We Tested A Bunch Of Beard Oils - Here's What Happened
The AskMen Acquire team thoroughly researches & reviews the best gear, services and staples for life. Cowboy beard styles.
With additions by Alex Bracetti.
Let’s face it: Your beard is a natural trap for all kinds of dirt and bacteria. Not only that, it differs drastically from the fur found on your head, with beards being much more coarser. So if you’re going to grow one, you owe it to yourself (and anyone you hope to get close to) to keep it well groomed.
That's where beard oils come in. You’ve probably heard about them, but many guys I’ve spoken with don’t really know why or how they’re used, or where to begin when it comes to choosing one. Will they make your face break out? Why would you slather oil on your face? Read on, and we’ll clear it all up.
Putting Beard Oils To The Test
It seems like a whole new crop of beard oils gets released every month now that the beard trend has truly gone mainstream. With so many options now available, what’s really good? Which beard oils are actually worth investing in, and which ones will just leave you itchy and/or greasy? I enlisted the help of some bearded colleagues and friends to try out a few different beard oils and report back to me on their experience. Here’s how it all went down.
Port Products Conditioning Beard Absolute
Port Products' Conditioning Beard Absolute is the beard oil of choice for my colleague Guillaume. He likes it because “it actually sinks into the facial hair quickly, which is great if you want to avoid the shiny beard look.” Guillaume highlights the moisturizing properties of this oil, pointing out that it “can also be applied directly to the skin, as it acts as a great moisturizer.” Though a little water will get any excess oil off your hands, Guillaume says he’ll “use the excess oil on my hands and apply it to my hair, as it gives it a light shine and natural look.”
Ultimately, he says, “it makes my beard easier to style and helps fight that feeling of dry skin. The smell is quite subtle and will likely fade around midday. It’s a very light woodsy smell that isn't overpowering."
Softer Touch Beard Oil
Inspired by barbershop culture, the Softer Touch Beard Oil is one of the highlights of David Beckham’s new grooming line, House 99. This lightweight and non-greasy formula promises to tame and soften strands, leaving your skin moisturized. Infused with shea oil and enriched with quinoa and spirulina extracts, this blend absorbs quickly and doubles up as a pre-shaving oil to provide extra glide during your shave. $35.00 at House99.com
Brooklyn Grooming Beard Oil
Described as a “hipster-approved follicular necessity”, Brooklyn Grooming beard oil boasts a sharp looking, vintage-inspired bottle and an American-made formula. Featuring scents of cedar and ho wood, this oil leaves the skin “feeling refreshed, not greasy or weighed down” thanks to the added organic sesame and hempseed oil.
Reviewer Alex remarked that it “felt a bit viscous at first, but once rubbed into the skin and beard, it smoothed out.” He commented that this was one oil he would definitely use again: “The scent is the best part. It’s light and not too overpowering.”
According to Brooklyn Grooming Co., the oil is organic and byproduct free, based on a vintage recipe and made by hand in Brooklyn, NYC.
Anthony Pre-Shave and Conditioning Beard Oil
Anthony’s specialty beard oil remains a facial grooming hallmark for the brand thanks to its effective formula that favors both hair growth or removal. Many find it to be a great pre-shave option that improves razor glide, though its true value lies in its beard-conditioning properties. Basil and rosemary oils nourish hairs, whereas calendula oil and Vitamin E leaves the face hydrated to fight off dryness. The product also acts similar to Anthony’s award-winning Ingrown Hair Treatment in preventing ingrown hairs and rashes.
Leven Rose Beard Oil
Growing a beard itself takes commitment. Strengthening it requires extra effort. Leven Rose aids the process with a dynamic beard oil formulated for toughening strands and taming inflammation. Carrier oils such as Argan and jojoba oil make up the entire recipe — acting as natural hair serums that add volume to hair and control dandruff. “The oil instantly absorbed into my beard and onto my skin, which was comforting and helped reduce any dark spots I had present,” says Alex. “It reinvigorated my skin and lifted whiskers for a smoother look my girlfriend enjoyed.” Pricing just happens to be another huge benefactor for the beard oil.
