If you’re new to wearing a beard—or you’ve simply got an inquiring mind and like to know things—you may be wondering: what does
Below, we’ll use one of our premiere beard models to show whether or not
Will the results be dramatic? Will they be underwhelming? The suspense is unbearable, so let’s dive in.
Beard oil makes a big difference in the overgrown, bushy beard, but not that big of a difference in the smaller beard—but that’s actually OK (for reasons we’ll explain below).
One other spoiler alert:
We’re not going to talk about how to apply
OK, let’s dive in:
Beard #1: A Messy Bird’s Nest Beard
We’re going to show you a beard that needs a lot of love, in order to display what a
Here it is:
No offense to this guy, but this beard is a mess. Man! Look at it. Let’s take this thing apart piece by piece.
Actually… first, let’s point out some positives. We don’t want to hurt this guy’s feelings:
It’s Got Some Girth. While there are definitely some wiry bits shooting outward below the ears, there’s some nice volume underneath the chin. That’s good—you can work with that.
There’s a Nice Mustache in There Somewhere. The facial hair above the upper lip is nice and thick, and while it desperately needs some trimming and shaping, there’s the potential for nice handlebar mustache or a 1970s-style cop ‘stache.
So those are the good things. Now let’s be a little more critical:
It’s Really Wiry. There are wispy bits shooting off in all directions, and that’s never a good look;
The Soul Patch is Sloppy. The whiskers right below the lower lip are fanning out instead of pointing straight down. This isn’t the biggest deal, and you can work with it, but it’s poor form; and lastly
It Needs Shaping. More than anything else, this bad boy needs some grooming. There’s a really nice beard here, underneath all that insanity.
Have you ever heard that saying, “There are no unattractive women, only lazy ones”? Well, we’ll provide an alternative version of that idea, and say that there are no ugly beards, only lazy beards. Or lazy guys who don’t take care of their beards.
That’s not a perfect translation of that quote, but you get the picture. The beard above isn’t a bad beard, really—it just needs a little attention and shaping.
Alright, now let’s take a look at this same beard after we put some
…and is one of our go-to beard oils. It’s easy to use, smells great, and isn’t too slick.
Here’s the beard after using it:
Alright! While this beard still needs a trim and some shaping—it’s still a little rough around the edges, literally—there are definitely a few aspects that have improved. If you take a close look, you’ll see that…
It Has a Better Overall Shape. Again, what this beard really needs is a clipper and a scissor—but the
The Mustache Looks Healthier. There’s still a little bit of “lip overhang,” if you will, but it looks a little more organized, and has taken on a nice “handlebar mustache” shape. It’s a little classic, masculine mustache that Bill the Butcher might have sported; and lastly
The Soul Patch Is… Well, not that much better, actually. We would have hoped to see the soul patch gathered tightly and pointing downward, but the oil wasn’t able to do that.
Here are the two beards side-by-side:
And that’s brings us to…
Beard #1: The Take-Away
There are two things to remember here:
Beard oil can provide some real shape to a beard, and it can make it look healthier and more organized. It can’t, however, make it look as though you actually shaped and groomed it. The beard in the “after” photo looks a lot better, but not that much better—the
With that in mind, there’s something else to remember: a
With that in mind, let’s take a look some
Beard #2: A Well-Kept, Shorter Beard
OK, here’s the same beard model (Carl—hi, Carl!) after some beard-trimming. As you can see, he looks a LOT better—that first beard was good for motorcycle clubs and Viking times, but you couldn’t take it to school or work. The beard below would be fine for school or work:
That’s a nice, normal, handsome beard.
It’s not perfect, though, so let’s pick it a part a little bit.
It’s a Bit Box-y on the Bottom. Some guys like that look, but he’s not quite pulling it off, because the beard seems to be leaning towards the left a little bit;
The Mustache Droops a Little Bit. Some guys like that, and that’s fine, but we’d like to get a little lift on the sides of that puppy, for a more “classic” mustache look; and finally
There Are Some Hairs Wisping Outward. That’s to be expected from every beard, but you want to minimize that if you can—it looks a little sloppy.
For this beard, we’re going to use one of our favorite beard oils—Jack Black Beard Oil—which looks like this:
So how’d it turn out?
Well, it’s not dramatically different, but there are some positive changes:
The Mustache Perks Upwards Nicely. The ends of the mustache are pointing ever-so-slightly upward, and that’s great—it doesn’t look showy, but it looks perky and awake;
The Soul Patch Points Downward. In the first shot, the soul patch is a little here-and-there, but the oil tamped it down nicely. Ultimately, the soul patch is a very small part of the beard, but it can really tie things together—and it looks gross when it’s splayed outward. So it looks very good here; and finally
The Beard as a Whole Looks a Little Fuller. It’s got a little more luster, and while it’s not quite shiny—that would be too much—it’s got a nice clean look to it.
Overall, the changes on the well-cropped beard aren’t as obvious as the changes on the crazy-hair beard, but they’re noticeable, and the beard looks better.
Here are the two beards side-by-side:
Beard #2: The Take-Away
On a shorter beard, the changes aren’t as noticeable, but that’s fine, because…
The most important thing a
We wrote this big long post because we get a lot of requests for
And, sure—the end result of that is a cleaner, healthier-looking beard—but the real benefit is a healthier hair and skin.
A Quick Note About the Beard Oils We Mentioned
They’re two of our favorites, and they are:
There are plenty of other beard oils we like—and you can read about them in our beard oil rankings—but those two are among our favorites.
You’ll Notice That the
Beard Oil Provided Hold, But Not Much, and…
…if that’s what you’re looking for—a beard product that will do more to keep your beard in place—then what you’re looking for is a beard balm, and not a
Beard oil is usually just that—one or more oils that hydrate a beard and moisturize the skin underneath it. It provides a *little* bit of hold, but not much.
Beard balm is usually a concoction of different oils, plus a butter (like cocoa butter or shea butter, that hydrate beard and skin), and a wax—usually beeswax, but sometimes also a wax called carnauba wax. That wax is the ingredient in a beard balm that can make your beard stay in place—and you won’t find it in any beard oils, you’ll only find it in beard balms.
If you’re looking for a beard balm, we have a few favorites:
Grave Before Shaver Beard Balm. GBS makes a wide range of balms that are designed to keep your beard in place, and they focus a lot of their energy on SCENT. Their Grave Before Shave Bay Rum Balm is one of our go-to balms—it hydrates, it provides some hold, and it smells nice and relaxing.
Honest Amish Beard Balm. Honest Amish Beard Balm is, perhaps, the old-schooliest beard balm out there, and it allows for a lot of hold, and smells really unique. Most Honest Amish products are a mix of cedarwood scents (pine-y), anise (which is a licorice), and clove (which is earthy and sweet). It’s a really enticing, one-of-a-kind, sweet arrangement, and it works great as a balm.
Need More Pics Comparing Different Beard Products?
We’ve done a few side-by-side comparisons, so jump on over to the search by and enter “before and after” and whatever beard product you’re interested in.
Until next time—we hope this helps! Be good, have fun, and happy beard!
Michael Morris is the head writer here at Rough and Tumble Gentleman. He's got a ducktail beard and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's married to the woman of his dreams and lives in Brooklyn, NY.