How Often to Use Beard Oil: A Quick Answer and Then a Long One
Our readers tend to fall into two categories: guys who want high-level information and want to get back to their lives, and guys who really want to go into detail, and learn about every aspect of a topic. We love both types of readers, because we 1) appreciate brevity, but also 2) like to blather on about beard stuff.
For the first crowd—the "tl;dr" guys—here’s how often to use beard oil:
How Often Should You Use Beard Oil? A Quick Overview
Using beard oil once a day is good enough for the great majority of bearded fellas. The important thing is to apply it to a well-washed beard and to wash it out within 12 to 24 hours of putting it on (and washing it out before you go to bed is best). If you've got a longer beard, or if you live and/or work in a dry environment, you may need to apply more often. For shorter beards, 3 to 4 drops of oil in the palm of the hand should do it, for medium-length beards, 4 to 5 drops, and for longer-length beards, 5 to 6 drops. To really get it into your beard, comb your beard after application, and make sure the oil gets all the way to your skin, so it can fight beardruff and itchiness. And—if you simply like the scent—apply as often as you like! Just don't overdo it—too much oil will make your beard appear greasy, and that's not a good look. Twice a day is usually more than enough.
There you have it! Now for the detail-oriented folks:
The Worst Answer Possible: It Depends
This may sound silly, but it's true: no two beards are the same. They're like fingerprints—some are thick, some are thin, some are curly, some are straight, some are black-brown-blonde-red/short-medium-long/oily-balanced-dry/etc. Beards seem pretty simple, but there are dozens of variables that make each beard unique—and that means there's no "right" answer that answers "how often to use beard oil." It depends on the circumstances.
So, with that in mind:
If You've Got a Short Beard
With a shorter beard—maybe two- to three-months growth—once a day is fine, and you can probably skip days here and there. Give it 3 to 4 drops in the palm of your hand, rub it in, and you're good to go. You might think that because your beard is shorter, it's safe to skip a day, but that's not usually the case—your beard is usually itchiest in the short-length phase of the beard growth cycle, and a beard oil can help relieve some of that irritation.
Guys with shorter beards are in the unique position of getting some real skin-care benefits from the oil (that can be difficult with longer beards, because longer beards block the skin), so be sure to work the oil onto your epidermis. Try to look for a formulation with jojoba oil—jojoba oil has a similar to the sebum (facial oil) in your pores, and it can balance your skin's oil production as your whiskers grow out.
If You've Got a Medium-Length Beard
We'd say "medium-length" is anywhere from three- to six-months of beard growth. It's the point where your beard starts to look a little less "corporate" and a little more "biker gang." At this stage, you'll probably want to start oiling it every day, because your beard hair is probably drying out your skin—the shafts of your beard hair actually transport oil away from the surface of your skin, and your skin doesn't necessarily produce more of it—so you may find that skin gets a little drier during the medium-length phase.
So, do your best to work the oil well into your beard, and onto your skin. That's important, and we'll probably repeat that idea a couple more times in this post to really drive it home. For medium-length beards, 4 to 5 drops of oil usually does the trick.
If You've Got a Longer-Length Beard
We'd categorize a longer-length beard as anything six months or older. Now you're starting to really get some length, and when you skip a day of daily maintenance, it's starting to show—your beard can get to look pretty crazy. Here, daily oiling is a very good idea, and a lot of guys move to the twice-a-day routine, where they oil after a morning shower and then before bed when they wash their beard in the sink.
At this point, after having a beard for a half-a-year, you should know it a little bit better. Usually, 5 to 6 drops in the morning does the trick, followed by maybe 2 or 3 at night.
A lot of guys grow a beard because they think it means less grooming—"Hooray! No more shaving every morning!"—but that's not the case, and it's especially not the case with longer beards. They need some TLC, or they start to look pretty bad (and start to smell bad, as well!).
Pay Attention as Your Beard Grows
We mentioned earlier that every beard is unique, and that's true—so even with our excellent, well-considered advice, you're going to need to find out what works for you. Pay attention to your beard and get a sense for often it needs oiling. Does once a day do the trick? There you go. Does once a day do the trick during the summer, but you're especially dried out during the winter? Try once a day a few times a week and twice a day here and there.
A well-oiled beard looks healthy—it's got some body (meaning, it's not wispy and doesn't have a ton of fly-aways), it's not itchy at the skin (you'll obviously know if you're itchy), and it's doesn't feel like a bird's nest. As your beard grows out, and you bring it from place to place and season to season, check in with it and see how it's doing.
The point is, there really isn't any "right" answer, and because everyone's beard is different, you'll ultimately need to answer these questions for yourself.
("Boooooooo! Terrible answer"—sorry! That's how it goes).
Unique Circumstances That Affect Your Beard Oil Usage
So, above, we gave our answer according to beard length. A lot of guys have a more complicated situation going on, and if "complicated situation" describes what you've got going on, maybe the following sections will help:
If You've Got Beardruff
Beardruff is actually a really common problem, and a LOT of guys face it. Most of the time, beardruff is due to dry skin—the skin is dry, so it flakes and falls off into the beard and gets stuck there. It ain't pretty, but there are some things you can do about it.
First, you can up your beard oil usage, both in terms of how much you use, and how often you use it. Don't use so much that your beard is a greasy mess, but slowly increase the amount and see what happens. Again, make sure the beard oil connects with your skin, otherwise nothing will change, and use a comb to distribute the oil evenly throughout your hair and onto your skin. We've found that the Viking Revolution Dual-Sided Beard Comb (affiliate link) is a well-made tool for that sort of thing.