Beardbrand Spiced Citrus Beard Oil
This oil, from “beard lifestyle”-oriented Beardbrand, seeks to capture the essence of the urban lumberjack with an intoxicating blend of clove, vanilla, and grapefruit. Alex, who tested this product, noted that the essentials oils present were light, and not too greasy: “It leaves a pleasant texture on the beard that doesn’t weight it down.” The aroma is a masculine one, not too light or overpowering, but just right when applied generously throughout the face. Granted the scent is an acquired one for sure, Beardbrand does offer three other options to spoil the bird’s nest: Lumber Yard, Tea Tree, and the fragrance-free Blank Slate.
Scotch Porter Smoothing Beard Serum
Those familiar with Scotch Porter's beard care collection know the brand’s M.O. for conquering unruly fuzz. This beard serum employs “botanically-infused natural ingredients” to soften hair cuticles and seal in moisture to maintain a hydrating facial plane. It even boasts UV protection to protect your face from sun damage, as well as heat and other extreme conditions.
Beard Supply Beard Oil
Hailing from Texas, Beard Supply beard oil is 100% American made by bearded men, for bearded men. Boasting scents like IPA and smoky woods, this organic oil “leaves you smelling like a campfire — but not necessarily in a bad way.”
A welcomed change from big-name oil brands, Beard Supply guarantees their small batches are made up of only natural ingredients, ensuring that aftershave-inspired sting is officially a thing of the past.
Oars + Alps Beard Oil: Hydrating Citrus Grove
Some men deal with beard dandruff and itchiness much worse than others. To those who keep struggling with flakiness, Oars + Alps has the remedy. This paraben-, sulfate-free oil hosts an exotic blend of ingredients from Argan oil to alpine caribou moss – the latter sourced from the Artic Circle in Northern Ireland and loaded with antioxidants that protect skin from harsh weather.
Every Man Jack Beard Oil
High price doesn’t always equate to high performance. Every Man Jack is a prime example, especially when it comes to beard care. Its cedarwood-scented beard oil features an organic composition that outperforms most other upscale offerings. Everything in it comes naturally derived, with little application necessary to keep your beard feeling and smelling refreshed. No lingering residue to deal with.
Cartier 'L'Envol de Cartier' Perfumed Grooming Oil
Sillage — the degree to which a fragrance lingers — is such an underrated grooming factor. Which begs to ask the question: Why shouldn’t your beard oil smell just as good as your cologne? Cartier breaks the grooming mold with its scruff-centric oil that infuses the signature scent of its amazing perfume with moisturizing conditioners to discipline tangled hairs. Some find the complex to be so effective and potent in smell to where it can be worn as a cologne itself, only much subtler than its spray sibling. That alone should justify its premium value.
Blackbird Beard Oil - The Future
The first thing our testers noted about this beard oil was its intense scent. “The smell is strong and not my personal favorite,” said Marc.
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“The oil was far too pungent,” Guillaume added. “In fact, my eyes watered for a time following application.” He felt the “manly, lumberjack” scent would appeal to some guys, but it was a bit much for his own taste.
The testers also found it made their skin feel a bit irritated immediately upon application, “as if I had applied cologne or aftershave,” described Guillaume — so if you have sensitive skin, this may not be the best option for you.
On the plus side, Marc says, “It was easy enough to work into my beard and didn't come off as too glossy or shiny.”
Beardilizer Beard Oil Collection
While most other brands have a single beard oil scent, Beardilizer currently has six, with names like Gentleman Sandalwood, Cherry Pipe Tobacco, Island Coconut Rum, Dirty South Bacon, Ol’ Cowboy Leather and Lumberjack Cedar Leaf. Mike opted for the Lumberjack Cedar Leaf scent. “It smells like I’m building a fence,” he told me as he rubbed the oil into his beard. “I’m smelling a cedar tree. I just de-barked a cedar tree and rubbed it on my face.”
