Beard Balm vs. Beard Butter: Are They Really Different?

Beard balm and beard butter are essential grooming products that nourish skin and provide structure and styling control to your beard hair follicles.  Today we’ll be looking at the key similarities and differences between these two beard care products.

Comparison Between Beard Balm & Beard Butter

When researching beard products, it is common to see the terms “beard balm” and “beard butter” used almost interchangeably. This is not unreasonable; from an ingredients standpoint, the two types of products are in fact very similar: 

IngredientsBeard BalmBeard Butter
Carrier OilsModerate AmountModerate to High Amount
Essential OilsLow AmountLow Amount
BeeswaxModerate to High AmountLow Amount
ButterLow to Moderate AmountModerate to High Amount

As you can see, both beard balm and beard butter have similar amounts of carrier oil and essential oil. The main difference with regard to ingredients is that there is more beeswax in beard balm and more butter in beard butter. 

To better understand these two types of products though, it is worthwhile to consider them both individually –– as well as with regard to what they can and cannot do for your beard. 

What is Beard Balm

Beard balm is a product designed to serve two purposes for your beard hair: conditioning and styling. Here’s a bit more on how it is useful for both efforts. 

As a conditioner beard balm relies on two primary conditioning agents; natural carrier oils and butter.  Common carrier oils used include (but are not limited to) argan oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, castor oil, and more.  Butter may include cocoa butter, shea butter, or mango butter.

  • Conditioning beard balm serves multiple purposes:
    • Relieves mild to moderate beard dandruff or beard itch 
    • Provides moisture and nourishment for the skin 
    • Supplements any ordinary conditioner 
    • Softens beard hair and provides a light hold for styling 

As a styling agent beard balm relies on beeswax to provide structure and hold.  The mid-range hold allows you to get a stronger hold than you get from conditioners such as beard oil.  While the hold isn’t as strong as beard wax or mustache wax, beard balm can tame flyaway hairs and provide some shape.

What is Beard Butter

Like beard balm, beard butter is a product designed to address multiple aspects of your beard care routine. It is primarily a conditioner with certain potential health benefits but also serves some light styling purposes. 

As a conditioner beard butter contains several natural oils and natural butters that make it a deep conditioner that’ll hydrate dry skin.  For the texture, beard butter has a smoother consistency than beard balm or beard oil.

  • Conditioning beard butter serves multiple purposes:
    • Softening and conditioning beard hair 
    • Nourishing and combating dryness in skin

As a styling agent beard butter provides only a light hold due to its containing less beeswax; it is not the right choice for achieving a style that holds throughout the day.  It can be used alongside a styling balm or cream applied after the butter. 

Learn More: Beard Butter 101

Both Beard Balm & Beard Butter Do This

Beyond having similar ingredients, beard balm and beard butter also have other factors in common: 

They come in various scents.

Primary aroma categories include woody, oriental, and fresh. 

Unscented varieties are available as well. These are useful for those with a personal preference for cologne, or who only want to use these products to resolve itchiness in facial hair or dry skin.

They support beard growth. 

Beard balm and beard butter improve the texture and appearance of facial hair.   Some include ingredients like peppermint oil that can help to spur beard growth. 

Lastly, the best beard balm and best beard butter products use all-natural ingredients and don’t rely on chemical or synthetic fragrances.

Both Beard Balm & Beard Butter Don’t Do This

While beard balm and beard butter accomplish many of the same things, there are also certain things neither of them can be counted on for: 

They don’t often give your facial hair a fuller appearance.

They don’t contain thickening properties to change how your beard looks.  However, proper styling with a beard brush or beard comb may help add volume and give your facial hair a fuller appearance.

They aren’t hair growth products.

While some ingredients contained in a beard balm or beard butter can help promote growth, nearly all aren’t often associated with beard growth products or pills.  They are first and foremost conditioning and styling products.

Well Performing Beard Balms & Beard Butters

As is the case with most beard products, there are a lot of brands and varieties of beard balms and butters to choose from. The following are some that perform well: 

Beardbrand Utility Balm: Made with natural ingredients including shea and mango butter.  Billed as a “do-it-all” product that is also good for dry skin.  Added benefit of adding shine to tattoos.

Duke Cannon’s Best Damn Beard Balm: Primary ingredients include lanolin and cocoa butter. Valued for moisturizing quality (for beard and face). Notable woodsy fragrance.

Beard Guyz Beard Butter: Primary ingredients include shea and mango butter, as well as coconut oil. Leaves beards soft and shiny. Particularly useful for combating itchiness

Wild Willies Beard Co. Beard Butter: Contains 13 organic and natural ingredients. A soft and buttery product. Comes with a peppermint-scented variety.

Further Reading

Want to learn more about beard balm and beard butter?  Here are a few additional guides that you may find interesting:

  • Benefits of Beard Balm: We take a deeper look at some of the hidden benefits of using beard balm over other beard care products.
  • Beard Balm vs. Beard Oil: Learn the major differences between beard oil and beard balm in this detailed guide.
  • How to Make Beard Balm: Given the simple formula, its easy to make beard balm at home.  Here we put together an easy-to-follow guide along with a few starter recipes.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more. When Adam isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his two little kids who keep him both on his toes and young at heart.

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