Also, it sometimes helps to start using a beard wash. Most guys cleanse their beards in the shower with regular bar soap, but that can actually make the problem worse—bar soap is made for your skin, and not for your body hair, and there are plenty of beard washes that can clean your beard and imbue some hydration to them. We're big fans of Grave Before Shave Beard Wash (affiliate link)—it smells nice and suds up into a nice bushy foam.
If that doesn't do it, you may want to consider other products. Beard butters do everything that a beard oil can do—they moisturize beard hair—but they're also full of nut and seed butters, and they can provide a lot of nourishment for skin (and because they're a lot easier to get onto your skin, as well). We've had good luck with Bluebeard Original Beard Saver (affiliate link)—it's got an ingredient that's a lot like a face cream, and it can moisturize / relieve itch / take care of beardruff.
Your mileage may vary—beardruff can be a tricky problem—but a lot of guys have figured out what works for them.
If You Live a Really Dry Environment or Work in One
If you live in an arid climate, or really, any climate that can dry a beard out, that may mean a little extra beard oil is necessary to keep your whiskers moisturized. For some guys, it's the desert, for others, it might be high-altitude locations. This is another one of those guidelines that really depends on where you are, and you have to see how the climate is affecting your beard.
The same goes for your work environment—if you work in a factory with a lot of machine-made heat, or a spot that's not ventilated very well, that can dry out a beard pretty quickly, and you may need to up your daily allotment a bit.
If You Naturally Have Dry Skin
Beardruff is a common problem, but dry skin is a VERY common problem—and a lot of guys who don't normally have dry skin issues begin to grow out a beard, and all-of-a-sudden, they’ve got issues with dry skin. That happens—as we mentioned earlier, your whiskers can actually lead oils *away* from the skin of your face, and the skin on your face doesn't always produce more just because you need it. Hence, dry skin.
Using a little bit more beard oil works for some guys. Again, you'll need to use a generous amount of it and make sure it meets your skin, and if that doesn't work, you may need to branch into different beard products and different beard companies. For some guys, beard balms work; for others, it's beard butters (and if we had to guess, it seems like beard butters do a better job).
If You've Got Stubble
If you've got a niche stubble-stash going, chances are you don't really need an oil. Your whiskers are usually short enough so that the natural oils in your skin can hydrate both your whiskers and your skin. That's not the case for everyone, but it's true for a lot of guys.
If you've got your heart set on using beard oil, however, it couldn't hurt to use a couple of drops here and there. You'll hydrate your whiskers and the oil will be easy to get onto your skin, so you can utilize some of the skin-care benefits of the oil.
And, if you're looking for a product designed specifically for stubble, we've used—and like—Cremo's One-for-All Beard and Scruff Cream (affiliate link). It's designed specifically for stubble and very very short beards, and it's made in a pleasant Mint Blend and a woodsy Forest Blend. If you're *really* experiencing some itchiness, you can try Cremo's Medicated Beard Cream Anti-Itch Formula, which actually includes hydrocortisone, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Should I Put Oil in My Mustache?
Yep! When we talk about beards, people sometimes forget we're also talking about mustaches, too. They're an important part of the facial scenery, and they often get overlooked. So, yes—make sure you put some oil in your mustache.
The same goes if you *only* have a mustache—that puppy needs some oily attention as well, because it's facial hair and facial hair doesn't do a good job of moisturizing itself. Give 3 drops—that's usually enough for most mustaches, but you may need 4 for a walrus—and be on your way.
How Long Should I Leave It In?
We get this question a lot, and it's kind of a funny question, because beard oil will stay in until you wash it out—so a better question would be, "How soon do I need to wash out my beard oil?"
The answer to that is usually 12 to 24 hours. If you put beard oil in your beard in the morning after a shower, wash it out before you go to bed. If you put beard oil on in the morning after a shower and don't wash it out at night, wash it out in the shower the next morning.
That may seem like a lot, but if you think about it—oil is a natural substance, and a lot of the beard oils on the market have all-natural ingredients lists, meaning that there's no synthetic substance expanding the lifespan of the oil. And, when you consider that olive oil is a common ingredient in many beard oils, you start to get the picture—you need to eventually get that out of your beard, or it could spoil or rot. Gross.
So, wash your beard 12 to 24 hours after applying beard oil. 12 hours is probably best, but 24 is fine. You can probably even go longer, but you will eventually run into some issues.
You Can Re-Apply Frequently—But Don't Overdo It
So far, we've talked mostly about beard oil as a tool to moisturize your beard. Some guys, however, just love beard oil because of the scent (and that would be us—we're obsessed with different fragrances, and to us, it's the best aspect of beard oil). There are also guys who hate having an unkempt-looking beard, and like the mental reassurance of grooming their beards a couple time a day.
If that's your situation, we'd say—once or twice a day is fine, but keep an eye on things, so you don't get too oily. You'll literally be able to feel the oil in your beard, but after an hour or two it should lighten up, and if it DOESN'T, then chances are you're adding to much. Dial it down a bit and feel your beard to make sure it's not still wet.
This Is More Than You Ever Needed to Know About How Often to Use Beard Oil
Here at RTG, we get a little long long-winded, and it looks like we've done so here. Hopefully now we've answered just about every question you could ever have about beard oil use and frequency, and if you made it this far, we salute you. Thank you for reading, and happy beard!