Beard Balm vs. Beard Oil

Beard oil and beard balm are indispensable products when it comes to conditioning and maintaining a healthy beard.

While achieving similar results, these two beard care products are different.

Below we will provide you with a detailed comparison between beard oil and beard balm. 

Let’s begin:

Beard Oil & Beard Balm Ingredients

Here’s a table outlining the key ingredients in both beard oil and beard balm:

IngredientBeard OilBeard Balm
Carrier OilYesYes
Essential OilYesYes
Vitamin OilsSometimesSometimes
Butter (Shea/Cocoa)NoYes

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are naturally sourced and come in many varieties, including jojoba, argan, grapeseed, sweet almond, and several others.  

Carrier oils are responsible for conditioning and nourishing your facial hair.  With repeated application, carrier oils help to prevent beard itch and to soften your facial hair.  

You can use a carrier oil in place of beard oil. 

Essential Oils

Essential oils are added to beard care products to provide fragrance.  Common essential oils include cedarwood, tea tree, sandalwood, cinnamon, citrus, and more.

You must dilute essential oils with a carrier oil.  Direct application of essential oil to the skin will likely irritate.

Many claims of essential oils have not been scientifically proven.  Therefore, essential oils should only be considered for a fragrance.

Men may develop allergic reactions when using essential oils.  Therefore, you should always apply any beard product containing essential oils to a small area before applying it to your entire face.

Both beard oil and beard balm contain similar levels of essential oils.  Additionally, many companies make unscented varieties for men with sensitive skin.


Shea and cocoa butter are added to beard balms and provide an extra layer of conditioning.

This added ingredient can help relieve severe beard itch and dryness.  Should you live in an arid climate or if it’s the middle of winter, consider a beard balm with butter for an extra layer of protection.


Beeswax added to beard balm provides styling control to your beard.  When applied liberally, a beard balm containing beeswax can help your beard maintain its shape better.

Additionally, beeswax is a natural protectant to the skin and helps to retain moisture.  Like butter, beeswax is ideally applied regularly in dry climates or winter months.  

Beard balms may contain higher concentrations of beeswax to provide better styling abilities.  

The Takeaway

When it comes to conditioning, beard balm is much more effective when compared to beard oil.  The inclusion of secondary ingredients such as butter and beeswax ensures that beard balm can penetrate the skin and provide a protective barrier for your beard.

Which is Better for Travel?

Whether you are flying across the country or simply headed on a weekend road trip, both beard balm and beard oil are travel-friendly.

Both products are housed in small containers, making them TSA-compliant.

  • Beard oil: Often packaged in a plastic or glass container.  
  • Beard balm: Often packaged in a metal container.  The metal tin for beard balm will either have a screw-top or pop-top design.

The size of beard balm does allow it to be stored easily in your pants pocket.  Additionally, the beard balm container is not susceptible to leaking or breaking.

Ultimately, the difference between both is negligible.

Does Beard Type or Length Matter?

Both a balm and oil are effective at conditioning and styling.

Beard balm may take more effort to apply regularly if your beard has greater than six months’ worth of growth.  Depending on the density of your beard, beard balm may allow for easier styling control.

Given that beard oil is a thin product, working it into a beard of any length is easy.

Ultimately it’s a personal preference when deciding between the two products.

Scent & Product Variety & Accessibility

Here’s a brief comparison of beard oil and beard balm:


Many beard oils feature a strong scent.  However, unscented varieties are available.

Consider a beard oil if you like to layer fragrances such as deodorants, body sprays, colognes, etc.

The scent of beard balm is often much milder in comparison to beard oil.  Like beard oil, some unscented beard balms are available.

Product Variety & Accessibility

There are more beard oils than beard balms available to purchase.  The primary reason for this is likely due to the profit margins and product complexity.  Beard oil is a relatively simple product to make and is quite profitable for many companies.  

If you like trying new scents or brands, consider beard oil.

In recent years, large companies have started to make beard oil.  What was once a niche product, you can now find beard oil available at your local drugstore.

Beard balms aren’t as widely distributed and often can only be purchased online. 

Regardless, all beard products can be easily purchased with a few clicks online at marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy or direct from the company.

Cost Comparison

Surprisingly, beard balm tends to be cheaper than beard oil.  However, both products will typically cost anywhere from $10 to $30.

The price may vary depending on the quality of ingredients, size, brand prestige, and more.

Where to Go From Here

Ultimately, if you want conditioning and styling control, beard balm should be considered.

However, if you favor an easy application or like strongly scented grooming products, consider beard oil.

Regardless, both a beard balm or beard oil are similarly designed to condition your beard to provide relief from beard itch while also helping to make it feel softer.

Before buying a new product, give our in-depth reviews of beard oils and beard balms a read.  In those guides, we test and compare many of the leading brands.

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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