Our Cremo Beard Balm Review
Cremo! Despite their Italian-sounding name, they're an American company based in Laguna Beach, California, and they've been around for about 20 years. That makes them early starters in the beard-product game—most other beard companies sprang up a few years after that—and they got a pretty impressive line of balms, oils, conditioners, and other beard products.
Some of their options are pretty well-known—their beard oil is widely used—but less is known about their beard balm, and that's what we'll look at here. Is it good? Is it awful? Do we like the smell? All these answers and more in our Cremo Beard Balm review below. We'll start out with what we consider the most important aspect of a beard balm: the ingredients.
It's Got a Pretty Complicated Recipe, But with Lots of Good Stuff
In our reviews, we talk at great length about ingredients, and while that may seem a little boring—and we apologize about that—it's really the A-to-Z of a beard product. A beard product with good ingredients will be effective, and a beard product with lousy ingredients won't. It sounds basic, but it's important to keep in mind.
Cremo actually uses some really great ingredients in their beard products, and it's probably the main reason we suggest them (the other main reason is that they're a great option for everyday use—the other products that have great ingredient lists are pretty high-end, but Cremo includes a lot of great ingredients and it doesn't usually run you too much).
The two ingredients common to all their beard balms are beeswax and shea butter. The beeswax is what makes it a balm—it gives the concoction its stiffness and a cohesive property—and the shea butter loosens it up and imbues it with all sorts of benefits, including but not limited to:
> Hydration for your skin and beard hair: shea butter is an emollient, meaning that it creates a moisture-sealing barrier for skin and hair;
> A soothing feel for your skin: shea butter can help calm red, irritated, flaky skin, and that can make it a good option for new beards and guys with itchy under-beard issues;
> Nutrients and Fortification: shea butter is rich in Vitamins A, C, and E, and contains antioxidants which can boost circulation on your skin and encourage generation of skin cells.
That’s not too shabby! Cremo is designed to improve the appearance of your beard and make it look healthy, while also providing some structure and hold (and more on that later).
It's also got a lot of ingredients that are good for sniffin,' too, and they comprise much of the rest of the ingredient list. For Forest Blend, those ingredients include spruce oil, cedarwood oil, and rosemary; for Mint Blend, they include lemon peel oil, spearmint, and lavender oil, and for Reserve Blend, they include soy, sunflower, and rosemary.
Those are three pretty classic scents, but we would be remiss if we didn't say...
We Want More Scents, Please!
We write a lot of reviews for beard products—a lot, a lot—and one critique that we frequently state is that there a ton of great companies that make a ton of great beard products, but many of them have itty-bitty scent lines. If you're into scents—and we're very into scents—that's a bummer.
For whatever reason, it seems to be the bigger companies that offer smaller scent ranges. It's the boutique outfits, like Grave Before Shave and Mountaineer and Caveman—that seem to offer a wider range of scents. We're not sure why that is, but if we had to guess, we imagine that the bigger companies probably need to spread their resources farther, and that means they need to concentrate their focus on a few classic scents.
So, with Cremo, they only offer three scents (at present, anyway): Forest Blend, Mint Blend, and Reserve Blend. We'd love it if there were a few more on the menu—and, good folks at Cremo, if you're listening, we'd love a Vanilla + Tobacco, a citrus scent (maybe Verbana Lime, or Grapefruit), and maybe a classic sandalwood. But, for what they've got, we have to say...
The Scents, While Limited, are Very Nice
Forest Blend has a sort of pine-y, menthol-y smell, and it's very refreshing. It's not overpowering, but it's definitely more present than their beard oil scent. If you don't like that menthol-y smell, it's probably not for you—and we've heard it described as medicinal, and we can absolutely see that—but otherwise we found it really pleasant.
Mint Blend is a little more perky—not extremely powerful, but perky—and it's a bright scent. It's not overpowering in the way that some other mint beard oils are—some cheaper varieties really lay it on thick when it comes to mint oil—so it has a nice balance.
Probably the most under-rated option (in our humble opinion) is the Reserve Blend. Reserve is their bourbon scent, and it has a warm, calming feel, which makes it a nice alternative to the brighter, more "awake" options of Forest Blend and Mint Blend.
Again, we'd like to see MORE, but what they've got are good options.
Alright, next up in our Cremo Beard Balm review: a mild criticism:
It's Great for Fly-Aways, But Not Great for True Shaping
This isn't really a criticism of Cremo Beard Balm, per se—all beard balms are somewhat limited in their ability to truly sculpt a beard. They can do a good job taming fly-aways, but if you have a big bushy beard and you want to really tamp it down and shape it, you may need something stronger (like a beard wax).
So while we would recommend this for shaping on regular, normal, somewhat-behaved beards, you might want to opt for something stronger if your beard hair truly has a mind of its own and insists on traveling in all sorts of odd directions. If that's the case, we might recommend Honest Amish Beard Wax (affiliate link). It's designed more for control and shaping than a regular balm, and it can create some structure that balms may not be able to provide.
One Quick Note: If You're Confused by Cremo's MANY Beard Products...
...you're not alone. They all sound kind-of-the-same—they've got beard oil, beard balm, beard-and-scruff cream, and beard softener—and it's not always clear what each does. Here's how it shakes out:
Cremo Beard Oil (affiliate link): is a liquid and comes in a little bottle. It provides moisture for your beard, and while you can use it when your beard is anything length, it's great for when you're just starting your beard and it's in the prickly-itchy phase—the oil is designed to hydrated your skin, keep flaking from occurring, and provide some soothing relief. Because it's a liquid, it's very easy to work into your beard, and you can use a comb to really integrate in there and get it on your skin.
Cremo Beard Balm (affiliate link): is a solid/semi-solid that comes in a little round tub. It's for medium-length to longer beards, and it provides hydration and moisturizing. It provides some shaping capability, and it's great for taming fly-aways and giving your beard a fuller, healthier look. Because it's a semi-solid, you'll need to put a dab of it—about a pea-size, for medium beards, and maybe almond-size, for really huge beards—on your palm, and them rub your palms together to warm it up and liquify it. From there, you rub it into your beard and onto your skin, and you can use a comb or brush to help you.
Cremo Beard and Scruff Cream (affiliate link): is—yes—creamy, and it feels a little bit like cake frosting, but less grainy. It's a little bit like cold cream—it has that feel to it—but without the cold. You can use beard cream for hydrating and styling, but its main purpose is to take care of that itching on your skin, so it's great for when you're growing a beard out, or when you have a beard, and the skin underneath is itchy (although we would urge you to look at your grooming habits if you have a big beard and it's itchy underneath—very often, it itches because you're not cleaning it fully/properly). And, lastly, you have...
Cremo Beard and Scruff Softener (affiliate link): is Cremo's version of a conditioner (that is, it softens and protects your beard hair, like a shampoo conditioner would do for your head-hair). You apply it to your beard for about thirty seconds, let it soften things up, and then wash it out. It’s a once-a-day thing, and it can be a nice alternative to oils and balms.
And there you have it! Keep in mind, these definitions apply to Cremo products—there are no real "rules" when it comes to beard products, and beard companies all name their products different things, so you have to figure things out for each company. That's kind of a pain, but it is what it is.
Cremo? No Problemo
There you have it. Cremo's got a nice line of products, and their beard balm is one of our go-to products that we use most days. It's not overly posh but it's got great ingredients, and it can provide a nice bit of shape and shine. We hope that helps you in some way—good luck and good beard!