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What is Beard Oil?

In this article, you will learn what beard oil is (and what it is not), if it can make a beard grow faster, what it will do to your skin and facial hair when applied regularly, and much more. 

What is beard oil?

Beard oil is a conditioner that is applied to both facial hair and the skin underneath.  With repeated use, beard oil helps to nourish the skin to prevent dryness, redness, itchiness, and beard dandruff.  Beard oil also coats facial hair allowing it to appear healthier and lustrous while also feeling softer to the touch.

What’s in beard oil?

Most beard oils are made from two ingredients: various carrier oils and essential oils.  Here’s a brief overview of each:

Carrier Oil

Carrier oils supplement sebum oil that is naturally produced by your skin.  Carrier oil helps to nourish and moisturize the skin underneath your beard.  A carrier oil will prevent many side effects of growing a beard with continued application, such as dry and itchy skin.

Carrier oils are extracted from natural sources, including plants, seeds, leaves, and more.  Several types of carrier oils can be used within a beard oil.  Most carrier oils have a mild scent.

A carrier oil will make up 98%+ of any given beard oil.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are derived from several types of plants, seeds, leaves, and more.  Beard companies add essential oils to beard oil primarily for fragrance.  Many beard oils have a woodsy, spicy, smokey, or citrusy scent profile.

Unfortunately, some companies make unproven claims about essential oils.  Common unsubstantiated claims include “increased blood flow benefits,” “faster beard growth,” “thicker beard appearance,” and “stops acne.”  Little scientific research has been conducted on the efficacy of essential oils regarding facial hair growth.

Here’s an article about the labeling and dangers of essential oils provided by the FDA.

Can you make beard oil yourself?

Absolutely.  Given the simplicity of the formula, beard oil is easy to make.  If you are a DIY’er, here is a helpful guide on making beard oil at home.

Will beard oil make facial hair grow faster or thicker?

Beard oil is not a hair growth product; it is a conditioning agent.  Regular application of beard oil will not make your facial hair grow faster or thicker.  

Some beard care companies may include “beard growth ingredients” such as saw palmetto, vitamin b7 (biotin), and more into the oil.  However, these beard growth products always lack an independent scientific study to support the claims made.  These unsubstantiated claims should be read with a healthy dose of skepticism.

What about minoxidil?

Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, is a clinically proven hair loss product approved by the FDA.  Minoxidil is intended for top-of-the-head use and not facial hair.  However, men on various online forums have shared positive results when applying minoxidil to patchy areas resulting in new beard growth.  

Consider speaking with your family physician before applying minoxidil, as the side effects can be severe.  

How is beard oil different from other beard conditioners?

The significant differences between beard oil and other beard conditions are the viscosity, styling ability, and limited ingredients.  Here is a table comparing beard oil to beard balm, beard butter, and beard jelly:

IngredientBeard OilBeard BalmBeard ButterBeard Jelly
Carrier OilYesYesYesYes
Essential OilYesYesYesYes

As seen in the table above, beard oil does not contain butter or beeswax.  Without either of these ingredients, beard oil is thinner and lacks any hold for styling purposes.

When should you start applying beard oil?

Men who intend to grow facial hair should begin applying beard oil shortly after stubble begins to grow.  Using beard oil immediately after facial hair growth has started will prevent dry or itchy skin from developing underneath your beard.

Does beard oil prevent split ends?

Beard split ends occur in extremely dry, windy conditions or when the facial hair is rubbed repeatedly against an abrasive surface.  Regularly applying beard oil will coat the cuticles on the facial hair follicle shaft reducing the chance of a beard split end occurring.  

Does beard oil go bad?

We found that once you open a beard oil, it must be used within a year. Otherwise, the beard oil will oxidize and develop a rancid smell – something you definitely don’t want to be putting on your face. So be sure that once you purchase beard oil, be diligent about using it.

Will beard oil cause acne?

Some men may develop acne shortly after applying beard oil.  However, the prevalence of acne may be reduced if you select a carrier oil, within the beard oil, compatible with your skin type.

To find a compatible beard oil, look up the comedogenic rating of the carrier oil found on the ingredient label.  Comedogenic ratings range from 0 (does not clog pores) to 5 (clog pores).  Men with oily skin should only consider using a carrier oil with a comedogenic rating between 0 and 2.

Here is a table of comedogenic ratings for popular carrier oils found within beard oil:

IngredientComedogenic Rating
Apricot Kernel Oil2
Argan Oil0
Avocado Oil3
Babassu Oil2
Black Currant Seed Oil1
Castor Oil1
Coconut Oil4
Grapeseed Oil1
Hemp Seed Oil0
Jojoba Oil2
Kukui Nut Oil2
Lanolin Oil2
Mango Seed Oil2
Meadowfoam Seed Oil1
Rosehip Seed Oil1
Sweet Almond Oil2

Where can you buy beard oil?

Beard oil has become a widely distributed beard conditioner.  You can find beard oil available at your local drugstore, grocery store, or beauty store in the men’s grooming section.

For a greater selection, many beard care companies sell beard oil through their website.  There are countless vendors available.  Before making your purchase, be sure to do due diligence and consider only buying from a reputable brand.  

Wrap Up

Beard oil is a ‘must-have’ grooming product for men who want a comfortable and healthy-looking beard.  It conditions the skin efficiently and effectively to prevent beard itch and dryness. 

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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