When growing a beard, you will inevitably come across beard oil. But what does beard oil do? I hadn’t heard about beard oil until three months into my beard growing journey. I was never one for buying styling products – even when I had hair. That all changed when I spoke to a friend and asked for some beard advice. The first thing that came out of his mouth was “Buy some beard oil”. I promptly went out and purchased some unscented beard oil. From that day on haven’t looked back. Here I want to share with you all of the awesome things that beard oil does and why you should buy (or make) some for your morning routine!
Beard oil is a product that helps with styling, conditioning, and moisturizing your beard. The essential oils and carrier oils used in the formulation could also have other medicinal benefits. Not only will it make your beard look great, but it will also make your beard smell great too!
When it is used as part of your daily routine, there is no doubt that it will make your beard better in nearly every way!
I asked my YouTube audience to work out how many men use beard oil. Here are the results from the poll:
About two-thirds of people use beard oil while others do not. That’s a lot of people using beard oil and getting its awesome benefits.
It can be easy to think that beard oil is “another product” that manufacturers push, but there are some genuine upsides to using beard oil that I hope to convince you of throughout this article. Let’s get straight into the main crux of it – what does beard oil do?
If you are more of a visual learner, check out my YouTube video on the subject:
Does beard oil do anything?
It can be easy to look at the claims on beard oil packaging and assume that they are overinflated nonsense. Manufacturers claim that it can help grow a beard – there is no scientific evidence for that in any sense (more on that later).
But that doesn’t mean that beard oils don’t have many other benefits. Let’s look at each one.
A well-conditioned beard is far more manageable and easier to style. Beard oil helps to deeply condition the hair and provides a slight slickness that keeps the fuzziness at bay!
I find that using a little bit of beard oil just as my beard is doing its last little bit of drying is when it works the best.
Be careful not to completely soak your beard in oil, expecting that it will provide a lasting hold. If you want that hold, you should use a beard balm or wax.
Balms and waxes provide a much longer hold, and you can find a really in-depth article with Everything you need to know about beard balm – here. The oil will wear off over the day as it soaks into the beard hair.
So one or two drops is all you need!
Beard dandruff or beardruff is one of the most annoying aspects of growing a beard. When it hits, it hits hard and is super visible! It is caused by dry skin under the beard and is responsible for flaky skin to fall from the beard. No amount of brushing, scratching or shaking seems to remove the flakes!
Using beard oil will help moisturize the skin – as long as you can get it to the skin. When using beard oil, I use the flat parts of my hand to spread it on the surface of my beard. But I also use my fingertips to get right to the skin.
The flakes of beard dandruff can also be caused by over washing the beard and stripping the beard of its natural oils.
Good beard oil will contain Jojoba oil – which is an oil that is very close to the natural sebum that your face produces. This ingredient replenishes the skin and stops it from becoming flaky!
It smells nice
Beard oils contain essential oils that just simply smell nice! The essential oils are added to the beard oil in a very small amount because they are so potent! They add a therapeutic benefit to the oil and an awesome scent. The great thing is that you don’t have to settle for just one type of smell – you can combine essential oils to make your unique scent.
I’d recommend getting an unscented beard oil and adding scent to it by dropping in 3 -5 drops of your favourite essential oil.
If you don’t want to go the DIY route, I suggest getting to grips with the different smells and what you like in a beard product.
I’ve tried a few different scents and have found that citrus, vanilla and peppermint were my favourites.
A word of warning: stay away from cleaning products smells like tea tree and eucalyptus – I ended up smelling like a toilet for a day!
Get’s rid of beard itch
In the early stages of beard growth, you can face a fair amount of discomfort.
Typically that comes from the hairs curling back around and irritating the skin. They have pointy ends, too – due to the razor that sliced them off before growing.
The great thing about beard oil is that it can help soften the hairs and also help soothe the skin at the same time.
Take a small amount of beard oil and rub it evenly across the skin of the face.
Short hair isn’t the only thing that can cause itchiness – long hair can cause it too! The longer your facial hair, the more natural oil is required from your face, called sebum, to remain properly hydrated.
