Beards are no longer a trend or a fad. We can safely assume that beards have become a thing; they are here to stay. During the last decade of the previous century a clean-shaved face was the default, which was then eclipsed by stubble (should we go ahead and give the late George Michael the credit for this look?) The 21st century eliminated the default and left us with a choice: shaved or bearded.
Men are no longer suspected of hipsterism if they grow a beard. They can simply decide to grow one; nobody really puts a label on beard owners anymore. A study by Braun from 2015 found that 67% of New York City’s men have some sort of facial hair along the mustache-to-beard spectrum. Coincidently, the same study declared that 67 days is the time required to grow the perfect beard.
Fast forward to right now, and to how you care for your beard. If you’re just letting it grow without any intervention then buddy, dude, mister – you really ought to. If we cautiously assume that you care for hair, using shampoo and maybe even conditioner, why not give the same kind treatment to your beard? Hair is hair: whether it’s on your head or cheeks, it needs tender, loving care.
The very first thing you should do to care for your beard? Use beard oil. And if you’re not sure why and how, you are definitely at the right place. Here is everything you need to know about men’s beard oil. We’ll start with the basics and take it from there.
WHAT IS BEARD OIL?
Beard oil is cosmetic oil made specifically for… beard grooming. It is usually a blend of two or more different oils.
Beard oil intends to imitate the natural oils produced by facial skin. So when you apply beard oil it is not only the beard that benefits from it; the skin underneath, which has been deprived of sun, air, and general sense of freedom, will be humbled by and thankful for the gesture.
Beard oil provides much-needed nutrients to the skin, nutrients that rejuvenate the beard and greatly improve its appearance. And don’t forget: if your beard is well groomed, you look good.
WHAT DOES BEARD OIL DO? HERE ARE THE BENEFITS:
The best beard oil benefits both phases of beard care: that initial period, while you grow your beard, of going from clean-shaved to sporting facial hair, and the subsequent stage of full-grown beard maintenance.
WHILE YOUR GROW YOUR BEARD
Every man who grows a beard will experience itchiness during the phase when hair follicles push their way out of the facial skin. The itch starts about four weeks in, and it’s only natural.
Applying beard oil during this phase will ease the itch. Hair follicles grow out of the sebaceous glands, whose ‘job’ is to produce sebum, the grooming oil that coats the hair. As the hairs get longer, the glands are struggling to keep up the sebum production, and the friction creates the itch. Beard oil provides a replacement for the natural sebum oil, nourishing and moisturizing the facial skin and hair.
WHILE YOU MAINTAIN YOUR BEARD
Once you’ve passed the growing hurdle, you are entering the long stretch of having a beard, a.k.a beard grooming; congrats! Beard oil is the quintessential product for beard maintenance.
We don’t want to be the bearers of horrifying news, but there is a thing called beardruff. Yes, a younger cousin to the dreaded dandruff. Flakey and dry facial skin hidden under your hair growth will lead to beardruff snowing down from your beard. It’s an unfortunate sight, and it’s itchy. This is where men’s grooming beard oil comes to the rescue of your facial skin, and the front of your shirt for that matter.
On top of that, beard oil is crucial for a good-looking, feel-good beard. It softens your beard, helps it untangle, and generally make it more manageable. Regular use of beard oil also reduces split ends. Ask anyone with long hair: split-ends are a pain. They not only make the hair look frizzy, but also require constant trimming to keep the hair healthy and looking good all the way through.
Lastly, beard oil improves the appearance of your beard, giving it a nice shine and a healthy, full look.
HOW TO USE BEARD OIL FOR BEARD GROOMING
Don’t expect any big surprises here. Applying oil to your beard is pretty intuitive.
First pour a few drops of your beard oil of choice into your palm. Put the bottle down. Rub both palms together, evenly spreading the oil. Next, apply the oil to your beard: gently massage it into your skin, then smoothly oil your beard, from the base of the hairs all the way to their ends. It is important to evenly apply the oil – not neglecting mustache grooming – and give a final rub under your chin.
After you did a thorough job applying the oil, you’d want to use a beard comb, preferably a wooden one, and give your beard a once-through; beard comb comes in most beard grooming kits.
The best time to apply beard oil is after a hot shower, when the pores are relatively open and susceptible to the oil.
As for the amount of oil to use, it all depends on the volume and length of your beard. For the first month or two of your beard life, use about 3-4 drops per day. As your beard matures, it will need more oil, so increase the amount up to 10 drops a day for a beard that’s passed its first anniversary.
It is advisable to look at the instructions for beard oil uses, as each has a different concentration, and the its company will have its own dosage recommendations.
SCENTED VS. UNSCENTED BEARD OIL
It’s a matter of personal choice. If you’re the kill-two-beards-with-one-stone kind of a guy, then a scented beard oil might be the right path for you. But, there are other things to consider.
Most beard grooming products – beard shampoo, beard softener, beard wax, and beard balm – come scented. Assuming that you are using more than one product for your beard grooming, you are stepping into a multi-scent territory. While we are all up for a nice-smelling beard, the overlap of scents can create a sensory overload, for yourself and for others.
There are choices to be made. Since other beard grooming products that you need to use if you want to keep your beard looking and feeling good come scented, it does make sense to cut out the scent from your beard oil, the product that is used in the highest rotation.
Besides your beard-scent, if you’re using cologne, you’ll also want to consider how these two scents might collide. Smelling good is one thing, but oozing conflicting scents might achieve the opposite effect than the one you’re after.
As we said, it’s your call in the scented vs. unscented beard oil debate. But now you are able to make an educated decision.