You’ve heard of beard oil but now get ready for beard balm. This beard product is closer to a pomade or moisturizer which makes it more suited to more controlled styling. So what is the best beard balm?
Best Beard Balm Top Picks:
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What Is Beard Balm?
Imagine a spectrum of viscosity from beard oil to solid moustache wax. Balm is somewhere in the middle. It feels more like hair pomade and won’t run all over your hands and you only need to apply a pinch with your fingers. By the same token it won’t clog up your beard or hold it in any shapes.
Beard Oil vs Balm
When it comes to beard oil vs balm, beard oil is obviously very trendy and available in a huge range of scents. However, balm has more hold and shaping power.
Let’s compare Beard Oil vs Balm
- More scents
- Bottle and pippette
- Can seep deep into the beard to fully revive it
- Doesn’t have as much shaping power
- More shaping power
- Still a looser hold than wax
- Good for thicker unruly beards
- Fewer brands on the market so fewer options
- Sticky on the hands
- Can clog up your beard
What Does Beard Balm Do?
What it will do is tidy it up with a glossy coat, moisturizing both the beard and the skin underneath and taming stray hairs.
This reduces itchiness and dandruff – some of the most frustrating parts of growing a beard that puts off many would-be beard wearers prematurely.
It’s the ideal final coat in your beard care regime. Start with a shower and a good exfoliating wash. Once dry you might go as far as to use a beard straightener (see our picks of the best beard straightener here) and hold everything in place with some nourishing beard balm.
The Beard Balm Recipe
Like shave butter, the balm is made using natural butters (like shea, coconut and mango) and beeswax and less of the base oil used in beard oils – usually almond. The final main ingredient is scent oils which will vary based on the brand.
The Best Beard Balm
Handcrafted in the USA, Honest Amish softens unruly hairs and reduces itching and dandruff. Honest Amish beard balm is a blend of hair strengthening botanical infused in a base of Virgin Argan, Avocado, Almond, Virgin Pumpkin Seed, and Apricot Kernel Oils combined with fruit and nut butters.
The scent isn’t for everyone with a touch of aniseed or liquorice but that’s nothing compared to its effective moisturising and conditioning of the roughest beards.
The classic Honest Amish is great for most beards, but they also offer a heavy duty variety which is very popular among beard wearers with thick, wiry growth that needs extra taming power.
Wild Willies Beard Co offers a fresh and traditional tea tree scent that is potent but not overwhelming by any means.
The hold is fantastic and even for a large and unruly beard this balm does a great job without feeling too thick like a wax.
That said it is a more solid balm so you may need to use the mustache wax trick of scraping it out of the tin with your nail and rubbing it between fingers to soften it. For some people this is too thick so we would recommend it for more wiry beards rather than softer beards that just need a lighter balm.
Smooth Viking is possibly the best beard balm for a light hold. The fragrance too is much gentler and so consider this a beard balm for people who don’t want it to be too obvious that they use beard balm, just to tidy things up a bit.
Overall Smooth Viking feels like a halfway house between beard oil and beard balm. You can still comb through the beard and its non-greasy, plus its among the cheaper beard balms.
How To Use Beard Balm
The first step to using this magical product is to first find the balm for you. This will depend on:
- Ingredients – Most are made with allergies in mind but always check the label.
- Price – You want to pay for the right product. Just because one make is expensive doesn’t make it the best.
- Viscosity – Depending on your beard you may want a lighter or denser balm. If you already have quite a tamed beard and just want to try a step up from beard oil then a lighter balm won’t risk giving you too much hold. On the other hand, a thick and wiry beard you want to smarten up might take a firmer grip.
- Scent – This is down to personal preference, aside from any scent oils that might give you an adverse reaction.
- Brand – While this is probably the least important option you may start to favour a particular brand’s ethos or graphics – the beard equivalent of a Dapper Dan man! Part of this consideration is also location as there’s no need to ship from abroad when you can order locally.
Don’t Rub It In!
As for how to apply the balm, the best practice generally is to rub a small amount between your fingers and apply downwards to comb your beard into shape. Do this after a shower in the morning after you have towel-dried your beard so that it is damp but not wet. If you have washed your beard with shampoo then this is an ideal time to revive your beard with these natural oils.
You can also combine products for different purposes. Many moustache wearers prefer a mix of mustache waxes for the body and tips of handlebar moustaches. Similarly if you want most of your beard nice and silky then use a lighter balm and a heavier balm for any shaping closer to the ends.
As with all products like this try to make sure you only do the least amount of rubbing between your fingers to get an even spread, rather than falling for the classic mistake of rubbing furiously between the palms.
All this does is waste the product by absorbing it into your hands rather than where it needs to be. This will also leave your hands feeling greasy – which will be a great nourishing hand cream but try to keep this particular balm for your beard.
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