preventing hair loss. Other nourishing oils can include avocado, almond, and apricot.

For both beard balms and beard oils, essential oils play a major part in keeping you clean. 

Tea tree oil is in almost everything hair-to-skin-wise. Not only is it nourishing to beards, it also helps reduce flakes and irritation in your skin. Similarly, lavender oil soothes the skin and calms any blemishes living underneath the hair.

Other essential oils you’ll find include conditioning cedarwood, clarifying sage, and revitalizing patchouli. 

Carrier oils are also important in both beard balms and beard oils. Jojoba oil is huge, helping to reduce frizz and moisturize – obviously important in both products. Castor oil is a major one, which helps strengthen strands. It helps with growth, but not by speeding it up, despite what many claim! Instead, it is an antifungal and antibacterial, which means your hair follicles will stay safe enough to produce healthy hair.

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In beard balms, waxes and butters are what help keep hairs in place without looking greasy (ew). 

Beeswax has antibacterial properties, which means itchiness is nonexistent. It also helps slightly harden your hairs, but still allows for flexibility – perfect when combing into place. Carnauba wax also helps with the grooming aspect, making the glide easy. 

Butters include shea, mango, and cocoa. They all nourish, but in different ways. Shea butter is a conditioner through and through, while mango butter is good in stopping breakage and healing split ends. Cocoa butter is good for conditioning hair, and it’s lightweight, so you won’t feel like your facial hair is being pulled.

Whether you go with beard oil or beard balm, you’re ultimately giving your beard a gift: nourishment that beard shampoos and soap strip. Whether you go with shea butter or sunflower seed oil, cocoa oil or carnauba wax, your beard and skin will be happy and healthy – not scraggly and dirty.

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Are you more of a beard wax or beard oil person? Why? Tell us below!

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7 Butters To Give You The Softest Facial Hair
These 10 Body-Wash-Shampoo Combos Will Make Your Showers Way More Efficient