Essential oils come from many sources and are found in most beard care products. But do they deliver any sort of growth benefits to your facial hair when applied regularly?
We explore some popular essential oils and dispel some common myths.
What are Essential Oils?
‘Essential oil’ is the name given to any natural oils that have been obtained by distillation and that have kept the distinctive odor and sometimes flavor of the plant from which they were extracted. These oils come from trees, nuts, plants, fruits, and leaves and are used in food and cosmetics worldwide.
Types of Essential Oils
There are hundreds of essential oils that have varying properties that benefit skin and hair. For example, some products claim to use essential oils to spur beard growth, but very few of these claims are confirmed, with only a couple of essential oils having been proven to encourage facial hair growth.
A person’s genetics and diet largely dictate beard growth rate, and as such, topical creams, oils and balms have minimal impact on the speed of growth.
Essential Oils Role in Beard Care Products
Various essential oils are frequently added to beard care products and plenty of other cosmetics. They are valued ingredients in beard care products and serve a range of purposes:
- It may be added to help support claims of a thicker or fuller beard
- This allows the product to be priced higher, despite the claims not always being entirely truthful. For example, it may be that the oil just provides the appearance of thickness.
- It gives beard care products a signature fragrance
- Reduces the need for harsh chemically-derived fragrances that can include up to 3,000 different chemical compounds (source)
- Essential oils often include various vitamins and nutrients
- This also provides another selling point, as the beard care product can be marketed as nourishing for the skin and facial hair
Most beard care products contain more than one essential oil. This allows the customer to reap the benefits from more than one oil while also allowing the product to have a wider range of uses.
Products that use essential oils are much easier for men with sensitive skin or allergies, as it is easier to decipher an ingredients list with natural products than a largely chemical-based product.
Proven Essential Oils for Beard Growth
Of all essential oils, only one oil has been scientifically linked to encouraging hair growth: peppermint oil.
Peppermint oil is one of the few essential oils found to help accelerate hair growth. It does so by increasing blood circulation, which helps to encourage hair growth and hair thickness, and follicle health. One study looked at peppermint oil’s uses for stimulating hair growth compared to minoxidil and found that peppermint oil surpassed the chemical treatment (source).
Other Essential Oils of Note
It is important to note that most research into hair regrowth or increased hair growth is done on scalp hair rather than facial hair. Androgenic hair (facial hair) growth is dependent on different factors to scalp hair, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.
A study compared rosemary essential oil to minoxidil as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia (also known as male pattern hair loss). The study found that rosemary oil effectively treated the condition (source). However, whether this reflects its effectiveness on beard hair is unknown.
Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender, and Cedarwood
In another study, thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood oil were used to treat alopecia areata (an autoimmune condition that affects hair follicles) and were found to produce significant results (source).
Lavender & Tea Tree Oil
There are lots of claims that tea tree oil increases beard growth. However, one fascinating study demonstrated that both lavender and tea tree essential oil could cause prepubertal gynecomastia (source). This is the growth of breast tissue in men, also known as ‘man boobs.’ Therefore, neither lavender oil nor tea tree oil is ideal for facial hair or any beard care product because of this trait.
Great Smelling Essential Oils
Essential oils maintain the smell of the plant they come from. Here’s what some of the popular essential oils smell like:
- Eucalyptus Globulus: is a complex sweet, fruity, floral, and woody smelling oil
- Lemon: is a strong-smelling citrus scent
- Peppermint: has a very strong minty and herbal aroma
- Pine: has a deep woody scent
- Patchouli: is a woody and spicy smelling oil
- Rosemary: has a strong herbal scent
- Sage: moderate herbal scent
- Grapefruit: has a strong citrus smell but is distinct from lemon oil
- Clove: has an identifiably spicy aroma
- Vanilla: has a distinctly sweet, smooth scent
You can pick and choose your essential oil not only for the benefits it provides but for the scent it will give your beard. When blending oils, be sure to consider whether or not those smells will blend well with one another.
One way to do this is by considering the scent wheel, which demonstrates which scents are closest to one another and thus will go best together (source).
Beware of Misclaims
When looking for your perfect beard care product, you must double-check any claims made by the product. Sometimes claims made by companies are just claims and have very little to no research to support them. Look for some independent data to back the information up before purchasing to ensure that you’re buying the right product.
Never Apply Essential Directly to The Skin
Essential oils are highly concentrated, and direct application can cause severe irritation or allergic reactions. The FDA states that you should be cautious when using essential oils (source).
To make essential oils safe to use, you must dilute them with carrier oils. Carrier oils are beneficial to skin and facial hair, by providing both moisture and nourishment. However, some of them may not be suitable for your skin type. Common carrier oils include:
- Jojoba oil: great for helping the skin retain moisture and contains antioxidants
- Sweet almond oil: pleasant smell and a good moisturizer, contains vitamin E
- Argan oil: has anti-inflammatory properties and is great on dry skin
- Apricot kernel oil: good for softening and soothing irritated skin
- Castor oil: has anti-microbial properties which help to protect from acne
Beard Care Products Containing Peppermint Oil
If you’re looking for beard care products that contain peppermint oil, there are plenty out there that will help to soothe your skin and encourage beard growth, such as:
- Can You Handlebar’s Peppermint Beard Oil: designed to help hydrate your hair and skin, this oil hopes to remove beard itchiness, beard dandruff, and dryness.
- Arlo’s Beard Oil: this peppermint beard oil has a refreshing cooling effect and works to nourish and strengthen your beard
- Cremo Beard Oil: an oil with wild mint to moisturize and condition your beard while keeping your beard and face smelling fresh
Make Your Own Beard Care Product is Easy
Beard oils and beard balms have a relatively simple formula, which means it’s pretty easy to make your own. By following DIY beard oil recipes, you can create custom oil blends of beard growth ingredients to suit your needs while saving quite a bit of money.
Common Questions About Essential Oils in Beard Care Products
Do essential oils stop beard dandruff?
In most cases, no. The carrier oil within the beard care product usually fights dandruff. They do this by moisturizing and nourishing the skin and preventing dry skin or an overgrowth of fungus that may lead to dandruff.
Which is the best essential oil for beard growth?
Studies have shown that the best essential oil by far for beard growth is peppermint oil.