How to apply beard balm [The Ultimate Beard Balm Guide]

Beard balm is something that every single beard owner uses at some point in their beard growing journey! There are so many great benefits to using a good quality beard balm. Here we are going to go over all of the different ways that you can use beard balm and answer some of the most common questions about how to use beard balm! There’s so much information out there that we will be busting the myths and focusing on the most important aspects of beard balm! Let’s get right to it!

The first step of applying beard balm is to scoop out a thumbnail-sized amount of balm into your hands. Then you should rub your hands together to warm up and spread evenly across your hands and then apply with flat hands and brush to the surface of the beard.

Although this is a very simple strategy that will work for most people with a beard, there is a lot more to know bout the specifics of using beard balm and how best to apply it to your beard. First of all, let’s start with exactly how much you should use for beards of varying lengths.

How much beard balm to use

Beard balms normally come in a screw-top tin of varying sizes. If you only have a short beard then you’ll only really need the smaller amount of beard balm. The tins can last for many month so it’s good to get a smaller one if you are unsure of how much your need. Here is a rough guide for the amount that you need for each length of beard hair:

Hair lengthAmount of beard balm to use
Shaved0 (use moisturizer)
Stubble0 (use oil)
One week of growth0 (use oil)
Two weeks of growth0 (use oil)
One month of growthPea-sized amount
Three months of growthFingernail sized amount
Six months of growthThumbnail sized amount
One yearThumbnail + sized amount
Wizard length!2 x thumbnail amounts (worked separately)

The amounts shown in this table are only a guide and it will vary on the style of the beard that you are growing as well as the look you are going for. Beard balm has a stronger hold than beard oil because of the wax and butter that are typically used in the formulation.

I find that the beard balm is the perfect way to add an extra level of hold to my beard and dramatically cuts down on the number of fly away hairs that I have on the sides of my face. Mainly on the cheeks and sideburns.

Now you know how much to use let’s have a look at the detailed steps required for applying beard balm and the little tricks that I have learned to apply the balm well.

How to apply beard balm – the perfect technique

Step 1: Open the lid and scoop out the amount required (typically a thumbnail sized amount). The beard balm can be quite hard in colder climates so warm it up with your finger tips if you need to. Some balms are softer than others.

Step 2: Warm the beard balm up in between your hands. The kinds of butter used and the wax in the beard balm will need to be melted so they are distributed evenly throughout your beard. Keep going until the balm is melted and even on your hands with no lumps remaining.

Step 3: Run the beard balm over the top of your beard with a flat palm. Use flat hands to spread the beard balm on to the top of your beard. This will make sure that the majority of the balm helps with the style and hold the shape of your beard. If you have some problem areas you can choose to apply the balm to those first (for me it is the sides of my beard)

Step 4: Work the underside of your beard with sweeping motions up and towards your chin. Don’t forget about the underside of your beard too. Doing this after the sides of your beard means that the remaining, lesser, amount will get put on the underside of your beard. Where you don’t need it so much!

Step 5: Use your fingertips to place some beard balm on to your mustache. Next, use your fingertips to collect the remaining beard balm from the palms of your hand. Or you may need just a little bit more from the tin. roll it between your thumb and fingers and then apply evenly to your mustache. Here you’ll be able to add a little bit more control to the hairs under your nose. If you want a longer hold – remember to use mustache was as well!

Step 6: Repeat if you have a long beard and need to cover a larger length with beard balm. If you have long beard hair them take a look at your beard and see if you need to apply beard balm to any areas of your beard. For the super long beards I’d probably use beard oil instead of beard balm on the hair that is far away from the face (the ends). that’s because the balm can add weight to the beard that makes it flow and move strangely.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll be applying beard balm like a pro in no time at all! Also, there are a few final touches that you can do to the beard after the beard balm has been applied to add that extra level of detail and finesse. You know, like you are heading out for a special evening or date!

After applying the beard balm

Getting the beard balm into your beard evenly and where you need it is the most important step in the whole process. After it is applied where it is needed the most you can take a flat, natural bristle, brush and lightly brush the top layer of beard hair. this will tuck those pesky flyaway hairs back into the beard with the extra hold that the beard balm provides.

