Over the last couple of years, I have followed the increase in new products to help maintain, control and sustain a healthy and full beard. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced many examples from all over the globe on my travels. With the wide array of oils made in the states, balms from Ireland combs from Thailand and Shampoos from Australia, you name it and I have tried it to see what works and what doesn’t.
One thing that took me a while to figure out though was why oil or why balm? What should I be using for my style of beard? What is the difference?
The majority of beard care providers offer both oil and balm so before you commit, here is my experience of the difference that may help if you’re stuck with deciding between the two.
The Beard Oil
If you are one of those lucky guys whose beard stays mostly in shape and lays well naturally then beard oil is the one for you. It gives those needed nutrients and conditioning qualities to have a healthy beard and keeps your hair growing strong, without giving the added hold that other less fortunate gents require.
You can find many different aromas to suit your taste and the feel to your hairs in terms of softness and looking healthy will have you stroking those hairs with pride.
The Beard Balm
Now there are many variants of beard oils out there with numerous flavours and scents. Beard balm consists of all the same types of ingredients that you will find in oil blends.
The difference? Well, a balm has a primary base of Beeswax, Cocoa Butter or Shea Butter. This gives it that waxy, creamy like feel that melts in the hand before you massage it into your beard.
Now a balm has two main purposes. Firstly, it is great at conditioning your beard and secondly, it provides hold for styling purposes. My beard suffers from a few random hairs sticking out in places often so if you suffer the same then a balm is great at giving it that control and hold to your shape whilst also looking natural, neat and tamed.
Me? I go the combo route like many others and enjoy the best of both. I use a bit of oil before bed after a warm water wash through my beard. Massaged in starting from my neckline up in the cheeks and making sure I don’t miss the skin around my lips. Finally, I comb it through which gives me the conditioning and healthy shine I cherish. In the morning, I do the same routine, however, using my balm instead of oil to give it that hold and neatness through the working day.
Whatever works for you, as a bearded man, one or both is an essential tool for that grooming kit.