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Beard Balm vs Oil: A Detailed Selection Guide for Men

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Beards are still quite popular, and the beard trend continues. The beard gives the face character and is very masculine. Best of all, there’s a beard style for every face. 

Though it’s no secret that some guys struggle with growing a beard.

When it comes to styling your beard, your main options are beard balm and beard oil. As to which is best, beard balm is better for large, dry beards while beard oil is better suited for early beard growth. Both have their pros and cons, so decide which works for you.

There are so many benefits of having a well-kept beard. 

With a beard, boyish-looking men look older, more serious, and more robust. On the other hand, older men look as if captivated by wisdom and experience. 

Even though you don’t even have hair on top of your head, your chin can still be full. Beard trends inspire both younger and older men and enrich men’s styling with different variants and lengths.

It comes with a price, though.

Beard growth can sometimes irritate the skin. Proper care is necessary to make the beard and the person under it look well-groomed. 

Beard care is twice as much fun with the right products. The most popular products are beard balms and beard oils. 

But which one to use?

Beard Balm vs. Oil Overview

This is perhaps the most common question for men who care about their beards. 

Some people think that balms and oils are pretty much the same things. Although only partially correct, that is not entirely true. 

Beard balm is an ointment made by mixing heating and cooling moisturizers and hardeners. Beard oil is a moisturizing and leave-in conditioner made by mixing vegetable oils with mixtures of essential oils, or in some cases, fragrant oils. 

This text will explain the differences between beard balms and beard oils and when to use them.

Beard Oil

beard-balm-vs-oil 2

Beard oil is a moisturizer, easy to use, and a leave-in conditioner that comes in a bottle or pump. Quality beard oils hydrate the skin under the chin, soften the beard, reduce itching and create conditions for the growth of a healthy beard. For best results, use jojoba or argan-based beard oils. Jojoba and argan are the best means of hydrating the face and are long-lasting as well.

In addition to perfectly hydrating the skin, beard oil can also be used as a beard deodorant and cologne. Look for an oil that smells like a mixture of essential oils, not scented oils. 

Essential oils are distilled from nature, while scented oils are artificial and can potentially damage your beard. 

If you are looking for a simple, easy, and fast way to hydrate and regenerate your beard, reduce itching at the beginning of growth and create the conditions for healthy beard growth, natural beard oil is your number one thing. 

It can also be used for beardless facial care as well.

Pros and Cons

The advantage of the oil over the balm is that it hydrates and moisturizes the beard as well as possible, and is, therefore, more suitable and better in case you need a faster recovery of the beard.

The disadvantage of oil is that you can’t shape your beard with it, in other words, if your hair is quite stubborn, and when it is at the beginning of growth, then be sure to call balm for help.

How to Apply

While there’s no solid evidence to suggest that beard oil can help your beard grow, it can have plenty of positive effects when massaged into your face and hair follicles.

Beard oil is an excellent moisturizer, and when applied regularly it can help keep your beard soft and supple.

But you’ll need to know how to apply beard oil if you want to get the best results every time.

First, before we get into the step-by-step guide, make sure you have a comb you can use as this will be necessary for getting the most out of your beard oil.

If you have short facial hair, you might not even need a comb, but it’s best to have one on hand just in case.

You can find specialist beard combs online or in stores, yet any comb you can get your hands on should suffice.

Ok, so if you have your beard oil and comb on hand, let’s get into the application process.

  1.  First, it’s important that you read the instructions on the label. This will tell you about the strength of the oil, what skin type it works best with, and how many drops you should use.
  2.  Generally, you want to stick with 2-3 drops with most beard oils, especially if you’re concerned about making your beard look greasy. Pour the drops into your palms and rub them together until they’re slick with the liquid.
  3.  Now, run your palms across your cheeks, making sure to cover your beard thoroughly.
  4.  Do the same for your mustache, if you have one.
  5.  Here’s where the comb comes in – use it to brush the oil through your facial hair as this will ensure you get full coverage.
  6.  At this point you have a decision to make. If you feel like your skin feels well-hydrated and you like how your beard looks, stop. But if you feel like you could benefit from a drop or two extra, apply the oil to your palms the same way you did before and repeat the process.
  7. Style your beard with the comb and you’re ready to go!

Generally speaking, you want to go through this process first thing in the morning or after you’ve splashed your face with water as part of your daily skincare routine.

Some guys get the beard oil out immediately after a shower, and this can be effective since hot water can rinse out debris from the skin underneath your beard and make it easy to work with.

Most men won’t need to apply the beard oil every single day, so start off applying it just a few times a week and go from there.

Beard Balm

The beard balm is a styling and shaping agent, as well as a rinsing beard conditioner. A good balm should hydrate your beard, tighten it for styling, and make it look thicker. 