If you still find that there are a few hairs that just wont behave you can chose to snip them off or use a beard wax with a stronger hold. A great beard is one where all of the lines of the beard are sharp and there are no hairs that escape the main shape of the beard.

If I am using a balm with a high wax component, sometimes I find it helpful to use a low heat setting on a hairdryer to heat the beard balm then brush my hair into place. Once you are happy with how your beard is laying, then use the cold setting on your hairdryer to lock the beard in position and cool the beard balm and hair down.

Now let’s take a look at how often you should apply beard balm.

How often to apply beard balm

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to using beard balm. I often let the condition of my beard on that day and how my beard is behaving to determine whether or not I’m going to use a beard balm. This is how my thought process kind of works out:

My beard is a little bit frizzy:I’ll start with beard oil and see if I need the extra hold from another product
My beard has just been washed:I’ll definitely need some extra product on it and will use balm.
I want my beard to look extra good:I’ll use beard balm after a light oiling. Maybe a very small amount of wax for a hold that I have confidence in.
My beard is wild today:Oil, balm, and wax to be applied. If it is really bad I’ll just start with a good wash!
I have nothing on today that I need my beard to look especially good for:I’ll let it go nude – no beard balm or anything else!

So, you see from the above table that I just let my beard dictate the amount of beard balm that I use on it. Some people ask whether or not they should use beard balm every day – let’s take a look at that!

Should I use beard balm everyday?

It’s a common question when growing a beard. The answer depends on the beard and the person but there is certainly not any harm in using a beard balm every day. One of the most important things is that you wash your beard every two or three days if you are using beard balm everyday.

Most of the components of a beard balm get absorbed by the hair but some others, like the beard wax, may stay on the surface of the hair for a long time. You don’t want this to build up too much as it can end up trapping dirt and grime in your beard and make it lay too flat and greasy looking next to your skin.

You can use beard balm every day – there is no harm in that at all! But just make sure that you wash your beard to remove the not absorbed parts often!

The great thing about growing your beard is that you get the opportunity to play around with different types of products and routines. Never be afraid of trying something different and trying a new product or application frequency. By doing so, you’ll slowly end up with a product routine that works specifically for your beard.

Here is my beard routine to give you a little bit of inspiration:

Do you leave beard balm in?

When you are first using beard balm it can be confusing trying to understand exactly how you use it. In short – yes you leave beard balm in for the day. You would normally use a thumbnail-sized amount of beard balm and evenly apply it to the beard. After that, you are free to go about your day!

Beard balm will take about 30 minutes to one hour to settle in and the beard butters and oils to get absorbed into the hair. If I have enough time in the morning I will go back after my initial application of beard balm and check-in, about 40 minutes later, to see what the balm has done to my beard. At this point, I often just give it an extra little comb with a natural fibre brush to how I want it to sit. As long as it is not looking too greasy or dry – I then go about my day as normal.

The only time you wouldn’t leave a beard balm in is if you accidentally added too much and you wanted to wash it out. Beard balm should be sued sparingly as it can quickly turn a good beard into a slicked-back nightmare. So let’s look at how much you need, and how you can apply it to a short beard.

How to apply beard balm to a short beard

When your beard is short you need to keep the beard balm use to as small amount as possible. this will make sure that you don’t end up with a beard that looks wet or like a bad 90’s “wet gel” hairstyle. Here are the steps that I think you should take if you have a short beard.

Step 1: Open the lid and scoop out the amount required (For a short beard you need a pea to hazelnut-sized amount).

Step 2: Warm the beard balm up in between your hands. The kinds of butter used and the wax in the beard balm will need to be melted so they are distributed evenly throughout your beard. Keep going until the balm is melted and even on your hands with no lumps remaining.

Step 3: Run the beard balm over the top of your beard with a flat palm. Use flat hands to spread the beard balm on to the top of your beard.

Step 4: Work the underside of your beard with sweeping motions up and towards your chin. Don’t forget about the underside of your beard too.

Step 5: Use your fingertips to place some beard balm on to your mustache. Next, use your fingertips to collect the remaining beard balm from the palms of your hand. Or you may need just a little bit more from the tin. roll it between your thumb and fingers and then apply evenly to your mustache.

