When starting your journey in beard care, the vast array of similar-sounding products can often feel like a minefield, particularly when it comes to picking between beard oil or beard balm.
Both appear to be designed to moisturise and condition your beard, however, they’re results are far from identical, meaning plumping for one randomly may not be the best choice for you and your beard.
Although for some it may just come down to personal preference, a lot of factors can play their part in which products suits your style, from beard length and skin type to your preferred finish and style.
To help you settle on the most ideal option for you, we’re here to explain the key differences for both products and how they may either enhance or clash with your current beard state.
The Difference Between Beard Oil & Beard Balm
Beard oil is a fantastic product for those who are growing out their beard, as it encourages new growth and enhances the overall health of your facial hair.
It’s perhaps more moisturising than balm as it’s liquid-based form means it can reach the skin beneath the beard, helping to reduce itchiness and prevent flakes and beardruff.
They often contain essential oils which can give a pleasant scent to your mass of grizzly business and its liquid state means it can be spread and manipulated around your beard with ease.
Best of all, it won’t clog your pores either and so beard oil is particularly popular for those who suffer from sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Where it falls down sometimes is that it’s not always as effective when treating much larger beards, or at least needs a lot of extra product to effectively reach and hydrate the skin.
Its liquid form also means it provides no hold or taming qualities, meaning styling or smartening up your whiskers is not always smooth sailing with beard oil.
Despite utilising a lot of the moisturising carrier oils used in beard oil, beard balm separates itself from the pack by boasting a base of creamier and thicker-textured ingredients such as beeswax, shea butter or cocoa butter.
This makes it similar in consistency to wax or pomade you might apply to your hair, melting in your hands as you rub your palms together and providing your beard with more hold and volume than an oil can.
It still offers plenty of moisture and hydration though, as it sits on the hair for longer, slowly absorbing throughout the day and giving you lasting results for a longer period of time. This in turn also gives your beard a little added shine to it!
Ultimately though, it’s best for a medium to long beard that needs a little taming, as it functions perfectly as a low-maintenance styling product with added hydration features!
If when you look in the mirror you notice tons of flyaway hairs or areas that look like a mistreated hedge – beard balm is probably the best way to go.
It’s ability to add volume also makes it a smart choice for those who suffer from patchy beards and areas of minimal growth, helping to thicken up their fuzz into a more manly thatch.
Some people however may not like the feel of applying a thicker substance to the beard and just like with hair waxes and products, it’s easy to apply too much and sport that overly-shiny gelled look – which might look slightly odd when it’s around your chops.
Conclusion: Which One Is Best For You?
Our recommendation is to plump for beard oil if you have a fairly short beard or are growing one out. This is because growing a beard is quite sapping and stressful for the face, as the facial hairs begin drawing more and more moisture from the face as they grow.
By using beard oil from the start, you will prevent your beard from growing any dead or split ends, stop issues such as itchiness and flakes, and also give your beard a much healthier glow and scent.
If however, you’re already sporting a magnificent badger on your face then you may need a bit more staying power when it comes to conditioning and moisturising your beard, meaning beard balm is often a better choice.
It also has the low-styling qualities needed to help shape and tame some of the irritants that come with a longer beard, while thickening out barer patches.
Can’t I Just Use Both?
Of course you can!
Many weirdy beardies choose to use a combination of both balm and oil to give themselves the combined benefits of both products!
You’ll be able to revel in the moisturising effects of oil and give yourself the best opportunity for growth and overall health, while the balm can help style and thicken the beard.
For a glossy finish to your beard, always apply the oil first and then finish with balm.
However, there is a caveat to all this, as if you decide your beard deserves the wonders of both products, you’re going to have to be extra conservative and considered when applying them.
Overdoing oil or balm on there own is easy enough, but a combination of both makes the risks of creating a greasy, slimy thatch even higher.
It’s therefore wise to start your beard care routine at a slower pace, applying the bare minimum of oil and balm at first.
If after a few days you feel your beard is still coarse and not fully hydrated, begin applying slightly more oil and balm, repeating the process every few days if needed, until you find the perfect dosage for you.
Finding out the bare minimum you need is a good way to save money, as once you know your fixed rate of oil and balm per day, you can be far more efficient with your application and have a better idea of how long a product will last you!