The problem is sebum production doesn’t always keep up with your beard growth. A lack of sebum causes the skin to become dry and itchy. Beard oil supplements the natural oils from your face so that it stays hydrated.
It can help fight acne
If you are prone to acne, you should check out my other article – Best Beard Oil For Acne Prone Skin? 5 science-backed options – this will give you Everything you need to choose a beard oil that is compatible with your skin type.
Acne is caused by a bacteria found in the bottom of the pores called C. acnes. If the beard oil contains essential oils with antibacterial or anti-inflammatory effects, it makes sense then that the beard oils that you use have the essential oils that are best for acne.
These, in no particular order, are:
- Tea tree oil
- Rosemary oil
- Lavender oil
- Lemon oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Sandalwood oil
- Bergamot oil
Also, the main component of the oil (known as the carrier oil) can help soothe the skin – together with the essential oil; they form quite the acne-fighting duo!
Although there are some awesome benefits and advantages to using beard oil regularly – there are some things that it cannot do – and one of those things is helping stimulate the growth of your beard.
It stops hygral fatigue
Hygral fatigue is a used term in cosmetic science which describes the stress the hair undergoes by excessive swelling and the swelling as the hair cuticle takes on water.
The oil stops the water from being absorbed by the beard hair and limits the fatigue the hair experiences.
The more this happens, the weaker the beard hair becomes, and it can damage the cuticle and cortex of the beard hair.
Beard oil stops this fatigue from becoming an issue for your beard.
The importance of ingredients
Beard oils have a wide range of different ingredients. The carrier oil and the essential oil can provide your beard with different benefits, and here are some of the most common oils that are used as well as their benefits for your beard.
The carrier oil component is the main bulk of beard oil and can consist of oils. The oils in the beard oil each have a different therapeutic property, and here we shall look at each one and why you would choose each.
|Aragan||It is rich in vitamin E, carotenes, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. Argan Oil is used to nourish the hair making it shiny and healthy-looking.|
|Jojoba||It resembles the skin’s sebum closely and is rich in vitamin E.|
|Sunflower||Use this oil to treat dry & damaged skin, eczema, and psoriasis.|
|Avocado||It is typically added to other carrier oils to boost protein and vitamin content.|
|Coconut||Coconut oil can be used as a skin moisturizer, helping dry skin. It also reduces protein loss when used in hair.|
|Castor||It is used to treat split hairs and add volume to the beard.|
|Rice Bran||It adds sheen while moisturizing and conditioning the hair without weighing it down.|
|Sweet Almond||It is rich in proteins, Olein Glyceride Linoleic Acid, and Vitamin D and should be used by dry skin.|
|Grapeseed||The high contents of omega-six fatty acids nourish and improve the skin’s texture.|
The carrier oils also act as a carrier for essential oils – they have to be diluted; otherwise can harm your beard and the skin under it.
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. They provide a nice smell, but also each oil has its benefit.
Here are my favourite oils and how they can help your beard!
- Antimicrobial cleanser
- Relieves itching due to dry skin
- Cleaner for acne-prone skin
- Revitalizes the appearance of hair
- Exudes a woodsy aroma
- Improvement in feeling through calming, lingering, energizing scent
- Moisturizes to relieve dryness, itching and flaking skin
- Purifies skin by removing dirt
- Antibacterial cleanser
- Supports hair growth
- Exudes a spicy aroma
- An antibacterial cleanser that is ideal for acne-prone skin
- Nourishes and thickens hair
- Strengthens the hair
- Purifies skin and hair by removing dirt
- Cleans oily and acne-prone skin
- Removes loose dandruff flakes from the hair
- Alleviates dry skin
- Replenishes/protects the skin’s moisture barrier
- Strengthens and adds shine to hair
- Cools and invigorates skin
- Antibacterial cleanser
- Makes hair stronger and thicker
- Cleans hair without stripping away its natural oils
- Moisturizes and nourishes hair for enhanced beauty
- Energizes and revitalizes the appearance of the hair
- An antibacterial cleanser that is suitable for cleaning oily and acne-prone skin
- Hydrates skin to relieve itching due to dryness
- Cleanse hair and removes loose dandruff flakes
- Strengthens hair
- Relieves itching due to dry skin
- Moisturizes and tightens skin
- Improves the texture of the skin
- Protects against and alleviates chapping, cracking, and roughness due to dryness
- Antibacterial cleanser
- Kills odour-causing bacteria
- Improves skin elasticity and resiliency
- Has skin brightening effects, which may benefit discolouration from dark spots and tans
- Tightens skin
- Cleanses oily skin and removes oil
- Moisturizes and nourishes hair
For recipes for DIY beard oil, check out this blog post.