Follow these steps and pay close attention to the amount of beard oil that you are applying to the beard. It’s better to start with the smallest amount that you think you will need and add more if you need to. Otherwise, you end up in a situation where you will have to wash your beard and start all over again – something that not a lot of us have time for!

A common question is when a beard grower should start using beard balm. Let’s take a look at that now!

When to start using beard balm

In the early stages of beard growth, you do not need to use a beard balm. I recommend that you start your journey with beard oil. Check out my other article – How to apply beard oil for beginners. Everything you need to know! – for the things you need to know about beard growing in the early stages of beard growth.

You should consider using a beard balm as your beard hair is about one inch long or you have been growing it for about a month or so. The beard balm will allow you to control the longer hairs whilst also nourishing the hair. Although there are many benefits to beard balms such as extra hold, conditioning the hair and the skin underneath, helping the beard grow is NOT one of them.

Here’s why.

Does beard balm help with growth?

Beard balm, although awesome for your beard, cannot help with the growth of the beard. We need to understand the beard growth cycle to understand why.

The hair growth cycle

All hair on the boy goes through three phases of growth. And beard hair is initiated when testosterone is turned into DHT in the body. The DHT is what stimulates the hairs to become long and dark. The three stages are:

  • The anagen phase: this is where the cells in the root of the hair divide rapidly, slowly adding to the length of the hair. Hair will remain in the phase for anywhere from two to six years. At any one time, about 80 percent to 90 percent of the hairs on your head are in this stage of hair growth.
  • The catagen phase: this is a short intermediate stage that occurs at the end of the anagen phase. This is the end of the growth phase of the hair and no more cells are produced to increase its length. The hair is detached from the blood supply and lasts for up to three weeks.
  • The telogen stage is after the short catagen phase. Here the hair is released from the skin and the hair follicle takes a well-earned rest for about three months.

Importantly, all of the hairs undergo this at a different time and a thick beard relies on a dense collection of hair follicles that are in the anagen phase for a long period of time. Typically, 15 percent of hair is in the final stages of this cycle. Beard balm doesn’t contain any of the chemicals that are required to encourage the hairs to stay in the anagen phase of the cycle longer nor does it contain testosterone or DHT like chemicals that will help the beard start earlier.

So, unfortunately, no. Beard balm cannot grow your facial hair. Your facial hair growth is down to genetics and the rate that your body produces testosterone and the sensitivity of your hair follicles to DHT. If you want to know if you can grow a beard – check out my other article – How to know if you can grow a beard? Four important questions to ask yourself…click here.

How to use beard oil and beard balm together

The great thing about beard oils and beard balm is they work perfectly together and can make up a large part of your product routine for your beard. I have often used beard oil during my morning routine and then realized I need a little bit of extra hold or a little more conditioning. I simply warm a small amount of beard balm in between my hands and apply it on top of the beard oil.

You have to be careful, however, that you are not adding too much product to your beard. If you want to use beard oil and beard balm together you should use about half as much beard oil as you normally use or you should wait for 30 minutes in between the application of beard oil and then the subsequent application of the beard balm.

How long does Beard Balm last?

Typically when I make a batch of DIY beard balm, I can make a batch that’ll last me for 6 months. that is a number of dfferent tins that I leave in a cool and dry cupboard in my house. So, a good beard balm will last you months as you only need to use the smallest amount each time.

A poll onlne found that most men were buying a new tin of beard balm every 3 – 4 months, deoending on the size of the tin of course. But does that mean that the beard balm can go off if you don’t use it?

Does beard balm go bad?

A beard balm can go bad – but it depends on the ingrediants that the beard balm is made from. I notice that over the course of a few weeks my beard balm becomes softer and easier to scoop out of the tub. The more I open it the faster that happens.

As a rule of thumb if you are opening a certain tub of beard balm often – I would renew it in about 6 months. To be honest you have probably used up all of, if not most, of the product at that stage! Particularly if you are using the beard balm as part of your daily routine.

