What Is Beard Balm & Why Do You Need It? How To Use & Apply The Best Beard Balms

What Is Beard Balm & Why Do You Need It? How To Use & Apply The Best Beard Balms2018-06-13T00:30:37+00:00

Best Beard Balms Selection

Although you’re likely familiar with oils, beard balm continues to grow in popularity. However, you may be asking yourself what it offers and whether it is an alternative to oil. Is balm better than oil or is it best suited to different people? Which one should you use?

In this guide, we will answer these questions and you will learn about beard balm. You will explore whether it is an alternative or a complementary addition to your grooming regimen. Furthermore, you will discover how to apply it and read about our top 5 picks of the best beard balms available to buy.

What Is Beard Balm & Why Is It Different To Beard Oil?

Shea Butter For Making Beard Balm

As you may have learned in its dedicated guide, beard oil is nothing new and can be traced as far back as ancient civilizations in today’s Persian Gulf. Although beard balm is slightly more recent, it borrows from a number of preexisting natural remedies and treatments.

In short, beard balms are structurally similar to lip balms and other natural moisturisers and creams. Unlike beard oil, it comes as a hard paste that melts when rubbed in the palms of your hands. Otherwise, natural beard balms follow the same concept as beard oils in that they’re composed of a combination between essential and carrier oils.

Firstly, essential oils are volatile ingredients that offer natural scents and other therapeutic effects such as soothing irritation and healing acne. Meanwhile, carrier oils function partly as a solvent to bind the essential oils and improve their lifespan.

Furthermore, they’re vitamin-rich moisturisers that emulate the skin’s natural oils such as sebum. If you want to learn more about carriers and essential oils, you can read our detailed beard oil guide.

However, balms have an entirely different texture to oils. This is due to the presence of butters such as shea or cocoa as well as beeswax, all of which fulfill their own unique roles. The butters provide natural, long-lasting hydration and improve the balm’s spread. Simultaneously, beeswax offers an extra layer of protection by sealing the moisture into the hair and skin with a natural barrier.

Finally, the use of these extra ingredients in balms provide secondary benefits. For instance, the butters create a long-lasting glossy shine whereas oils tend to become matte once absorbed into the beard and skin. In addition, the beeswax creates a light hold on the beard, which helps with styling and taming unruly beards.

How Does Beard Balm Work?

Different Coloured Cocoa Pods In A PileYou may have heard of sebum, a natural oil that is produced by hair roots to nourish and protect follicles and scalp. This rich and natural oil creates volume and makes your hair shine. The same applies for your beard yet the hair here is thicker and the skin tends to be more sensitive on your face.

Therefore, whilst sebum can build up on the scalp and be an irritation that causes oiliness, it is of absolute importance in your beard. Frequent washing will strip the pores and roots of sebum. After all, that’s how shampoo works. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be done too often as your hair depends on sebum to thrive.

If you wash too often or live in a particularly arid climate, you will likely suffer from dehydrated skin and wiry hair. This is because the pores aren’t able to produce enough sebum to replenish its deficiency. Consequently, the hair begins to wilt like an un-watered plant and the skin cracks like parched soil.

Beard balm is a natural remedy to overcome this and ensure that the beard and skin are properly nourished. It is packed with vitamins and moisturising oils that emulate the effects of sebum. Meanwhile, the butters provide extra hydration whilst the beeswax offers a final level of protection against the elements.

Why Is Beard Balm Expensive?

Much like beard oils, beard balms can sometimes be relatively pricey. However, this is not just due to marketing and often comes with a good reason. As they’re often made solely from natural ingredients, the production cost is higher. If a manufacturer endeavors to be ecologically responsible, they may also feature organic and fair trade contents.

Some cheap beard balms may contain petroleum much like vaseline. Indeed, petroleum jelly is a water repellent and locks in moisture like beeswax. However, these are best avoided as petroleum can actually irritate the skin, which is counterproductive. This soon leads to a slippery slope as they may use Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), a known carcinogen that is used to soothe petroleum-based side effects.

