The 10 Best Beard Oils
This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in December of 2015. Beards may be the epitome of masculine self-expression, so it's crucial to maintain that precious follicle production with healthful treatments. There's a multitude of products designed to make your grooming easier, including these specially formulated beard oils, which promise to soften and protect these most important of hairs. They come in a range of pleasing scents, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
January 24, 2020:
Beard oils, not to be confused with beard balms, all have the same basic goals. They're formulated to soften hair and make it more manageable, as well as soothe dry skin and irritation, reduce flakes, strengthen hair and give it a healthy shine, and in many cases, leave behind a lovely aroma. The biggest choices on the consumer end are what fragrance (or lack thereof) suits you best and what ingredients will work best with your skin.
Most beard oils contain essential oils, which are 100% natural but can still be harmful. For example, tea tree oil can be toxic to pets and babies, so you might want to skip items that have it if you've got a little one or dog or cat running around. When in doubt, a quick google search will usually show you what essential oils can have harmful effects on others.
Today we said goodbye to Botanical Skin Works Natural Man, which was a fine choice but pales in comparison to Leven Rose Ranger. This highly-popular, straightforward oil contains two proven ingredients and is unscented and free of unnecessary chemicals, making it a smart choice for those who have sensitive noses and skin. When Grizzly Adam became unavailable, we took the opportunity to recommend Jack Black Kalahari in its place. This offering from Jack Black goes above and beyond with its formula, employing everything from carrot and brown algae that protect from free radicals to fatty-acid rich Kalahari melon oil and marula oil. Also joining the ranks today is Beardoholic Premium, a piney-fresh solution that's especially helpful for eliminating dandruff flakes and soothing inflamed, itchy skin.
Kiehl's Grooming Oil This 99.8% naturally-derived selection from Kiehl's is infused with sandalwood, cedarwood and eucalyptus essential oils for a woodsy, earthy aroma. It's also formulated with pracaxi oil, which helps exfoliate and nourish the skin underneath. It's ideal for all skin types, works on coarse facial hair, diminishes dryness, and leaves behind a non-greasy feeling. kiehls.com
Pasha de Cartier Edition Noire Scented Oil This black-label offering from Cartier recreates the company's well-loved pasha scent, which itself is a woody blend with notes of citrus and amber. It smooths and conditions, and can be used on pulse points and the hair for an aromatic boost. cartier.com
Tom Ford Conditioning This lightweight oil from Tom Ford conditions, softens, and nourishes with a blend of almond, jojoba, and grapeseed oils with added vitamin E. It absorbs well, makes beards more manageable after a few days, and boasts a masculine scent that won't overpower. It's available in three Tom Ford private blend scents: oud wood, neroli portofino, and tobacco vanille. tomford.com
A Dry Beard Is A Shy Beard
When you rub a beard oil into the hair on your face, it does what the natural oils you had when you were younger would do.
A beard is a meaningful token of masculinity. Just ask any man who can't really grow one, and he'll tell you how very important a beard is. I've been growing out full beards since high school (I look 35 in my senior picture), keeping to three and six month rotations depending largely on the climate I occupied.
For obvious reasons, a beard is excellent through the late fall and into early spring. The one big problem in those months, however, is that most indoor environments utilize some kind of heating system to regulate the temperature indoors against the plummeting temperatures outdoors. That's all well and good if you don't want to freeze to death, but most indoor heating systems create an incredibly low-humidity atmosphere.
Low humidity means dryness everywhere, not least of all in your beard. When I was a young man with a beard, no amount of dryness ever created a problem. My skin had oil for days. In the last decade or so, however, those dry months have meant itchy, uncomfortable skin under a beard of coarser, angrier hair. The irritation led to dandruff in the beard, and it led me to purchase both some beard oil and a humidifier.
If you've experienced any of those or other symptoms of a dry and malnourished beard, you're going to need to get your hands on some beard oil, as well. Beard balms are also an option, but you'll find that they have an added style component to them that's akin to hair gel. In my case, I just want the nourishment; I'll leave the style to nature.
When you rub a beard oil into the hair on your face, it does what the natural oils you had when you were younger would do. It absorbs directly into the hair and its follicles, where it softens the beard, reduces tangles, and can provide a lovely scent where desired. Many of these oils are also wonderful for the skin beneath the beard, moisturizing it against the driest of wintry airs and keeping your face as cozy as can be.
The Smell Test
It's a proven fact that a beard makes you seem more trustworthy, like your word somehow carries additional weight and reliability. Unfortunately, despite the market category into which they fall, none of these beard oils has a beard of its own, so you couldn't easily pick out the more trustworthy options. It's also likely that anyone trying to advertise any of these brands is going to have a beard of their own, so they'll each be equally trustworthy.
Anyone you might want to get in close to your face is going to have to smell it and endure it on their own skin long after kissing you, so be considerate.
To make your selection from among the beard oils on our list then, you'll need to look at other aspects of each brand in comparison with one another. One of the most pressing attributes of any beard product, something that you should consider first and foremost, is its scent.
Interestingly, the human olfactory system will eventually become accustomed to the presence of most smells on your body. When you put on cologne, you stop smelling it after a while. As a result, a lot of guys wear way too much of the stuff. While you don't necessarily have to worry about overdoing it the same way with your beard oil, you shouldn't rely on your ability to ignore its scent if you don't like it. Anyone you might want to get in close to your face is going to have to smell it and endure it on their own skin long after kissing you, so be considerate.
Fortunately, most beard oil manufacturers brag about their scents, so you can get a good idea of what you're in for from their descriptions, whether it's a beard that smells like licorice, clover, coconut, or bourbon. That last one sounds like a really nice scent to me in every instance except for the one where you get pulled over for speeding and you don't even realize that you smell like whiskey.
Men Finally Care
Men have been growing beards a lot longer than they've been shaving them. Of course, a pretty long time elapsed before they had the ability to shave them, so I don't think shaving really ever stood a chance. Still, it's worth noting that the beard has been a part of our species since its inception, and that, however the fashions trend, it will always be a part of us.
In the most ancient of recorded civilizations, the Babylonians wore beautiful, curly beards that–if you go by their ancient writings–they frequently anointed with oils.
In the most ancient of recorded civilizations, the Babylonians wore beautiful, curly beards that–if you go by their ancient writings–they frequently anointed with oils. Pretty much any time Gilgamesh does anything of significance in his epic, he takes a bath and anoints his body and his beard. Even wild Enkidu gets a little anointing done before he up and dies (spoiler alert!).
In more recent years, a boom has taken place in men's grooming products. After spending centuries letting women have all the fun in the bathroom, we finally have our own hours-long rituals of cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and age-defying. Beard oils fall into a more rustic and traditional category, to be sure, than a boutique men's eye cream, but they are still very much a part of this recent revolution.