Beard balm before and after – my photos

Some times it can be a bit confusing about exactly what beard balm does to the look of a beard. To make the comparison easier I have taken a before and after photo of the outward effects of beard balm. The ‘before’ the photo is after a simple brushing with a plastic comb of dry hair. And the ‘after’ photo is of about a thumbnail-sized amount of beard balm, warmed up in my hands and spread evenly to the surface of the beard and then brushed lightly with a boar hair flat brush.

What you’ll notice immediately is there isn’t a huge change in the look of the beard but there are a few subtle but important changes that can be seen.

The lines of the beard (seen mostly in this photo on the sides of the beard) are much less fuzzy. I have quite curly hair on the sides of my face and so a little bit of balm helps them all stay in place. There is fewer fly away hairs than in the before photo. You’ll also notice that the beard has a little bit more lightness and shine to it. It is only very subtle but it is an important part of why you use beard balm. The mustache is held much straighter too!

The beard will also now hold it’s shape better throughout the day and smells lovely too! So, the effects are subtle but a really nice way to put the finishing touches to the beard.

Beyond looks however, there are much more important things happening after the beard balm has been applied:

  • It is being nourished by the Shea butter and carrier oils (coconut and jojoba oil)
  • My skin is also being conditioned
  • The essential oils (peppermint and tea tree) are also helping clean and deodorize my beard.

Doing this every day is a fantastic way to keep your beard looking awesome!

Beard balm before bed?

Most people use beard balm in the morning – after lightly wetting or shampooing their beard. I have a very similar post about beard oil – Beard oil before bed: is it a waste of time and money? – click here to read it! The conclusions of this post are similar to what I’d recommend for beard balm.

Using beard balm just before bed could mean that more ends up on your pillow rather than in your beard hair! If you want to use beard balm before bed you should apply it about one hour before heading to bed. This will make sure that it is sufficiently absorbed by the beard hair before you risk rubbing it all off on your pillow.

Some men use a shower cap over their beard when they sleep to create a deep hydrating effect – you could consider doing something like that if you want to use beard balm just before you are going to go to bed.

Best beard balm – my top three products!

There are a number of awesome products on the market but here is a list of my favorite beard growing products:

Honest Amish Beard Balm Leave-in Conditioner

The reason that this is in my list: This beard balm is an absolute star and something that you should keep in your cupboard at all times! I love the fact that it doesn’t have an overwhelming smell like other beard balms can have. They have managed to balance the smell and function of this balm perfectly!

There is a slight hint of anise (or licorice) that some people may find off-putting. If you are worried about the smell the manufacturers also make a nonscented version of this balm too! If you want to try a number of different scents before you settle on one – take a look at the next option on our list!

4 Beard Balm Variety Pack

The reason that this is in my list: Having a variety pack will allow you to try a load of different scents without having to get through a massive tin of it! Naturally, you’ll probably not like every single one of the four options – but that is why you are buying it right!

The balms leave a just about matte, natural finish and natural look with soft but surprisingly good hold. The texture of these is a little bit softer than the balms that I make at home. So they will not offer a tonne of hold but just enough while also conditioning and leaving your beard feeling soft and cared for.

Scotch Porter – All Natural Men’s Beard Balm

The reason that this is in my list: This beard balm is on the more expensive range of the spectrum but it is a product that is worth the money you pay for it! It really is a luxury product for your beard! It has a fantastic smell and seems to be designed for people who make a thick coarse beard but want it to be a little softer.

The beard balm is also whipped up – making it easier to scoop of the the container and apply evenly. If you are looking for a brilliant way to treat your beard or a beard of someone you love – this is a really nice treat! I’ll be getting more as soon as mine runs out!

If you want to see the whole range of beard products that I have been recommending regularly – check out the recommended beard tool page for a list of all of the things that I have been using for years to look after my beard.

The final word

Applying beard balm seems quite simple at first. But there are a tonne of different tricks and application methods that can really help you make the most of your beard balm and it all comes down to how you apply it! Remember to work with a “less is more” approach with your beard balm and you’ll be in a great position to reap the all of the benefits of the beard balm!

Good luck with your beard growing journey and remember that you should continue to experiment with the different products and routines for your beard until you find the perfect routine and product combination!

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 trialling different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!