There are some aspects of growing and having a beard that are pretty simple. Growing it is kind of a no-brainer, and so is brushing it, and so is washing it. All of that is pretty simple.
But some aspects of growing and having a beard are a little more tricky—and using all the oddly-named beard products is one of those aspects that’s a little less intuitive.
So today we’re going to look at beard butter, and in particular, how to use beard butter. It’s a quirky product, but a lot of guys absolutely love it (as do we!), and by the end of the post, you’ll know just about everything you need to know.
Alrighty, let’s hop to it:
Applying Beard Butter: Steps
Before we move on to the mysterious, let’s start with the obvious. You’ll need to…
Step 1: Find a Beard Butter You Like
Believe it or not, there aren’t too many beard butters on the market. There are SCADS of beard oils and beard balms, but not too many beard butters. We’re not sure why that is, but it’s a bummer. Here, we’ll be using Grave Before Shave Beard Butter (affiliate link):
Like most beard butters, it comes in a large-ish, deep container, with a screw-on/screw-off top. We like this one a bunch, and we’ll talk later about other beard butters we like.
Once you’ve got a beard butter you like…
Step 2: Make Sure You Use Enough—But Not Too Much!
This sounds silly, but it’s actually really important, because beard butters tend to disappear FAST. Beard oils and beard balms seem to stick around for a long time—you can get many, many uses out of a
So, you want to use enough so that you can fortify your beard and keep it healthy, but not so much that you’ll end up a greasy mess and run out of the stuff in a few days.
Here, we’ll use this much:
So—how much is that? About a teaspoon’s worth? Maybe about the size of an almond? You’ll have to eyeball it, but that’s a good amount.
Step 3: Really Get It in That Beard
Like most beard products, you’ll need to really put some effort into application. You want to make sure your beard is fully moisturized.
So give it some elbow grease, so to speak. Really mash it in there, and be sure to get all parts of your beard—the mustache…
…the goatee section:
and all the facial hair on your cheeks—a flat hand can work well:
Also be sure to head over to the Mutton Chop District—guys always forget about the Mutton Chop District—and make sure you tag that space, as well.
Here’s a pro-tip: the best way to fully incorporate beard butter—or any beard product—into your beard is to follow up your manual distribution with a beard comb. Here’s one we like a lot—the Viking Revolution 2-Sided Comb (affiliate link):
It’s got a row of loosely-spaced teeth and a row of closely-spaced teeth. A couple of passes with the comb can evenly disperse the beard butter to all the regions of your facial hair.
And, now, here’s the most important thing:
If Possible, Make Sure the Butter Makes Contact with Your Skin
This is actually the most important thing about beard butter, and if you forget everything else here, remember this: the most beneficial thing a beard butter can do for you is to moisturize your skin. It fortifies your beard, for sure, but the real advantage of beard butter over other beard products is the hydration it provides for your skin. That’s what allows it to alleviate itchiness, scratchiness, and general irritation.
So, what does that mean? That means you have to get the butter on your skin!
The best way to do this is to work it into all parts of your beard, and then to use your fingertips to get the butter past your facial hair and onto your epidermis. Connect your fingers to the skin underneath your beard, and you’re more likely to get the full benefit of the butter.
Once you’ve gotten your beard fully hydrated—and it should feel… not wet, per say, but you should feel that the beard a slight dampness to it. That damp feeling will go away in a few minutes, but for now, it’s important—it lets you know that you’ve done a good job.
The nice thing about beard butter is that it usually has a “cool” sort of feeling. Beard oils—and particularly beard balms, because of their wax content—usually have a warm (or even a hot) feeling.
Wash Those Hands
Like most beard products, you’re going to need to wash your hands after using them. You could apply the beard butter with a comb and brush, but it probably wouldn’t disperse in your beard very well, and it probably wouldn’t come into contact with your skin, either. So that means you gotta use your hands, and you’ll probably need to wash them afterwards.
In other words—don’t use beard butter if you’re not near a sink or some fresh water.
And… there you go! Now you know how to apply beard butter. You’ve used beard butter to hydrate your beard and the skin underneath it. Wallah! You’re an expert. There’s not too much to it, really.
Well, almost. Here are…
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Use Beard Butter
Our first FAQ is the one we get the most, so we’ll lead off with it:
I Suffer from Beardruff / Beard Itch / etc. Will Beard Butter Help?
It’s not a sure thing—plenty of guys use beard butter and it doesn’t do anything for them—BUT, of all the beard products out there (beard oil, beard balm, beard wax, etc.) beard butters probably offer your best shot to an itch-free/irritation-free beard. There are lots of guys who have experienced one or all of those symptoms, and experienced relief after using a beard butter for a little while.