I asked if his hands were oily, and he said no, his hands were already so dry, the oil had just soaked right in. “I might even just put this stuff straight on my hands.” He could definitely feel it on his skin: “There is an actual tingle. It’s not killing me, though.” A somewhat reluctant groomer overall, in the end, Mike told me he’d actually enjoyed the experience and was going to start using beard oils more regularly now.
Jack Black Beard Oil
Jack Black’s beard oil contains a list of certified organic ingredients designed to bring top-quality beard and skin care directly to your face, including Kalahari melon oil, vitamin E, plum oil, marula oil, brown algae, and carrot extract. The oil is vegan and cruelty-free. One reviewer, Alex, appreciated the subtlety of this beard oil: “I like the soft nature of the scent and its light notes. It’s not too overpowering and masculine like many other beard oils or hairstyle products.” What does that really mean? “It doesn't overstay its welcome,” he explains.
The balanced and hydrating blend appealed to Mike, who also reviewed this oil. “My skin feels soft and moisturized, I like the way it smells, and it gives my beard a bit of shine, but not in a crazy slick way.” The only downside? Alex noted that he found the oil a bit greasy in his hands, and hard to wash off.
Cremo Revitalizing Beard Oil Tea Tree Mint
Growing one of these suckers takes time and patience. If you’re one of those guys stuck in the stubble zone at a longer-than-expected time frame, then Cremo has a solution to at least make sporting a shorter beard more tolerable. Its Tea Tree Mint variation numbs ingrown hairs and soothes irritations to rejuvenate both the skin surface and hair follicles. The light scent it owns is welcoming when outdoors, sending hints of spruce, cedar and rosemary wood into the air for the wearer and commoners to enjoy.
Billy Jealousy Devil's Delight Beard Oil
An AskMen favorite, Billy Jealousy has proven over the past three years its full line of “beard control” products are for lack of a better term, official. Our reviewer Dan previously tested the brand’s Gnarly Sheen Refining Beard Oil, describing it as “a great smell, it’s sweet and masculine,” though recently we’ve developed a love jones for its Devil’s Delight selection. Alex found its potency to be stellar with a rich oil complex that strengthens and nourishes strands, while keeping skin moisturized and taming itchiness via Aloe Vera. Shine control is just as rewarding, giving the beard just enough sheen to give off a hydrating effect.
Wow, that's intense,” Mike commented as he worked the Brickell oil into his beard. “It smells like cedar wood.” (It’s actually scented with peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils). The organic, natural oil features ingredients like algae extract and vitamin E to condition the beard, argan oil for its softening, shiny effect, and aloe vera to soothe and treat the skin beneath. Mike noted that it felt smooth, and didn’t irritate his skin at all: “it’s not tingling or anything.” He found it a bit oily for his taste. This is the first beard oil from men’s grooming brand Brickell, which touts its quickly expanding line as being an effective, non-toxic, and scientifically backed.
Best Damn Beard Oil By Duke Cannon
The best feature of Duke Cannon’s Best Damn Beard Oil, according to our reviewer, Mike, is the “unexpectedly citrusy” scent. He found the fragrance refreshing, “a zesty orange with an interesting depth to it” (this could be due to the inclusion of ingredients such as apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, cedarwood amber fragrance, rosemary extract, clove essential oil, in addition to orange essential oil). He also noted that he found it “way less greasy or oily than others I’ve tried.” Mike says he likes the organic ingredients, and he plans to keep using this beard oil even though his sensitive skin can sometimes feel a bit itchy after application. “It still gets my stamp of approval,” he says.
Duke Cannon is not messing around: a military unit guides their product R&D, they give back to veterans, and they market their products to no-nonsense, hardworking men looking for practical, effective, “tactical” grooming products. The company makes massive bars of soap, and the beard oil comes in a nice big 3-oz. bottle (“3x the size of the competition,” the website notes).
