Answering what a beard balm is right away, it would just be too easy. I don’t want that and you don’t want that either.
Well, probably you do want that and that’s why you’re getting away from this website in 3, 2, 1…
OK, now it’s just me and 2 more people reading this blog post including my mother.
For all of you that stayed with me and are interested in reading more irrelevant stuff first, before digging into the article’s topic, here we go.
Couple of weeks ago, I started a beard series talking about beard care in general, beard oil and best practices and last but not least, DIY beard oil recipes. I received a lot of interest and positive responses from Twitter and Pinterest, especially with this and this beard oil recipe, and I thought I should write more about additional beard care tools and products such as beard balm. It’s been fun writing about beard oil and I thought doing the same about beard balm would be similarly exciting.
So, what are you going to learn today?
- Differences between guys who (beard) care and those who don’t
- Few differences between beard oil, beard balm and beard wax
- What is beard balm and what is it used for? (finally)
- Why should you use it?
- Common ingredients of beard balms
- Its main properties
- Nothing really. I just like the number 7. It’s the number of completion
Now, what is beard balm, chief?
Since you are reading this article, you must have invested months of your time, if not years, and energy to growing an outstanding beard. Your reasons for growing a beard could be innumerable but once you’ve achieved the length that your genes allow, you will fall into either one of two broad categories.
- Devil-may-care bloke, who lets his beard grow willy-nilly for that perfectly natural, bohemian look.
- A beard lover and admirer. A grooming expert who treats his beard cultivating endeavor as an all out art.
If you fall into the first category, you better start working towards getting into the second one. Otherwise, you can just go back to shaving.
This article is for the bearded gentlemen who fall into the second category. The ones who know that growing a beard is about more than just resisting the sharp end of a razor. It’s about maintaining and grooming the hair on your face to make it look a whole lot more appealing and manly as hell. Plus, you can cure hair loss and apply for US presidency. Well, I wouldn’t go that far but still…
And to maintain good-looking and healthy beard you will need to use a product that nourishes the hair from root to tip.
A few words about bearded men who aren’t fond of beard balm or any beard care products
Let’s step back for a moment and discuss about bearded men, who don’t seem to be convinced by beard oil or beard balm.
I mentioned in previous articles that I used to be a beard wearer for a few years but for both dermatological and work-related reasons, I decided to shave it. And then I became a passionate wet shaver instead but that’s another story.
During these years, I was very active in forums talking about beard care and had the chance to discuss with many people. As explained, there are bearded men who either use beard products regularly such as beard balm or beard oil or whatever, and other men who apply anything on their beards.
In many occasions, I felt that it’s a bit frustrating to try and convince people who do not apply any beard care products on their beards, about the benefits of beard care products to their facial hair and skin. Having said that, I would like to take the time to explain a few things.
Even if you don’t apply any beard products on your beard, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the end of your facial hair or anything like that. Every man has a different type of skin and different facial hair in terms of thickness, health and strength, or other things that make beards different among men. Beard care products affect the skin and hair much differently each one of them depending on these factors.
Besides the above benefits, applying beard care products is not only about keeping a beard healthy. It’s also about looking presentable, well kept and clean. I cannot imagine that there’s someone that doesn’t care about his appearance in one way or the other. The same way that you care about your body, your clothes and your hair to look at its best, I would expect normally, that you would care about your facial hair.
Fortunately, people who didn’t believe in these products were mainly above 50 years old and for that I completely understand where they’re coming from. There wasn’t much of “beard awareness” when they were younger and wearing a beard wasn’t as popular as it’s nowadays. There’s still hope for the younger generation.
What about Beard oil and Beard Wax?
Now, beard oil and, to a certain degree, beard wax are already well known weapons in the arsenal of the well groomed beard owner, both used for different purposes. This doesn’t mean that beard balm is not widespread.
Few things about beard oil and beard wax in case you’re missing something.
Beard oil, as its name suggests, is an oil for your beard. It’s main purpose is to make your beard softer and condition it while making the facial hair more manageable and the skin well moisturized. Beard wax like this one, on the other hand, you mainly use it to shape your beard.
So what is beard balm in simple words?
Imagine that one day, beard oil and beard wax met at a party. One thing led to another and 9 months later, beard wax gives birth to something called beard balm. Don’t ask me about the details of the meeting, but to put it simply, it’s the love child of beard wax and beard oil.
This description was beyond disturbing
If you are interested in learning more about the differences between beard oil and beard balm, the below article might be something interesting for you.
What does a beard balm contain in its core?
