Like the middle child packed between older and younger siblings, beard butter is the oft forgotten conditioning product in a bearded man’s arsenal.
To help give this secret beard conditioning product some much needed love, we are going to break everything down about this elusive product.
By the end of this article I promise that you will know all the key facts about beard butter including its ingredient profile, how it differs from balms, application, along with a few other hidden secrets.
But first and foremost, and likely the reason that you are here:
What the heck is beard butter, and more importantly, is it just repackaged beard balm?
Beard Balm vs. Beard Butter
When you look on the side of most beard butters you will see the same exact ingredients found in your typical beard balm: carrier oils, essential oils, butter, and beeswax.
Their identical ingredient profiles will make any man instantly think that these are indeed the same exact product.
But here’s the catch:
When it comes to balms and butters, it’s all about the ingredient ratios.
With beard butter, the leading ingredient 99% of the time, is going to be a butter – and no, not the butter you have in your fridge at home.
We will break down the different types of butters (and the rest of ingredients for that matter) in just a minute.
Beyond the butter contained within beard butter, there will also be inclusion of both carrier and essential oils along with beeswax.
Beard balm on the other hand, will also contain butter as one of the top ingredients, but then will contain a much higher ratio of beeswax.
This high level of beeswax will give the product a much balmier/thicker consistency compared to a butter.
Again, just like the beard butter above, beard balm will contain the usual suspect of ingredients: oils, butter, and wax.
But to really understand this stuff at a deeper level you have to peel apart each one of these ingredients:
Beard Butter Ingredient List: Butter
As we eluded to earlier, the butter that is contained in beard products isn’t the same butter that you have lying around in your fridge.
Our beards would probably be pretty smelly if that were the case.
Instead, the butter found in beard butter will nearly always be a shea or cocoa butter. These naturally derived ingredients are incredibly effective at moisturizing dry irritated skin.
Therefore, if you are reading this in the middle of some dry winter months, butters will add a nice level of moisture to your beard.
Regarding consistency of this particular ingredient, refined shea butter will be a touch smoother than unrefined shea butter that can oftentimes feel a bit grainy.
Lastly, and most importantly, the benefits of shea butter:
Shea butter is largely comprised of fatty acids. What this means for your beard is that shea butter will provide incredibly effective moisturizing and nourishment properties.
Secondly, shea butter will help to reduce inflammation. So if you have a severe case of beardruff (i.e. dandruff on your beard) going on, then a beard butter containing shea butter should provide an effective one-two punch to mitigate its prevalence within only a few days.
Finally, shea butter is also pretty good at smoothing out not only our beard, but your skin as well. So if you tend to have coarser skin beneath your beard, you (and some you love) may enjoy this secondary benefit of softer skin.
Beard Butter Ingredient List: Carrier Oils
Carrier oils are the workhorse of just about any beard conditioning product on the planet.
If carrier oils didn’t exist, I really don’t think there would be any beard care market (or at least to the same size it is currently).
When looking at carrier oils, there are several variants of this product that all have subtle differences.
While we will only concentrate on the base benefits of this product, you may enjoy additional skin care benefits depending on which oil is in the product.
When looking up beard butters you will largely see any one of the following carrier oils on the label: jojoba, sweet almond, argan, grapeseed, or coconut oil just to name a few.
These largely nut based oils don’t really provide much of a scent by themselves. Their scents are largely muted and nearly undetectable even to the most seasoned beard experts.
However, where carrier oils really shine is with their moisturizing capabilities.
So, let’s step back for a minute:
At the base of every one of your beard follicles you have these tiny little glands called sebaceous glands.
These glands are the ones responsible for keeping your beard hydrated in the first place.
However, since your beard has gotten longer, they just simply can’t keep up with their production of sebum oil given their finite size.
Therefore, beard butter acts as a natural complement to the sebum oil that is being produced by your sebaceous glands.
One of the most mild of all the carrier oils that mimics sebum oil incredibly well is going to be jojoba oil. Give its similar consistency, this oil will help to keep your skin and beard feeling nourished.
Now it’s not to say that carrier oil is a replacement to the shea butter we talked about above, instead it’s just the opposite. Carrier oils act as an additional layer of moisture and nourishment to your beard, which will help your beard achieve a much more comfortable and softer texture.
Beard Butter Ingredient List: Essential Oils
Essential oils breathe life into the beard care world.
Without essential oils, the products would be either chocked full of chemicals to derive a synthetic fragrance, or simply everything would just smell one note with a slight nutty tone.
So, how do these differ from your standard chemical based fragrance?
Well first and foremost ‘fragrance’ is a blanket term that can contain up to 5,000 different chemicals according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Chemical fragrance is also the #1 reason, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) for contact dermatitis in cosmetic products (source).
Lastly, the non-profit EWG rates Fragrance a wretched 8 out of 10 on their hazardous scale.
With all the potential dangers of chemical based fragrance, its no reason why companies have started to make their migration over to more natural alternatives such as essential oils.
Essential oils are quite a bit different from the other ingredients listed above.
First and foremost, they should never be applied directly to your skin. These potent oils will cause irritation unless they are mixed (i.e. carried) with a carrier oil.
In any given beard product, they usually make up only a 1 – 2% of total volume.
But, where essential oils really shine will be their scents.
Coming in hundreds of different scents, the options are virtually limitless when it comes to scent combinations.
