April 05, 2021

If you want the shine, you gotta put in the time. The perfect beard doesn’t happen by itself.

As your manly mane grows and flourishes, it needs plenty of love to keep it soft, shiny, and manageable. But an effective beard care routine is not as simple as just slapping on any old product and being good to go. You need to know what beard products actually do – and what they don’t.

Specifically, with the market saturated with so many products and claims, you may wonder if there’s any difference between beard balm and beard oil.

Well, there are many differences. Each product serves a specific purpose. But having said that, these two items aren’t mutually exclusive. We’re gonna show you that it’s not an “either/or” situation. While there are significant differences between beard balm and oil, we consider both an essential pairing for any beardsman of distinction.

When chosen carefully and used properly together, beard balm and beard oil make a formidable team to keep your face’s pride and joy glorious and luxurious, and prevent it from becoming dry, brittle, and unkempt.

Different Purposes with Different Ingredients

→ Beard Oil

Beard oil is for soothing and protecting your skin as well as your beard. Both need antioxidants and other nutrients in order to stay healthy and irresistible. A good beard oil will have a high concentration of essential oils, like organic Moroccan argan oil and jojoba. These penetrate deep into skin as well as hair follicles to not only keep your beard smooth, hydrated and lusciously shiny, but also to reduce inflammation, beard acne, flaky beardruff, and those pesky ingrown hairs. We consider using beard oil essential no matter how long your beard is, but it’s especially awesome to reduce itching in the early growth stages. Plus a quality oil will never clog your pores.

→ Beard Balm

Beard balm gives you butter face – but in a good way! That’s because a good beard balm contains butters, essential oils, and a touch of beeswax (but not too much!). Balm is less about your skin and more about your facial hairs themselves. It serves two purposes. (1) It complements the work of the oil by providing even more essential nutrients and oils to further moisturize your whiskers. (2) It’s for styling, shaping and hold. Applying balm will also control stray, frizzy, itchy hairs (called flyaways) poking out at weird angles. Furthermore, if you’re rocking a longer mustache, balm will crank the debonair levels up several notches.

How Long is It?

A key difference between beard balm and oil is how long a beard should be when you use each product. Beard oil is great for the skin and hair at any length of growth. It’s especially helpful with a new beard when beardruff, beard itch, and dry, flaky skin are common. A balm isn’t necessarily essential for a shorter or newer beard, but comes into its own once it reaches a respectable length. How much length? Don’t get out the ruler. A good rule of thumb is when your face forest starts to bulk up and the hairs begin curling. Once it’s that long, use both balm and oil.

If you use neither a balm nor an oil, expect your beard to feel dry, coarse, scratchy, and brittle. But when they work in tandem, an oil and a balm will eliminate these issues and nourish your beard hairs in crucial ways.

When and How to Apply Beard OIL

Beard oil is a liquid that comes in a small glass bottle with a dropper. You only need a few drops of it. If you’re on the road, be sure to cushion that glass bottle to prevent it from breaking and making a royal mess.

Apply oil straight after a hot shower where you’ve cleansed with a sumptuous beard wash. Squeeze out a couple drops into one hand and rub it deeply into your facial hairs and down to the skin with your fingers. The steam from the shower opens the pores of your face, allowing the oil to sink deep into the skin and follicles, while conditioning the beard hairs themselves. After rubbing it in, which feels amazing, gently brush your whiskers with a wild boar bristle beard brush to spread the oil more evenly and remove any stray skin flakes.

When and How to Apply Beard BALM

Beard balm is a paste that feels more like a stiff hair pomade with a slightly waxy texture. In fact, it usually comes in a tin or other container much like you’ll find with head hair products. You don’t have to worry about balm spilling.

Before you apply beard balm, wait until everything is totally dry and your pores have closed. While it’s no big deal if balm gets into your pores, its purpose is not really about your skin but about the beard itself. It’s for further moisturizing, conditioning and nourishing those hairs, while simultaneously taming and shaping them. A dash of beeswax in the balm provides some flexible firmness to the shape as well as a protective barrier to hold the butter/oils on the strands to do their work.

To apply balm, rub it in your hands to warm and soften it. Then gently stroke it into your beard with your fingers and style/brush as needed. It’s pretty easy to deal with crazy flyaways and coax them to grow the right way.

The combo will help your beard appear fuller, thicker, shinier, and sooooooo touchable.

So, you see, there’s a science to looking both rugged and suave. And now you know the significant differences between beard oil and balm – and how they are the Dynamic Duo of the bearding world.

Oil up, balm up, and you’ll rock that beard more than you’ve ever imagined.

Have more questions? You might like these articles too:

14 Most Common Beard Oil Questions & Answers

How to Use Beard Balm Step-by-Step

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