Beard Oil vs Beard Butter (And Do You Need Both?)
You’re the proud owner of a brand new beard, but you’re quickly finding out that soap and water aren’t cutting it. Day in and day out, you end up with a dry, brittle beard, and it discourages you from growing out a nice, long beard… or even facial hair at all.
You envy men with a long, lush beard, and their patience and dedication in maintaining it.
That’s where we want to help you.
What if we told you the one thing separating you from your dream beard was as simple as a quick moisturizing routine?
Regardless of your personal preference in styling your beard, or how long and thick it grows, moisturizing your beard is an essential part of your beard care routine.
In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of moisturizing your beard and give you the full rundown on the beard care products you need.
Beard oil and beard butter are two great products we recommend here. We’ll also teach you the main difference between the two, and how to apply each product.
You’re probably wondering if you need both — don’t worry. We’ll cover that too!
Disclaimer: We want to help you develop the best grooming routine for you, but we’re not doctors. As a result, we can’t give you specialized advice on skin conditions. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist.
The beard industry is young, and because of this, there isn’t an industry standard when it comes to labeling products. You deserve to know exactly what you’re buying, but with all the mislabeled products out there, it's going to be difficult.
To clear up the confusion, we’ve teamed up with beard expert Dan C to give us a rundown on each type of beard product.
Beard Oil - Beard oil is a conditioning product made with a mixture of essential and carrier oils. It is used to moisturize beard hair and the skin underneath your beard.
Dan: Beard oil should be limited to oil ingredients, or ingredients analogous to oil (oil, liquid wax, liquid butter). Beard oils with silicones or waters added to them should not be classified as beard oils — these products should fall into their own category, like a serum.
Beard Butter - Beard butter is made of butter ingredients and oil ingredients. It's mainly used to soften and nourish your beard hair. It also features styling capabilities with a little bit of beeswax.
Dan: Wax content ratio is the name of the game when it comes to differentiating solid products like beard butter, balm, and wax. Beard butter should have 5% or less of its total content as wax. The small amount of wax helps the product maintain its integrity while being shipped in the hotter months. The wax also helps with smoothness during application.
Beard Balm - Beard balm contains butter ingredients and oil ingredients to help condition and style your beard. It provides more hold than beard butter with added beeswax.
Dan: Beard balm should have between 20%-50% of its total content as wax. Balms closer to 20% wax should be labeled as “conditioning balms”. Conversely, balms closer to 50% wax should be labeled as “styling balms”. This offers a lot more clarity within the broad selection of beard balms on the market.
Beard Wax - Beard wax contains beeswax and offers no nutrition or moisture to your beard. Its main purpose is to provide a strong hold and take care of your beard styling needs.
Dan: Beard wax should have more than 50% of its content as wax. After all, the word “wax” is in the name of the product, so the majority of it should be wax. Beard wax is strictly for superior styling and control that can’t be achieved by the other product classes mentioned above. It’s also worth noting that beard wax should cap around 75% wax on the higher end. The other ingredients in beard wax (such as oils) help make it more malleable. A beard wax containing 100% wax will be very hard (if not impossible) to work through your beard.
The Benefits of Moisturizing Your Beard
We get it, you’ve got a lot going on in your life — and moisturizing feels like another task on your hygiene routine.
However, there comes a point in your life where you want to look damn good doing whatever it is you do best.
For this, we’ve curated a list of benefits you can expect when you moisturize your beard:
- Say goodbye to an itchy beard when you start using beard oil.
- Beard dandruff? Yuck. Treating your skin with beard oil is the best way to keep the skin under your beard healthy. This will help fend off that beard itch.
- Beard oil tames the wild side of your beard. Scruffy flyaway hairs sit better so you end up with a neater beard.
- Beard hair is much rougher than the hair on your head. Applying beard oil will make your beard softer and shinier.
- Who doesn’t like crisp, aromatic sandalwood notes? With a wide array of scents out there, natural oils will leave your beard smelling fresh.
Water-based moisturizers also get an honorable mention here. They’re an up-and-coming method of moisturizing the skin under your beard.
The skin under your beard is the foundation of your growth. If it's not healthy, your beard will suffer. While water-based moisturizers aren’t a replacement for beard oil, they’re definitely an excellent complement to your beard grooming routine. They’ll leave you feeling cool and refreshed, especially if you’re in a hotter climate.
Water-based formulas are also very lightweight. This is excellent if you’re a guy with thinner hair that needs moisture in a pinch.
Okay, I’m convinced! But how do I actually moisturize my beard?
