The beard balm vs beard oil question is one a lot of men tend to ask themselves when they start growing a beard. And it can be a tough question when you’re new to the beard grooming branch as the industry is quite oversaturated with different products that claim to achieve the same results.
And that goes for the beard balm vs oil debate as well – both types of products claim to do the exact same things so choosing between beard balm or oil can be quite perplexing. Is it just a matter of preferences and how the product is delivered and distributed on the skin? Or is one actually more effective than the other? Let’s find out.
What is beard oil?
Beard oil is the quintessential beard care product for men. Beard oils typically include a myriad of different oils in them such as Argan oil, Jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and others. All of those have a similar goal – to moisturize and nourish your skin and beard hairs, making them softer and smoother, while also preventing dry skin, dandruff, and other skin irritations. All this makes for an easier and more enjoyable beard-growing experience that’s also free of most skin and beard growing problems you might face without any of these products.
Beard oils also usually include some essential oils which are meant to give your beard and skin a very pleasant scent and feel – great for men in relationships or for socially active men in general. Being liquids, beard oils are also absorbed very quickly in your skin and hairs, which is why they give you the moisturizing effect you seek very quickly and effectively. Because beard oils don’t linger on your beard they are usually also great if you want a more matte look for your facial hair.
So, the “Why use beard oil?” question seems to be easy to answer – because beard oils are awesome. As to when to apply beard oil, that depends on your beard, skin, personal preferences, as well your surroundings. The longer and bushier your beard is, the more frequently you might want to apply beard oil on it.
Generally speaking, younger and shorter beards will need 3-4 drops of beard oil once per day while longer and older beards can need up to 10 or more drops per day.
Also, if your skin is drier than average, you’ll require more beard oil to help it remain well-moisturized. Plus, if the climate where you live is quite dry as well, applying beard oil more than once per day can be very much recommended. In more humid environments, on the other hand, you can get away with using beard oils once every couple of days instead.
What is beard balm?
So, what does beard balm do? Beard balms serve the same purpose as beard oils – moisturizing and nourishing your facial hair and skin to make them smoother, softer, and to help prevent any skin irritations and problems that might get in the way of your beard-growing fun.
Unlike beard oils, however, beard balms – also called utility balms – have a higher viscosity than the oils. This means that they are thicker in texture and take longer to absorb into your skin and hair. This can be both a positive and a negative, depending on your preferences. If you want a shiny beard, beard balms can easily give you that look. Additionally, while they don’t have the fast moisturizing effect of beard oils, their moisturizing and nourishment last longer because they are absorbed more slowly.
Additionally, beard balms or utility balms are applicable on more than just your beard – they are also great for keeping your tattoos shiny and dry patches of skin on your body well-moisturized at all times.
What’s more, because utility balms are applicable for both your beard and the rest of your body, they make for a better traveling companion because they are more compact than beard oils.
As for how to use beard balms, the same principles apply to them as they do for beard oils – if you have drier skin and hair or if the climate around you is drier, you may want to use your beard balm more frequently. Alternatively, if you have a newly grown beard and/or a naturally well-moisturized skin, you can get away with using a beard balm only once every 2-3 days. In general, it will be very rare for you to have to use a beard balm more than once per day as they do have a long-lasting effect.
How to choose between beard balm and beard oil?
As you can see, that question falls mostly to personal preferences. Here are several basic questions to ask yourself:
- Do you want your beard to have a shinier look or do you prefer a more matte facial hair?
- Do you want your cosmetic products to linger on your beard or do you want them to be quickly absorbed?
- Do you want a slower but more long-lasting effect or one that quickly comes into play but might need to be reapplied sooner?
- Do you need a moisturizing balm for other parts of your body as well or just for your beard?
- Do you want something that’s more conveniently packaged for traveling or do you not plan on traveling/flying soon?
If you went with the first option on most of these questions then you’ll probably prefer a beard balm. Otherwise, beard oils will likely be your preferred products. Either way, both should do a great job for your skin and beard if they are of high enough quality.
Can you use both beard oil and beard balm at the same time?
Technically, yes, there’s nothing that stops you from using both. It’s rarely necessary, however, as both serve the same ultimate purpose. Still, there’s nothing stopping you from doing so – you can simply use beard oils in your day-to-day and save your beard balm for traveling purposes or some other arrangement.