Beards

What Does Beard Oil Do Anyway?

Beard oil isn’t just nice to have. It’s the secret product behind the healthiest, most lustrous beards. Here's why it works.

If you take pride in your beard, you should be using beard oil. Period. “Beard oil is a great compliment for keeping your beard looking healthy and shiny as well as decreasing any itching that comes with growing a new beard,” says New York City barber and men’s grooming expert Jason Biggs of Babe of Brooklyn. But how do you use beard oil, exactly? There’s a fair amount to unpack here — and with the help of Biggs, we have you covered. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Does Beard Oil Do?

Just as our hair requires certain products to keep it looking and feeling great, beards have similar needs. And similar to shampoo, the products we use to wash our face can strip the oils from our beard, leaving hair dry and brittle, beard oil coats and conditions the hairs of your beard, replenishing those lost oils and helping to lock in moisture while leaving behind a soft, healthy sheen without looking greasy.

It’s especially great at helping to soften thick, coarse, curly hairs, leaving your beard softer and more touchable. Consider yourself a frequent perp of beard burn? Beard oil is for you.

It’s easy to say that any guy who has a beard can reap some benefit from using beard oil, but Biggs said the optimal length to start using it is anything longer than a five o’clock shadow — more specifically, a few days’ growth when the skin becomes less visible. Otherwise you’d be slathering oil directly onto your skin, which may lead to that greasy feeling we try to avoid.

While there are some guys who dedicate plenty of time and effort (not to mention products) to their beard upkeep, Biggs said using beard oil regularly is a great way to simplify your routine and end up with a spiffy-looking beard. “Whether you have a simple or meticulous grooming regimen, adding a beard oil to your routine can only help enhance your overall look.” For example, if you don’t like to wash and shampoo your beard, a simple beard oil is all you need to help add shine and keep the whole look refined.

How Do You Apply Beard Oil?

Applying beard oil is simple and straightforward, and can easily fit into your daily routine. Biggs walked us through the process:

Step 1: Cleanse & Care

Start by washing your face and beard as part of your normal daily routine. While you’re at it, why not throw in your favorite exfoliating scrub? Then thoroughly dry your face and beard with gentle patting motions, leaving as little moisture behind as possible. Next, follow through with your daily skincare regimen. You know the drill: moisturizer, eye gel, SPF. Never forget the SPF. Try to keep products from getting into your beard, but don’t worry if you do—the beard oil will take care of that.

Step 2: Apply Beard Oil Throughout Your Beard

Biggs said to start out small, especially if you’re a beard oil novice. A dime size should do it. Apply the beard oil to one of your palms and rub your hands together to warm and emulsify it. Then, using the palm of your hands, rub the oil into your beard in circular motions until it’s completely absorbed.

Step 3: Go Back In

Now that you’ve coated the ends of your beard hairs, rub your hands together to activate any remaining oil and use your fingertips to work it completely through your beard, as far down to the skin as possible. Finally, using a comb or brush, style your beard so that it lays down comfortably and voila! sit back and enjoy the shine.

Bonus: If you find your beard is particularly rough, you can apply an extra helping of beard oil before you go to bed (after washing your face, of course). This gives the ingredients all night long to condition and soften the hairs, so you can wake up to a shinier, healthier, more manageable beard.

What Should I Look For in a Good Beard Oil?

As with much of the grooming industry, there’s no dearth of selection of beard oils. “Ideally you want your beard oil to contain argan oil or avocado oil,” he said. Both contain fatty acids, which help with shine and which provide nutrients to the hair follicles. Fatty oils are also great for the skin and help promote overall healthier-looking hair, so keep an eye out when inspecting ingredients lists. Also, try to avoid products containing too many chemicals or things you can’t pronounce. Keep it simple and natural.

“I recommend Proraso beard oil because of its vetyver and woody scents, as well as the great low price point—you can really get your money’s worth,” Biggs said. This budget beard oil is stacked with avocado oil as well as oils of macadamia nut, walnut and sunflower oil, infusing your beard with beneficial Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids to refine, nourish and protect.

This ingeniously-formulated beard oil combines the lightweight texture of a serum with avocado and jojoba seed oil to seal in moisture and leave your beard looking smooth and soft. Its whisperlight feel makes it a great starter beard oil for guys who fear things will get greasy, and it’s also ideal for those with more complex beards that require extra styling because you can layer it under other products without weighing down your beard.

Technically, this is supposed to be used prior to shaving to help protect skin against bumps and nicks, but Biggs listed it as one of his favorites, thanks to its luxurious scent and premium finish. It’s also a great option for men of color or those with coarse, curlier beards because it contains several ingredients, including azelaic acid, which may help manage ingrowns.

This all-natural beard oil is of supernatural proportions, thanks to an uber-nourishing blend of castor bean oil, sweet almond oil, hempseed oil, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, and D to promote total health all the way down to your skin. The addition of tea tree oil, known for helping to control bacteria, adds extra freshness.

Your New Beard Oil Routine

Like we said, a dab of beard oil and an extra minute or two is all it takes to really enhance the look and health of your beard. Sure, you can easily get away with never using beard oil at all, but that extra step can really make a difference, and isn’t that what self-care is all about?