There are two main ways to moisturize your beard, beard oil and beard butter. Let’s have a look at each of these beard products in more detail.
What is Beard Oil?
Beard oil is the undisputed heavyweight champ when it comes to moisturizing your beard. We often describe beard oil as a “hero product”.
A hero product in our minds, is a product so essential to your routine, that it's hard (or nearly impossible) to replace.
More specifically, beard oil is a combination of carrier oils and essential oils that are designed to keep your beard and skin in the best shape possible.
Beard oil is needed for short beards and long beards alike.
And here’s why…
Your skin produces sebum which is a natural oil. The soapy products used during a nice, long shower will strip your skin of sebum.
Beard oil mimics sebum and makes sure you don’t end up with a dry beard. It also adds shine and a fragrant scent the ladies love.
As your beard grows longer, the increased amount of hair will need more oil to moisturize it, and your skin won’t be able to produce enough. To remedy this, we recommend using beard oil to assist the natural oils produced by your skin to hydrate your beard.
Best Beard Oils
A guide on beard oil wouldn’t be complete without advice on the best beard oils. Instead of giving you a list of specific products, we’ll show you what to look out for when choosing the right beard oil (we want to teach you how to fish, not just give you fish!).
Beard oil will contain a combination of carrier and essential oils.
Carrier oils do most of the heavy lifting. They moisturize and condition your skin making sure it stays soft along with your hair follicles.
Examples of common carrier oils include Argan oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil (pronounced ho-ho-ba).
Essential oils on the other hand have anti-inflammatory properties. However, they are usually included for their smell. It is worth noting that essential oils used directly on the skin can cause irritation or be downright dangerous. Never apply pure essential oils to your skin!
Some common scents for beard oil include sandalwood, vanilla, and cinnamon among many others.
If you’re in the market for a premium beard oil, here’s what you should look for:
- High-quality beard oil should absorb into your beard fairly quick
- Beard oil shouldn’t be greasy
- Beard oil should feel good in your beard
- Creating softness in your beard is a necessary function of premium beard oil
- Beard oil should smell fantastic
If your product checks these boxes, you’ve got a top-tier beard oil on your hands.
How to Apply Beard Oil
Before you start, you’ll need a boar’s hair brush. If you have a longer beard you will need a comb as well.
- Start with 3-5 drops of beard oil in the palm of your hands and spread evenly. Add some of that oil to your fingertips too. This will help with getting the oil to the skin underneath your beard. Start with a small amount and add more oil later if you need to.
- Rub your hands along the sides of your cheeks. Really try to get into the roots of your hair. More specifically, you want to oil the skin under your beard.
- Go over the front of your beard including your mustache with your fingers.
- Once you’ve completely applied your beard oil, you can use a boar’s hair brush or a comb to distribute the product evenly. Brush with and against the growth of your beard.
- Finally, brush your beard back into place and start styling.
How Often Should You Use Beard Oil?
A dry, itchy face is the last thing you want when you start to grow out your beard.
How frequently you use beard oil is determined by your skin type.
- Men with dry skin are advised to use beard oil up to two times per day.
- If you have normal skin you should use beard oil once per day.
- Oily-skinned guys should moisturize once a day with a lighter product.
What is Beard Butter?
Beard oil and beard butter are very similar in the sense that they provide conditioning and nourishment for your beard.
However, what mainly sets them apart is the butter content found in beard butter. A base such as shea butter provides a waxy texture and a light hold to your beard that assists in styling. It also helps tame your beard hairs which leads to less shedding. Some beard butter on the market also has a little bit of beeswax added to them.
While beard butter can help tuck in those flyaway hairs, beard balm is a better alternative to achieve this. If you want more styling prowess, use beard balm instead of beard butter.
Patchy bearded bros will also be glad to hear that beard butter can also give your beard more volume. While your beard might not look as burly as Santa's, it definitely helps style your beard to fill in those patchy areas. Extra volume is always a welcome benefit of beard butter, regardless of your beard type.
There’s a lot of confusion around beard care products. Many products are labeled incorrectly, and beard butter is no exception.
A telltale sign that you’re dealing with mislabeled “beard butter” is if the ingredients list starts with “water”. These products are usually characterized as leave-in conditioners and should be in their own category.
Are beard butter and beard wax the same thing?
Beard butter shouldn’t be confused with beard wax. Think of beard butter as a jack of all trades, but master of none. It moisturizes, conditions, and lightly holds your beard in place. The natural ingredients found in beard butter provide your beard with moderate health benefits.
Beard wax on the other hand is purely dedicated to styling your beard. It gives you a stronger hold but doesn’t do anything for the health of your beard.
