beginners guide to using beard oil

The Beginners Guide To Understanding The Uses of Beard Oil

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No one ever told me that growing a healthy beard is tough!

As my beard started to grow in, I noticed that it was growing in 10 different directions; the skin underneath the beard was feeling quite a bit itchy (oftentimes flaking off), and to be quite honest, it just felt horrible (particularly coarse and crunchy).

Well, I got news for you gents:

All of this is completely natural…

…for those who don’t care for their beard properly.

Today, I wanted to go over how beard oil is an essential beard conditioner that you CANNOT skip over (trust me on this).

In addition to why this stuff is so important, I wanted to also cover a few other key details, including:

  1. How often you need to be applying beard oil.
  2. How it works into your total beard maintenance routine.
  3. Some other tidbits of knowledge that I wish I had learned earlier…

Let’s explore why it’s critical to your overall beard health:

When Should You Start Using Beard Oil?

when should you use beard oil

Now you might have heard about beard oil before today (otherwise why would you be searching about it 😊).

Perhaps you came across a video or two on YouTube, found out about /r/beards on Reddit, or fell into the endless scrolling on Instagram under the #beardgang hashtag.

While beard oil may seem ‘new’, it has been around for ages…

In fact, beard oil started to get popular over the past few years due to the whole beard trend that started to take off.

Prior to the huge beard explosion, it was mainly reserved for the diehard beard growers who knew what they were doing.

Now that it has gone mainstream, it’s important to cut through the fluff and understand when and why you should start using it.

Here’s what you need to know:

Shortly after growing out a beard, you will inevitably start to get the dreaded beard itch as I eluded to earlier.

It sucks.

And it’s at this point where many men decide to completely shave their beard off.

Don’t do this.

Now you might be wondering, what is the right beard length you should have in order to start applying beard oil regularly?

Unfortunately, I can’t give you that answer…you will see why in a minute.

But first, know this:

Truth be told, beard oil manufacturers will claim that you can start using beard oil as soon as you have a bit of a stubble.

While there is technically nothing wrong with this, it’s a tad bit overkill – and a good way to make money.

I will deep dive into the skin benefits of beard oil in a bit, but to understand beard oil and how it fits into your beard care regimen, you first need to understand what is going on with your beard at a microscopic level.

Trust us, this is critical info here:

At the root of every follicle, you have these tiny little glands called sebaceous glands:

sebaceous gland diagram

Sebaceous glands are responsible for giving your facial hair the essential moisture it needs for your beard to look (and feel) healthy.

Why are these glands important?

These sebaceous glands produce an oil called sebum oil.

Sebum oil is key to understanding why beard oil exists in the first place.

Your sebaceous glands can only produce a finite amount of sebum oil.

As your beard follicle gets longer, it will ultimately begin to suck up all the sebum oil and will be looking for more.

This is when beard itch occurs.

Usually after a few weeks of beard growth, you will start to notice that your beard is getting itchy; the reason for this is simply that you are running low on sebum oil and your skin is telling you that.

With the dry skin underneath your beard, flaking will start to occur.

This flaking is commonly known in the bearded community as “beardruff”, or beard dandruff.

But it gets worse:

Not only will you have nasty beard dandruff to contend with, but you will also have a beard that is feeling a bit rigid, sharp and almost crunchy (in the absolute worst-case scenario).

You might be sitting there asking yourself this question:

How does this all relate to beard oil?

It’s everything.

As soon as your beard starts to feel a bit dry and itchy, this is when you need to invest in a beard oil in order to keep it looking and feeling healthy.

There is no exact length on when you need to apply beard oil.

Every man develops sebum oil at their own rate.

Once your body tells you that the skin is getting itchy and the beard is feeling dry, that’s your sign that you need to start using beard oil.

But check this out:

You can’t use just any beard oil.


Well, based on our experience, there are a TON of bad products out there chocked full of crummy stuff (i.e. synthetic ingredients) that do more damage than good.

Any quality beard oil should contain simply two primary ingredients – carrier and essential oils.

Here’s a bit on those ingredients and their benefits:

What are the Benefits of Beard Oil?

You may have heard about carrier and essential oils before reading this article today.

And truth be told, there is a lot we still need to learn about this stuff as it hasn’t been fully researched by expert scientists.

However, here’s what we found out in our own testing:

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are the main acting ingredient in beard oil.

