The best beard oil
Many men decide to grow a beard or moustache as a styling choice, but maintaining that facial hair is not always a simple process. Facial hair is not the same as scalp hair, and it tends to be coarser and drier. Proper beard maintenance often calls for a regimen of special shampoos, beard oils, beard balms, and styling waxes. Beard oil is especially important, because it provides essential moisturizers and nutrients that help keep facial hair healthy and manageable.
Beard oil is generally applied after a shower and shampoo, although the facial hair should be fairly dry to improve absorption. Only a few drops of beard oil are required to treat an entire beard or moustache, so a single purchase can last for months. The main ingredients are usually natural oils also found in other hair treatments, such as argan, jojoba and coconut. A quality beard oil helps keep the facial hair in place after brushing and combing, although many beard owners also use thicker beard balms or styling waxes.
If you are in the market for the ideal beard oil, read our shopping guide. Although individual brands offer their own proprietary blends, they are all useful when it comes to keeping a beard properly hydrated and the underlying skin conditioned. At the top of our list is Jack Black Beard Oil, a salon-quality product packed with natural essential oils that treat both the beard and the skin beneath it.
Considerations when choosing beard oils
Type of oil
When it comes to beard oil, there are two different types of oil to choose from: carrier or essential. Either form will provide hydration for facial hair, as well as address "beardruff," the dry flakes of skin that often form below the beard. Some beard oils only contain a single carrier oil, while others are a blend of several different carrier and essential oils.
There are some noteworthy differences between the two types:
Carrier oils are generally less expensive than essential oils. They are usually derived from seeds and nuts and are excellent moisturizers and hair tamers. When shopping for a beard oil, look for carrier oils such as jojoba, argan, coconut, safflower, olive and grapeseed. These products will give your beard a healthy shine and help with styling.
If any beard oil component could be considered an "active ingredient," it would be an essential oil. Essential oils have many of the same conditioning qualities as carrier oils, but they also address skin issues, such as acne, beardruff, and razor burn. Not all beard oils include essential oils, and the ones that do often include them as a blend of multiple oils. Look for ingredients such as eucalyptus, sandalwood, tea tree, lavender or fir needle oil.
Ease of use
A beard oil is often incorporated into a daily beard grooming regimen, starting with a beard-specific shampoo, then beard oil, beard balm and styling wax. The consistency should be an oily liquid, much like olive or vegetable oil. You don't want a beard oil that is thick and gel-like. A few drops from a medicine dropper or a pump dispenser should be enough to treat an entire beard. Some beard oils are packaged in a squeeze tube, which can dispense too much product at a time.
Beard oils made from carrier oils tend to be fragrance-free, or nearly so. Some users may prefer a more noticeable scent, which many essential oils provide naturally. Any additional chemical fragrances may be too overwhelming, especially if scented aftershaves or colognes will be applied later in the process.
The most basic beard oils found on department store shelves will probably contain a single carrier oil and will retail between $3 and $12. Brands with a blend of carrier oil, essential oil and a vitamin serum cost between $12 and $50, while salon-grade brands with proprietary oil blends and fragrance can cost up to $85.
Q. Should I apply beard oil to a wet or dry beard?
A. An ideal time to apply beard oil is right after a shower, but the beard hair itself should be fairly dry before application. Wet hair does not absorb oil as well as dry hair does.
Q. How much beard oil should I apply at one time?
A. Beard oil should be applied sparingly to avoid a greasy or slick texture. For beards of average length, two or three drops should be sufficient. Be sure to comb the beard first to remove any tangles or debris.
Beard oils we recommend
Best of the best: Jack Black's Beard Oil
Our take: This is a professional-grade formula that keeps beard hair properly hydrated without feeling greasy. One bottle will last a very long time when used as directed.
What we like: All-essential-oil formula provides excellent moisturizing. Reduces itching during new beard growth. Soft on skin.
What we dislike: Some users may experience skin irritation at first. Additional applications can be necessary.
Best bang for your buck: Wild Willies' Beard Oil
Our take: This beard oil is ideal for those who seek style and hold at an affordable price point. We like the additional conditioning ingredients.
What we like: Spray bottle reduces waste compared to droppers. Formula includes vitamins and other ingredients to condition the beard. Penetrates deep into hair follicles and roots.
What we dislike: Spray applicator has a learning curve for new users.
Choice 3: Kiehl's Nourishing Beard Grooming Oil
Our take: Not only will this oil soften and smooth all types of beards, but it also nourishes dry skin underneath.
What we like: This gentle oil combines fragrances, such as sandalwood, cedarwood, and eucalyptus, for a masculine, woodsy scent. Doesn't feel heavy. Calms irritated skin. Works on all hair types.
What we dislike: Would be nice if bottle came with a dropper.
Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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