And finally, you have decided to grow a beard and join the “League of Extraordinary Men”. Or you are perhaps just too lazy to shave. Or maybe you just want to grow a bush so epic, that would make asphalt crack, fire rain, sewers spit hell fire, angels fall, while people break their necks, as you take your morning stroll down the street.
That went a bit too far. Let’s get back to reality.
So, what does beard oil do then?
Imagine the following scenario:
Your beard itches violently, you have not slept in the past week or so. First, your face feels like there is a swarm of fire ants living just beneath your skin, biting relentlessly. Your skin is flaking, beardruff (beard dandruff) is out of control, making your pride and joy look as if it has been used as an ashtray. Then it’s your beard that feels as soft as a broom, and it seems as if you try to rub it, it might crumble into dust and fall off your face. Not to mention the beard split ends. It looks like every single hair on your face has a mind of its own, and their opinions widely differ, your beard grows in all directions…
And here’s when beard oil comes to save the day.
So, quite simply, beard oil eliminates if not all, but most of the problems that you will encounter while growing your beard.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what beard oil does to your beard and in terms to your skin, first we need to understand how your skin works and what does beard do as an extension to your skin.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body. Its sole purpose is to protect us from the elements, microbes such as bacteria. It also repels water, prevents water evaporate from out body, protects our internal organs, blood vessels, nerves. It is also excellent at regulating our body temperature, and allows us to experience sensations such are touch, heat, and cold.
As well as being an effective shield against the elements, the skin has developed a variety of mechanisms to nourish, maintain and protect itself.
As our subject is beard oils, and what they do, we will concentrate on the protection part in this article.
Let’s take it step by step.
How does facial skin work and the importance of skin and beard moisturization
In order to protect itself from the elements our facial skin has evolved two main mechanisms.
These are sebaceous glands which help coat your skin with sebaceous oil, that prevents your skin from cracking, and helps it retain water better.
The facial hair, which is there to protect your delicate facial skin against the sun, bacteria and dirt. In return our skin provides nourishment and protects the beard coating it with sebaceous oil, which helps with water retention in the beard itself making it feel softer, healthier, and look better.
This started to sound a bit complicated, and for the sake of simplicity let’s just say that your beard is there to protect your skin, which in terms protects your skin. We will go into more detail below in hopes that it will make things clearer.
What is beard oil?
Beard oil, in essence, is one of the beard conditioning products, it is a specially crafted oil mix which mimics the natural oils produced by your skin and helps moisturize your facial hair and dry the skin beneath.
Beard oils in their majority, are made of carrier and essentials oils, and in some cases, with 100% carrier oils – which are normally the fragrance-free ones.
Carrier oil, makes up 95 – 100% of your beard oil, and essential oils which make up the rest of the beard oil mix.
More specifically, the carrier oil is the fundamental part of any beard oil and it performs two basic functions.
- The first thing it does is that it imitates the oils produced naturally by your skin. Thus, they are easily absorbed by your skin and facial hair, which takes the load off your oil producing glands. Often times, depending on which carrier oil you use they might even have a therapeutic effect.
- The second thing the carrier oil does, as its name suggests, is that it “carries” the essential oils, which if used on their own can prove harmful for your skin, causing skin irritation and skin burns due to their potency. In other words, the carrier oil is used to dilute the essential oils.
The essential oils are a secondary ingredient to your beard oil mix. Nevertheless, there are numerous benefits from using essential oils on your beard. Besides making your beard smell great, essential oils (depending on which type of essential oil you use), can act as powerful antioxidants, stimulate your hair follicles, encourage cell regeneration, relieve itchy skin, act as aromatherapy, prevent and fight beard dandruff, and much more.
Essential oils are mostly derived roots, flowers, peels, berries, or even wood.
They are usually made through a steam distillation process, using a large amount of plant material which is then steamed to extract small amounts of essential oil.
Some also “expeller pressed”. In other words, the plant material is squished really hard to extract the essential oils from it. These oils are extremely potent, and should never be applied directly on your skin without using some sort of carrier oil to dilute them in.
Just to clarify, both the carrier oils and the essential oils are equally important for your beard and facial skin. However, I have decided to introduce carrier oils as a primary ingredient simply because you are able to use any carrier oil directly on your beard which was a common practice throughout history. The essential oils were introduced as a secondary ingredient because it is never recommended to apply essential oil directly on your beard due to the potency of the oil itself, which can cause severe, unwanted reactions.
