More specifically, we’ll explain how to apply it so that your beard—and your skin—stay healthy.
We’ll begin with a high-level overview on how to use
After that, we’ll go into specific detail about how to apply
Something for everybody, in other words. Alright, let’s get to it:
How to Use
Beard Oil: Steps, Summarized
Four steps and you’re good to go:
Step 1: Size up your beard and drop out your oil.
Start with a clean beard, either right out of the shower or after a beard wash in the bathroom sink, and drop a few beads of the
Step 2: Rub your hands together to warm up the oil.
This seems like one of those steps you can skip over, but it’s actually important—rubbing the palms of your hands together will warm up the oil, and a warm consistency allows the oil to more fully penetrate into your beard and onto your skin;
Step 3: Use your fingers to rub the oil into your beard AND onto your skin.
Use your palms to work the
Step 4: Wash your hands and have a great day.
Beard oil is—you guessed it—made out of a bunch of different oils, and by its nature, it’ll stick to your palms and fingertips. Leaving
And… there you have it! Those are the “broad strokes” when it comes to
Now, for those of you who like to *really* know what you’re doing, and why…
How to Apply
Beard Oil: Each Step Plus Images
Alright, now let’s get into the weeds, and really talk about how to use
Step 1: Size Up Your Beard and Drop Out Your Oil
Here we’ll use one of our favorite beard oils, which is Viking Revolution Beard Oil (affiliate link). It moisturizes really well, it smells great, and it lasts for a while.
Here’s the beard we’ll be working on. It’s about three or four months of growth, and we’d call it a “medium-length” beard—it’s flirting with that area between “responsible member of the community” and “pirate”:
It needs a little work, but it’s in pretty good shape.
So, as we wrote above, the following measurements usually do the trick:
> Whiskers and stubble: 2 to 3 drops;
> Shorter beards: 3 to 5 drops;
> Medium-length beards: 4 to 6 drops;
> Longer-length beards: 6+ drops
So for the beard in the pic above, we should need about 4 to 6 drops. Here’s what 5 drops looks like in the palm of the hand:
As you can see, it’s about the size of a nickel—maybe a little bit smaller. It seems like that won’t be enough, but you’d be surprised how far a couple of drops can go, and you can always add more later if you need to.
There’s something else we should discuss, before we go on, and that’s the dropper—that thin little glass/plastic tube that holds and dispenses the
Droppers are great—and by far, the majority of beard oils come with droppers—but they’re NOT air-tight, and unless you hold your dropper upward, like this…
…it’s going to leak on the way to your hand. So, as you use it, remember to keep it pointing upward, until you’re ready to drop the contents out into your hand.
Step 2: Rub Your Hands Together and Warm Up the Oil
This is an important step, and it’s one a lot of guys skip, or don’t do vigorously enough: warming up the oil.
Take your one hand, place it over the other (so none leaks out), and give ’em a rub. It’s doesn’t have to be long—three or four seconds is more than enough for the friction from your palms to loosen up the oil and get it ready.
Afterwards, your hands will probably look like this…
Nice and shiny. Some of the oil will get absorbed into the skin on your hands, but that’s not a big deal.
This, by the way, is a great time to take a big whiff of your
Step 3: Use your Fingers and Palms to Rub the Oil into Your Beard and Skin
OK! Now is the time to get the oil into your beard. Start off by getting the oil on your palms onto the surface of your beard…
…and after you’ve done that, use your fingertips to get into the beard itself, so all parts of your beard are coated in a very light sheen of oil:
Now here’s the important part: be sure to get the oil onto the skin. You can apply a little extra to your fingertips, like so…
…and rub it onto the skin.
We mentioned this earlier, but getting the oil onto the skin is VERY important. When we think of the term “beard oil,” we assume that it’s an oil for a beard (and hey, that makes sense). But the truth is, the oil is just as much for your skin as it is for your beard, and most of the time, your skin really needs that oil. Beard hairs are long and thin and they draw your skin’s natural oil away from the surface of the skin, and that can leave you dry and flaky. That’s why
With that in mind, here’s the thing to remember:
You CANNOT get the skin benefits of
We’re leaning pretty hard on that “get the oil on your skin” bit, but it’s for real, and if you take away one idea from this post, we hope it’s that:
As you work the
The beard here tends to fray at the soul patch a little bit, so we’ll give that area a little extra attention:
As you apply the
As you finish up, you may notice that your beard may be a bit of a mess:
…and that’s usually the case if you’ve used your fingers to really work the oil into your hair and onto your skin.
