When to Use Beard Butter and How Much of It to Use
Beard butter is one of our favorite products, not only because it smells great, but because it can do a great job relieving beard itch and beardruff. It's not very well-known, though, and that's a shame, because it can perform in ways that many other beard products—namely, beard oils and beard balms—cannot.
Why is that, you ask? Well, that’s because beard butters are designed with skincare in mind, and usually they have a slew of the same ingredients that you’d find in straight-up skincare products. That's not true for beard oils and beard balms, and while those products are great for other reasons, they can't always do for skin what a well-made beard butter can do.
We've written a few paragraphs here on how to use it, but here we'll get into the specifics of when to use beard butter and how much beard butter to use. We'll keep this brief, but if you have any questions, hop over to our "Contact" page and drop us a line.
When to Use Beard Butter
Here's the quick answer:
Use beard butter once a day or once every few days, when your beard is clean and when it's dry—usually after a shower, when you've toweled off your facial hair and gotten all (or most) of the moisture out of it.
And... there you have it! That's really all you need to know.
That said, for those of you who really like to get into the details, here you go:
Beard butter can be a fantastic tool to combat the itchiness and facial dandruff / beardruff, and there are a few specific times when it can be a really powerful tool. Here's how it plays out. We'll look at this from both a "routine" point of view—when in your personal grooming routine it makes sense to use a beard butter—and when in the life of your beard it makes sense to use a beard butter.
When to Use Your Beard Butter During the Day
Everybody has different routines—some guys sleep at night and work during the day, and other guys do the opposite—and it doesn't really matter when during a 24-hour day you're using a beard butter, but there are two circumstances under which you should use it:
1. You Should Use Beard Butter When Your Beard Is Clean. Your beard, left on its own, will soon become a vile, dirty thing. It'll get chock full of facial oils, dirt and bacteria you encounter during the day, food particles, and plenty of other baddies. Just... gross. Putting beard butter into all that is not a good idea, and it'll soon stink to high heaven. So that best time use beard butter is when it's clean—either when you've gotten out of the shower, or when you've washed your beard by hand in the sink.
2. You Should Use Beard Butter When Your Beard Is Dry. Ever hear the phrase, "oil and water don't mix"? Well, a wet beard is a water-y one, and a beard butter is mostly oil, so if you put beard butter into a wet beard, it's going to be gloopy, runny, and gross, and it won't work too well. So make sure your beard is dry—or, at least, as dry as you can get it in the time that you have. If you're taking a shower, tussle off the hair on your head, and then do the same for your facial hair, and wait a minute or two. That's usually enough to dry it off to a point where you can apply beard butter. It doesn't need to be 100% dry—although that's best—and "slightly damp" is fine.
So that's the "when." Here's when it makes sense to use beard butter during your beard's growth cycle:
When You're First Growing Your Beard
There are a lot of guys who'd like to have a beard, but go through those first torturous weeks of growing one and bail on it.
And—we can't blame them! During those first few weeks, your whiskers are short and stiff and really sharp and dig into your skin, making beard growth... well, no fun. At all. This is usually when a beard is at its itchiest. It may be itchy later on, too, but the first stages of growth are when many guys encounter all those prickly, uncomfortable, scratchy sensations.
There are a few beard butters that are good at relieving some of the itch and irritation of that first growth phase, and Cremo Beard and Scruff Cream (affiliate link) is usually our go-to. It's actually not marketed as a beard butter—and we talk about why that is in our post on the best beard butters—but it's got everything we'd hope to see, along with the most important ingredient, which is a butter (and in this case, cocoa butter). Beard butters usually slightly use cocoa butter, shea butter, and/or mango butter, and cocoa butter is our favorite, as it can do a great job of 1) relaxing those whiskers, so they're not so "pokey" and don't prick your skin so badly; 2) softening your skin a little bit, so that if your whiskers do prod you a little bit, your skin is a little more pliable and elastic and it won't hurt as much.
Using a beard butter probably won't make this portion of your beard-growth journey 100% painless, but it can mitigate some of that discomfort and irritation.