Olivina Men 2-in-1 Shave Prep & Beard Oil
Just because you’ve gone full-on Movember doesn’t mean you eliminate shaving from your hygiene routine. Need we forget touching up around the edges or below the neck? Olivina offers an impressive 2-in-1 elixir that protects both skin and hair for either grooming chore. Alex found the oil "efficient for razor glide and softening hairs so to play around with new beard styles." The soothing aromas of bergamot and cedar fit perfect for cooler seasons and relax the senses upon whiffing. And the apothecary bottle aids in the application by preserving every drop for longer usage. A little goes a long way.
Dr. Carver’s Softening Beard Oil by Dollar Shave ClubBest for: Routine beard care
Convenience alone makes DSC’s beard oil an ideal selection. Thankfully, it proves to be just as good as the company’s other personal care products. Dr. Carver’s “nine-oil blend” possesses a bevy of skincare benefits that treat soft stubble to full-length beards. The majority of users rave over its softening capabilities and great shine. Having a bottle sent directly to your door should add some relief to your grooming routine.
The Gentleman’s Beard Growth OilBest for: Follicular fortitude
Growing facial hair takes commitment, but more so, it takes owning a potent oil-based moisturizer. Our editor’s pick for Best Beard Growth Oil is formulated with all the right oils and vitamins to stimulate growth. Its use of Argan, jojoba, virgin coconut and other key ingredients make up a sleek composition that absorbs quickly to condition and strengthen strands. Massaging the product gently across the face leaves a nice shine effect to leave your beard with a fuller, thicker appearance.
Le Labo Beard OilBest for: All beard types.
Mostly known for their sensuous fragrances, Le Labo has made the leap into beard care with one of the more refined beard oils money can buy. With smoothing ingredients like grapeseed, sunflower, and jojoba oils at the helm, this potent beard anoint perfectly maintains the look of any facial hair look. Goatee. Handlebar. Imperial. Mutton chops. It’s all fair game. Take in the exhilarating mix of bergamot, lavender, and Tonka bean when distributing this oil gently through your shaggy terrain.
The Roosevelts Beard Co. YosemiteBest for: Post-beard trimming
Take the quintessential aftershave scent of your traditional barbershop and bottle it with hints of the wild – this is what you get. The Yosemite beard oil combines a variety of carrier (almond, Argan, jojoba) and essential (eucalyptus, peppermint, tobacco) oils that “invigorates the beard and skin,” while leaving a light masculine redolence behind. It’s a great treatment for when tidying up your beard with great consistency to keep even the burliest hairs in check and looking smooth.
Maapilim Beard OilBest for: All-natural treatment
The Israeli-based company has gained a ton of notoriety for its all-natural grooming products designed from safe synthetics and ingredients found in the Great Sea. Maapilim’s beard slick features key nutrients to stabilize hair growth, moisture, and natural shine. Do away with itchiness and stray hairs by slathering some of this on your unshaven mug. Pair it with Maapilim Mustache Wax to achieve a uniform look.
V76 Beard Oil
A worthy addition to the brand's immaculate collection of hair care products, the V76 Beard Oil is one of the gentler beard applicators engineered to nourish strands and the skin beneath it. Key ingredients, such as saw palmetto and safflower oil, fortifies hair health by enhancing growth and maintaining hydration for a smoother kissing surface. Though much of its appeal comes from the subtle, yet alluring fragrance it exudes, which is derived from blue cedar — a magnetic woody scent with leather accents featured in most of its grooming products. Consider the healthy sheen it leaves behind a bonus.
The Proper Way To Apply Beard Oil
Smearing this facial hair moisturizer on your grill might seem elementary to the most urban groomist. Well, it’s not rocket science. On the other hand, since beard oil doesn’t come cheap, you obviously want to learn to get the most out of such an investment, and it all starts with the application process.There is more to this than just taking a dollop and spreading it across your unkempt whiskers. Follow these common steps to administer beard oil like a pro.
