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Peppermint Oil For Facial Hair: Benefits & Side Effects

Peppermint is usually associated with candy, Christmas, and chewing gum. Yet it is also a prominent ingredient in many beard care products. What benefits does peppermint have for grooming a beard? Is it worth looking for beard balms or shampoos that contain peppermint?

We explore the benefits and side effects of applying peppermint oil to your beard.

What is Peppermint Oil?

Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves of the peppermint plant. The plant itself is a hybrid mint, a cross between watermint and spearmint. It is known scientifically as Mentha x Piperita, although there are types of peppermint oil that come from other branches of the Mentha genus. 

Peppermint plants are found naturally in North America, the Middle East, and Europe but are now cultivated globally. 

Types of Peppermint Oil

There are three different types of peppermint oil, all of which are useful for topical hair and facial use, but the concentration differs from oil to oil due to the various processes of distillation. The differences can be summarized as: 

Peppermint Terpeneless (Mentha arvensis)

  • No terpenes due to the longer distillation process, leading to a higher concentrated oil
  • Stronger, more menthol fragrance

Peppermint Supreme (Mentha piperita)

  • Includes the terpenes that naturally occur in peppermint
  • Is less concentrated
  • Good for aromatherapy and facial hair use
  • Has a sweeter scent

Peppermint Japanese (Mentha arvensis)

  • Provides many same benefits but is often not recommended as the scent isn’t as desired
  • Contains the natural terpenes found within the oil 

What does peppermint oil smell like?

Peppermint oil has an invigorating and minty fragrance that is unmistakable. However, there are small, subtle differences in the scent depending on the type of oil used, with peppermint supreme smelling sweeter and terpeneless peppermint having a more medical, menthol scent. 

Is peppermint oil comedogenic?

There is no definitive research to suggest whether peppermint oil is comedogenic or not. The oil itself is likely non-comedogenic and, therefore, should be safe to use on any skin type, be it oily or dry. However, the oil should never be applied directly to the skin. It should be blended with a carrier oil such as: 

These oils will have their own comedogenic ratings, so to avoid breakouts, it is best to research the carrier oil used in the product or that you’re choosing to apply. This is especially important for anyone with oily skin. 

What skin types are compatible with peppermint oil?

All skin types, including sensitive skin, should be compatible with peppermint oil and should see some benefit from using the oil for topical skincare. Despite this, it is important to always do a patch test before use to ensure you do not have any kind of reaction to the oil. 

Benefits of Applying Peppermint Oil to Facial Hair

Peppermint oil has a range of benefits to the body, from internal to external. As it is a naturally found oil, it is also a favorite among vegans and those looking to avoid harsh chemicals on their skin or hair. In addition, it is found in a large number of facial hair products because of the following benefits. 

Spurs Hair Growth

There are plenty of products that falsely claim to increase beard hair growth, but peppermint oil is not one of them. It is one of the few proven essential oils that will help increase your beard’s growth rate. It does so by increasing the blood flow to the root of the hair follicle (source). It can also help increase the thickness and depth of your hair follicles and the number of them (source), which could aid in preventing hair loss. 

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

As well as increasing facial hair growth, peppermint oil has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest that this is due to its ability to inhibit nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 production within the body (source). These anti-inflammatory properties make the oil great for topical use on itchy, irritated skin caused by skin conditions or dehydration, even under facial hair (source). 

Reducing itchiness beneath the beard can also aid in reducing signs of dandruff, as it prevents the skin from coming away and into the facial hair. The cooling sensation of the oil will aid in soothing the irritation and inflammation, and the oil will prevent any further inflammation. 

Antibacterial & Antioxidant Properties

Studies have shown all variants of peppermint oil to have reliable antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The more distilled variations of the oil are stronger antibacterial agents, but all three work well (source). 

The oil’s antibacterial properties help reduce acne, remove bacteria, and prevent the pores from becoming clogged. It will also help to prevent any infections around broken skin caused by dryness or acne. This helps the beard look healthier and prevents any soreness beneath the hair. 

In addition to being antibacterial and antioxidant, peppermint oil has also been shown to have antifungal properties due to the menthol within the oil (source). This can help to prevent beardruff caused by an overgrowth of yeast. 

Regulates Oil Production

Peppermint oil can help regulate the sebum oil production done by the skin’s sebaceous glands. This is useful for oily skin types, as it will help reduce the amount of oil that the skin creates. In addition, regulating sebum production can help to reduce the symptoms and presence of acne. 

Side Effects of Applying Peppermint Oil to Facial Hair

As with any skin or beard care product, applying peppermint oil can have some side effects. These can often be avoided by doing a patch test before use. 

Burning Sensation

Some people may feel a burning sensation when applying peppermint essential oil. To avoid this, ensure that you mix the oil with a carrier oil before use. This helps to dilute the oil and also makes it easier to store. You also gain the benefits of the carrier oil, such as vitamins and nutrients that may benefit the skin.

It is also important to remember that just because peppermint oil is natural and plant-based, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe (source). For example, you may be allergic to the oil, the oil might have spoiled, or it might have been mixed incorrectly. 

Never Ingest

It is important, given the proximity of application on your beard to your mouth, that you never ingest any peppermint oil. Doing so can cause symptoms like reflux, nausea, and vomiting. While most reports of peppermint oil ingestion suggest the symptoms are relatively mild, there are cases where people have ingested so much of the oil that it has become toxic to the body (source). 

Strong Fragrance

Peppermint oil is known for its very strong fragrance. The scent is not unpleasant, but it might not be ideal to apply so close to your nose, particularly if you are sensitive to smells, as this may cause irritation or a headache. 

Additionally, it may be challenging to pair with many popular colognes and body sprays, as these tend to be subtler, deeper scents. 

Beard Care Products Containing Peppermint Oil

If you’d like to try some beard care products containing peppermint oil, there are plenty available. Here are some products which contain real peppermint oil: 

Make Your Own Beard Care Product With Peppermint Oil

Alternatively, if you’d rather know exactly what’s going into the products you use, why not try making your beard care product? It is incredibly easy to do, and we’ve got several guides to help you along the way! These easy-to-follow guides will help you create a beard balm, mustache wax, or beard oil

Common Questions

Will peppermint oil help with beard growth?

Yes, peppermint oil is scientifically proven to help hair growth. 

Is peppermint oil better than minoxidil for beard growth?

Studies into peppermint oil and hair growth have shown that the oil performed on par with minoxidil (source). There are fewer side effects when using peppermint oil, whereas minoxidil can cause irritation, chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, and even confusion. Additionally, it must be considered that minoxidil was only made for scalp growth, not for facial hair use. 

How do you apply peppermint oil to your beard?

Applying peppermint oil is straightforward.  Just follow these steps:

  • Dilute with a carrier oil of your choosing (95% carrier oil, 5% peppermint oil).
  • Pour a dime-sized amount of blended oil into the palm of your hand
  • Rub your hands together
  • Massage into skin
  • Coat the hair from root to tip to ensure you coat the hair follicles
  • Style with a beard comb or beard brush

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam is an expert in all things men's grooming and style. When you don't find him reading up on the latest style trends, he likes to go jogging, attempt to distinguish the differences between IPAs, and play sports with his kids.

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