How does beard oil work?
Beard oil acts as a moisturizer for your facial hair and the skin beneath it.
When applied it goes straight to your hair follicle, which softens your hair and prevents it from growing brittle. It also coats your skin with a protective coat of oils which prevents moisture evaporation keeping your skin smooth and flexible thus preventing flaking.
In order to simplify things, let us see what are the beard oil benefits for your facial skin, and your beard as an extension of your skin, separately.
What does beard oil do for your skin?
As we have mentioned above, beard oil acts as a very effective facial hair and skin moisturizer.
When applied to your beard, the oil goes straight to your follicle, while the excess oil is retained on the surface of your skin. This creates a perfect barrier on top of your skin which protects it from the elements by allowing your skin to retain more water, improving skin cell regeneration leading to well moisturized, soft and flexible skin under your facial hair.
Excellent for dry skin and for fighting beardruff
Beard oil has proven itself as an excellent tool in your arsenal for fighting beard dandruff. But in order to understand how beard oil helps you prevent or stop beard dandruff we need to understand what is happening just beneath your skin, and how beard oil can help.
At the root of your hair follicle, a pair of so-called sebaceous glands is located.
The sole purpose of the sebaceous glands is to make sure that your hair and skin are coated with a protective layer of oil called sebum oil.
As your facial hair gets longer it would naturally require more sebum oil to coat the follicle. However, the sebaceous glands are able to produce finite amounts of sebum oil as they stay the same size throughout your lifetime.
Since your sebaceous glands can not keep up with the sebum oil production that is needed by your growing hair follicle, your beard and your skin become dry and itchy. They loose the protective layer of oil which allows for better water retention of your skin. Your skin becomes dry and starts to itch, which in terms leads to flaking which turns beardruff.
Applying beard oil would supplement to your sebum oil, revitalizing your facial skin, ridding your beard of beardruff.
Works like a charm against acne
In most cases, just being a proud owner of a well-groomed beard is enough to eradicate acne from your face for good.
As we have already mentioned the beard acts as a shield from the elements and the impurities. However, as we are all different, just having a nice thick beard might not be enough to prevent acne.
Enter beard oil.
Depending on the oils that are used to make the beard oil mix, it can be used as a potent acne eradicator. In this case, select carrier oils contained in your beard oil mix would act as a protectant. The oil is preventing impurities and bacteria settle in your skin pores.
At the same time, some essential oils are proven to be excellent cleansers, which help soothe your skin, prevent large pores, and disinfect your skin.
If you have a problem with acne, your beard oil of choice is good to contain the following carrier oils:
- Jojoba oil
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
And one or more of the below essentials oils
- Lavender essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Bergamot essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Cypress essential oil
- Lemongrass essential oil
- Frankincense essential oil
- Oregano essential oil
- Chamomile essential oil
- Geranium essential oil
Using a beard oil that contains some of the oils listed above, might prove much more effective against acne than the prescribed, synthetic medication, while at the same time being all natural nontoxic solution.
Helps with treating eczema
Similar as with acne, some beard oils can also help with eczema depending on the oils used in the beard oil mix.
Eczema is a term used to describe a set of chronic skin conditions caused by inflammation. It is a hereditary allergy that causes inflammation of the skin, but the exact cause is unknown.
Even though the exact causes of eczema are unknown, researchers have identified several proteins and enzymes as pro-inflammatory, among which the COX-2 enzyme has been observed at elevated levels during inflammation.
In case you are looking for a beard oil that would help fight eczema, you should look for beard oils that contain the following essential oils which are proven to suppress the COX-2 enzyme.
- Thyme, which contains compounds that relieve pain, swelling, infection and inflammation
- Clove, which has strong antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties
- Rose essential oil
- Rose geranium
- Tea tree
What does beard oil do to your beard?
As we have already mentioned, the beard is an extension to your skin, meaning that if you keep your skin happy and healthy, your beard will be healthy too, and vice versa.
In order to understand how beard oil does wonders for your mane, we will discuss the most obvious benefits in detail below.
When it comes to smell, there are two types of beard oils available on the market
- Scented one, which contains essential oils (while some contain synthetic fragrances) and perhaps some vitamins,
- Unscented which usually is comprised only of carrier oils and sometimes some additional vitamins alike vitamin E.
