Our Badger Beard Oil Review
We’re happy to write this Badger Beard Oil review, because Badger is probably best known not for their beard oil, but for their Beard Balm.
And that makes sense—the company was founded in 1995, when Bill Whyte wanted to create a hand balm to protect himself from the cold New Hampshire winters where he lived (and still lives)—and before long, their hand balm took off. Years later, when beards started gaining popularity, seeing as they were already in the balm business, it seemed like a good idea to get into beard balms.
Their beard balm is fantastic, and the logo features a handsome badger, with goggles and a Van Dyke mustache—not unlike the one Bill Whyte has himself!
So, their balm is great—but what about their beard oil? Badger is a pretty well-known company, but there's not much online about their beard oil.
So, here you have it: there's a lot we like about it, but there are a definitely a few critiques we have. We'll begin with the pros, move on to the cons, and get started with a truly stand-out feature:
It's Got a Pump Release!
OK, listen: we've reviewed a lot of beard oils. Like, a whole lot. Most are good, some are great, but allllll seem to have one thing in common, and that is a dropper that looks like this:
We have a love/hate relationship with droppers. Many of our favorite beard oils feature them, but they tend to drip. And leak. A lot. And when you’re using them, unless you remember to keep them dropper-side up, your beard oil is going to get all over the place.
If, when you’re using them, you keep them dropper-side down—like this...
... it's going to dribble out onto your sink, your bath towel, or—goodness forbid—your clothes (and that's why we always advise readers to apply beard oil when you're just out of the shower—that stuff is REALLY hard to get out of clothes).
Not only is it annoying when it dribbles out of the dropper, but... that stuff is pricey! It usually only comes in one-ounce bottles, and a couple of drops is actually a lot!
So, droppers... meh. Far and away, the great majority of beard oils are sold in droppers, and there's not much we can do about it.
And that's why we absolutely love, love, love the pump-action top of the Badger bottle. It makes it so much easier to use—pump a bit oil, apply, and if you need more, pump a little more. Droppers are messy and inaccurate, and a pump-action release—in our humble opinion, anyway—makes it so much easier to dole out.
Older versions of Badger Beard Oil actually just came in a bottle, and you had to tilt the bottle over and pour some in your hand—also not great. The pump action is much, much better.
It's Made from Good Stuff
Badger Beard Oil has a lot of great ingredients in it—in fact, that's kind of Badger's whole thing: they use high-quality ingredients across their entire product line. In their beard oil, they've got:
> Sunflower oil, which contains a lot of essential fatty acids (including fancy-sounding compounds like phospholipids and ceramides), which fortify hair strands;
> Sandalwood oil, which has a whole range of uses, but can provide beard hair with luster and shine; and
> Vitamin E, which is fantastic for skin—it can create a protective barrier on the skin's surface, thereby locking in moisture, where is super-important for beard health.
That's all wonderful, but there are two stand-out ingredients we'd like to discuss:
The first is one of our favorite ingredients, which we always hope to see in a beard oil, which is...
JOJOBA! Aside from having a wonderfully silly name that's fun to say (jo-JO-ba!), it's got a very unique formulation, in that it's very similar to the natural oils that our skin makes. That makes it great for skin—and we tend to overlook that a beard oil is supposed to support skin health—but it's also great for beard hair: the oil has antioxidant properties that protect hair from stressors, and it can coat and protect beard hair from the wear-and-tear of daily life. Nice!
It's also got babassu, and... what is babassu, you ask? Well, honestly, we had to look it up, because this is the only beard oil we've come across that has it. It turns out that babassu is a palm tree local to northern Brazil, and the babassu nut creates an oil that 1) is a fantastic conditioner—meaning, it can fortify your beard hairs like a conditioner for your hair, but 2) it's incredibly lightweight, meaning that you can apply it to your beard and the skin underneath and it shouldn't feel heavy, like certain other ingredients used in beard oils. In other words, like jojoba, it's another one-two punch, in that it provides support for both skin and hair.
And that's the biggest reason we like Badger Beard Oil—it's got some really fantastic ingredients that condition and fortify beards. There are things we don't love—and we'll get to those—but to our minds, the quality / rare ingredients are the biggest "pro."
(Oh, also—it's got myrrh! That's pretty rare, too, and it adds to the scent.)
Having great ingredients is only part of the story—some beard oils have a lot of great ingredients, but they also include some garbage. And that leads us to the next thing we like:
Badger is Free of a Lot of Lousy Chemicals
As per the company marketing materials, their beard oil has no artificial ingredients, no synthetic chemicals, and it's free of fragrances, dyes, and parabens. It's nice not having to worry about that stuff, especially if you're sensitive to it.