When Your Beard is at a Medium-Length
"Medium length" means different things to different people, but we'd say a medium-length beard is about an inch-long underneath the chin—a few months growth or so. It's still on the short side, but it's a liiiiiiittle bit too long to be a close-cropped "corporate" beard. This fella here with the dog has a medium-length beard (and maybe a little bit more):
When your beard is at that length, it may still itch a little bit, but the real danger here is flaking and beardruff. When your beard hair gets to a certain length, it actually starts to draw your facial oils away from your skin. Your facial oils—which are *really* important, because they keep your skin loose and supple and flexible—exit your pores and get carried down the length of the whisker shaft, leaving the skin on your face dry and brittle and prone to flaking. It doesn't happen to every guy, but it happens to a lot of us, and it's a bummer.
That's why a beard butter can sometimes be helpful at this medium-length phase: it can provide some moisturization for your skin, and counter some of the missing oil that's been routed away from your skin.
There's no particular product we recommend here, and any beard butter you'll find may be able to provide some relief. Our top picks, however, include...
Grave Before Shave Beard Butter (affiliate link): Smells great in different scents, hydrates really well, and comes in jars with gorgeous artwork;
Bluebeard's Original Beard Saver (affiliate link): This isn't marketed as a beard butter, but because it contains shea butter, it technically is, and it's one of our absolute favorite beard products. It can provide a lot of relief from itchiness and flakiness; and
Every Man Jack Beard Butter (affiliate link): Not only is this one of our favorite sandalwood scents, but it's got a lot of really great ingredients in it—Every Man Jack seems to do as much as they can to use all-natural ingredients and recyclable materials.
When Your Beard is Very Long
At this point, you've probably learned what works for you, and you probably don't need our advice! And for a lot of guys, once their beard is long, they won't need a beard butter—or if they do, it's a once-in-a-while thing.
BUT—we're here with the helpful reminder that longer beards usually require an amount of TLC that shorter beards don’t, and if you've had a healthy, irritation-free beard for a while, only to find that your longer beard is an itchy, scratchy mess, you may want to give beard butter a shot. Beard oils are OK but it's difficult to get them onto your skin, and the same is true of beard balms, but beard butters—due to their ingredient list and focus on skincare—can provide some relief.
Again—your mileage may vary, and we can't predict the future or what will work for you. But, because beard butter ingredient lists read more like a skincare product than a beard product, they may be able to help.
How Much of It Should You Use?
Alright, so we've gone over the "when." Now for the "how much."
Here's the lousy part: beard butter goes fast, and you actually need a good dollop of it in order to actually get it into your beard and onto your skin.
So, for a short beard, we'd say "about a teaspoon's worth," like this:
All you need to do is work it into your beard so that it coats your whiskers, but also connects to the skin beneath your beard. You can start small, and if you need a little bit more, add as you go along.
You may also find that it's a bit easier to disburse beard butter throughout your beard if you use a wooden comb to direct the butter to all parts of your beard. Combs are handsome little pieces, and we like ours a bunch:
The trick to using a beard comb is to make sure to drag it (gently) along your skin, so that the beard butter can reach it.
For medium-length to long-length beards, you'll need to up your dosage a bit, into something that looks a little bit like a tablespoon, like this:
For us, that seems to do the trick, and we've found that you don't usually need much more than that. A little dab'll do ya, as they used to say.
Again, as always, start small and add more if you need more.
Here's the Problem with Beard Butter Amounts...
You can go through it pretty quickly, and for as much as we love beard butter over all other beard products, here is the only true downside to it (in our humble opinion): it disappears a lot faster than beard oils and beard balms, and it's not even close. That stuff can really go quickly.
So, you've got two options:
1. Use less of it. Or keep a shorter beard. That's really the only way to conserve it. Or...
2. Use it less often. This is where we've gotten to. Because it can run your wallet a bit, we use it twice a week, or when we're feeling a little bit itchy.
You can also look for beard butters that come in larger quantities. Beard butters usually come in 4-ounce tubs (or even 3-ounce tubs), but there are few brands that make them in larger containers. Our favorite larger-container butter is Maestro's Beard Butter (affiliate link)—it's a great butter with a unique and enticing scent, and they sometimes sell it in 8-ounce containers.
And... there you have it! Let's wrap this up:
It’s Up To You, Young Man
If the question is "When to use beard butter" and the follow-up is "How much beard butter to use," that's all we've got. Those are our suggestions, and you'll probably find out what works for you. Everyone's beard is different, but that's what we've found. 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.