If that’s the case, you can use your fingers to get your beard back in shape, but using a beard comb can make things a lot easier.
Here we’re using the Viking Revolution Dual-Sided Beard Comb (affiliate link):
A couple of quick strokes and we’re back in good shape:
Alright! We’re almost done—there’s just one more thing we need to do, and that is…
Step 4: Wash Your Hands and Enjoy Your Beard
After all this, your hands will be sticky, so it’s “best practices” to wash them off. Leaving the oil on your hands is like a magnet for dirt and bacteria, and it’s best to get that off before you finish up.
You can use just about any kind of soap, but a soap that will strip your skin of oils usually works best—and most of the time that’s a bar soap, or even dishwashing liquid, which does a great job of getting oils out of your skin.
And… there you have it! Thus concludes our in-depth pictorial on how to apply
Some Helpful Application Tips and Other Notes to Keep in Mind
Alright, here’s your master class—more than you’d ever need to know about how to use
Choose a Good Formulation / Keep an Eye Out for Jojoba Oil
This shouldn’t be too difficult, honestly, because many of the beard oils out there are made from all-natural ingredients.
And, it’s a pretty simple product, really—in most cases, it’s simply just a bunch of oils mixed together.
That said, they’re not random oils—they’re usually a balanced mix of essential oils (which are not the magic cure-all as has been claimed, but which do have a lot of nutrients for skin and hair, and usually have an enticing scent) and carrier oils (which are usually great moisturizers, and, as they’re scent-less, usually “carry” the essential oil to the skin).
There are dozens of different essential oils, including lemon, lavender, anise (which smells like licorice), cedarwood, lime, bergamot (which is a citrus), blue cypress, patchouli, clary sage, cinnamon, peppermint, coffee, pine, rose, ginger, and many, many more. You’ll often find that beard oils have one (or many) of these scents.
It seems like it would be the other way around, but the real superstars in any
Argan oil: great for moisturizing, and can hydrate skin and hair
Jojoba oil: GREAT for moisturizing skin—more on this in a moment;
Grapeseed: great for hydration and protecting beard hair;
Almond Oil: great for moisturizing, and can hydrate skin and hair.
Olive Oil: Yes, olive oil—great for salads, great for skin.
Of these carrier oils, jojoba might the stand-out ingredient. It’s a very unique inclusion, because it’s actually similar in structure to the oil that your skin produces (which is called sebum). Because of this structural similarity, it can penetrate pores and provide some balance in your skin’s production of sebum. It’s used all over the world, and can provide a wide range of benefits for beard hair and the skin underneath it, and we’ve noticed—over the course of reviewing many, many different beard oils—that not all beard oils include it, and it’s usually the higher-end, better-performing beard oils that have it.
So, if you’re the kind of guy who reads ingredient labels—and we most definitely are—keep an eye out for jojoba.
Our Favorite Beard Oils
In case you’re looking for product suggestions, here you go!
Honest Amish Beard Oil (affiliate link). Honest Amish is one of the most popular makers of beard products, and most (if not all) of their products feature their signature scent: a mixture of cedarwood (earthy), anise (fragrant with a hint of licorice), and clove (sweet, but not overly so). The result is an enticing scent, and the oil does a great job moisturizing skin and hair.
Viking Revolution Beard Oil (affiliate link). This is the
Jack Black Beard Oil (affiliate link). This is a “higher-end” offering that has a lot of ingredients that are great for skin (and it’s not *that* Jack Black, in case you’re wondering). Our favorite aspect of Jack Black
Mountaineer Brand Unscented Beard Oil (affiliate link). There are a looooot of guys out there who don’t care for scent, and for them, this is usually the oil we suggest. The company that makes it focuses most of their effort on oils, and it’s got jojoba oil in the recipe, which as we mentioned earlier, is a great ingredient.
We’ve written here about our picks for best beard oil, but the ones above are probably our “favorite favorites.”
OK, back to the tips and pointers:
Beard Oil is Best Right Out of the Shower
We mentioned above that it’s always best to use
But there’s another reason why you want to apply
So that period of time right after you shower, when your beard is just sliiiiightly damp and almost dry, is a great time to add oil to it. It’ll be clean and free of dirt and grime, and it’ll be lacking oil, which you can apply directly to it.
You Can Reapply If You Need To…
…but you probably don’t need to. Once a day is fine for most guys, and that little bit of oil can provide some sustenance for hair and skin. We occasionally get asked about applying beard oil before bed, and in most cases, it’s not necessary. If you’ve got a really dry beard or really dry skin, it can be a good thing, but most of the time it’s not necessary—beard oil once a day, or even less than that, is usually sufficient.
