When it comes to maintaining a healthy beard, proper hygiene and post-shave care are vital. Though choosing the proper razor or trimmer is the first step in facial grooming, incorporating a nourishing beard oil or serum into your routine is a simple, yet highly effective, step that will enhance the look and feel of any beard.
“Facial hair is usually pretty coarse, so beard oil is best for hydrating the hair and skin underneath. It will keep your beard and skin soft and healthy,” explains Los Angeles-based celebrity groomer Sydney Sollod. “Adding beard oil into your routine will help reduce flaky and itchy skin and tame unruly hair for your best-looking beard.”
Packed with essential oils and moisturizing ingredients, beard oils can aid in both maintaining beard upkeep and growth as well as ensuring the skin underneath is hydrated and nourished. Ahead, three grooming experts weigh in on the benefits and functions of beard oil as well as the best products to include in your grooming routine.
What does beard oil do?
“Beard oil moisturizes and softens beard hair. It also nourishes and hydrates the skin beneath the beard,” says New York-based groomer Amy Komorowski, who has worked with Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac and more. “A few drops or pumps of a beard oil tames coarse hair leaving it softer and fuller.”
Often, especially those with longer beards, will experience dryness or even flaking underneath the beard. When applied, beard oil will quickly dissolve into the hair, helping to both hydrate and reduce general irritation. “The other benefit is that beard oils typically have essential oils, leaving a fantastic scent on the hair to enjoy all day,” says Komorowski.
How do you use beard oil?
Typically, beard oil is used after taking a shower or washing the face, and is applied by using a few drops in the palm of the hands and then swiping on the beard in a downward motion. It is also important to apply the oil evenly, ensuring that the product makes its way to the skin.
“Warm a few drops or pumps between the palms of your hands and run the oil throughout the entire beard,” advises Komorowski. “[Then] use [the] fingertips in small circular motions to reach the skin beneath the beard.”
Does beard oil work?
Though beard oil is effective in reducing irritation and aiding in overall beard health, it is important that its usage is coupled with a skin care routine too. “Taking care of the skin beneath the hair and the beard itself will ensure healthier growth,” says Komorowski.
When picking a beard oil, you’ll want to avoid certain ingredients that will dry out facial hair and the skin. Groomer Christine Nelli, whose clients include Tom Holland, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd and more, explains that in order to ensure proper efficacy, beard oil should contain hydrating elements like jojoba and argan oil and should not be alcohol-based, which will dry out the skin and hair.
Best beard oils and serums
$57 at Sephora
Tom Ford’s conditioning beard oil both softens and maintains beard appearance through a unique blend of almond, jojoba and grapeseed oils, as well as vitamin E. “I love the smell of this oil and it is a staple in my kit,” says Nelli.
$20.50 at Reuzel
Reuzel’s beard serum is packed with nourishing ingredients like shea butter and avocado oil and is one of Sollod’s top choices. “This oil is great because it is super lightweight, non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and smells incredible,” the groomer notes.
$33 at Aesop
Aesop’s beard oil is an overwhelming expert favorite and is everything a quality oil should be: silicone-free, rich in fatty acids and full of quality ingredients like borage and jojoba seed.
$26 at Amazon
A must-have mid-range option, the Jack Black Beard Oil blends botanical and essential oils to help soften and moisturize brittle hair, all the while leaving a glistening sheen behind. The oil includes marula, plum, and kalahari melon oil, as well carrot extract and vitamin E.
$13.49 at Target
Budget-conscious and barber-approved, Hawkins and Brimble’s beard oil is sure to take your beard game to the next level. The oil is designed to combat frizz and dryness and will hydrate the skin and beard without leaving a greasy residue.
$18.50 $11.22 at eCosmetics
If you find your beard unmanageable or frizzy, L’Oréal’s Long Beard and Skin Oil is designed for those with extra-long facial hair and ensures that hair is tamed and non-greasy.
$17.99 at Cardon
For a dual beard and skin treatment, Sollod recommends this sheet mask designed for those with facial hair. “This mask is a two-for-one and is paraben, sulfate and silicone-free,” explains the groomer. “The top half of the mask targets your face with detoxifying charcoal, while the bottom half of the mask is loaded with a luxurious and super hydrating natural beard oil. Your skin and beard will both feel and look amazing.”
$12.99 at Target
While the texture of an oil may be too heavy for some, a cream or butter serves a similar purpose and will leave the beard equally hydrated and healthy. “I also love a cream which you can work in the beard just the same as an oil,” says Nelli “[Cream] gives the [beard] a less shiny look which some guys [prefer].”
$12.99 $10.99 at Amazon
A leader in all things grooming, Gillette’s beard oil combines the brand’s top-notch formulas with an accessible and clean design. The small glass container is perfect for travel and the oil itself is composed of softening ingredients like jojoba, macadamia and argan oils.
$14.88 $9.88 at Amazon
This barber-approved beard oil has over 5,000 5-star ratings touting its hydrating and irritation-soothing properties. With a simple blend of jojoba and argan oils, plus sandalwood oil for fragrance, it treats beard dandruff, softens the facial hair and moisturizes the skin.
$63 at Nordstrom
Though Le Labo’s beard oil is on the pricier end, its impressive ingredient list and plant-based formula makes it a worthwhile investment. The 60-milliliter bottle features hints of lavender and bergamot for a luxurious scent.
$9.97 at Amazon
Full of moisturizing and hydrating ingredients, this conditioning oil will not only leave your beard looking great, but will also repair the skin underneath — something experts say is key to achieving a desirable beard. The oil features organic oils like sunflower and grapeseed and is mineral oil and paraben-free.
$28 at Amazon and Baxter of California
Baxter’s grooming oil is crafted for both the beard and skin underneath, as its squalene enriched formula helps nourish and maintain facial hair. “Baxter’s beard oil is made with amazing ingredients like avocado oil, squalane and vitamin E [which] really nourish your beard and skin,” says Sollod. “What I love most about it is how quickly the oil absorbs into the hair so your beard isn’t left greasy at all.”
$29 at Beardbrand
Beardbrand’s oil is available in six delightful fragrances and absorbs quickly into the skin thanks to a blend of jojoba, castor, abyssinian and babassu oils.
$12.98 at Amazon
Lemon and lime are the main scents of Old Spice’s beard oil, which focuses on securing fly away hairs and providing a healthy sheen. The product is meant to be used daily and is packaged in the perfect vessel for on-the-go storage and travel.
$110 at Circa 1970
Komorowski swears by Circa 1970’s multi-faceted beard oil, thanks to its nutrient-packed ingredient list and soothing properties. The vegan oil is perfect for post-shave application and also doubles as a daily and pre-shave oil.