Can you use too much beard oil?

I have been a person who used far too much beard oil. In the early stages of growing my beard, people said to me that my beard looked wet. It turned out that I was using far too much beard oil, which couldn’t absorb into my beard hair. Over the years, I have realised that using too much beard oil can stain materials and look wet, and I now know less is more.

You can use too much beard oil on your beard. A common sign of too much beard oil is that your beard looks wet and our after applying it. The ingredients also determine how much beard oil gets absorbed, and high concentrations of essential oil can cause damage to your beard hair.

In this article, we will answer the question: can you use too much beard oil? We will look at all the details about why people add too much beard oil and the problems too often.

Overall, beard oil is a great addition to your beard growing toolkit – you have to be very careful about how you use it.

Why do people add too much beard oil?

Adding too much beard oil is very easy to do. There is a myriad of reasons why someone may add too much beard oil. Here is a rundown of the most common reasons people had too much beard oil to their beard.

Unsure about amount

The most common reason is that men are unsure about the amount they should apply to their beards. It is commonly assumed that more is better. This adage is certainly not the case with your beard. Even though the surface area of your beard is very high, you can easily apply too much.

Adding too much beard oil is common in the early stages of growth when your beard is a lot shorter.

Hair can only absorb so much extra stuff throughout the day, and if you have a short beard, the hair is not long enough to absorb a huge amount of material.

The easiest way to determine how much you should apply to your beard is to start with one drop and add one drop at a time until your beard remains shiny for more than 10 minutes.

Wrong ingredients

Not all beard oils are created the same. There are many different oils and ingredients that can be included in the formulation of your beard oil.

Different oils are absorbed differently into the hair.

Beard balms are made up of two majority components: carrier oils and essential oils. The carrier oils make up the biggest component of the formulation and are responsible for diluting everything else in the oil. If this oil is jojoba based the beard does not very readily absorb it.

On the other hand: almond oil and Argan oil are very readily absorbed by the hair.

To work out the best formulation for your beard, I highly recommend that you try a few samples from different manufacturers to find the most readily absorbed formulation by your beard.

Broken delivery system

There are two types of delivery systems for beard oils. The first is a small hole in the top of the bottle, which you shake or tap to express the oil. The other is a dropper system with a rubber teat for controlling the number of drops you place in the palm of your hand.

It is very easy to over-deliver using the first type of delivery system.

My favourite way to deliver beard oil to the palm of my hand is to use a dropper system. This dropper system is much more convenient, and if you apply too much to your palm, you can suck up the excess and return it to the bottle – as long as your palms are clean. It is easy to contaminate beard oil by returning things to the bottle.

In a rush

Our modern lives are very busy.

Rushing to apply beard oil is an effective way of over-applying. This is particularly true if you leave your beard styling until the last minute before heading out the door. Doing it at least 30 minutes before leaving will show you how much of each product is best and guide your beard routine.

Applying beard products in rapid succession (for example, beard oil and then beard balm or beard butter) can easily lead to over application. Many of the other beard products use oil in their formulations to help improve the effects of the product on the beard.

The inclusion of beard oil in other products means that it becomes even easier to over apply.

If you find too much beard oil in your beard, here are the problems you may face.

Problems adding too much beard oil

Adding too much beard oil to your face quickly results in a range of issues. There are many downsides, from dripping, staining, residual oil, and a strong smell to the expense of adding too much.

Transfer

If you add too much beard oil to your beard, it will likely transfer to other materials. This transfer is particularly likely if you apply your beard oil before going to bed.

If you apply too much beard oil before heading out for work, it can easily end up on the collar of your shirt, the front section, and be transferred to other materials by touching your beard and then touching other items.

It is best not to touch your beard for about 20 minutes after applying beard oil. The excess will end up being absorbed by your hands, but the immediate transfer is possible. This transfer of beard oil can easily end up staining materials.

Staining

Stubborn stains are hard to get out. Beard oil is a very stubborn stain because it works its way deep into the material. Oil has a very low surface tension, which means it is much more readily absorbed and wicked up by materials.

To remove old beard oil stains, you need to:

  • if the oil stain has just happened, you can pretreat the stains with some baby powder or cornstarch
  • pretreating old stains are a little bit trickier, but you could try a mild washing-up liquid or baby shampoo
  • wash with an advanced laundry liquid that actively lifts stains.
  • You can also use dry-cleaning to remove oil from around shirts and suits – let your dry cleaner know exactly what the problem areas contain.

Beard oil stains are very subtle to start with but can quickly build up over a long period. The darker the beard oil, the more obvious the staining becomes.