Step 1: Dispense two to three drops onto the palm of your hand
Step 2: Mix the product with your fingers and spread evenly across your hands
Step 3: Massage the oil deep into your face and down to hair follicles
Step 4: Use a comb or rake fingers through the beard to evenly distribute oil across the face
Step 5: Repeat the process once a day to maintain its condition and nourishment
Why Use Beard Oil?
Beard oils may claim to make your beard grow faster, stronger and thicker, and that may well be an added benefit, but it’s not the whole story. David Pirrotta of David Pirrotta Brand Management (a distributor for grooming brands including Grown Alchemist and Sachajuan) put it this way: “Think of beard oil as cologne, but one that doubles as a hair and skin moisturizer on top of adding shine and body to your beard. Quality beard oils will soften your facial hair, as well as moisturize the skin, reduce itching and create the conditions for healthy growth and smoother beard trimming.”
Why not just use a moisturizer, then? According to Pirotta, “Most lotions are actually watered-down oils, which allows the growth of bacteria and causes the oils to go rancid without some type of added preservatives. Oils lock in moisture and help protect the skin against environmental effects, while delivering a potent dose of nutrients.”
You might be concerned that putting oil on your face will lead to breakouts. Andy Bosselman, founder of Arithmetic, the company behind the highly acclaimed Acne Control Complex, says it’s actually quite the opposite: “Beard oils are not likely to cause pimples, in fact, they may even help your complexion.”
According to Bosselman, “Quality oils like this can help to rebalance your skin’s own oil production. It’s a sort of fight-fire-with-fire situation — oils can make your skin less oily. If you’re concerned about an ingredient, Google it with the word ‘comedogenic.’ If it contains a pore-clogging ingredient, don’t buy it.”
What Do Beard Oils Contain?
Be it acne scar treatments or shaving creams – all top-of-the-line facial grooming potions are formulated from a potent mixture of skincare ingredients. Beard oils are no different. When it comes to the product category, it’s broken down into two common oil categories: carrier and essential.
Best way to describe them are vegetable oils derived from the kernels, nuts, or seeds of plants. Three of the signature benefits they bring to beards are moisture, nutrients, and softness. The primary function of a carrier oil is to transport an essential oil to the skin. Keep an eye out for the following:
Almond oil: An anti-inflammatory with softening and shine attributes.
Argan oil: Functions as a hair styler and razor bump treatment.
Castor oil: Decreases acne symptoms, as well as treats facial infections.
Coconut oil: Acts as a moisturizer, conditioner, and dandruff remedy.
Grape seed: Cosmetic ingredient made to control moisture and heavy on antioxidants.
Jojoba oil: Botanical extract loaded with minerals and vitamins that runs the beard nourishment gamut.
Vitamin E: A nutrient and antioxidant capable of sparking hair growth and repairing damaged follicles.
These herbal lubricants are distilled from bark, flowers, leaves, roots, and other elements of botanical plants — creating the aroma found in beard oils. Once those aromatic chemicals are extracted, they are combined with a carrier oil to finalize the solution. Examine these usual suspects:
Cedarwood: A base note in several beard oils that tames acne and itchiness, as well as treats certain skin conditions.
Modern mustache styles
Eucalyptus: Contains antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fir needle: Both an astringent and immuno-stimulant with the ability to eliminate body odor, prevent infections, and reduce pain.
Pinewood: This middle note works to stimulate blood flow to improve complexion.
Sandalwood: An astringent with anti-inflammatory properties.
Tea tree: Considered an immuno-stimulant that aids in holistic herbal skincare therapy.
Occasionally, you’ll stumble upon beard oils advertising other beneficial skincare additives such as glycerin, safflower, Shea butter, and even wheat germ just to name a few. Familiarizing yourself with the formula will help kickstart your beard grooming routine.
