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If you’ve grown a beard during quarantine — intentionally or not — you’re not alone. Many men have adopted new habits during the coronavirus pandemic, like giving their electric razor a break from daily use. Other than using a beard trimmer to shape your new facial hair, you might be wondering how to tend to and tame your beard. That’s where the best beard oils come in, an essential item in your beard grooming kit. These multitaskers can work wonders for facial hair, regardless of whether you’re working a goatee, mustache, closely shorn beard or one that rivals a lumberjack. The best beard oils condition while boosting hair health. Not sure where to start? We connected with men’s grooming expert and stylist Andrew Zumbo to get his take on the best ways to select and apply a beard oil that’s right for you. Read on to learn more.
What is beard oil?
The name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an oil that is specifically formulated to work like a conditioner, keeping facial hair moisturized and healthy.
“Beard oil is a product designed to hydrate skin and soften beard hair; in particular tame your unruly beard hair,” said Zumbo. “This dual-action product is such a saving grace to bearded faces as it not only hydrates and keeps your beard in check, but also acts as a styling agent.”
Since facial hair is coarser than the hair on your head, it needs more help when it comes to keeping it hydrated and kempt. To ensure it sinks into skin and hair, beard oil tends to be on the lighter side to increase absorption and avoid greasiness. They’re usually scented, which adds a nice touch, and the options range for subtle fragrances to ones that leave you smelling fresh all day.
What are the benefits of using beard oil?
“The ideal beard should look natural and lived in and anyone sporting any kind of facial hair from medium stubble to a full blown-beard should have a bottle of beard oil handy,” Zumbo said.
Beard hair is coarse and tough, so the best beard oils leave it smooth, touchable and much easier to style by keeping unruly hairs in line. Especially for longer beards, the skin underneath can easily become dry, itchy and irritated. Lessen the chance that’ll happen — and the dreaded beard dandruff that can come along with it — by using a beard oil daily. From stubble to long beards, beard oils work their magic on any length. However, you’ll really need one once your beard covers the skin underneath, which is when a little taming help comes in handy.
The different types of beard oil
The best beard oils are truly nourishing, so look for ingredients that will get the job done, such as jojoba oil and argan oil. They’ll leave both skin and hair feeling soft, as well as prevent hair breakage and irritation. Many beard oils are multitaskers that you can use on skin and hair as well thanks to their nourishing ingredients. If you have sensitive skin, you might want to opt for a fragrance-free version.
“I advise my clients to use a beard oil that is enriched with very good oil bases and that contain quality vitamins and minerals,” Zumbo explained. “I always highly recommend choosing a beard product that contains any of these staples: Argan oil, Coconut oil, Frankincense Oil, Jojoba Oil, Hempseed Oil, and Eucalyptus Oil. These fine ingredients all address beards in a similar fashion to conditioning your hair in the shower to combat itching, dryness and any sensitivity issues.”
How to apply beard oil
Personal preference is typically the deciding factor when determining how often to use a grooming product. The best time to apply beard oil is right after washing your beard. To maximize results, Zumbo recommends applying beard oil at least three times per week on average depending on your beard type and how coarse your beard is in texture. “In this case, if you find your beard on the drier side, consider using your oil 4-5 times per week to inject some moisture and strengthen the hair. Having said that, I do encourage my clients to take a personal approach on how much you need to use as each beard is different due to growth, length and texture,” he said.
Using a beard shampoo is recommended, since they’re formulated differently than regular shampoos to accommodate coarse facial hair. Check out the instructions on the bottle, but generally a beard oil can be applied with your fingers or combed through.
“Each brand has their way of instructing how to best apply beard oil, and this is how I generally recommend doing it yourself at home in these easy steps,” Zumbo explained. “Apply two to three drops of beard oil in your palm and rub your hands together to spread the oil around your palms and fingers. You may need more oil later, but I feel it’s better to start with a small amount to avoid making your beard too greasy. Then, rub your palms and fingers across the hair on both your cheeks. Gently rub your hands down the front of your face so that it covers your mustache and chin,” he said. “Run a comb through your beard to evenly distribute the oil. Comb both with and against the growth of your hair. to evenly coat as much of the oil into your beard. Apply more oil if you don’t feel like you’ve used enough. People with particularly long or dry beards are most likely to need more. Comb your beard back into place and shape it as you desire.”