 

Why Do You Need Beard Balm?

Lumberjack With Red Beard Sawing TreeAs previously discussed, beard balm features particularly healthy properties that are vital for your beard. It’s an essential moisturiser that ensures your beard stays well-nourished and tamed.

In addition, beard balm looks after both your beard as well as the skin underneath it. A common ailment during beard growth is the development of itchiness and irritation, which can lead to dandruff as well as sores.

The above are common symptoms of dehydration and can be experienced quite early on when growing a beard. Therefore, balms moisturise, protect and nourish the skin whilst preventing flaking skin.

Beard balm not only provides extra hold but naturally softens beard hairs. It ensures that unruly beards are soft and properly tamed. It also creates a long-lasting and healthy gloss to your beard whilst building up natural volume.

Therefore, the use of regular beard balm makes your beard more manageable and you can slowly train your beard to grow in the direction you want. This can relieve those starting to grow a beard who may experience hairs above the lip turning into the mouth.

Lastly, paired with a good comb, balm loosens tangles and knots for easy grooming. When used with a blow-dryer, it can even help reduce frizz and straighten curly beards!

 

Should I Use Beard Balm Or Beard Oil?

Of course, some personal preference will come into play when choosing between beard balm or beard oil. However, having at least one of these in your arsenal is of absolute importance.

Overall, beard balm is something of a middle ground between dry beard conditioner and beard oil. It’s applied the same moment but tends to be more effective straight after a shower whereas oil can also be applied before bed.

Both can be used for any beard type but provide certain benefits, which have different levels of effectiveness depending on thickness and length. Whilst beard oil is relatively effective on most beard types, it tends work best on shorter beards. On the other hand, beard balm caters mostly to long and thick beards.

This is because beard oil is highly spreadable and is quickly absorbed by the hair roots and skin. When the length increases, much more is needed to achieve the same effect. Meanwhile, beard balm is long-lasting and is able to penetrate deeper into thick growth.

Similarly, beard balm is better for naturally oily skin given that it’s absorbed slowly allowing for its effects to spread over a length of time. Conversely, beard oil provides instant relief on dry skin as the oil simply emulates sebum.

Finally, beard balm is particularly convenient for naturally curly or unruly beards as it offers extra hold, which tames stray hairs.

Can I Use Both Beard Oil & Balm?

Serious beard enthusiasts will often use a combination of both beard products in order to maximise the benefits offered by each. Frequent users can choose to alternate between the two for when they’re most effective.

For instance, balm works best on ever-so-slightly damp hair after a shower when the pores are open. This makes it easier to spread and be absorbed. Moreover, a comb can be used to groom the beard and properly style it. Once the balm has returned to room temperature, it will set and provide its long-lasting benefits and hold throughout the day.

As this often takes place in the morning, beard oil can be applied in the evening to replenish the beard after the day’s wear and tear while you sleep. This is worked in using a brush and is left to absorb into the follicles naturally.

Another way is to simply apply beard oil first to benefit from its deep-acting hydration in the skin’s pores and hair roots. Balm is then applied to strengthen the hairs on the surface as well as provide its layer of protection and extra hold.

How Do You Apply Beard Balm?

  1. After showering, pad your beard dry with a clean towel.
  2. Comb it and wait until the beard is only slightly damp.
  3. Use a fingernail to scoop out a small amount of balm.
  4. Rub between the palms until melted.
  5. Rub the balm into the skin underneath the beard.
  6. Deeply massage the balm from the neckline towards the jaw.
  7. Deeply massage the balm down from your cheek line towards the jaw.
  8. Use a beard comb to evenly distribute the balm into your beard and style.

As previously mentioned, beard balm is most effective on slightly damp beard hair after a shower. Not only will the beard be clean but it will be more manageable and your pores will be open to absorb the healthy ingredients.