Beard balm has all the natural ingredients you would find in beard oil. The base ingredient is most of the times (if not always) is a mix of carrier oils.
You’ll often see carrier oils such as jojoba oil for beard softening purposes or argan or even olive oil. The rest of the ingredients usually include essential oils such as vitamin E oil, grapeseed oil, lavender, grapefruit, tea tree and many more.
Carrier oils are normally the ones that do all the work. Oils such as the above, have been proved to be excellent for making the beard healthier and softer, nourishing the hair, moisturising the skin and promoting hair growth.
As for the essential oils, these give the beard balm a bit of personality by adding the distinctive scent of the product.
So far these are also the ingredients that you also find in beard oils, right?
Now here comes the big difference.
One of the other ingredients that beard balm contains is butter. Common butters are shea, cocoa and mango. The main use of the butter is to give spreadability to the balm and make it easier to melt in your hands from its solid state because of the use of waxes.
Shea butter is derived from African shea nut trees while cocoa, is the exact same butter used in chocolates. Why do you think chocolate melts like that?
Speaking of waxes, this is the second type of ingredients that you find in beard balms -and waxes.
Natural waxes such as beeswax, is very common -if not the only ingredient for some brands. Beeswax, by the way, is made from honey bee beehives (thank you Captain obvious for saving the day).
The wax gives the balm the solid state and also changes the balm’s properties. The more beeswax a beard balm contains, the better the hold it gives to your beard.
As you may understand a beard wax contains higher percentage of beeswax in the recipe and this is why it gives you a stronger hold.
All these ingredients work together to nourish both the hair and the facial skin underneath it.
The beard is made to appear shiny and healthy while the hair becomes more soft to touch with this balm.
Why would you use beard balm for?
The key reason to use beard balm is the potential to style your hair the way you would with wax while nourishing it with the essential, healthy oils. The balm’s texture is fantastic for styling the hair on your face and getting the shape just right. Facial hair shorter than 4 inches works best with this sort of balm and the results are fantastic after using the product on a regular basis.
The beard balm doesn’t leave any oily sense and at the same time, it makes the beard look naturally shaped and no hair is stuck.
Properties of beard balm don’t stay unnoticed
The balm comes in a variety of different fragrances and scents which are pleasing and noticeable as they sit right under the nose. The texture of the balm allows it to condition the hair, repair split ends and tame the unruly mess long hair can create and effectively hold the hair in place to look more presentable.
The thing that might buy you on using beard balm is the fact that the balm makes your hair look fantastic. The way the solution reacts with hair makes it look shiny and glossy throughout the day. The beard is softened and the hair is repaired while your style is enhanced with a simple tin of beard balm. Since you get the benefits of beard wax and beard oil together it is also very cost effective.
Some of the most popular brands of beard balm are Honest Amish and Backwoods. Choose the one that suits you best and why not, stick with it for regular use. Choosing a good beard balm depends on what you need most and the type of ingredients included in it.
Note: A good beard balm does three things very effectively: moisturize, seal and style.
You need to pick a balm with a moisturizer built into it that contains non-comedogenic oils that won’t clog your pores at all.
Grapeseed is a common ingredient that lets you moisturize your beard but it also gets rancid pretty quick so its not really recommended. Jojoba, which is technically liquid wax ester and not oil, contains vitamin E and B which help prevent hair loss or damage such as split ends. The lifespan of jojoba is also longer than grape seed which makes it a better substitute. Argan oil is also a fantastic option for moisturizing the beard.
Not all beard balms are great
Now, some beard balms are made with ingredients that help to seal the moisture into the beard. Some beard balms have petroleum jelly in them for this sealing in moisture effect. If you’d like a word of advice, I would recommend against using such beard balms.
Petroleum jelly is massively harmful to your face as it clogs up the skin pores and dries them out. A good idea is to use beard balms that are mainly based on natural ingredients.
Before selecting a beard balm, have a quick look at the ingredients list and make sure it contains such natural oils that are known for their softening and hair nourishing properties. Besides, these carrier oils will be the ones that will make your beard softer.
Few last words of advice
Now that you know what beard balm is, you can go and get one yourself. Even if you’re using beard oil already, you can include beard balm in your beard care routine, especially when you just want to shape your beard in a natural yet effective way.
Use beard balm in the morning after you shower and beard oil just before you go to sleep. The best way to use both products is on clean beards that aren’t wet.
Remember, growing a beard is not just about letting it grow, its about feeding and nourishing it to look better too. Beard balm may just be the perfect product to help you do just that.
What’s your saying in beard balms?
Image Courtesy: flickr/juan-alogico