The scented ones are usually a tad more expensive than the unscented ones.
The added mix of essential oils is guaranteed to make your beard smell amazing for at least several hours.
As the most beard oils are all natural, they would contain no synthetic aromas (apart from the exceptions) and the great smell is owned only to the all natural essential oils. Another great thing is that you are able to choose a wide range of scents.
The main reason why men who grow beard use beard oil is to help soften it.
As we have said above once applied to your beard it will go straight to your hair follicle, aiding nutrition to the root of the hair making it feel softer.
Beard oil and sebum oil
Using beard oil keeps your beard well moisturized.
As we have already said so many times in this article, beard oil is an excellent beard moisturizer. And it is an essential necessity for beard growers who live in harsher cold environments.
To understand how beard oil helps moisturize your skin, we will have to go back to the sebaceous glands and the sebum oil.
The sebum oil, which is produced naturally by your sebaceous glands, besides doing an excellent job at keeping your skin healthy, does wonders for your beard too.
As you grow your beard, the sebaceous glands will try to produce enough sebum to coat your skin and your hair. Your body will try to coat your facial hair with a thin layer of sebum oil to help it retain water more effectively which would prolong the life of your hair making it look healthier and stronger.
But sebaceous glands can only produce finite amounts of sebum.
Because most of us wash our beard regularly to keep them clean, thus washing off the sebum coating off your hair, the sebaceous gland will not be able to produce enough oil to coat your skin and hair. This will lead to low water retention of your hair follicle, which would lead to premature aging of your hair which in terms will shed much faster.
Applying beard oil to your mane will compensate for the lack of sebum oil. Also, it will coat your hair with natural oils which are very similar to the sebum oil, revitalizing your hair and making it look healthier.
Helps eliminating beard split ends
A Large number of people that grow a beard at one point would need to deal with split ends.
As said above, the rapid growth of your hair would prevent your sebaceous gland from coating the entire length of your hair with sebum.
Logically the lower part of your hair will be coated with the all so needed sebum, while the top parts would remain unprotected, this will cause the uncoated part of your hair to loose water and over time your hair will start to crack usually from the top splitting itself. Applying beard oil will coat your hair fully which would help its regeneration.
Unfortunately though, no matter how much oil you apply on the split ends it will be of no use, and the top would need to be trimmed off to prevent further cracking.
Soft and well-moisturized beard is way easier to handle and is more manageable.
Beard oil has also been proven to promote beard growth.
Let’s be clear on this, you should not expect to apply your beard oil just before you go to sleep, and wake up in the morning with a Rasputin-type of bush on your face.
It is NOT a miracle grow.
However, some oils like castor oil, which is of the times used as a carrier oil in the beard oil mixes, and some essential oils like lavender, peppermint, chamomile, coconut, and rosemary essential oil are believed to promote hair growth.
Also, most beard oils contain vitamin E, which is known to be best for hair growth. Vitamin e has been proven to stimulate the growth of the capillaries, and as we all know the capillaries are responsible for blood and nutrients delivery to the hair follicles. So logically more nutrients would lead to faster, stronger, and healthier hair growth.
Beard oil also stops beard itch.
And surprise surprise, this is again connected to the sebaceous glands.
As we already know the sebaceous glands will try to produce enough sebum to coat your hair and your skin.
As at some point, not enough sebum can be produced, most of the sebum will be used up by your beard. At the same time, your skin will remain unprotected causing it to crack and shed, this would lead to excessive itchiness in your beard.
Applying beard oil will help coat your skin with the all so needed oils making it soft and flexible again. With regular use of beard oil, the itchiness will disappear completely.
For some good info on beard growth you can also read our article on minoxidil and beard growth.
How to apply beard oil?
To get the best results out of your bear oil you need to learn how to apply it properly.
If you have never used beard oil, your first question is going to be, how much oil should you use?
Well, that would depend on the length of your beard and how fast your beard would absorb the oil.
It would be best if you start using small amounts of beard oil to start with, and then adjust the dosage as needed.
This is a rough guide to the amount of beard oil you should use depending on the length of your beard:
- If you only have a stubble only a couple beard oil drops would be enough.
- For small beard you should use two to four or five drops.
- For a mid-sized beard anywhere from five to eight drops.
