Which Balm Is Right for You?

Eric is back for another Beardbrand episode—this time to help you determine which beard balm is best for you.

We’ve already broken down the difference between Beard Oil and beard balm, but today 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. 

UTILITY BALM

Utility Balm acts as a conditioner for your beard. It hydrates, repairs, and protects your beard and skin while giving you a little shine in the process. Utility Balm is designed to stay on the surface of the hair and skin a little longer than oil, so the conditioning effects last longer into the day. This is perfect if you have a longer beard, or if your skin is on the dryer side.

Utility Balm is most effective when you are fresh from the shower. A little bit of moisture helps your skin and hair better absorb the conditioning elements. However, you don’t want to be soaking wet, so give your beard and skin a good towel pat before applying the balm.  

You’ll get a very light hold from the Utility Balm. It will help you control frizz and flyaways in your beard, but it won’t give you as much staying power as the Styling Balm. 

Finally, if you’re wondering why we named it Utility Balm instead of beard balm, here is everything that we’ve used it for in the office: 

  • Beard conditioner
  • Moisturizer for cracked skin on elbows and knuckles
  • Treatment for dry scalp on shaved or buzzed heads
  • Moisturizer and enhancer for fully-healed tattoos
  • Leave-in hair mask
  • Leave-in beard mask
  • Helping to balance skin tones and scar tissue
  • Helping to reduce appearance and dryness of stretch marks
  • Cuticle conditioner
  • Subtle fragrance for a night out

Think of Utility Balm as a Swiss-Army Knife for your beard and skin. For a more in-depth look at all the ways that you can use it, check out our Top Ten Ways to Use Utility Balm blog. 

STYLING BALM

Our Styling Balm doesn’t offer the conditioning and moisturizing benefits that the Utility Balm does. Instead, It’s designed purely as a styling product for both beard and hair. You’ll get more hold from the Styling Balm than you will from Utility Balm. Styling Balm gives you a medium hold that dries with a natural look. This is a lightweight product formulated without parabens, sulfates, silicones, or dyes—so you don’t get product buildup in your hair. You’ll have a soft, flexible finish without stiffness and crunch. Also, it’s resistant to humidity, making it great for smoothing out frizz on those—dare we say—balmy days. 

For your beard: After you’ve applied Beard Oil or Utility Balm, use Styling Balm as a finisher for your beard to give your style some extra hold. Start with a quarter-sized amount of product, rub between hands, and apply evenly throughout your beard. Grab your Beard Comb or Boar’s Hair Brush and shape the hair. Apply more product as needed. 

For your hair: Styling Balm can be applied to damp or dry hair depending on the desired style. If you’re starting with wet hair, give it a quick towel dry to remove excess water. Then, grab your blow-dryer and begin shaping your hair. Blow-dry until damp, or completely dry if your hairstyle requires it. Start with a dime or nickel-sized amount of Styling Balm, rub between hands, and apply evenly. Use a comb, brush, or your fingers to achieve the style you want. Apply more product if needed, and then hit it with some cold air from the blow-dryer to lock in your look. To add even more texture, use the Styling Balm with our Sea-Salt Spray.

We describe the Styling Balm as having a satin finish. It gives you a light sheen—more shine than a matte product but without being overly glossy. 

PAIRING

You can absolutely use Utility Balm and Styling Balm together. Generally, we recommend picking between Utility Balm and Beard Oil, then pairing whichever you choose with the Styling Balm. You can use Utility Balm and Beard Oil together, just be sure to use a little less of each since they’re both conditioning products. If you do go this route, use the Beard Oil first and then the Utility Balm. 

INGREDIENT INFORMATION

Utility Balm uses natural moisturizing ingredients to give the most nourishing experience possible. Natural ingredients have a tendency to be a little bit finicky, and the structure of the Utility Balm can change with temperature changes.  It’s normal for the balm to get a bit grainy. Just smooth it in your hands for an extra second or two, and apply as usual.

The Styling Balm uses a mixture of natural ingredients and safe synthetics—ingredients that aren't naturally derived, but still safe for everyday use. The synthetics are necessary to keep the Styling Balm stable and give it that extra hold. 

TL;DR

Confused about which beard balm to pick up? Here's a quick breakdown of what they do.

Utility Balm: Serves the same function as a leave-in conditioner. It moisturizes, softens, and adds scent—just like our Beard Oil does. However, because it's a balm, it's going to give you a little more hold and control than you get with oil. Utility balm also serves as a skin moisturizer that you can apply to dry skin anywhere on your body. You can even use it on fully healed tattoos to add shine and keep them looking fresh. It’s like a Swiss-Army Knife for your beard and skin. 

Styling Balm: Strictly designed to provide hold, but without moisturizing and conditioning your hair. Our Styling Balm is a light-weight product with a medium hold that will give you more control of your beard—and help you keep your shape throughout the day. You can also use it to style your head hair. 

Our general recommendation is to use either Beard Oil or Utility Balm, and then apply Styling Balm if you want some extra hold. You can use Beard Oil and Utility Balm together to get more shine, just be sure to use a little less of each since they’re both conditioning products.

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Eric Bandholz, Founder