Beard oil and beard balms are conditioning products that help hydrate, nourish, and soften your beard.
They essentially do the same thing, so you might find yourself wondering what the main differences are between them and if you should choose one over the other.
We’ll break it all down for you below.
WHAT TYPE OF BEARDSMAN ARE YOU?
Before we dive into the differences between beard oil and beard balm, do you know what type of beardsman you are? Take the quiz to find out if you're the rarest type, and get an exclusive offer on a Beardbrand Beard Oil Starter Kit.
Beardbrand Beard Oil features a unique blend of Abyssinian, jojoba, babassu, and castor oils.
We’ll cover the beard oil basics here. But for a deep dive, read our article on what beard oil does.
Beard oil is a tried-and-true classic. Men have been applying oil to their beards since the dawn of civilization—so don’t be too quick to dismiss it as some hipster fad.
Carrier oils are the ingredients that do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to conditioning, moisturizing, and softening your skin and beard. They’re the oils that help keep your beard healthy and strong. Essential oils also generally contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties but mostly add the fragrance component, making beard oil even more enjoyable.
Beardbrand Beard Oil uses a unique blend of Abyssinian, jojoba, babassu, and castor oils. It’s super lightweight, absorbed quickly into your skin and beard, and doesn’t leave your beard feeling greasy or heavy.
We generally recommend Beardbrand Beard Oil for all sizes and lengths of beards. It’s also incredibly effective in the early stages of beard growth, helping to soften those sharp young beard hairs and reduce beard itch.
Pro Tip: Boar’s hair closely mimics human hair. The stiff microscopic scales on a boar's hair Beard Brush clean your beard, exfoliate your skin, and distribute oil simultaneously. Once you’ve worked the beard oil into the skin beneath your beard, use a boar's hair Beard Brush to distribute excess oil evenly throughout your entire beard.
The shea and mango butters in Utility Balm coat the surface of the skin and hair shafts and take longer to be absorbed.
Relative to beard oil, beard balms (also sometimes called beard butter or Utility Balm in our case) are the new up-and-comers of the beard industry.
Beard balms are designed to have a higher viscosity than beard oil. They are generally made from a combination of butter or hard oils (shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, etc.), waxes, and other carrier oils that you would typically find in a beard oil (castor oil, jojoba oil, etc.).
The thicker texture coats the surface of the skin and hair shaft and takes longer to be absorbed. This creates more of a slow-release, leave-in conditioning effect. The thickness is also functional—it adds just enough weight to help hold down stubborn beard hairs and flyaways that go against your beard's shape.
Beard balm is often favored by men with medium to large beards. As your beard grows further from your face, it becomes increasingly difficult for the sebum and beard oil on your skin to travel down to the ends of your beard. This is where a beard balm really makes a significant impact because you can apply it to the ends of your beard and have the slow-release of hydration throughout the day.
Now, there’s a reason that we call our beard balm a Utility Balm… versatility.
Beardbrand Utility Balm goes beyond the beard and works wonders for dry skin (cracked knuckles, ashy elbows). It keeps fully-healed tattoos vibrant, and some Beardbrand customers even use it as an under-eye serum. It’s truly a “Swiss Army Knife” of a product, and there are seemingly endless ways to use it. In fact, our Beardbrand Alliance members consistently come up with creative new uses for this magical balm.
Learn more by reading our 11 favorite ways to use Utility Balm.
BEARD OIL VS BALM: WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
We get this question a lot, and the answer always depends on several factors. First, we’ll break it down by beard length, and then we’ll look at a few other scenarios.
Short Beard (1”–3”)
At this beard length, Beard Oil on its own will be more than enough to keep your beard healthy and hydrated. You’ll be able to easily work the oil through your beard and onto the skin without any greasy, glossy residue. Apply a few drops of oil in the morning after you’ve showered, and you’ll be good to go. If you live in a drier climate or have dry skin, you can always apply a few more drops later in the day.
Medium to Long Beards (3”–12”+)
The longer your beard gets, the harder it is to keep it moisturized. Because of this, most men with longer beards generally use both Beard Oil and Utility Balm. The most popular method is to apply Beard Oil after showering—working it into the skin beneath the beard—and then applying Utility Balm directly to the beard. Some beardsmen use Utility Balm as a conditioning mask by applying a healthy amount to their beard before bed and leaving it to work its softening magic overnight.
Utility Balm can help a patchy beard appear a little bit fuller. Shea butter and mango butter coat the hairs, helping to give the illusion of a thicker beard.
Note: many companies will try to sell you beard oils that claim to help your beard grow thicker and fuller. There is simply no scientific evidence that supports these claims, and these “beard growth oils” are essentially the same as penis enlargement pills. Read What To Do About Your Patchy Beard to learn the best ways to work with your patchy beard.
Thin, Straight Beards
If your beard is full, but the hair is thin and straight, we recommend using Beard Oil. You don’t want to weigh down your beard, so a lightweight, fast-absorbing moisturizer like Beard Oil is going to help you keep more volume in your beard.
Coarse, Curly Beards
If your beard is coarse and curly, chances are that your beard is always on the dry side. Go with both Beard Oil and Utility Balm because your beard will take whatever moisture it can get.
Grey and White Beards
As hair turns grey and white, it tends to become more dry. Beard Oil is still important for the skin beneath your beard, but Utility Balm will really help add more hydration back to your beard hairs.
Beard Oil and Utility Balm are both versatile and can be used beyond the beard. For example, Beard Oil also works well as hair oil and can be applied to common dry skin areas. But if you had to pick one product and wanted to get the most bang for your buck, it would have to be Utility Balm. There are seemingly endless ways to use it, from beard to hair to skin to tattoos.
BENEFITS OF USING BEARD BALM AND BEARD OIL
If you’re still not sure why beard balm and beard oil are essential products to have in your beard-grooming arsenal, here’s a quick overview of how they help your beard look, feel, and smell awesome.
Everyone’s skin—your’s included—produces a natural oil called sebum. Sebum helps form a protective barrier on your hair and skin that helps hold in moisture. This is critical for your beard's overall health, condition, and appearance.
However, sebum gets stripped away in the shower from harsh detergents found in ordinary soaps and shampoos. Over time, this can lead to dry skin and a dry, brittle, and wiry beard.
Conditioning products like Beardbrand Beard Oil and Beardbrand Utility Balm help mitigate the loss of sebum. But they also go a step further and help deliver vitamins and nutrients to the skin and hair—helping to make your beard healthier, stronger, softer, and better smelling.
Have questions about your patchy beard? Text "STYLE" to 512-879-3297 for a free personalized consultation. We’ll be happy to help you out.
Keep on Growing.
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WHICH BALM IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
We’ve broken down the difference between Beard Oil and balm. Now we’re looking at the difference between our two types of balm—Utility Balm and Styling Balm. They’re both incredibly versatile products, but each serves a different purpose. Here is everything you need to know to decide which balm is right for you.