Some beard butter will contain a little bit of beeswax to help with the hold of beard butter (beard butter can cause trouble as it melts and resolidifies).
Best Beard Butters
Just like our section on beard oils, we’ll break down the anatomy of a great beard butter.
A mix of butter ingredients like shea butter and oil ingredients like jojoba oil are what comprise beard butter.
Shea butter is an excellent base for beard butter. It's light and creamy and helps distribute nutrients into your skin and beard.
For carrier oil-based ingredients, be on the lookout for oils such as jojoba oil or argan oil. Jojoba is great because it's very similar to the natural sebum produced by your skin.
Don’t forget about the essential oils! These are usually added in for a pleasant scent. Some of our personal favorites are vanilla, sandalwood, and peppermint.
For hotter climates, coconut oil is ideal. It’s worth mentioning that coconut oil is highly comedogenic. This means that it has a higher chance to clog your pores. Guys with naturally oily skin are advised to steer clear of coconut oil.
Other great oil ingredients you want in your beard butter include sweet almond oil, hazelnut oil, and tea tree oil.
If you want a light hold, beard butter is an ideal product to use in tandem with beard oil. For a stronger hold, use beard butter with a bit of beeswax in it. Alternatively, consider using beard balm or wax instead of beard butter if your goal is styling.
How to Apply Beard Butter
Before we begin, it's worth remembering that beard butter is mainly used to benefit your beard hair, not your skin. Trying to get beard butter into your skin may clog your pores.
Now that you’ve got your beard butter in hand, you need to know how to get it into your beard.
There are many different times of day you can apply beard butter. A practice we’ve been exploring is applying beard butter right before bed.
If you’re showering before bed, even better — you can add your beard oil in, and then your beard butter afterward. You’ll wake up with a soft, manageable beard.
Another time to apply beard butter is first thing in the morning and use it as a styling agent.
Here’s how to apply beard butter:
- The amount of beard butter you use will vary based on your beard size and texture. To start, add a dime-sized amount to your hand and rub it between your palms.
- Dampen your beard and start by applying beard butter to the sides of your beard.
- Work your way to the underside of your beard and move against the growth of your hair.
- Apply the butter on the front of your beard including your mustache and into the roots of your beard.
A few more points to note:
- Unlike beard oil, you don’t need to apply beard butter to the skin under your beard.
- You should also refrain from working beard butter through your beard with a comb — it’s more likely to clog your facial pores.
- Got extra? Rub it into those ashy elbows for extra moisture.
How Often Should You Use Beard Butter?
You can use beard butter daily. Once you start using beard butter, a weekend without it will be extremely noticeable to you.
You can even use it up to 2 times per day. It's worth mentioning that beard butter is not a replacement for beard oil. Beard butter and beard oil work together to give you the results you want.
Do You Need to Use Both?
Us men are simple. We dread the complexity that comes with grooming, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can keep it simple, and you can look fresh as heck — at the same damn time.
Knowing the main difference between beard oil and beard butter will significantly shape your beard care routine.
Earlier we stated that beard oil is an irreplaceable product. It’s a staple in your moisturizing routine, and we recommend that you should always use beard oil.
Whether or not you add beard butter to your routine depends on your hydration and styling needs.
- For shorter beards, beard oil is usually enough. Longer beards bring a wild side to the table that needs taming. For this, we recommend a combination of beard oil (used first) and beard butter to lock in moisture and finish the styling process.
- Beard butter is an excellent addition for anyone with a drier beard. It keeps hair follicles healthy by locking in extra moisture and nourishment.
- If you’re a guy that’s often outside in the sun, we recommend incorporating beard butter into your routine. It’ll help soothe and protect your beard hair from the elements.
Benefits of Adding Beard Oil and Butter to Your Routine
Here are the benefits you can expect by adding beard oil and butter to your routine:
- The biggest benefit of beard butter is the added moisture and nourishment the hair follicles receive. This helps prevent beard dandruff and itching. It also softens your beard hair.
- Certain beard balms such as mango butter have a quality of emollience. This means that they do a better job of sealing the hair strand which protects it from the elements.
- Another benefit of adding beard butter to your routine is the softness and volume it provides. Cocoa butter is a budget-friendly option if you’re looking to add extra softness to your beard.
- Last but not least, it smells great!
Seamlessly add beard oil or beard butter to your routine by checking out our ultimate guide to Rock Your Daily Grooming Routine.
Got any questions about beard oil, beard butter, or any other beard care products? Hit us up at email@example.com.