Can beard oil grow a beard?
The simple answer to this question is NO.
A beard oil on its own cannot help stimulate hair growth on your face. There is a load of misinformation about whether or not beards oils can help stimulate a hair growth response on the face – there’s just no evidence to support the claim that they do!
DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is the hormone responsible for beard growth in men after puberty. It is derived from testosterone by the enzyme 5α-reductase (5AR). The more DHT, a person, has available, the fuller their beard is. Some common beard oils can inhibit the DHT from stimulating growth on the face.
Based on the research, here are the beard oils that won’t block the DHT, which means that you can use them with confidence:
You can mix these oils or find a commercially available beard oil that contains these oils!
The only reliable non-surgical method that seems to work with beard-growing is through topical application of Minoxidil.
Minoxidil for beard growth
The most well-known hair growth treatment is Minoxidil – you can find out more about it in this wiki – click here. It’s found in hair regrowth products such as Rogaine. It has not yet been confirmed as safe for the face and instructions on the scalp.
The FDA has NOT approved Minoxidil for use on the face, so all of the instructions are for the scalp.
One of my favourite places on the internet, Reddit, has a subreddit where people show their progress pics. Check out this from user u/ImBadAtHalo.
You can see that the cheek hairs of his beard are much hairier and denser than when he started.
So you need to be aware of the potential expense and commitment required before embarking on this usage.
There are many side effects (no medication comes without the risk of some other effect that you don’t want!).
Common side effects include itching or rashes, but rare ones can include acne and swelling – so don’t take the use of Minoxidil lightly!
Combined with micro-needling, some users have reported some pretty good results. Check out my other article: Can beard growth be stimulated? The best five ways you can boost your growth – for more details.
Other than the odd bit of bad advertising, we may also encounter some other disadvantages of beard oil.
The disadvantages of beard oil
There are very few disadvantages to using beard oils. Even when your beard is in the very early stages of beard growth, I recommend using it.
It is great for skin too!
That said, here are the disadvantages that I think using beard oils could have – and I stat with the most problematic allergic reactions to ingredients.
Although beard oils are safe to use for nearly everyone, you have to be careful that the beard oil you use doesn’t contain stuff you are allergic to.
If you have had an allergic reaction to beard oil, you should wash it off of your face with a mild detergent and take an antihistamine or medication that you have specifically for the allergy. Symptoms of the allergy may include:
- A burning sensation
- Blotchiness of the skin
If it continues, remember to speak to your doctor or seek emergency advice if it is really bad.
If you are making DIY beard oil, it can be easy to overdo the essential oils part of the mix completely.
Some other manufacturers also use a little too much of the smelly stuff. Which isn’t normally too bad since it’ll wear off during the day – but you need to make sure that it is a smell that you like!
Okay, this isn’t such a big one, but it is something that I have found while travelling with beard oil – it can leak in your luggage and cause quite a mess!
When I travel, I only normally take beard balm for this precise reason. Beard oil can be a little bit harder to travel with than balm, butter or wax.
My top tip is to place the beard oil in a Ziploc bag to avoid any spillages in transit!
The last disadvantage is that the cost of beard oil can add up – especially if you are like me and want to try a few different brands and scents. I recommend buying an unscented beard oil and selecting essential oils to make your sample pack of beard oils.
