Oily or Greasy Feeling Beard? 10 Tips to Clean it Up

Oily or greasy-looking facial hair is a problem for a lot of men.  However, the reason for this isn’t nearly as obvious as one might think.  This guide will help you figure out what the cause of a greasy-looking beard might be, along with a few tips on how you can clean it up quickly.

1. Using the Right Beard Conditioner

Beard care products have grown in popularity over the past few years. Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity comes a lot of misinformation and poorly made products.  

No matter the beard conditioner, only consider those made from natural ingredients.  A naturally-derived beard conditioner will absorb into the skin better to help prevent a greasy or matted-looking appearance.

Silicone or artificially-based beard conditioners won’t absorb nearly as much, making for poorer-looking results.

However, not all natural beard conditioners are created equal.  You must know the ingredients within the conditioner before applying, which brings us to the next point – comedogenic ratings.

2. Understanding Comedogenic Ratings (And Why They Matter)

Quality beard conditioners rely on a rich blend of natural ingredients, including carrier oils, and in some instances, butter.  While these ingredients nourish and moisturize your skin, they can also clog pores and cause a greasy-looking beard, especially if you already have a naturally oily skin complexion.

The comedogenic scale provides ratings of various oils and their susceptibility to clogging your pores.  The ratings range from 0 = does not clog pores to 5 = clogs pores.

Ideally, you should only use a beard conditioner with ingredients not exceeding a comedogenic rating of two.  

For reference, here are the comedogenic ratings for ingredients commonly found in various beard conditioners:

IngredientComedogenic Rating
Sweet Almond Oil2
Apricot Kernel Oil2
Argan Oil0
Avocado Oil3
Castor Oil1
Cocoa Butter4
Coconut Butter4
Coconut Oil4
Grapeseed Oil1
Jojoba Oil2
Kukui Nut Oil2
Lanolin Oil2
Mango Butter2
Shea Butter0

Discontinue use of your beard conditioner if it contains coconut oil/butter or cocoa butter; as you can see, it will be much more likely to clog your pores and ultimately make your facial hair appear greasy.

If your beard conditioner contains an oil not listed in the table above, just simply search online “[CARRIER OIL] + comedogenic rating” and you should find the relevant information.

3. When Are You Applying a Conditioner?

While there is no problem if you want to apply a beard conditioner before bed, experts recommend applying a beard conditioner at the start of your day immediately after showering.

When you apply a beard conditioner before bed, you allow it to penetrate deep into your skin. While great when you want to get rid of dry skin or beard dandruff, when using too much conditioner, you risk making your facial hair look measurably more greasy or oily.

If you do apply a beard conditioner before bed, simply use half the amount required.

4. Frequency of Beard Conditioning

Don’t condition your beard more than once daily.  Over-application can lead to build-up and greasy-looking results.

5. Use Measured Amounts

No matter the type of beard conditioner you use, a little can go a long way.  Here are some guidelines on how much should be used for facial hair shorter than 1″:

  • Beard Oil: Dime-sized amount.
  • Beard Balm: Thumbnail-sized amount.
  • Beard Butter: Thumbnail-sized amount.
  • Beard Jelly: Nickle-sized amount.

If you apply this much, try cutting the amount in half and seeing how things look in a few days.

6. Wash Your Beard With a Gentle Cleanser

Using an oily shampoo or conditioner when cleansing your beard may only worsen greasy facial hair. Instead, use a lightweight beard wash with gentle cleansing agents should strip excess oils and dirt without drying your facial hair.  

7. Apply Evenly

Is the oily or matted appearance isolated to just one area of your beard?  If so, this could be a sign of improper application.  

When applying, make sure that you coat your hands evenly and then apply.  When using a thick conditioning agent like beard balm or beard butter, make sure you melt the product entirely before working it into your skin and facial hair.

A beard brush can also help ensure even distribution.

8. Apply to the Skin 

Despite their name, beard conditioners are made to prevent dryness to the skin underneath your facial hair.  

When applying, don’t just rub your hands on the surface of your beard; instead, make sure that you work the conditioner into the base of the hair follicle.

9. Skip a Conditioner

Beard conditioners are designed to supplement the sebum oil that is produced by your sebaceous glands.  If you have naturally oily skin, then a beard conditioner might not be necessary, especially for the beginning stages of beard growth.

Simply put, if the skin underneath your facial hair doesn’t feel dry or itchy, then there is likely no reason to apply a conditioning agent regularly.

10. Don’t Apply on Previous Day Application

Ideally, you should only apply a beard conditioner to a clean beard. Applying a conditioner on top of a previous day’s conditioner application will cause oil build-up.  This can lead to greasy-looking facial hair, and in severe cases, mild irritation or redness.

Wrap Up

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to proper beard care.  However, I hope that all the points mentioned above give you some actionable tips to get your beard in the best shape possible. 

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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