Is baby oil good for your beard? [and other alternatives]

You may have wondered if baby oil is a suitable alternative to beard oil. You may be thinking this because of the relative price of beard oil compared to baby oil or perhaps you just have a ton of baby oil leftover in your bathroom cabinet that you want to use up. Whatever the case may be in this article we will completely explore whether or not baby oil is good for your beard or if you should avoid it completely. Is baby oil good for your beard? Let’s find out…

Some types of baby oils are good for your beard. Plant-based baby oils contains the same ingredients as a high-end beard oil. It will not have the essential oils that make each beard oil distinct, but it will still do the same moisturising and nourishing action on your beard.

Baby oil is an oil which is used for the purpose of keeping skin soft. It is called baby oil because the oil is neutral in pH and is relatively un-reactive. This means that it is safe to use on an infant’s skin as it will not provoke an allergic reaction or irritate the sensitive skin. Baby oils differ in ingredients depending on the manufacturer and therefore it can have varying benefits and consequences for your beard.

Before we look at other beard oil alternatives (including baby oil) let’s have a look at what baby oil is, what it contains, and the potential benefits for your beard.

What is in baby oil?

Baby oil is one of those things that when you see it out in the wild you just accept it as baby oil and don’t ask what exactly is in it. If you scour the Internet some people say that baby oil is an incredible product whilst others say that is a dangerous product that you should stay away from. The ingredients of baby oil falls into two categories:

  • mineral oil based baby oils
  • plant-based baby oils

These two types of baby oils differ in terms of where the ingredients come from as well as the effect they will have on hair. Let’s take a look at the two types of baby oil in more detail.

Mineral oil baby oils

The typical components of a baby oil are the products from crude oil such as liquid paraffin and Vaseline. These compounds are dermatologic leak tested and approved to be nonallergenic and hydrophobic (which means that they do not like and repel water). Mineral oils are fantastic because they lock the water into the skin. As your beard grows the follicles will pull moisture and see them away from your skin drying out the surface of the skin. Mineral oils are able to counteract this by keeping the water locked into the surface of your skin.

Liquid paraffin is a hydrating and cleansing agent. It is the byproduct of refining crude oil to make gasoline and other crude oil based products. There is a difference between liquid paraffin and non-medical grade mineral oil. So if you’ve heard about people using mineral oil on their skin and having bad reactions it could be that they have not been purified to the same extent as liquid paraffin. It is a term that is reserved for the highly refined mineral oil that is suitable for skincare products and cosmetics.

Unlike plant-based oils mineral oils do not go off or become rancid.

If you suffer from particularly bad beard dandruff you can use mineral oil to rehydrate your skin. To do so you have to apply the mineral oil to your beard and skin and leave it for an hour. Comb or brush your beard hair and then wash it out with a shampoo. This should result in dry flaky skin becoming moisturised and stop flaking.

The other type of baby oil is plant based where, unlike mineral oil, all of the ingredients are from naturally occurring plant based sources. No crude oil is required to make the plant based baby oil.

Plant-based baby oil

Plant-based baby oils are typically made by squeezing the seeds and fruits of different types of plants. To avoid the product going off preservatives and antioxidants are added to the oils which means that they have a much larger shelf life stop some examples of great plant-based baby oil ingredients are:

  • jojoba oil
  • sunflower oil
  • sheer butter
  • Almond oil
  • Coconut oil
  • avocado oil
  • and much more…

Do these sound familiar to you? You will notice that all of these are common ingredients in beard oil. If you are making your own DIY beard oil it is likely that you have combined some combination of the oils mentioned above. If you then add an essential oil (that you like the smell of) you have just formulated your very own beard oil for a fraction of the price that you can purchase it in the store or online:

As you can see from the price above, baby oil is a fraction of the price of beard oil. So, if you have the choice I would use a plant-based baby oil over the liquid paraffin based baby oil any day of the week. That is simply because liquid paraffin is a crude oil byproduct whereas the oils in plant-based baby oil are much closer to what you would find in a commercially available beard oil.

Now, let’s have a look at the most popular beard oil alternatives if you don’t want to spend a load of money on commercially available beard oils.

Best beard oil alternatives

if you are considering using baby oil you may want to also consider using other beard oil alternatives. The good news is that you can use any single one of the ingredients of a normal beard oil on its own. They do have differing absorption rates by the hair.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is an extremely versatile beard product. Not only can you cook with it but you can also moisturise your hair and skin. Coconut oil is one of the best things that you can use on your hair and the people of Reddit agree.

Try some coconut oil! I originally used to only use coconut oil and it worked great. Also, another alternative that I have liked is Jojoba Oil. Both of these are included in many of the beard oil products you might purchase.