Or, if you want to keep the price down, you can make your own! It is really simple and requires only buying the ingredients and mixing them in the required ratios!
Now let’s look at the best ways to use beard oil – it is surprisingly simple!
How to use beard oil
Getting the maximum effects from beard oil relies on applying it properly to your beard and skin. If your beard is relatively short – you don’t have to worry about the technique too much as the oil will be able to get to your skin. However, if your beard is particularly long, you may refine and perfect your beard oil application technique. Here is what I have developed as the perfect beard oil application technique.
The perfect technique for applying beard oil
Use this technique every morning, and your beard will look better than ever before!
Step 1: Drop the appropriate amount of beard oil into the palm of your hand. Normally, this would be about 3 – 4 drops of beard oil. If you have a wizard length beard, you can use more than five drops – but add them in stages to your beard.
Step 2: Rub your hands together and make sure that you evenly distribute the beard oil all over your hands and fingers.
Step 3: Using the tips of your fingers, work the beard oil deep into the beard. Make sure that you touch the skin under your beard with your fingertips and that you retract and reinsert your fingers into the beard to get to different parts of the skin. Make small circular motions with your fingertips on the skin.
Step 4: Rub your hands together once again, and then, with the grain of your beard, use flat hands to work the beard oil into your beard. Make long and deliberate strokes on the surface of your beard.
Step 5: Use your palms to brush the hair down on the sides of your face and cheeks, and use your fingertips to make sure you get to the ends of the beard hairs.
Step 6: Rub your hands together again and add one more drop of beard oil to them if they are completely oil-free. Work the underside of your beard with palms and fingers of your hands. Sweep from the neck to the cheek. At this point, if you want to add more beard oil to your hands, you can do so. Err on the side of caution if you are unsure and don’t add any more.
Step 7: The last thing to pay attention to is your moustache. Use your fingertips to coat the hairs on your moustache and smooth the hair into position. You may want to add a little bit of wax to your moustache to hold the style in place a little better.
Then you are done! Feel free to re-run any aspect of this step by step process if you are not happy with the amount of beard oil you have applied.
If you feel like you have applied too much -wait for 30 minutes – and then if you still feel like the beard has too much oil on it, you can get a soft towel and gently stroke the surface of the beard in the direction of the beard growth to remove any excess oil before heading out and starting your day.
After applying the beard oil, you can perform a couple of steps to make sure that your beard is looking particularly awesome.
After applying beard oil – the final touches
After applying beard oil with your fingers, you will have to do a little brushing and maintenance to ensure your beard is styled exactly the way you want it.
Brushing and combing your beard will make sure that it is knot free and sits on your face the way you intend it to sit! The benefits of brushing or combing your beard after adding beard oil are as follows:
- Prevent’s ingrown hairs
- Adds another gentle method to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed – use a boar hairbrush!
- Cleans debris trapped in your hair
- Makes your beard look fuller by causing hairs to fall on top of each other rather than pointing outwards
When you are brushing your hair, remember to go slowly. If you rush the brushing step of your beard maintenance, you risk breaking hairs and thinning out your luxurious bush!
Brushes often have two different teeth width on them. Both my plastic and wooden beard brushes have wide and thin teeth widths. Start with the wider side of your beard comb, and then use the smaller side once you have worked out the biggest issues with your beard.
Don’t be scared of going upward on your beard – against the grain.
Remember to go slowly and stop if you hit any significant friction or tangles. This approach will give you a curly look. After you have frizzed up your beard, you need to comb downwards to push the beard into the shape you wish it to take.
If your beard still isn’t looking as good as you would have hoped for at this stage, you need to consider using a stronger hold product like beard balm or beard wax for a really firm hold!
When should you start using beard oil?
You can start using beard oil as soon as you have a small amount of hair growth to get all of the benefits of good beard oil.
On the first couple of days of your beard growing journey, I think it is better to use a moisturizer rather than beard oil. Lay the foundations with good facial cleansing, and then progress on to beard oil once your hair has grown a little bit.