Finally, balm is best paired with a beard comb rather than a brush. Beard brushes are most effective with oils as their natural boar bristles act as a membrane to evenly distribute it into your beard. However, as beard balm contains beeswax, it will hinder this ability. Therefore, use a good quality cellulose acetate or horn beard comb to properly distribute the balm.

Top 5 Beard Balms

As we detailed above, beard balms feature a plethora of different ingredients despite providing similar effects. Furthermore, there are many cheap imitations, which cut corners whilst natural balms can be hard to find. Read our top 5 selection of the best natural beard balms below to know what to find!

1. Best Fair Trade: Handmade In Detroit Beard BalmNatural Beard Balm Handmade In Detroit

  • Carrier Oils: Grapeseed oil, coconut oil
  • Essential Oils: Lemon peel essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, geranium essential oil
  • Other Ingredients: Lanolin, beeswax
  • Country Of Origin: USA & Sri Lanka
  • Organic: Yes
  • Vegan Friendly: No [Contains Beeswax]
  • Price: $12 (1.5 Oz / 45 ml)
  • Check Price On Amazon.com

Simply named “Beard Balm”, this creation from Detroit is one of the most environmentally and socially responsible grooming products we’ve encountered. The coconut oil used is organic and certified fair trade.

Furthermore, the coconut oil is sourced from a Sri Lankan farm that was founded by Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps that supports hundreds of local workers and their families while protecting the tropical ecosystem.

The beeswax used is made from 100% Michigan bees from pesticide fields. Meanwhile, the lanolin is extracted from certified USP grade Merino wool. In addition, the grape seed oil is Kosher certified. Finally, even the cans are union made in the USA from American steel.

As for the product itself, the beard balm provides a solid hold while performing effortlessly on any beard length. The beard is softened and the skin is nourished whilst leaving an intriguing, citrus scent that fades after a short while.

At $12 for a 1.5 Oz pot on Amazon.com, it’s amazing that so many high-quality ingredients have been crammed into this little can.

Handmade In Detroit Beard Balm
Reviewed by Charles-Philippe Bowles, on .
"An Eco-Aware & High Quality Beard Balm. Considerately packed with some of the most exclusive and carefully-sourced ingredients, Detroit's beard balm keeps your beard healthy with a firm hold."
Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★

2. Best Vegan-Friendly: Honest Amish Beard BalmAll Natural & Organic Honest Amish Conditioning Beard Balm

  • Carrier Oils: Argan oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, pumpkin seed oil, apricot oil
  • Essential Oils: Unlisted
  • Other Ingredients: Aloe, shea butter, cocoa butter, kokum butter
  • Country Of Origin: USA
  • Organic: Yes
  • Vegan Friendly: Yes
  • Price: $13 (2 Oz / 60 ml)
  • Check Price On Amazon.com

Honest Amish’s beard balm offering is a delightfully vegan option that uses a blend of various butters as an alternative to beeswax. Furthermore, all the oils and butters sourced for this particular balm are 100% natural and organic.

Unfortunately, the essential oils used are unlisted. However, with Honest Amish being an otherwise unblemished and reputable artisan, this is presumably to protect their formula. However, the notes of sandalwood, licorice and anise are somewhat revealing.

Whilst Honest Amish softens hairs and provides them with healthy nourishment that repairs split hairs and encourages growth, it doesn’t offer much hold. This is likely due to the absence of beeswax, which is the necessary cost of a vegan-friendly solution. Similarly, it’s softer and slightly greasier than its contemporaries.

Finally, at $13 for a 2 Oz (60 ml) pot on Amazon.com, Honest Amish offers yet again excellent value for a superior quality product.