Now that you’ve got all the basics down, bring your facial hair to the next level with the best beard oils for every budget and style.
1. Lab Series The Grooming Oil 3-in-1 Shave & Beard Oil
A true triple threat, this three-in-one works as a beard oil, shave oil and conditioner, helping you cut down on products and time. As a shaving oil, it provides a cushion on the skin for a smoother glide with a razor, adding precision. When it comes to conditioning, it leaves hair moisturized, smooth and shiny, making it easier to manage.
2. Rebels Refinery Moisturizing Beard & Preshave Oil
This twofer works as both a beard and pre-shave oil to condition skin and hair, plus boosting hair growth. The all-natural formula fights off itchy skin and beard dandruff with almond, jojoba, sunflower, castor and tea tree oils, as well as vitamin E for antioxidants. As a pre-shave oil, apply it before shaving cream and it’ll prevent nicks and cuts, reducing razor burn.
3. Kiehl’s Nourishing Beard Oil
It’s easy for dead skin to build up under a beard, but Kiehl’s puts a stop to that with its Nourishing Beard Oil that contains salicylic acid and pracaxi oil to gently exfoliate dead skin cells and prevent dandruff while nourishing the sensitive skin. The blend of cedarwood, sandalwood and eucalyptus essential oils create a delightfully woody scent. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly so it won’t leave any residue behind.
4. Acqua di Parma Barbiere Beard Serum
This one comes highly recommended by our grooming expert Zumbo who says it’s one of the beard oils for men that he regularly recommends to his clients. The Italian brand Acqua di Parma is known for its fantastic fragrances and the scent in the beard serum lives up to its standards. It features citrus top notes of lemon, sweet orange, and Calabrian bergamot; a heart of lavender, Bulgarian rose, verbena and rosemary; and a base of vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli. Locally sourced ingredients, such as sweet almond oil and grape seed oil, take the spotlight to soothe skin and hydrate your beard hair.
5. Tom Ford Conditioning Beard Oil
Tom Ford has an impeccably groomed beard, and we suspect this oil might have something to do with it. The lightweight blend includes almond, jojoba and grapeseed oils, plus vitamin E to condition. To apply the oil evenly through the beard and keep hair smooth, comb it through afterward with the Tom Ford beard comb, which glides through hair, leaving it lustrous.
6. Baxter of California Beard Grooming Oil
An unruly beard is no match for this smoothing and soothing beard oil that conditions skin and hair with avocado oil, squalane and vitamin E. Beards are left with a natural sheen and smelling great, thanks to the fragrance of sandalwood, jasmin and cedarwood.
7. Jack Black Beard Oil
If you suffer from dry, itchy skin, this option is the best beard oil for you. The combination of certified organic natural oils, powerhouse antioxidants and vitamins team up to soften even the most brittle beard and thirsty skin underneath, leaving facial hair gorgeous and gleaming.
8. Oars + Alps Beard Oil
This is one of the best beard oils for dandruff. Enduring beard dandruff is not fun, to say the least, and this Oars + Alps natural beard oil is specifically designed to prevent and treat it. Itching and flaky skin will be a thing of the past, thanks to the hydrating, powerful blend of alpine caribou moss, jojoba and argan oils. The refreshing citrus grove scent is another major perk.
9. Duke Cannon Supply Co. Best Damn Beard Oil
The Duke Cannon Supply Co.’s answer to the best beard oil is formulated with premium natural ingredients including apricot kernel, argan, and jojoba oils. Also rich in vitamin E, carotenes, and antioxidants, this oil will soften any tough beard. This formula is also designed to combat psoriasis, eczema, and acne for those with skin irritation issues around the beard area.