Start using beard oil after a couple of weeks of growth
I made the mistake of starting using beard oil too late in my beard growing journey, and I’d hate for you to make the same mistake. One of the other big mistakes that I made was the amount of beard oil I used! Beard oil is a fantastic product, and it does so much for your beard, hair and skin, but it is not the case of more is better! For a breakdown on the stages of beard growth and what you should do at each step, check out my YouTube video:
How much beard oil should I use?
I have committed a great sin in the early days of my beard growing adventure. I used far too much beard oil!
One of my colleagues asked me, “is your beard wet?”. That was mildly embarrassing for me, but it reminds me daily about not using too much beard oil!
So, how much should you use?
The average beard requires about three to six drops of beard oil applied every day. That means that the average bottle will last you about 100 days or about three months.
This amount is a general rule of thumb for beard growers, but a couple of environmental and growth factors can change the amount you need to apply to your beard.
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 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:
|Length||Number of drops|
|Stubble||1 – 2|
|Four weeks growth||2 – 3 drops|
|Ten weeks growth||3 – 4 drops|
|Off chin length||5 – 6 drops|
|Wizard||Two 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 the amount of beard oil you need to use. You want enough so that it absorbs into the beard with very little remaining over one hour. If you have some still on your beard after one hour, consider reducing the amount you apply to your beard.
Frequently asked beard oil questions:
Here are a couple of questions that I get asked a lot when talking about using beard oil:
Do you leave beard oil in?
Yes, beard oil is left in and not washed out. I like to apply my beard oil lightly in the morning and let it soak in over a few hours. Most of the shine has gone after about 30 minutes.
The only time that you do not leave a beard oil in is if you are going for a deep hydration method where you put a lot of beard oil on your beard – to the point that it is saturated – and then place a shower cap over the beard and leave it for 20 minutes. Here is a breakdown of the deep hydration method and the process that you can use every couple of months:
- Get a hot towel (as hot as you can stand) and wrap it around your face and beard – leave it for two to five minutes.
- Buy a good beard oil and use a thumb tip amount and liberally apply to every area on your beard – work it deep with your fingertips
- Use a wide-toothed comb to word the conditioner deep into your beard and to the surface of your skin.
- Place a shower cap over your beard and leave it for 20 minutes – this will ensure maximum absorption
- Rinse your beard with water and towel dry your beard
- Add five drops of beard oil to your palm and work it through your beard
- Follow up with a beard balm or butter if you want to
Doing this every few months will leave your beard in fantastic condition and make it super soft and shiny! For more tips on making your beard sine check out my other article – How to make your beard shine! Eight magic tips for beards – click here. On to the next question:
Should I use beard oil every day?
Beard oil is a product you can use every day without any issues.
But I do not use beard oil every day – some days, I use a beard butter or a beard balm in place of my beard oil.
The reason is that beard balms also contain a fair amount of oils in the formulation, so if I don’t have to have a particular beard look for a day, I will skip the beard oil step and go straight on to the balm and use the oils the next day.
I use beard oil after I have shampooed and conditioned my beard. The order is because no matter how gentle a beard soap claims to be – it will still strip a fair amount of the natural oils out of your beard and skin.
So I always use beard oil on my wash days – which happens every two to three days or sooner if I’ve been doing a particularly dirty activity.
Who makes the best beard oil?
Although beard oils have the same benefits, there are many beard oils on the market. Each one has its unique ratio of ingredients and essential oils. You should take a moment to look at my recommended beard product list, where I recommend the best beard oils and other products.
The final word
So there we have it! Beard oil is a fantastic product that every beard owner should have! It helps with styling, conditioning, and moisturizing your beard.
By choosing the essential oils and carrier oils carefully, you could also have some other medicinal benefits.
Not only will it make your bear look great – but it will make your beard smell great too! Used as part of your daily routine, there is no doubt that it will make your beard better in nearly every way!
Good luck, my beard growing friends and get yourself some beard oil – you won’t regret it!