What is beard oil and what does it do?

Everything you need to know about beard oil and why any bearded man should use it

What is beard oil and what does it do?
(Image credit: Getty)

Beards made somewhat of a comeback in the past decade. Before then, men with beards were often labelled “hobos” or told to go shave. Nowadays, growing a beard has become an acceptable choice of facial hair for the masses, and even a fashion choice for those attempting to achieve that accomplished gentlemanly look.

With many an A-list celebrity rocking one (David Beckham, High Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal to name a few) the beard certainly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Recognising this, the beauty industry has most definitely monopolised on it, with now hundreds of grooming products benign produced for those men who are proud to don a beard and want to take good care of it.

Enter: beard oil, an increasingly popular product that’s becoming a staple purchase for proud beard owners. Not entirely sure what beard oil is or never even heard of it? You’ve come to the right place. 

What is beard oil?

Almost like a conditioner for the beard, beard oil is a skin/hair care product that’s designed to moisturise and hydrate a man’s facial hair and the skin underneath it.

This, Tyson Grant, grooming expert at Forbici Knightsbridge, tells us, helps to prevent dry skin, “as well as smoothing and moisturising the beard for a much cleaner and sharper look”.

Beard oils will also leave the beard looking healthy and smelling super nice.

How does beard oil work?

Normally, a decent quality beard oil is made up of two core ingredients: a carrier serum such as jojoba or grapeseed oil, which makes up the bulk of the product, and additional essential oils, for example, sweet almond oil, and those that bring earthy, woody or fruity scents.

When applied to a man’s beard, the oil in the serum work to add deep nourishment to the beard hair. Generally, beards - especially longer ones - aren’t able to provide themselves the same nourishment the hair on your head does, so they can easily become dry and wiry if not maintained. 

According to one of the UK’s biggest beard oil sellers, Mobros, this is because beard hair growth is promoted by androgens such as testosterone, which make it more coarse and thus more prone to becoming dry and brittle. 

“With beard hairs trying desperately to feed themselves the nutrients they need to stay healthy, they draw moisture from the skin, leaving it dry,” the company says “However, as the beard grows, it becomes harder to send nutrients from the follicle right through the strand, meaning the ends of the hair are also left as dry as desert dust.”

The result is damaged, rough hair and irritated skin, which we’re sure is not the look any man is going for. 

How to use beard oil 

Any idiot can apply beard oil without having to acquire a degree in it first. 

Freelance Barber and Apprenticeship Assessor at VTCT, Alan Kenny, explains: 

“To use it effectively you should apply a small amount onto your fingertips and gently massage it into your beard and make sure to get the skin underneath too, working it into the root of the hair follicles.”

You can use a beard comb or brush to more evenly apply the oil if your beard is longer.

How often should I apply beard oil?

For best results, beard oil should be applied to the hair every day, morning (especially just after washing your hair) and night. However, there’s no limit to how many times you can use it. If you feel that it feels dry or itchy, feel free to crack it open.

Mobro recommends treating beard oil like your wallet: “You don’t always need it, but it’s good to have it on you just in case.”

Who should use beard oil?

Whether your beard is long or short, every beard wearer should own a decent beard oil. There are no negatives from using such a product, even if you only have stubble, as the skin underneath the hair growth will benefit, too. So the short answer is: anyone.

What can’t beard oil do?

While a good beard oil can help maintain the health of your beard and the skin underneath it, it cannot work miracles. There are some misconceptions that such a product will promote beard growth. This is incorrect. Although it will encourage the right conditions for a healthy beard to grow or make it look thicker or fuller, it’s no miracle worker. 

It’s also worth noting that beard oil shouldn’t replace a daily cleaner, and you shouldn’t apply beard oil instead of washing it. You can use shampoo for that, or even purchase a special beard wash.

Which beard oil is the best?

There are a plethora of options out there on the market right now. Some of our favourites are included in our best beard oils buying guide.

Some of the best brands to look out for are Percy Nobleman, Seven Potions, Jack Black, Captain Fawcett, and Kiehls.

Still, you can’t really go wrong when choosing a beard oil, it’s all about experimenting and finding the best one for you. Although, just be aware that it should always be a product that uses natural products as these are generally more sensitive to skin. And try to avoid anything that’s full of chemicals or tested on animals.

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Lee Bell

Lee Bell is a freelance journalist & copywriter specialising in technology, health, grooming and how the latest innovations are shaking up the lifestyle space. From national newspapers to specialist-interest magazines and digital titles, Lee has written for some of the world’s most respected publications during his 11 years as a journalist.