There’s a reason why they can be more effective, and that’s because they often include ingredients that you’ll find in skin moisturizers. We’re not talking about oils (although the oils do obviously moisturize), and we’re also not talking about the butters, believe it or not—although the butters can do an incredible job moisturizing your skin. We’re talking about many of the additives included in beard butters, that are also included in skincare products. Beard butters are actually more of a “skincare product” than a “beardcare product,” and as such, they have a better shot correcting those issues.
Again, it’s not a sure thing, but in our experience, we’ve heard of many more guys getting relief from beardruff, beard itch, and irritated skin from beard butters than we have any other beard product. It helps, too, if you’re taking care of your skin before you even think about using any beard products.
How Often Should I Use This?
As often as you like! Although once a day is plenty enough—and in fact, most guys probably only use it two or three times a week (if at all—there are plenty of guys who don’t use it at all).
The butter in beard butter—usually shea butter, but sometimes also cocoa butter and/or mango butter—can stick around for a while, so you don’t need to reapply it during the day, and for many guys, you don’t need to apply it every day, either.
The one thing we might suggest is that if you find it hydrates your skin, and that without you get dry or itchy or flakey, then you may want to use it as much as you need it.
Other than that, though, no need to overdo it, and if you really want to go into the weeds, you can read about how often / how much beard butter to use here 🙂
How Long Can I Leave This Stuff In?
It’s the same as with any other beard product—you should wash it out with 24 hours. You can go a little bit longer, but keep in mind that a lot of the ingredients in a beard butter—and this includes the butters themselves—are organic materials, and they’ll start to decay after a while.
It’s worth noting, too, that leaving beard butter in your beard for too long will probably reverse any benefits you may get from it—if you find that it relieves some beardruff or beard itch, you may find yourself scratching away if you leave it in there for too long.
So, do yourself a favor and make sure you wash it out within a reasonable period of time. If you’re at a festival, or you’re camping, or you know you’re not going to be showering for a few days, it’s probably best to skip the beard butter (and any other beard products, for that matter).
Will This Make It Look Like I Take Care of Myself, Even If I Don’t?
Sadly, no. We fall into this trap a lot, where we get busy, forget to trim the old beard, and then walk around look like a ne’er-do-well—and hope that a healthy portion of a beard product will make our beard look normal.
Unfortunately, it never really works that way. Beard butter can make your beard look fuller and thicker, but it can’t really make it look well-groomed. For that, you’ll need to actually do some groomin’ and trim your beard.
Is There Anything Bad About Beard Butters?
If you’ve read any of the pages of our site, you’ve probably learned… we’re bonkers for butters. Just like parents with their children, we love all of our beard products equally… but we love some equally just a little bit more. Beard butter is one of those products we find truly fantastic: it can smell great, it can make a beard look full and healthy, and most of all, it can provide some alleviation for that awful, awful beard itch that comes when you grow a beard out (or, for a lot of us, for as long as you have a beard).
But! Sadly, beard butters are not perfect. Aside from the fact that they run out really quickly, and aside from the fact that replacing them can get pricey, the truth is that they’re not the most “all-natural” of the beard products on the market today. Very often, there are some funky ingredients with weird, long, chemical-y sounding names that are probably factory-made and not something your skin would naturally encounter. If you’re the kind of guy who likes to keep things all-natural, you may have a hard time find a beard butter that meets your standards.
There are two bits of good news, though:
1) For the majority of people, those synthetic ingredients aren’t really a big deal. For those with sensitive skin, they sure can be, but it seems like for the majority of folks, it doesn’t affect them. It’s against the interests of beard companies—and any grooming company, for that matter—to create a product with ingredients that irritate the skin of a large number of people. Again, if you’ve got allergies or sensitive skin, you DEFINITELY want to look at the ingredient list—but for a lot of people, the synthetic ingredients aren’t a problem.
2) The chemical-sounding ingredients in beard butters are actually included because they can impart a lot of great stuff for your skin. In a sense, beard butter is more like a cosmetic than a straight-up beard product, because straight-up beard products tend to only have a one or two or three ingredients. That’s one of the reasons there are so many of them out there—they’re easy to make, so a looooot of people make them and sell them. Beard butters are harder to make, because they need some preservatives in them—but that “difficult to make” thing comes with a neat spin: beard butter makers include the type of skin-care ingredients usually reserved for women’s products. That’s really neat, because those women’s products are GREAT for skin, and there’s not much for men that’s really great for skin.
So… it’s a mixed bag! The ingredient lists can be a little long, and can have some odd-sounding inclusions, but there’s a lot of really powerful, beneficial stuff in there, as well.
You Keep Talk About Scents; What Scents Are Out There?
