Beard Oil Substitutes: A Few Good Alternatives

Beard oil can be pretty pricey.

Therefore, we wanted to take a moment to talk about some viable beard oil substitutes.


Not every man is rolling in cash, and growing an epic beard shouldn’t require a large bankroll.

But to make sense of some suitable beard oil substitutes, I just want to take a minute to cover the primary ingredients.

So, let’s jump into it:

When Considering a Beard Oil Substitute, You Should Know What Beard Oil is Made From

Most beard oil is made from 2 (or 3) ingredients:

  • Carrier Oil
  • Essential Oil
  • Vitamin E Oil (optional)

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are found in a lot of men’s grooming products these days.  More and more companies are including carrier oils as one of the primary ingredients, from natural deodorants to body washes.

But why?

Carrier oil, typically derived from either a nut or seed, effectively moisturizes and nourishes your skin.  Additionally, most carrier oils are non-comedogenic (meaning that they won’t clog pores), making them great for men with any skin type.

When found in beard oil, carrier oils will help with a few things:

  • Hydrates your beard and skin to remove dryness or mild irritation.
  • Softens facial hair with continued use.

So, if your mane feels a bit crunchy or off-putting, the repeated application of carrier oil on your beard will ensure that your beard feels much softer without feeling greasy.

Essential Oils

Essential oils give beard oil a scent.

Essential oils, also derived from natural ingredients, are available in many scents.  Common scents in beard oil include tea tree, cedarwood, sandalwood, citrus, and more.

You must dilute essential oils with carrier oil.  Direct application of essential oil on your skin can irritate.  Additionally, some men may be allergic to essential oils, so always do a patch test before full application.

Vitamin E Oil

Some beard oils might include vitamin E oil.

This oil may help to strengthen the hair, making your beard less susceptible to unwanted breakage.  Many claims about vitamin E to the skin are not scientifically proven.  

Beard Balms Are The Best Substitute For Beard Oil

Containing all the same conditioning agents as beard oil plus butter and beeswax, make beard balm is the best beard oil substitute you can buy.

Not only does beard balm do a better job at conditioning your beard than a bottle of beard oil, but it also costs substantially lower than beard oil.

Beyond just conditioning your beard, the beeswax in beard balm is a welcome addition for many beardsmen as it will provide a light to medium hold for your wispy follicles.

This little bit of control will help give your beard some shape throughout the day, so you don’t have to worry about a midday comb or brushing – perfect for men who grow a beard in a formal office setting.

The added shea or cocoa butter will help support well-moisturized skin.

Lastly, if you live in a dry climate such as the northeast during winter months or the south/southwest at any time of the year, beard balm will penetrate your beard and skin much deeper than a beard oil can ever hope to.

Should you be looking for a quality beard balm, most beardsmen find themselves reaching for this beard balm, as it has all the essential ingredients found in beard oil as well.

Jojoba Or Argan Oils Are Terrific Beard Oil Substitutes

If you are a man with sensitive skin or one that just simply doesn’t like scented grooming products, then just apply jojoba or argan oil.

These oils are carrier oils and are the base ingredients in many of the most popular beard oils on the market.

Therefore, if you are looking to cut out the middle man and save a few bucks, then you can just get a bottle of jojoba oil and achieve all the great conditioning benefits as if you paid for a bottle of beard oil yourself.

Become A Beard Oil Maker Yourself

Like anything in life, DIY is always going to be cheaper than if you were to buy a product online or from your local corner store, and beard oil is no exception to this rule.

With its two primary ingredients, men who like to get their hands dirty often will just make their private batch of beard oil.

Not only can this be a pretty rewarding experience, but you also save quite a bit of money!

Now, if you never used beard oil, then we would strongly suggest picking up one just so you have an idea of what the finished product should look, feel, and smell like.

For further guidance, check out our in-depth guide on how to make beard oil.  In this guide, we talk about all the different essential oils, carrier oils, and steps to make your very first bottle of beard oil.

Mineral Oil As A Beard Oil Substitute?

Plenty of men use mineral oil (baby oil) to condition their beards.

One of the critical properties that mineral oils have, and why it’s so attractive for beardsmen, is that it helps your skin retain water.

This is great for beardsmen because as your beard grows, the follicles will pull the moisture and sebum oil from the surface of your skin, ultimately causing an itchy beard.

Mineral oil counteracts this by keeping the water locked into the surface.

While mineral oil will be the cheapest substitute on this list, you are still better off going with just a bottle of organic (and natural) jojoba oil instead, especially if you like going with all-natural options.

Beard Oil Substitutes For Men With Stubble

Now, if you have stubble as opposed to a full beard, you have a couple of additional options at your disposal to thoroughly moisturize both your skin and beard; here they are:

Face Cream As A Moisturizer

Packed full of emollients, face creams do more than just add a splash of moisture to your face.

Face creams can also help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles near your eyes and around your mouth.

Face creams will make you look a few years younger and give your skin a much more vibrant look.

Secondly, many face creams also include SPF protection.  This will help to keep your skin complexion on point and help ward off pre-mature wrinkles from forming in the first place.

Instead of just applying a face cream to your T-zone, you can also take the application down to your beard and mustache as well.

This will help make your beard (even if it’s short) look much better and healthier.

Opposite Of A Face Cream, A Standard Thin Lotion Can Work Wonders

While there are differences in consistency and ingredient ratios between a face cream and your standard hand or body lotion, if you are looking for something around the house that can act as a beard oil substitute, then a body lotion may suffice.

If you have a month or two worth of beard growth – don’t apply lotion to your beard; it will look messy and likely need a shower immediately to be removed.

Instead, only consider this substitute if you have only a few days worth of growth (i.e., light to medium stubble).

We would strongly recommend using a thin lotion (i.e., Lubriderm, Kiehls, etc.) rather than a thicker one like Palmers (or any cocoa butter-based ones).

But why?

Well, thicker lotions may get trapped in your stubble, causing white areas that may be tough to rub thoroughly into your skin and stubble, ultimately creating white streaks in your beard.

Any Other Beard Oil Substitutes?

While there may be other mentions of beard oil substitutes on grooming blogs that include peanut butter, olive oil, and other kitchen items, we want to steer clear of those.

Not only will they perform poorly, but they also aren’t that practical either.

So if you are looking for something that performs and beard oil but can have other uses or just is simply cheaper, you will want to go with either a beard balm, carrier oil, or face cream for a great-looking beard!

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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