For best results, avoid beard balms that contain artificial firms such as Vaseline, as they can irritate your skin and damage your beard. 

Find a beard balm that contains all-natural firms such as shea butter, beeswax, or lanolin. These ingredients are natural, allow your beard to look thicker, and most likely won’t irritate your skin.

If you have a sparse or thin beard, consider using a beard balm with shea butter because shea is especially good when the beard needs to look thicker. 

In addition to natural firms, make sure that your beard balm contains natural moisturizers, such as jojoba or argan oils. If there are no moisturizers, the hardeners will only intensify the dryness, which will make your chin brittle and fragile. 

A quality beard balm, which contains all-natural moisturizing and firming agents, will hydrate your beard, renew and prepare it for shaping and styling, and make it look thicker. If you are looking for a unique product, a conditioner that does not rinse and serves as a styling agent that is easy to use, a natural beard balm is just your thing.

Pros and Cons

The advantages of balms over oil are therefore their durability, ie. the ability to shape the beard and tame some wild hair. 

Keep in mind that the balm is not as strong as wax and gel and its task is to primarily nourish the beard to some extent, hydrate it, and keep its default shape and volume above all.

The trick when using the balm is to “activate” it before applying it to the beard. The balm is activated by heat rubbing it between the palms. So, apply the required amount of balm on the palms, activate it, melt it by rubbing it with the palms, and then apply it to the beard and shape it.

How to Apply

Beard balm requires a slightly different process than beard oil, though if you use any beard care products you should have no problem with this one.

Here’s a step by step breakdown that details the process for applying beard balm:

  1.  First, holding the balm container in one hand, use a single finger to rub it until you have some you can work with.
  2.  Now take the balm on your finger tip and apply it to the palm of your other hand, then rub your hands together so you can warm it up and make it more supple.
  3.  Rub your palms across your cheeks, applying the balm evenly to your beard until you end up with the style you’re shooting for.
  4.  Take out your beard comb and run it through your facial hair until you are confident that you have full coverage.

Beard Types

It all comes down to personal choice. The choice itself may depend on many factors, but first of all, ask yourself one thing – why choose at all? The oils are designed to work perfectly with balms, and this is one of the reasons why most manufacturers will offer you both oil and balm in the package.

Therefore, our advice is to use both, together.

How to use them together?

In the morning, we advise you to dry your beard with a towel after washing with warm water, and if you are in a hurry, you can also use a hairdryer, but make sure that the air is not hot. Then apply the oil and rub it well into the beard and massage it into the face. 

After the oil, activate the balm with your palms and apply it to the beard. When both components are used, be sure to take smaller doses, as excess oil or balm in the beard will make more problems and inconveniences than benefits.

Furthermore, during the day we only recommend that a little bit of oil should be applied sometime in the afternoon to keep the hydration going until the end of the day.

In the evening, wash your beard with warm water, every third day with a beard cleanser, and before going to bed, apply a light layer of oil, pure as an overnight supplement.

As for the balm, we personally do not recommend applying it overnight because this could interfere with your beard’s aesthetic, and the balm will only exaggerate the shock you get when you first glance in the mirror.

Three-Day Beard

A three-day beard – known as a messy beard – is attractive! Why? It looks attractive, casual, and still very well-groomed. 

For a three-day beard, the hair should be between half and four millimeters long so that the skin can still be seen. The beard is arranged around the area of the chin, mouth, lower part of the cheek, and upper part of the neck. 

Whether it really takes three, six, or ten days to achieve this popular style depends on your natural beard growth.

Beard care is simple: use a trimmer when the beard becomes longer than the desired length. That way, you’ll get it back to the length you want quickly and easily. 

In the meantime, a wet shave can keep the contours of your face clean or defined. The result: impressive, masculine and well-groomed! It is ideal for men with a square or rectangular face since the heavy contours look softer and the face is rounder.

What to Use: OIL

Shenandoah Beard

Shenandoah is a beard that has several nicknames: Lincoln (after Abraham Lincoln), a beard strip, a curtain beard, or a whaler’s beard – to name a few. 

The beard is located on the jawline, connects the curls, and essentially frames the whole face. This beard from ear to ear radiates confidence, it is expressive and cheerful. 

For a well-groomed Shenandoah beard, let go of your beard but not your mustache – maintain it, smooth your upper lip and the area around your cheeks – and shorten your beard to medium length.

The fuller version of the beard is best for narrow faces because it will give fullness and frame through a thick beard on the lower cheek and chin. Fuller faces look thinner thanks to longer hair on the lower part of the jaw and cheeks.

What to Use: BALM

Henry IV Beard

Henry IV was named after King Henry IV of France – also known as the Great or Good King Henry. 

In this variant, the beard grows in the area around the lips and suits men with wide, angular faces. 