There are some studies that say that coconut oil is particularly good at making your hair reduce protein loss during the daily wear and tear. This study looked at the effects of applying coconut, sunflower, and mineral oil to hair after washing. To see which oil was best the researchers measured the amount of protein the hair lost after each one of these treatments. They found that the coconut oil was better preventing the protein being lost then both the mineral and sunflower oils.

So, getting some coconut oil in your cupboard will probably help your beard look awesome more often. Coconut oil also has some of these other effects for your beard:

  • sun protection – the natural UV filters found in coconut oil can help protect your beard hair.
  • Dandruff – dandruff can be caused by fungus or yeast on the surface of the skin. Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties and could be useful for treating chronic cases of dandruff.
  • Hair loss prevention – a lot of grooming can actually damage the hair shaft which can cause hair loss. Coconut oil can keep your hair shaft in excellent condition and help prevent beard hair fall throughout the day and over the long-term.

The only downside of using coconut oil is that if you use too much it can make your hair quite greasy and hard to manage. But use it sparingly and I think you will be on to a winner!

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is an oil like wax is extracted from the seeds of the plant of the same name. Manufacturers began adding the oil to cosmetics and 1970s as it found popularity at and its effects were starting to be noticed.

It’s very inexpensive and you apply it just like a regular beard oil. However, jojoba oil is mainly useful for the skin underneath the beard as it is very much like the natural oils (even) that is produced by your face. It doesn’t get too readily absorbed by the hair and so I always recommend mixing jojoba oil with Argan oil. That way your skin and hair will be equally as conditioned.

Massage oil

I have been known to use a little bit of mass are oil on my beard if my beard oil supplies are running low. Massage oils quite often contain jojoba oil and virgin coconut oil as their main ingredients. If your partner enjoys massages you will find that a little goes a long way which means that you may have a load of massage oil left over in your cupboard that is not currently being used. Why not use this for your hair?

You should aim to use a natural coconut based body oil that contains vitamin D. Vitamin E is perfect for your beard hair and will help protect it from damage. I have used Palmer’s coconut oil formula body oil and I have been very impressed with the effects. It is a fraction of the price of beard oil. The only issue is that it smells of “relaxing” essential oils rather than the peppermint and vanilla and cedarwood type essential oils that I prefer in my beard oils.

Nonetheless, just make sure that any massage oil that you are using does not have mineral oil or any paraffin based ingredients and you will love it as much as your beard does.

It could be that you actually want to create your own beard oil. It’s incredibly simple and if you can make a cup of tea you can make your own DIY beard oil for a fraction of the price of premium brands. I make a big batch of beard oil that blast me for about a year. It cost me about US$30 and I make at least 10 fluid ounces of it.

DIY beard oil

Beard oils can be relatively complicated so here is my YouTube video that tells you exactly what a beard oil does and doesn’t do:

you can also check out my full article where I go through in extreme detail all of the things that a beard oil does – click here.

A beard oil contains a number of ingredients but we can break it down to carrier oils and essential oils. Let’s take a look at each one of these one at a time.

Carrier oils:

Carrier oils are used to dilute the essential oils (which can burn your skin) and also thin out the wax a little so it will melt and spread throughout your beard. popular carrier oils are jojoba, avocado, castor, grapeseed, sweet almond, and coconut oil. Each oil has its benefits and I used jojoba oil as the therapeutic properties matched what I needed for my beard.

Essential oils:

These do two things: Firstly, they provide a therapeutic action in the beard wax and, secondly, they give the wax a fragrance. I have used peppermint and eucalyptus in the past but want to experiment with vanilla and cedar oil in the future. To be honest, the peppermint and eucalyptus made me smell too much like cleaning products – live and learn!

Here’s the mix I use:

  • 5 tbs of coconut oil
  • 5 tbs of jojoba oil
  • 5 drops of peppermint oil

Place the oils in a dropper bottle (check out these on Amazon) add the essential oils (not too much) and enjoy!

I have used jojoba oil and eucalyptus oil but you can choose any other carrier oils: jojoba, avocado, castor, grapeseed, and sweet almond mixed in any ratio. Use about 5 drops of essential oils.


There we have it, there are all of the things you need to know about baby oil on your beard. In summary as long as the baby oil has natural products and doesn’t only have mineral oil as its main component I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the effects.

Baby oil is a cheaper alternative to using something like a premium brand beard oil and with a few drops of your favourite essential oil there is no reason you would notice any difference.

Play about with all of the different variations and combinations of beard oils and essential oils to hit upon the perfect recipe that makes your beard feel awesome.

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!