There’s also a “cumulative effect” that happens, where the oil will eventually build up in your beard a little bit, even if you wash it out every day—and that means that you can skip some applications here and there, and you should hopefully still garner the benefits of an oil. In fact, we’ve noticed on our beards that continued usage can make them look fuller and more shapely—and it means that missing a day here and there probably won’t hurt.
That said, you can absolutely reapply during the day if you want to, and doing so can make a lot of sense if you live in a dry area or work in a dry environment.
…There’s No Need to Overdo It
Beard oils—just like every beard product—is the sort of thing where a little bit goes a long way, and too much oil can actually be bad for your beard. It can coat it and actually keep it from getting some natural oils from your skin.
Plus, it’s a little gross—a beard that’s glistening and sopping with oil is uninviting, and it’ll be an even stronger magnet for dust and who-knows-what floating through the air.
So go easy, both in your initial application, and reapply as necessary. Get to know your beard—if it gets dry, when it gets dry, how it reacts to the oil. It seems silly to say, but beards are really unique, and everybody’s beard reacts differently, so observe how your beard reacts to products, different environments, etc.
It’s Called “Beard Oil” But It’s GREAT for Whiskers and Scruff
We alluded to this above, but a lot of guys hear the “beard oil” and assume the product is just for beards. It’s not, and in fact, it’s great for scruff and whiskers—maybe even more effective than it is on a beard.
Whiskers and short scruff can be super-itchy, and even though they’re not long, they can draw oils away from the face. Using a
The same is true for mustaches—if you’re sporting a mustache and a mustache alone, using oil can provide it with a lot of hydration and nutrients.
If You’re Having Serious Issues with Beardruff…
The butters that are included in a beard butter—usually shea butter and/or cocoa butter—do a great job providing hydration to your skin, and because of their consistency, they’re a little weightier than oil, and easier to get onto your skin. The also tend to include other ingredients found in face creams that can relieve itchiness and flakiness, and in that sense, they’re a little more like a traditional skin moisturizer and less like a beard product.
Again, your mileage may vary, but if
Give the Bottle a Sniff Every Once in a While to Tell If It’s Still Good
Given that beard oils tend to have all-natural ingredient lists, and given that all-natural ingredients can go bad, you’re going to want to give your
Pay attention, in particular, to beard oils that contain grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil only stays fresh for about six months or so, and that’s far shorter than many other oils (jojoba oil, our fave, can last for up to five years).
So give it a sniff and make sure it’s OK. Using an oil that’s turned can cause skin irritation or rashes, and that’s no fun.
That’s actually a good segue to the next section:
Be Sure to Wash It Out Thoroughly
Those natural ingredients can go bad in a bottle, and they can also go bad in your beard. Make sure you wash all that oil out at some point, because it can get pretty grody after a while.
The best-case scenario is where you’ll wash it out 12 to 18 hours after use—so if you apply it when you get out of the shower in the morning, you’d wash it out before you go to bed (and you can add that step to your evening routine, when you brush your teeth).
If that’s not possible, the second-best scenario is to wash it out every 24 hours or so—apply it in the morning after your shower, go about your life and then hit the sack, and then wash it out the next morning during your shower. That’s probably what most guys do.
If that’s not possible—and for many guys it’s not!—do it as often as you can, with the understanding that all those natural ingredients, if left in a beard too long, can irritate your skin, can some itchiness, and maybe even result in flakiness.
If You’re Looking for Hold, Try a Beard Balm—Or Even Better, a Beard Wax
OK, the last pointer—beard oil is great for hydrating a beard, and it can give it some body and some shine, but it doesn’t usually do much when it comes to styling. It can’t really provide much hold, and it definitely won’t let you sculpt your beard.
So, if hold is what you’re looking for, consider a beard balm. Beard balms have butters and waxes in them, and they can allow you a little bit of hold, while also providing moisturization and hydration for hair and skin.
If you *really* want some hold, look at a beard wax. They’re formulations with very little (or no) oil, very few butters, and a looooot of wax—and they can let you sculpt your beard and keep it in place (within reason).
Congrats, You’ve Graduated from
Beard Oil Academy
We have now shared just about everything we know about beard oils! well, a lot of it, anyway. We hope it helps you in some way, and if you have any follow-up questions, feel free to jump over to our “Contact” page and drop us a note. Good luck, 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.