Beard Oil vs. Beard Balm: What's the Difference?

Beard oils or beard balms? This is one of the most common questions we’re asked at The Gentlemen’s Lounge, so we figured it would be a good idea to dedicate a whole article to it. Today we’re going to break down the benefits and uses of each, as well as how and when to use them.

Beard Oil

What is Beard Oil?

Beard oil is an essential for any man who is looking to grow a beard or already has one. It is a combination of essential oils (usually Argan and Jojoba, along with some others), and scented beard oils typically have a small amount of fragrance oil as well. The base oils are called Carrier Oils, and they are the ones that make your beard soft and healthy, and the fragrance oils make your beard smell great. As such, unscented oils are 100% carrier oils, and therefore 100% full of the healthiest oils for your beard.

The Benefits of Beard Oil

Beard oils are chock full of Carrier Oils, which contain high quantities of vitamins and minerals which nourish your beard and the skin beneath, keeping your face healthy and clean. Beard oil can also make your beard much more manageable, though it should not be used with the intent of styling your beard. One of the great benefits of beard oil with a shorter beard is that it can help prevent and cure that annoying beard itch!

I can’t write this article without this simple disclaimer, which I really hope is a given for everyone who reads it: If you use too much beard oil, your beard with look greasy, oily and gross. Don’t use too much beard oil.

When Do I Use Beard Oil?

Short Beards

Beard oil is great for short beards. In the early stages of your beard growth, it will keep your hair and skin nourished and healthy so that it doesn’t grow thin, wiry and brittle. As I mentioned before, what is probably my favorite benefit of beard oil for a short beard, is that it stops beard itch!

Beard oil will also make your beard hairs a bit more manageable, which is great for anyone who has curly beard hairs. At the shorter stages, my curly beard hairs tend to grow in all different directions and beard oil helps me keep it straight and uniform.

Long Beards

When my beard is long I like to use beard oil at night, after a steamy shower. The steam from the shower opens up your pores and softens up your beard hairs to allow full penetration of the beard oil into your skin and beard.

Have you ever had those days where you wake up and your hair looks amazing? Well, that almost never happens with my beard. Or my hair, for that matter. But when I do wake up with a great looking beard style, I’ll opt for the beard oil in place of beard balm. It lets my beard soak up a bunch of healthy vitamins and minerals right in the beginning of the day, and if you’ve read my Men’s Skincare Routine post, you’ll know how important that is to me.

Another time to use beard oil with a longer beard is when you just prefer a really light and shiny look, and you want your whiskers to flap with the wind. Beard oil is great for keeping the natural look and feel to your beard that unfortunately heavier beard balms can’t offer.


Beard Balm

What is Beard Balm?

Beard balm is essentially a beard oil that’s been mixed with beeswax and some form of butter, usually shea. The wax gives it a firmer feel and some hold, ranging from light to heavy, and the butter helps nourish your skin and lets the balm melt in your hands better. Beard balm is used to shape and style your beard, and they give it a nice fullness.

The Benefits of Beard Balm

Beard balm has essentially the same benefits of beard oils, with a few added ones. Beard balms nourish your skin and beard with the same carrier oils that beard oils use, the Argan and Jojoba with the fragrance. One of the added benefits of a beard balm is that it gives you that really clean, well-groomed look with a medium to long length beard.

When Do I Use Beard Balms?

Short Beards

Beard balms are excellent for taming unruly short beard hairs. When you have a really curly beard, the short hairs can go everywhere. If they’re thick, they can be especially hard to manage. Beard balms, when used with a natural boar’s hair bristle brush, are an excellent way to straighten and organize those hairs. Beard balms can also add some weight to a shorter, less full beard. They can help you fluff your beard hairs up a bit to give the appearance of a thicker, fuller, more developed beard.

Long beards

Beard balms will help add hold and fullness to a longer beard, too. Longer beards will receive much more of a benefit from the holding capabilities of a good beard balm. Beard balms will allow you to keep your beard in place, style it in an interesting and fun way, or do anything in between. Another use for beard balms is to just check some misbehaving hairs if you don't want the firm hold. Beard balms are great for managing a few of those unruly hairs, which are much more obvious as your beard gets longer.

The Verdict

All in all, beard oils and beard balms have their respective places among beards. That doesn't mean you can't use both, though! You just need to find a routine that works for you. Maybe you want a tight hold for the boardroom, and a free flowing mane for the night clubs. Whatever works best for you is what you should use. However, there is no reason you should not use either. A healthy beard gives off an impression of a careful and deliberate appearance.

Most importantly, wear your beard well and wear it proudly!

Thoughts?

Do you have any different thoughts? Did I leave something out? Let me know in the comments, or email me at jack@thegentlemenslounge.co!

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