October 29, 2017

Beard Balm vs Beard Oil - What's the Difference & Picking the Right One

beard oil vs beard balm

You’ve started growing a beard or you already have one.

You know that beard oil is a must have product in your beard care routine, I’ve said that too many times already.

...But what about beard balm?

It’s one the most common questions I get. What’s the difference between beard oil and beard balm.

This post will give you all the info you need.
what is beard oil

What is Beard Oil?

Beard oil is a product that moisturizes and conditions your beard and the skin beneath. Keeping the skin moisturized reduces itching and beardruff, softens the beard, and promotes healthy beard growth. If you want to know more, I wrote an in-depth article about beard oils.

Beard oil is a mix of essential oils and carrier oils. When it comes to choosing a beard oil it’s all about the different ingredients that it contains.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils make about 90% of the beard oil.

A carrier oil is a base oil made from the fatty portions of a plant, like nuts or seeds. A carrier oil helps to dilute essential oils before they go onto the skin. Without the carrier oil, the essential oils in beard oil could irritate the skin because they are so highly concentrated.

The most widely used, easily available and beard friendly carrier oil is Jojoba oil, it’s great for all skin types and it’s the closest to our skin’s natural oil.

Essential Oils

Essential oils have many benefits that go beyond beard care. When it comes to beard and skin care among other things they are a great skin moisturizer, have detoxing capabilities, act as a cleanser and more.  On top of all the benefits, they also add fragrance to the beard oil.

An essential oil is what’s left over from distilling a plant, which usually consists of the whole plant from its roots to its leaves. After the distillation process, what’s left is very concentrated oil that contains the fragrance and properties of the plant that was distilled.

Note: I've reviewed some of the best beard oils from which you can choose, but you should know that you can also make your own beard oil.

what is beard balm

What is Beard Balm?

Beard balm is kind of a combination between a beard oil and beard wax<link>. We need to make a distinction between 2 types:

  1. Conditioning beard balms: provides a lot of conditioning and some hold.
  2. Styling beard balms: provides a lot of hold and some conditioning.

The difference between these 2 types is all in the ingredients list. Beard balms usually contain these four ingredients:

  • Butters
  • Beeswax
  • Essential oils
  • Carrier oils

Different mixtures of these ingredients will produce a balm with different properties, i.e more hold or more conditioning.

Butters

Butters found in the cosmetic industry are derived from plants, trees, seeds, or roots and contain solid or semi-solid oils, so balms remain solid at room temperature. As they can be made from different types of plants, fats, and oils, natural butter provide different advantages. 

Shea and cocoa butter are the two most common natural butters found in beard balm. They act to keep facial hair moisturized, and they help make beeswax spreadable. On its own, beeswax is solid and stiff, so it is hard to spread it onto hair. However, when combined with natural butter, it is easier to apply it to facial hair.

Beeswax

The beeswax put in beard balms is mainly used to style and hold your beard.

The other two ingredients, essential and carrier oils, give the same benefits as they do in beard oil.

The oils found in beard balm also protects your skin from drying out and flaking. Along with flaking, dry skin can also be itchy, so beard balm reduces the itching beneath your beard.

Essential Oils & Carrier Oils

Essential and carrier oils give the same benefits as they do in beard oil. The oils found in beard balm protects your skin from drying out and flaking. Along with flaking, dry skin makes your beard itch, so beard balm can help reduce the itching.

Difference Between Beard Balm & Beard Oil

So, by now you may be wondering what's the difference between beard balm vs. beard oil, especially since they have some common ingredients, essential and carrier oils.

A beard oil is going to be in a liquid, or oily, state. You can spritz it on and spread it through the beard with your fingers or with a comb.

Beard balm is a more solid product, so it needs to be worked in through facial hair much more than beard oils. It will provide a gentle hold so you can use it for styling your beard, mustache, and sideburns.

The bottom line comes down to the fact that it’s a matter of personal preference.

Who Should Use Beard Oil?

Beard oil will not help you with styling your beard. If you’re looking for a product that will moisturize, nourish your beard you should use a beard oil. I would also recommend a beard oil for those with a short beard that doesn’t really need any styling.

Who Should Use Beard Balm?

If you’re looking for a product that will both condition and style your beard, then you should use a beard balm. As I mentioned before it’s all about the ingredients, if you want more hold pick a beard balm that has more beeswax. If you want less hold and more conditioning pick a product that has more butters.

If you have a long beard, beard balm will definitely help with styling it and keeping it healthy. Here's a review of some of the top beard balms.

Can I Use Both?

Can’t choose and want to use both? Sure why not.

You can use both so you'll get the benefits of beard oil and then apply a beard balm that will style your beard and keep it conditioned throughout the day. Many men use beard oil, so their skin stays hydrated, then they apply beard balm to provide better control.

However, the best way to decide which product is best for you is to try them out. Buy different balms and oils and experiment with them. See what’s best for you.