Carrier oils are found in a variety of moisturizing focused products, including massage oils, shampoos, lip balms, lotions and more.

They are sourced naturally – typically from seeds or nuts and come in a ton of different varieties.

Some of the most popular types of carrier oils include Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba oil), Argania spinosa (Argan oil), sweet almond oil and countless others.

Of the few oils listed above, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba oil) is among the mildest, and it closely mimics your natural sebum oil.

Furthermore, it absorbs into the skin rather quickly and won’t give your skin or beard an oily or greasy look after application.

In addition, many of the carrier oils used in beard oils are non-comedogenic – meaning it won’t clog your pores when applied.

Should you have natural oil or combination skin types, most men we spoke with never had a problem with an uptick in acne when applying beard oil.

Typically, the opposite occurred – the natural carrier oils helped to balance out their skin complexion and reduced the onset of acne.

It’s also worth mentioning that in any given beard oil, the carrier oil does most of the ‘work’ and is about 95%+ of any beard oil solution.

For those men who like to keep things ‘clean’ and rely on as few ingredients as possible, simply applying Jojoba oil to your face in lieu of proper beard oil is an acceptable substitute.

Essential Oils

While carrier oils might be delivering all the key moisture to your beard, the other primary component to any quality beard oil will be the essential oils.

Essential oils are fun (all things considered).

You see, carrier oils are well…


Carrier oil scents are often very muted and only serve the purpose of moisturizing your beard and skin.

Essential oils, on the other hand, are like the cool freshman in college that is living on their own for the first time – they are simply the life of the beard oil party!

From cedar wood to lemon, frankincense and peppermint, essential oils provide all the wonderful smells for beard oil.

So, if you want to have a nice subtle smell of the Appalachian Mountains in Upstate New York or an orange grove in Florida, beard oil can bring you there (well, scent-wise that is).

Here’s the kicker:

Essential oils have exploded in recent years.

From colds to antidepressant qualities, the research to support such claims is light, to say the least.

While we all want to believe that a little bit of tea tree oil will cure all your woes…

…it’s important to not fall for the marketing jargon of many companies.

In the area of essential oils, we would recommend proceeding with caution.

Our best advice here is to see the claims of many essential oils as just additional benefits…

Instead, just pick a beard oil that you think will smell great and works with your style.

How Much Beard Oil Should You Be Using?

how much beard oil to use

When it comes to using beard oil, it’s really going to depend on a few factors:

  1. Beard length
  2. Beard thickness
  3. Personal preference

Now if it’s your first-time using beard oil, I would recommend going with no more than a dime-sized amount in the palm of your hand.

This should be a great start to a healthier beard that had been getting a bit too dry.

Now as your beard lengthens, you will want to increase the amount to desire.

As part of a beard maintenance routine, you will want to get into the habit of making a regular application of beard oil about once every day or two.

It’s worth noting that some men really do enjoy the scents found within beard oil and may substitute their favorite oil as a light natural fragrance.


Applying Beard Oil

When applying beard oil, it’s a straightforward process:

  1. Pour a dime-sized amount into your palm
  2. Rub your hands together to get an even coating.
  3. Once coated, work the oil into your skin and beard.
  4. After your skin has a good application of beard oil, you will want to go ahead and bring the oil out to the tip of your beard follicle.

The key part of the application process is this:

You need to make sure you get the beard oil all the way into your skin.

Having it rest on the top of your beard won’t allow the natural ingredients to stop that itchiness and beard dandruff from happening.

So be sure to really work this stuff in.

To complement the initial application of beard oil, we recommend using a beard brush or beard comb.

This will ensure that your beard oil is evenly distributed (even more so with a beard brush) throughout your beard.

Once brushed or combed, you should notice a much healthier beard that will be non-greasy, as well.

Making Beard Oil Is Easy

making your own beard oil at home

If it’s your first time growing a beard, my recommendation is to purchase a beard oil (here’s our guide to the absolute best ones reviewed) and really understand what the product is all about.

There are some good (and cheap) ones on the market that you can check out that feature organic ingredients that are enough to get the job done.

Here’s the deal, though:

If you are totally serious about growing an epic beard and keeping it long for a while, then you may save a bundle of money by making beard oil yourself.

After all, it only contains two primary ingredients – carrier and essential oils.

So, if you think the whole “do-it-yourself route” makes sense, I invite you to check out the epic beard oil recipe guide I put together that goes over the ins-and-outs of making your very own bottle of beard oil.