Dripping

In the extreme cases of applying too much beard oil to your beard, it can drip onto your shirt and trousers. It is very unlikely that this will happen from beard oil alone because dripping is immediately obvious.

However, it can happen if you also use a product with a higher melting point, such as beard butter or beard balm.

Applying a high melting point product to your beard when it is cool may cause problems when you enter a hotter environment.

The beard balm or the beard butter will slowly become more liquid and can drip once it has fully turned into a liquid.

It looks wet

The most obvious problem with applying too much beard is that your beard can look wet for a significant amount of time. This wetness is particularly obvious if you are outside or in a well-lit environment. I have had several occasions where I have applied too much product, and beard oil and people have asked if I have just washed my beard.

Having your beard look wet is not the most terrible of problems, but it is very embarrassing when you need to explain that you have applied far too much beard oil.

It needs a long time to soak in

If you are dead set on applying a lot of beard oil, one of the issues is that it takes a long time to soak in. Beard oil can take up to 45 minutes to completely be absorbed by your beard hairs.

Applying a small amount of beard oil means that you can move on with your day much quicker.

If you want to apply more beard oil later on in the day, you can easily carry a small dropper bottle with you to apply it in the afternoon. If you are applying a lot of beard oil throughout the day, I recommend a stronger conditioning product such as a beard balm or beard butter.

Expense

Another one of the issues with applying too much beard oil is that it can easily add extra money to your beard spending for no extra benefit.

Beard oils come at a very wide range of prices and price points. It is important that you are getting good value for your money and it is not wasted.

There is no point in purchasing a beard oil that will end up on your pillow, shirt, or other clothing.

Even one or two extra dropped each day can soon add up and have an extra 20% expense which could be avoided. Owning a beard is allegedly expensive when you add up all of the products and tools you need to purchase throughout growing a beard.

Residue

Applying too much beard oil over a long period can result in residue building up in your beard. This residue is not an issue if you regularly wash your beard hair. However, not all beard oils are cured, and all contain some form of residue which will be left behind after absorption or evaporation.

Minimising the amount of beard oil that you place on your beard will enable you to minimise the potential of residue remaining after you have applied in between showers.

Strong smell

Applying too much beard oil can result in a very strong smell. Essential oils each have a very pungent smell and need to be diluted to make them smell nicer.

Essential oils are used in beard balm formulations to add therapeutic effects such as relieving itching, antimicrobial cleaning, fighting bad odours and helping pores look smaller.

Essential oils need to be diluted using a carrier oil. Otherwise, you risk burning and damaging the beard hair and the skin underneath.

Too much essential oil

Essential oils, when used directly, can burn the skin and cause damage to the beard. We add them in a very small amount to the carrier oil. This oil provides a nice smell, but also each oil has its benefit.

How to remove too much beard oil

Removing too much beard oil from your beard is very simple.

It would help if you used a good quality beard soap or shampoo to remove the oil. Oil cannot be removed by water alone and will require the use of some form of surfactant.

If you are not able to shampoo using water you can use a dry shampoo which will soak up access oil from the hair. Cornstarch or baby powder can also have a similar effect for those looking for a home-made alternative. Using too much dry shampoo can leave your hair feeling relatively gritty and dirty so it should not be considered a substitute for shampoo and water. But it is able to help in the short term.

How much beard oil should you use?

How much beard oil you should use depends on the climate you live in and the length of your beard.

Dry climate

If you live in a particularly dry climate, you need to use more beard oil. I have been living in Adelaide, South Australia, for a few years now, and it is one of the driest places to live!

In the summer, I have to apply a little bit more beard oil. I will often opt for a beard balm as the shea butter hydrates my beard better in the dry climate.

If you don’t want to purchase or make beard balm for yourself, an extra dose of beard oil is all you need. Just make sure that you rub it in completely and thoroughly. Getting to the skim and working it (gently) into the skin is how you can ensure that the beard oil will do good stuff!

Length of your beard

The longer your beard gets, the more beard oil you need to use. Initially, you may only need one or two drops to cover your face and short stubble. As your beard grows, however, you will need more.

Use this table to estimate exactly how much beard oil you will need to use depending on the length of your beard:

LengthNumber of drops
Stubble1 -2
4 weeks growth2 – 3 drops
10 weeks growth3 – 4 drops
Off chin length5 -6 drops
WizardTwo applications of 4 drops

If you have gotten to a wizard length beard, you need to apply beard oil in two stages. First, you need to work towards the roots of the hair. Second, you need to rub beard oil into the ends of the hair.

Take the time to play about with the amount of beard oil that you need to use. You want enough so that over about one hour, it absorbs into the beard with very little remaining.

The Author


Andy Stapleton

Andy is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He is an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialing different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!