3. Best Hold: Prophet & Tools 2-In-1 Beard BalmPremium 2 in 1 Prophet & Tools Beard Balm Wax

  • Carrier Oils: Jojoba oil, argan oil, almond oil, apricot oil, castor oil, emu oil, tamanu
  • Essential Oils: None/Unlisted
  • Other Ingredients: Shea butter, beeswax, Vitamin E
  • Country Of Origin: USA
  • Organic: Yes
  • Vegan Friendly: No
  • Price: $15 (2 Oz / 60 ml)
  • Check Price On Amazon.com

Prophet & Tools’ 2-in-1 beard balm is certainly an impressive creation. Whilst most balms focus on conditioning nourishment, Prophet & Tools has ensured that this balm gives an equally firm hold that will last throughout the day.

The diverse ingredients may not be vegan-friendly due to emu oil, but they are organic and effective. The balm includes obscure oils such as tamanu, which treats acne as well as vitamin E, a natural anti-inflammatory. Meanwhile castor oil moisturises and creates a natural shine. If you’re wondering what the emu oil does, it contains omega-3 and reduces inflammation.

Whilst the balm doesn’t list any essential oils, it does exude a faint fruity citrus scent, which fades after a while. In addition, the balm is white to avoid discoloration. Finally, it claims to be one of the best balms for black or Asian men who have thicker beard hair growth.

Finally, fetching at around $15 on Amazon.com, it may not be the cheapest option. However, it is without a doubt the best balm for styling.

4. Best Scent: Badass Beard Care Original Beard BalmOriginal Scent Badass Beard Care Beard Balm

  • Carrier Oils: Coconut oil, apricot oil, argan oil, jojoba oil
  • Essential Oils: Rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, sandalwood, vanilla
  • Other Ingredients: Beeswax, vitamin E, shea butter, cocoa butter
  • Country Of Origin: USA
  • Organic: Yes
  • Vegan Friendly: No
  • Price: $20 (2 Oz / 60 ml)
  • Check Price On Amazon.com

Badass Beard Care returns with another unique product. The Original beard balm is laced with sandalwood and vanilla for an unorthodox but tantalising fragrance that can only be described as “Yankee Candle”.

This is an enjoyable breakaway from the mould that rarely use gourmand ingredients but instead favour fruity citrus or woody scents. Furthermore, the ingredients are 100% organic and FDA food grade.

Although the Badass beard balm doesn’t give the firmest hold, it renders the beard silky smooth and well-nourished. It treats split ends and treats flyaway hairs for a natural and healthy shine.

You can find Badass Beard Care’s The Original beard balm for around $20 on Amazon.com, which does make it the most expensive on the list. However, it features one of the most soothing and satisfying fragrances out there.

5. Best Unscented: 100% Natural Leven Rose Beard BalmFragrance Free 100% Natural Leven Rose Beard Balm

  • Carrier Oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil, argan oil, jojoba oil
  • Essential Oils: None
  • Other Ingredients: Beeswax, shea butter
  • Country Of Origin: USA
  • Organic: Yes
  • Vegan Friendly: No
  • Price: $13 (2 Oz / 60 ml)
  • Check Price On Amazon.com

Much like its beard oil, Leven Rose has created the purest fragrance-free beard balm available. Made only from a combination of carrier oils, shea butter and beeswax, you can expect an unscented by nourishing experience.

Leven Rose makes its products in the USA and ensure that each creation contains no fillers, additives, parabens, GMOs or pesticides. Did we mention that it’s organic? Leven Rose fights brittle beards and dandruff with its rich oils that soothe irritation and provide deep hydration.

The absence of essential oils means that you’ll get no fragrance. Although you won’t get any of their positive effects either, the other ingredients make up for it. The presence of beeswax means that this is a vegan-friendly product but does provide a slight hold throughout the day.

Finally, Leven Rose costs around $13 for a 2 Oz (60 ml) tin on Amazon.com. Therefore it is both one of the cheapest and purest beard balm offerings available.

Having now read about beard balms, you may be in need of other beard accessories too. Combs work best with balm and you can read more about these on our dedicated beard comb guide. Otherwise, maybe you’d like to compare the benefits of balm with beard oil?

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