What Is A Good Beard Oil for Beginners?

Typically beard oil manufacturers will try to charge a premium for their creation – so be sure to proceed with caution when ordering from a specific company.

What I personally recommend for beginners is a beard oil that relies on any one of the following carrier oils:

  • Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba oil)
  • Argania spinosa (Argan oil)

As mentioned earlier, both Jojoba and Argan oils are carrier oils and are non-comedogenic.

When selecting a beard oil, we do recommend that you go with one that relies on organic ingredients as they often will contain less impurities while also having a better shelf life.

For those looking for product recommendations, while we wrote extensively about all the best beard oils in this guide, a few brands we recommend for beginners are those from the following companies:

  • Honest Amish
  • Beardbrand
  • Mountaineer Brand
  • Ranger Grooming Co

All these brands have been around for years and have perfected the art of the beard oil production process.

Furthermore, they are all based here in the U.S., rely on better manufacturing standards and are absent of any synthetic fragrances that may cause adverse side effects.

Speaking of product safety…

When jumping into some of the more exotic beard oils, you do have to be mindful of rashes or allergic reactions, especially if you have sensitive skin.

So always make sure you do a patch test – typically behind your ear or the inside of your elbow – to make sure you don’t have any sensitivities to the oils.

Jojoba specifically is one of the mildest oils that you can get, and therefore, the likelihood of a reaction is very small – hence why I recommend this one for those just starting out.

Complementary Beard Grooming Products

beard brush for better beard oil distribution

While it might seem like beard oil is more than enough to get you on your way, we would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t at least mention a few other important complementary products for total beard maintenance.

Specifically, we want to briefly cover the following:

  • Beard Brushes
  • Beard Combs
  • Beard Washes & Beard Shampoos

Here’s a brief overview of each:

Beard Brushes – Often crafted from boars’ hair, beard brushes are the perfect complementary tool for beard oil.

Their long bristles get all the way to the skin and help distribute the beard oil along your facial hair for total coverage.

If you are serious about having a superior beard and want to follow all the proper grooming steps, don’t skip on the boar’s hair bristle brush – it is completely underrated in its utility and effectiveness.

Beard Combs – More for styling than anything else, beard combs are great for shaping how your beard looks.

While not as great when it comes to product distribution, if you need to wrestle a few wispy whiskers, then a beard comb is your best bet.

Just be sure that if you do pick up a beard comb, get one that has been saw cut and polished – this will prevent any snagging and pulling on your beard.

Beard Washes and Beard Shampoos – When cleansing your beard a few times per week, you should skip on your standard bar of soap or shampoo and opt for a specific beard wash instead.

Your existing soaps and shampoos are often much too harsh and will strip away all that important sebum oil.

If you really want a smooth beard, couple your beard oil with a proper beard wash and be prepared to have a silky-smooth beard.

Beard Trimmer or Shears – Like pruning the hedge every few weeks, a beard must be kept in order to look its best.

Of the tools out there to choose from, you can go either two ways:

A beard trimmer or shears.

Now if you want to keep a very close cut, then a beard trimmer is a better pick.

But if you want to only clean up any split ends – then opt for shears.

Shears provide a greater level of control and allow you to taper your beard so you can have a perfect style.

Is Beard Balm or Beard Butter Worth Considering Instead?

One product that is often recommended as an alternative to beard oil will be beard balm and beard butter.

Containing many of the same ingredients, notably carrier and essential oils, these two products focus more on the moisturizing aspect by also containing shea butter and beeswax.

Perfect for those men who live in dry conditions, beard balms and butters are great, particularly for the winter months.

But for those men who really want more of a lightweight formula, beard oil will still be a better choice.

That’s Really Everything There Is to Know About Beard Oil

I hope that all the above information gave you great insight on the importance of beard oil and why beardsmen everywhere add this to their personal repertoire and use it on such a frequent basis.

It makes your beard incredibly soft, moisturized and just generally a whole lot more presentable – oh, and that pesky beard dandruff goes away as well!

About The Author

Shawn Burns

Shawn is the founder and senior editor at Tools of Men, the leading style and grooming source trusted by men in 187 countries. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. He is an expert in all things men's grooming related. His work has been mentioned on countless sites including The Wall Street Journal, NBC, AskMen, Vice, WikiHow, and the New York Times.

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