The part around the chin and mustache is connected, while the part around the cheeks and neck is shaved very precisely. 

With this beard, the corners look softer and narrower and make the beard wearer look very masculine. Care depends on the length of the beard. If you want a thicker result, you will have to let it grow. 

Important: shave your beard on your cheeks and neck regularly with a wet razor. Famous bearers of this beard: Robert Downey Junior, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jan Josef Lifers.

What to Use: OIL

Anchor Beard

The anchor beard is a gentleman among the beards. This modern style consists of one vertical line in the middle of the chin, which merges with the sharp beard. Together, it looks like an arrow pointing down or an anchor. This style is often combined with a thin mustache. The simplest way to achieve this look is to let go of a full beard for a few weeks and then shave the lower part of the cheek towards the jawline. Your beard care set should definitely include a shaving brush, shaving cream, and a wet razor – a wet shave will help make hairless parts smoother. Use a trimmer for finely defined contours. To round off this smart beard, shape it (especially the mustache and the tip of the chin) with a little beard pomade.

What to Use: OIL

Full Beard

A full beard can visually lengthen the face, making it look thinner – for that reason, it is especially suitable for men with round faces and fuller cheeks. 

Those with narrower faces should not wear a beard that is too long. 

Even though you like the look of a natural unrestrained boy, daily beard care is still imperative. This means regular washing, shortening, and shaping. Especially important for all beards: use shampoo and conditioner. This makes the chin softer and gentler. 

Wet shaving of the beard on the cheeks to achieve clear contours on the upper part of the beard – this look looks confident and elegant. Tip: beard care oil relieves itching and restores a full beard to a beautiful shape. A beard comb and balm will help in the finish.

What to Use: BOTH

What if Neither Balm nor Oil Work For Your Beard?

If you’ve tried both beard balm and beard oil and you just can’t get on with them, or you feel like you need something that you’re not getting, it might be a good idea to explore other options.

Yes, believe it or not beard products are big business, so they aren’t just limited to balms and oils.

Far from it.

There are two beard products in particular that stand out to us when it comes to getting the most of your facial hair, so if you’re curious, have a gander at the following options.

Beard Cream

beard-balm-vs-oil 1

If you’re interested in a beard grooming product that acts as a moisturizer and can help you deal with dandruff and skin irritation, beard cream could be a good option.

Cream works to condition the skin, and will often include ingredients like butter and natural essential and carrier oils. Applying beard cream will feel like a more nourishing experience, and it’s a travel-friendly option.

If you need something to soothe and soften the skin and reduce the chance of redness and irritation, beard cream is worth looking into.

Beard Growth Products

Beard growth products can be controversial, yet many of them have a lot of anecdotal evidence to back up their efficacy.

While there’s no guarantee that using any one of these products will lead to beard growth, many of them address common issues that stunt hair growth such as dandruff, dryness, and more.

Beard growth products can come in the form of creams, oils, conditioners, and balms, and the best ones will have a strong line up of natural ingredients although the evidence for the effectiveness of minoxidil is promising.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Beard Products

Does the length of my beard suggest whether I should use beard oil or beard balm?

Generally, as stated above, the combination of the two is the best choice. If your beard is quite short, then using just oils is enough. 

Once the beard reaches a combing length, a balm should be used as well. 

For a long beard, a balm is a must while oils will mostly affect skincare. But modern beard styles benefit from both oils and balms applied together.

How to wash my beard when using beard oils or balms?

Just like you work with your hair, you should wash your beard regularly. A special beard shampoo would be ideal but a mild hair shampoo is also suitable. 

You can also try a special beard soap. 

The shower gel is less suitable because it has a degreasing effect and therefore draws moisture from the chin.

Are there significant health differences between oils and balms or beard butter?

In short, no. All of these products are primarily designed to help hydrate and control the beard, while also providing it with all the necessary nutrients to eliminate any problems with beard growth, such as cracked ends, dandruff, hair loss, and the like.

A Final Word From The Trending Man

If we are going to believe the female instinct, then we should wear a beard, because a larger number of ladies have opted for a man who has a beard that is 5 to 10 days old. So, the beard is attractive. 

However, we must not allow ourselves to “let go” like a werewolf with the excuse “but women like that.” So, the beard is attractive, but only when it is properly cared for and maintained. 

That’s why some men opt for a beardless look because it’s easier for them. 

Don’t be lazy, keep your chin tidy with beard oils and balms.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
Article by:

The Trending Man

Our detailed review has been contributed to by multiple members of The Trending Man Review Team to ensure the best research and highest standard of quality. Have a good or a bad experience with one of the products? Please let us know, we love the feedback!
  • Rory Norman says:

    This is interesting. I never thought about this until now. I gotta go purchase me some balm.

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