You probably know that you should be conditioning your hair (at least, we hope you do). No matter what kind of hair (or how much) you have, conditioning is an important part of any hair care regimen. And that includes the hair on your face. Facial hair of any length requires upkeep and keeping your beard hydrated and soft will help it not only look better, but feel better too. Facial hair tends to be coarser and drier than the hair on your head and needs its own version of conditioner to stay healthy. That’s where beard oil comes in.
“The purpose of any type of beard beard product is to hydrate and soften beard hair,” says Jennifer Bennett, barber and Head of Education for Rudy’s. Which one you choose ultimately depends on how long and thick your beard is. “Somebody who has a really long, very big beard might find a thick balm hard to work through, so an oil might be better for them,” she says.
But that doesn’t mean beard oils are only for ZZ Top. They’re role is to hydrate and protect, not just the hair itself, but also the skin underneath, which can get dry quickly. Well-hydrated skin and hair is softer, less itchy, and all-around healthier.
Use Beard Oil After Washing
Bennett advises washing your beard a few times a week with shampoo or beard wash and to always follow it up with a beard oil. Before applying the oil, “use a comb, brush, or your fingers to smooth it out and give it the shape you want,” she says. “Apply a small amount to your hands and, starting with your cheeks and chin, massage it in like you’re giving yourself a face massage. It’s important to massage the product all the way down to the skin.” Then use your fingers in a downward motion to make sure the rest of your beard is covered (if it’s long).
What to Look for in the Best Beard Oils
The most important part of any beard oil is the oil itself. “Some oils are really heavy and just stay on the surface,” says Bennett. Look instead for oils like argan and jojoba oils, which sink into the hair and don’t create a film or greasy feeling. “I like beard oils that smell good, but dissipate fast,” she says, since overpowering fragrances can irritate sensitive skin. “Scent is not the reason to use a beard oil,” she says.
These are the 12 best beard oils for men to tame their facial hair, no matter how long or wild it is.
Bennett’s personal pick, this lightweight oil has all the good stuff (argan and jojoba oils) as well as squalane, a potent moisturizing ingredient more commonly found in facial moisturizers. It’s ideal for taming frizz and smoothing facial hair of any length.
An oil that’s lightweight enough for you to use in your beard and your hair? This one fits the bill. There’s not hold to speak of, but it’s adept at smoothing out frizz and moisturizing the hair on both your face and your head.
This oil is best suited for shorter beards where you can still see the skin underneath (short beards need oil, too!). The nourishing ingredients hydrate skin and help protect it against redness and irritation.
The jojoba and sweet almond oils in this 3-in-1 oil are powerful hair hydrators and will make your beard look shiny and healthy. And if you decide to get rid of your beard, it will double as a protective pre-shave oil.
The shea oils in this beard oil are perfect for hydrating and smoothing even the coarsest beard hair. It’s especially good if you tend to have dry skin or notice dandruff-like flakes in your beard, which means your skin needs extra moisture.
This all-around great beard oil contains a big dose of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant to help protect both your facial hair and the delicate skin underneath your beard. It’s a powerhouse product that does more than just keep your beard smooth.
The real draw of this beard oil is the light, fresh scent. While many oils smell woodsy or spicy, this one uses mint extract to create a natural freshness that won’t make you smell like you sprayed your beard with Windex.
Coco butter and shea butter sound like heavy ingredients, but somehow don’t weigh down this innovative formula. It’s best suited for fuller beards and coarse hair, so use it sparingly unless your beard gets grizzly as the drop of a hat.
The scent of this beard oil comes only from the natural ingredients and is as close to unscented as you can get. The lack of added fragrance makes it especially good for anyone with sensitive or dry skin.
Sweet almond oil, another lightweight hair-healthy oil according to Bennett, takes center stage in this naturally derived oil. A little goes a long way with this rich oil, but still won’t weigh your beard down or make it too shiny.
The avocado oil in this version might be too heavy for thinner or shorter beards, but for thick coarse hair, it’s hard to find something more nourishing. Use this one sparingly at first (you can always add more if you need it).
If you’re not a cologne guy, but still want to smell great, turn to a scented beard oil like this one. The fragrance is similar to a fancy cologne (a mix of black pepper, sandalwood, and vanilla), but still hydrates and protects your facial hair from dryness and flakes.