10. Billy Jealousy Devil’s Delight Beard Oil
Billy Jealousy’s Devil’s Delight Beard Oil deeply hydrates and nourishes hair and skin while also protecting dry beard hair from breakage. The vegan formula contains sunflower oil to condition beard hair, sweet almond oil to strengthen the beard hair shaft, and avocado oil which contains natural antimicrobial properties. Beyond its effective formula, it also leaves a rich black pepper sandalwood scent that will keep your beard smelling fresh all day.
11. Every Man Jack Beard Oil
Every Man Jack Beard Oil contains naturally-derived ingredients to care for your beard. One of the best beard oils, it’s formulated with plant-based goodness like shea butter, vitamin E, and safflower oil. It’s also free of parabens, phthalates, harmful chemicals, and dyes. It also smells amazing, paired with a rugged cedarwood scent complemented by sage and rosemary essential oils. It conditions beards and soothes the skin underneath, reducing dryness and adding a subtle, natural shine to facial hair.
12. Blind Barber Tonka Bean Beard Oil
This luxurious option from Blind Barber features a combination of essential oils designed to moisturize beard hairs and the skin underneath. Key ingredients include shea butter and sunflower oil which contain fatty acids, vitamins, and anti-inflammatory properties. Lightweight and aromatic, it leaves a warm vanilla and almond fragrance and a bit of shine to the beard.
13. Grave Before Shave Beard Oil
Do you suffer from severe beard dandruff? If so, this Grave Before Shave Oil might be the beard oil for you. Its combination of essential oils is specifically designed to condition the beard and skin underneath, aiding in itch relief. It also comes with a pleasant bay rum scent, complete with coconut notes.
14. 18.21 Man Made Absolute Mahogany Beard Oil
18.21 Man Made‘s Absolute Mahogany Beard, Hair & Skin Oil is a multitasker that will come in handy for a variety of reasons. This lightweight, non-greasy oil nourishes and conditions your beard and hair, and also works to hydrate your skin and keep your tattoos looking vibrant. Bonus: If you blow-dry your hair, this will also cut down your styling time.
15. Paul Mitchell MVRCK Beard Oil
Ideal for dry, unruly beards, Paul Mitchell MVRCK Beard Oil softens coarse hair with a blend of shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and other hydrating ingredients. The lightweight formula tames all beard styles and lengths, from light stubble to full grown and everything in between. This beard oil keeps beards looking soft, shiny and healthy. It also features an energizing agave citrus scent to refresh the senses.
16. Gibs Grooming Alpha Male Beard, Hair & Tattoo Oil
Gibs Alpha Male Beard, Hair & Tattoo Oil is packed with nourishing olive, argan, and sunflower oils to help strengthen your beard. This multi-use formula also contains passion fruit and copaiba balsam to moisturize the skin. The unique formula keeps it looking and feeling soft while also imparting a soft scent you can enjoy all day.
17. Redken Brews Beard and Skin Oil
Redken Brews Beard and Skin Oil grooms and softens facial hair while providing hydration to the skin. Safe for any beard or skin type, this salon brand is loved by hairstylists and consumers alike. In addition to a nourishing blend of oils, it also features salicylic acid to keep any breakouts at bay and keep the skin near your beard exfoliated properly, free of any ingrown hairs.
18. SheaMoisture Beard Conditioning Oil
SheaMoisture Beard Conditioning Oil is one of the best men’s beard oils to moisturize and soften your beard. This one combines Maracuja oil and shea butter to leave your beard looking, feeling and smelling great. If you have super thick, coarse hair, you can apply more of this conditioning oil to moisturize further. It’s safe on your hair as it’s formulated with no parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petrolatum.
19. Mountaineer Brand Beard Oil
This beard oil absorbs quickly and leaves your beard feeling soft and smooth with subtle shine. It’s also effective for conditioning the skin underneath your beard. If you’re looking for the best beard oil for a patchy beard, this one promotes healthy hair growth thanks to its natural blend of ingredients. It features a light, woodsy scent with notes of cedarwood, fir needle and a hint of eucalyptus.