Therefore, if you want to get a beard butter that is a bit more ‘manly’ in scent, be sure to pick up a product containing a woodsy essential oil such as sandalwood, cedarwood, pine, or tea tree oils.
On the other hand, if you are looking to experiment with other scent profiles, you can even find beard butters containing floral notes of lavender or even citrus based profiles of grapefruit and orange.
Again, it can get pretty crazy with the scents that essential oils provide.
But it doesn’t end there:
Essential oils can also provide some really great benefits for your skin. Unlike the moisturizing capabilities of carrier oils and butters above, an essential oil such as tea tree oil, will be a natural antiseptic that will help to rid your face of acne. In addition, tea tree oil doubles as an anti-fungal as well, making it also great for fighting beardruff.
Now if you are looking for a beard butter that will provide growth, be on the lookout for peppermint essential oil as it will help to increase blood flow to your skin with its invigorating properties.
Beard Butter Ingredient List: Beeswax
While beeswax may take more of a front seat in your classic beard balm, when it comes to butters, they are usually only within the product (if at all) as a binding agent.
Beeswax will help to provide a slightly thicker viscosity to the beard butter which will make storage and application just a hair bit easier.
However, don’t be completely shocked if this ingredient is left off the beard butter ingredient list altogether.
Beeswax found in beard products has two core reasons for its inclusion: protectant and styling abilities.
When the mercury drops on the thermometer, beeswax does provide a light protectant layer that will help to retain the moisture close to your skin (this is also why its found in popular lip balms).
This helps to keep your skin and beard, softer and smoother for longer when compared to a beard oil.
With its styling abilities, the ratio of beeswax is really low in beard butter, so don’t expect much in this regard.
If you are looking for more of a medium hold, then we would recommend checking out a beard balm instead.
Application Of Beard Butter Is Simple
If you have used beard balm in the past, then you already know how to apply beard butter.
To apply beard butter, you will need to follow these simple steps:
- Pop off the top of the tin of your beard butter and scoop out about enough to cover the surface of your thumbnail.
- Place the scooped out beard butter into the palm of your hands
- Rub hands together until it is completely dissolved and in an oily form – you don’t want any clumps remaining on your hands
- Massage into your beard – be sure to get to the base of the hair follicle and work your way to the tips (this ensures that there is no beardruff growing on the surface of your skin).
- Enjoy your well-conditioned beard!
Some Great Beard Butters To Check Out
Now it wouldn’t be a great post talking about all the glorious detail of beard butter without listing off a few popular products on the market that will set you on your way to a softer and better looking beard.
Here are some great beard butters to get you going:
Fresh Beards “Beach Blend” – Beard Butter
Based on a rich mixture of shea butter along with several carrier oils (jojoba, coconut, avocado, almond, and grapseed oils) in addition to essential oils, this beard butter by Fresh Beards is a moisturizing-first beard butter.
Noticeably absent of any beeswax, this is a true beard butter with all the conditioning properties and very little in the way of styling capabilities.
When applied to your beard this beard butter should go on smooth without leaving any sort of heavy or greasy residue behind. Therefore, your beard won’t look like a 10 pound weight hanging off of your chin – instead it should effortlessly blend in when applied properly.
Regarding scent, the “Beach Blend” butter draws from a coconut, lemon, and vanilla profile – leaving you feeling pretty refreshed upon application. If you’re not into the whole beach thing, Fresh Beard smartly offers their beard butter in several other scents.
Detroit Grooming Co.
The prestigious Detroit Grooming Co. enters the beard care lineup with their latest beard product offering – a 4oz jar of beard butter.
Double the size of your standard beard balm tin, this butter is designed in eerily similar fashion to the Beardbrand Utility Balm we recently reviewed – we are wondering now, which one came first?!
But alas, this beard butter by Detroit Grooming Co. depends on, well we think so, the most manly scent combination ever made for a beard care product: vanilla, tobacco, and cedarwood.
Beyond the scent, Detroit Grooming Co. relies on shea as its primary butter along with a supporting cast of carrier oils that will make your beard sing. It’s inclusion of Vitamin E is a nice touch for extra skin care benefits. A great starter butter for those looking for a recommendation:
Wild Willie’s Beard Butter
Quite possibly the one product that defined the beard butter vertical will be this offering from Wild Willie’s. While initially found only at online retailers, Wild Willie’s is quickly expanding into big box stores across the nation – and we couldn’t be more excited for the team down in Georgia.
If you are looking for a beard butter that relies on organic ingredients that were blended in the good ole U.S.A. then look no further.
To even provide a better peace of mind, Wild Willie’s stands by all their products with a 100% money back guarantee.
Don’t Forget The Comb Or Brush
If you are striving for a fuller and bushier look, opt for the brush. Its offset bristles will get the beard butter perfectly spread through your beard follicles adding some volume to your mane.
On the other hand, if you are simply looking for a bit of styling control, then you will want to be sure to comb. Just remember, beard butters have very little (if any) beeswax contained in the product. So the look that you achieve in the front of the mirror will likely not be the same exact look at the end of the day.
Yes! That Really Is Everything About Beard Butters
As you can see, while they aren’t the most popular product in the beard care world, beard butters are incredibly effective at not only getting rid of beardruff, but for providing a rich level of moisture and nourishment to your skin using natural ingredients.
So be sure to check out one of the products that we mentioned above, you will be happy you did!