And that's another nice thing about Badger: if you want to call and talk to them about their ingredients, you can. Their number is (603) 357-2958, or (800) 603-6100, if you want to go the toll-free route. That can be very helpful—a lot of beard oil companies are really small operations, and it's hard to get someone on the phone, because there really aren't too many people who work for them. Badger actually has a pretty broad product line—they make products for new moms, baby care, outdoor/sun skincare, etc.—and they're a pretty decent-sized operation. It's nice to have a line to call when you've got questions.
One last thing about ingredients: if you look at the makeup of the beard oil, you'll notice, too, that a lot of these ingredients are organic. That's fantastic. Beard oils, by and large, usually contain a lot of ingredients that are great for skin and hair, but it's not a sure thing that they're organic, and Badger stands out in that way.
It's Cruelty Free, Which is a Nice Change of Pace
It seems like there are a LOT of cruelty-free options when it comes to cosmetics traditionally sold to women—and plenty of websites dedicated solely to discussing and recommending cruelty-free products—but there isn't really anything like that for men's cosmetics / beard care / shaving. Or, none that we've been able to find, anyway.
So that's why it's very nice when a cruelty-free option comes along. There are very few beard oils—or bread products of any kind—that are cruelty-free. The only other that we can think of is Zeus Beard Oil (see our review of Zeus Beard Oil here). They're cruelty-free also, and they actually make beard oils in a very range of scents.
Which actually brings us to something about Badger Beard Oil we are particularly disappointed by:
It's Only Offered in a Single Scent, Which is Weird
Ever since beards became popular again, dozens of companies have exploded on the scene, and they've made beard-care products their thing. They're all-in on beards, and they offer a wiiiiide range of scents.
Badger didn't go that route, though: they offer a single scent and it's a bergamot + vanilla mix. It works really well—we'll talk about that in a minute—but we're a little bummed they don't offer any alternatives. When we find a company we like, we want to dive in and explore everything they make, but when they make only one scent—well, that's that!
If you want to dive into a scent line and have a lot of alternatives, you won't find it here, sadly. If that's your thing, check out beard oils by Grave Before Shave, Striking Viking, and Viking Revolution (yes, those are different companies—"Viking" is, unsurprisingly, a common name in beard products).
With all that complaining about a single scent...
If You *Are* Going to Go with a Single Scent, "Bergamot and Vanilla" is a Sensible Choice
Those two scents combine nicely: vanilla is—well, vanilla, and if you've ever been in a bakery / smelled vanilla extract, you're probably familiar with it—and bergamot, while less-known, is also very nice: it's a citrus-y scent, not sweet like orange, but a little more sharp, or spicy, like a lemon or a lime.
That's a nice balance of spicy + sweet, and it works well—in our humble opinion, of course. We can't smell it for you, and the wonders of the internet are limited to sight and sound. We've yet to figure out how to truly express scent online.
It's Packaged in a Single Fluid Ounce
This is, far and away, our biggest complaint when it comes to beard oils: it's packaged in a one-ounce bottle. If you've got a medium- to long-length beard, that one ounce doesn't last too long. There are some companies that offer larger bottles (Brisk Beard Oil is 1.7 ounces, and Honest Amish also offers larger bottles) but they're pretty rare.
It would be REALLY nice if Badger made some larger bottles, but we'll be happy with the pump-action nozzle 🙂
The Moisturizing Effect Seems to Last, But the Scent Doesn't
At least in our experience, anyway. It's something to note—some scents can last all day, and that's usually true of the stronger scents like tea tree, pine, and some citrus scents. They tend to go on heavy and fade over the day, but remain there.
Badger doesn't seem to be like that—it seems to fade over time. And that may be fine for a lot of us—not everybody wants that all-day scent, especially if you spend most of your time indoors, where scents tend to settle around you—but if can be a drawback if that's one of your favorite things about beard oil.
There's something else we should mention about the aroma:
Not Everybody Loves the Scent
That seems obvious—appreciate of scent, sight, or anything else is highly personal—but after using dozens of beard oils, reviewing dozens of beard oils, and talking to other guys about beard oils, we've stumbled onto something: most people seem like to like the single-note scents (vanilla, lime, pine, tea tree, etc.), but when it comes to mixtures, there's more divergence in approval. In other words, when it comes to mixed-aroma scents, not everybody is on board.
That's probably true here: bergamot tends to have a spicy-floral scent, and coupled with vanilla, it can be sweet—and not everybody likes that.
If you're looking for a less-sweet, more "rugged" alternative, you may want to check out Grave Before Shave. Not only do they feature a LOT of scents, but some of them, like their Cigar Blend or their Outdoorsmen Blend (which features citronella), are decidedly not sweet.
That's another reason why we'd like Badger to expand their beard oil line—when you only offer one scent, if you don't like it... then that's that. There's no on-brand alternative to explore, and you need to move on to another brand.
We'll Badger You No Further with This Badger Beard Oil Review
Alright, that feels like enough. A thumbs up—nice scent, nice ingredient list—with two caveats: the scent isn't for everyone, and it can fade quicker than some other options. We hope that helps, and be well!