We’re so glad you asked! Well, here’s a quick rundown of what you might find, along with why we like them:
Maestro’s Beard Butter. The classic. In a sense, this is the “original” when it comes to beard butters, and it’s got a really unique scent profile: it’s grapefruit (which is citrus-y but not too sweet), black pepper (which is nutty and bright), and bergamot (which is another citrus, that’s sunny and perky and a little more complicated than lemon or lime or other citruses). The result is a really interesting, deep, rich scent that smells… cologne-like, somehow?
It’s hard to describe, but we really, really like it. We’ve written a full review of Maestro’s here, if you want to read more.
Live Bearded Beard Butter (affiliate link). There’s a lot to like about the feel of Live Bearded and the moisturizing capabilities of Live Bearded—it can be very effective—but the absolute BEST thing about this formulation is the range of scents they make it in. They make it in a wide range of aromas, and that is FANTASTIC, because it’s a pretty rare thing. They’ve got Campfire (woodsy), Canyon (piney), Wingman (vanilla-ish), Gunslinger (tobacco + cedar), Executive (leather + vanilla), Legend (sandalwood), and even an unscented version.
Serious propers to Live Bearded—there aren’t too many companies that have gone so all-out with beard butters, and we’re deeply appreciative.
Every Man Jack Beard Butter (affiliate link). Every Man Jack makes this in a sandalwood scent, which is “the” classic men’s scent—for a lot of guys, it has the unique, inviting “barbershop smell,” and it’s pretty well-liked. It’s made from the sandalwood tree, which is aromatic and natural without being too woodsy (although “woodsy” is nice sometimes!). Every Man Jack is among the more “natural” of the beard butters out there—while it’s not a totally natural formulation, it’s got no parabens, phthalates, dyes, or harmful chemicals, and it’s cruelty-free, which is nice. We’ve written about Every Man Jack Beard Butter here.
Bluebeard’s Original Beard Saver (affiliate link). Not technically a butter—it doesn’t advertise itself as such—but we always recommend Bluebeard’s anyway, because it can be such a powerful moisturizer. There are a lot of guys (us included) who had some pretty gnarly beard dandruff, and Bluebeard’s Original helped. We feel compelled to say that it may not work for you—your mileage may vary, and what works for one person may not work for another—but we’ve had great luck with it.
And, remember: if none of those do it for you, you can always make your own beard butter.
Can I Use Beard Butter with Other Beard Products?
You can, but most of the time you wouldn’t need to. Beard oils, beard balms, beard jellies, and most every other beard product out there does the same thing: it hydrates facial hair and skin. That’s it, really! Most guys find one that they like, and they go with. The only time you might need another product would be if you want to style your beard a little bit.
Here’s how it breaks down—here’s what each beard product does:
Beard Oil: Hydrates beard hair and skin, but mostly hydrates beard hair. It can hydrate your skin, but does so with a little less effectiveness than beard butter, because beard butter often has added skincare and skin moisturizing ingredients.
Beard Oil: Hydrates beard hair—yes; hydrates skin—yes; can make beard look healthy—yes; can sculpt beard—no; can alleviate beard itch / beardruff—sometimes.
Here’s a post about beard oils vs. beard butters.
Beard Balm: It hydrates beard hair, but not really the skin beneath the beard, because it can be difficult to work onto the skin—it’s thick, and it’s not as easy to connect with the epidermis. The way that beard balm stands out is that it offers some sculpting ability—because it often contains bees wax, you can use it to style your beard. If you want some SERIOUS sculpting ability, you’d use…
Beard Balm: Hydrates beard hair—yes; hydrates skin—no; can make beard look healthy—yes; can sculpt beard—yes; can alleviate beard itch / beardruff—no.
Here’s a post about beard balm vs. beard butter.
Beard Wax: The ingredient list on beard wax is usually *mostly* wax, and it doesn’t really provide any hydrate for hair or skin—after all, it’s wax—and people with really long beards use it for styling purposes.
Beard Wax: Hydrates beard hair—no; hydrates skin—no; can make beard look healthy—yes; can sculpt beard—yes; can alleviate beard itch / beardruff—no.
Beard Butter: Hydrates beard hair (very effectively) and the skin beneath the beard (very effectively). It can alleviate beard itch, beardruff, and skin irritation. It can make a beard look healthy and full, but it can’t really do any sculpting.
Beard Butter: hydrates beard hair—yes; hydrates skin—big yes; can make beard look healthy—yes; can sculpt beard—no; can alleviate beard itch / beardruff—your best bet.
Now you know!
There you have it! Everything we know about how to apply beard butter, shared with you. Take your new-found knowledge and use it wisely. 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.