- If you are a beard veteran you might looking at more than 8 drops drops of beard oil.
- The best time to apply your beard oil is right after you shower, or after you wash your beard.
The process is pretty straightforward, and if you manage to smear beard oil on your beard you win. However for the careful ones I have explained the process in more detail in the steps to follow:
- Gently tap your beard dry with a clean towel
- Open your beard oil bottle and pour some of it into the palm of your hand.
- Rub your hands together to evenly distribute the oil on both hands.
- Starting from the base of your neck, massage your beard oil gently towards your cheeks and through the rest of your beard.
- Massage your beard for several seconds and then move onto your mustache.
- Brush your beard with preferably a good beard brush that is either made of natural or synthetic (for vegans) bristles.
Just a few honorable mentions.
If you are new to beard oils, you are probably asking where to start.
And for good reason.
The market seems to be flooded with beard oils which claim to be the best.
But don’t worry I got you covered. There are several beard oil brands that have proven themselves to be top notch, although I am not going to go over all of them, here are few that are worth mentioning:
Seven Potions Beard Oil
The Seven Potion’s philosophy is quite simple, provide a high-end product using select, premium and natural ingredients to achieve excellent results. At the time of writing, all products are made of natural and organic ingredients that guarantee your safety and help you look your best.
The product offering includes three types of beard oil:
You can not go wrong with whichever one you choose.
Jack Black Beard Oil
“Jack Black” is a company with a great tradition on the market. They specialize in men cosmetics, from skin care products too, shaving, hair, body washes, their products quote highly on the market.Jack Black’s beard oil is simply awesome.
It is guaranteed to provide excellent hydration and abundance of moisture to your beard and skin. It also boasts superior conditioning properties, much-needed vitamins, and antioxidants, which are guaranteed to help your beard look healthy and refreshed.
Beardbrand Tea Tree Beard Oil
The first thing that comes to mind is that “Beardbrand” produce very pleasantly scented oils that make you feel, smell and look great.
It is one of the most popular beard care companies that specializes in beard grooming products such are mustache waxes, beard oils, shaving oils, different scents etc.
They pride themselves on using all natural ingredients in all of their products. After applying their Tea Tree Beard Oil, your beard is guaranteed to thank you, making it look smooth and shiny. It is a beard oil well worth owning.
Beard oil F.A.Q.
Does beard oil feel greasy?
Well, everything you dip in oil is bound to feel greasy. However, when it comes to beard oils if you use them responsibly, following the simple guidelines given in the above article, you wouldn’t have any problems.
Many beard oils are absorbed fairly quickly by the hair and skin once you massage them into your beard and skin. Prefer quality brands over cheap knock offs.
Does it make your beard look fuller?
Using a beard oil would definitely contribute to fuller beard, it will contribute to the nourishment of your beard, making it look, healthier, shinier, and more voluminous.
Does it make your beard grow faster?
Does it help? Yes!
Most beard oils on the market are full of vitamin E and essential oils which are proven to encourage capillary growth which in terms leads to a better flow of nutrients to your hair making it grow faster.
Does it help with a patchy beard?
Unfortunately, I am not able to give an accurate answer to this question.
If you have a patchy beard it means that your hair follicles are not well developed in some areas of your face discouraging hair growth.
While some oils are said to promote hair growth, this can’t be easily proven. But using beard oil can be a good idea, if nothing else, it can only help you grow a fuller beard paired with proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
How often should you use beard oil?
Beard oil gives best results if applied daily right after a shower as your skin pores are open which would allow the beard oil to penetrate deeper.
Apply once in the morning and once before you go to sleep is what most beard oil companies suggest. You can also apply beard oil whenever you feel that your beard needs it. After all, it’s good for your beard.
How long does a bottle of beard oil last?
That depends on the size of the beard oil (naturally) and the size of your beard, the longer your beard the faster you will use up your beard oil.
On average, 1 oz of beard oil can last between 1 and 4 months with everyday use, depending on the size of your beard.
What should you do with the leftover oil on your hands?
Your natural reaction would be just to wipe your hands clean, however, there is an alternative.
You can run your hands clean through your hair, that way you don’t waste your beard oil for nothing, your hair would benefit all the oils, and smell great at the same time.
You can also rub your hands against your body as the oil absorbs quickly. Again, this depends on the beard oil and brand you choose as some oils may feel greasy.