Start With A Clean Beard
Do you exfoliate? If you have a beard (and even if you don’t), your skin will thank you for it. Using grade-A facial scrubs will help you ensure that you’re really getting all the gunk out from underneath your facial hair before you apply beard oil.
After you wash — while your beard is still a bit damp — is the best time to use a beard oil. Normally a few drops will do; use your hands to work the oil into your hair and into the skin beneath. Not only will the beard oil hydrate your beard right down to the follicle, it will also leave your beard smelling good (do make sure you like the smell of the oil you pick — it’ll be right under your nose).
Beard Care Essentials
Donning an unkempt beard simply defeats the purpose of growing one out. A premium beard oil can only do so much to save face, literally. Which is why you'll need to invest in an ecosystem of beard care products to fully preserve your burly appearance. These are just some of the necessities to consider stocking in the grooming cabinet next to those beard elixirs.
Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer 7200
Pulling off certain beard styles requires a top-tier beard trimmer. The Philips Norelco 7200 makes facial hair a permanent, polished fixture with 20 built-in length settings to tackle the longest of strands or the roughest of stubble. Philips' lift and trim technology works by raising and guiding hair through the self-sharpening steel blades, shearing through for a more dynamic cut. Tidying up is just as ideal with the trimmer toting an integrated vacuum system designed for sucking up to 90% of cut hairs.
Billy Jealousy Beard Envy Kit
The same love one shows their mane should be reciprocated towards their beard. Billy Jealousy sells a three-step kit equipped with beard wash and beard-control serum to purge the bird’s nest of contaminants, plus a boar bristle brush to keep hair properly trained. The Beard Wash hosts a rich blend ingredients that dole out ample moisturization, whereas the Beard Control promotes “extra-gentle performance” with a hydrated light-hold and firm shine. Save cash purchasing the kit or buy the Beard Wash or Beard Control separately. Just know the extra $5 warrants you the brush.
Baxter of California Beard Comb
Every lumbersexual must equip themselves with a sterling beard comb. Besides styling service usage, it can help remove debris and untangle your chin tresses for smoother beard oiling. Baxter’s coveted Swiss-made comb has evenly tapered teeth and rounded tips that add comfort to the grooming chore, sorting every stray hair without scrapping the face.
Rocky Mountain Barber Cedarwood Beard Balm
Beard oils do serve as light moisturizers, but beard balms are known for delivering long-lasting ointment to thicker threads. This one right here contains more than eight essential oils, leaving skin damp and safeguarded from environmental pollutants. It even doubles as a low-hold styling agent with reliable fuzz control and a savoring fragrance that gives off the intoxicating aroma of eucalyptus and cedarwood.
Chucks Essentials - The Bearded Man’s Multivitamin
Most men need a crash course in growing out their beard. Following a healthy diet and eating foods with high protein can help the cause. So can these multivitamins – stimulating active, fuller, and faster hair growth. It basically combines all the key minerals and vitamins beneficial for healthier skin and hair into one supplement for efficient body absorption. Your sheath will benefit from reduced dryness and irritation too.
Truefitt & Hill Moustache Wax
The Brits have practically mastered the art of rocking the perfect ‘stache. So to ensure beard style consistency, Truefitt & Hill launched an all-natural facial hair wax that promotes a moldable hold for users to maintain a uniform look or style as they please. Its unique mixture of carrier oils conditions and softens whiskers, whereas the blend of aromatic scents (grapefruit, mandarin, and bergamot) is incessantly charming on your senses. Just a dab is enough to maintain a controlled and polished appearance.
Beard Paw Premium Beard Wipes
Owning a beard presents obstacles such as dealing with environmental debris and even enjoying a good meal. Keep a flakey-free forest with these portable wipes to posses hygienic-friendly strands on the move. The product relies on natural extracts, essential oils, and mild soap to cleanse the beard and leave it feeling freshened. We’re thinking you might also want to have a few of these around when beard dandruff starts acting up. Yes, gentleman, such a grooming condition does exist. $4.99 at Amazon.com
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