Hey there, fellow bearded bro. We know how hard it can be to pick out the right beard products for you, especially since the market has been flooded in the past 6 months by start-ups looking to capitalize on the male grooming boom.
I know I’ve had some disappointing experiences with beard balms from smaller companies that have been sticky, poor-functioning or just all-round funky smelling (in a bad way). That’s part of the reason why I wanted to write this review – to give you dudes a heads-up on some of my personal favorite beard balms.
In case you haven’t used them before, I’m also going to give you the lowdown on beard balms in general, so you’ll know what you need to know to get the maximum benefit from them.
What is Beard Balm?
Beard balms are the older brother of the beard oil. They’re a thicker substance that are designed to tackle three key problems that arise with beard-growers:
- Coarse hair
- Lack of vitality
- The dreaded beardruff (it’s awful, isn’t it?)
On top of those, a half-decent beard balm will also give you the benefit of added control. This is especially useful if you’ve got a longer beard that goes absolutely wild without any grooming products in it.
Before vs. After using Beard Balm
Beard balms are typically made up of the following ingredients, each of which provide a vital function to satisfy the ever-increasing standards of the modern male:
Carrier oils are one of the most important ingredients to any good beard balm and all of the best beard balms will have it in abundance. When your beard gets to a certain length, your hair follicles run out of something called sebum oil. Sebum oil is produced by the sebaceous glands in order to keep your hair hydrated. Although everyone has different sebum oil-producing capabilities, the gland’s abilities are finite. That means, sooner or later, beardruff is going to come a’knockin’.
When you reach this point in your beard-growing journey, a product with carrier oils in it are your best bet to retrieving beard health. They’re nature’s equivalent of sebum oil and will do a fantastic job at revitalising your beard and keeping beardruff at bay.
Some Popular Carrier Oils
Some of the more popular carrier oils that you may have heard of include jojoba (actually pronounced ho-ho-ba, apparently) and argan oils. Both of these are derived from plants, so you don’t have to worry about what you’re putting on your face. If you’re undecided between the two, it’s probably best to stick to jojoba oil, though, as this is the closest to sebum oil and your face will give it a better reception.
Shea and cocoa butters are included in many of the best beard balms to make them easier to handle. On top of that, they both boast beautiful scents that’ll further add to your beard balm experience.
Since a beard balm is typically closer in consistency to a pomade, shea and cocoa butters will make it easier to spread throughout your beard, so you can reap maximum benefit.
Essential oils are more confusing than you’d think they’d be, so if you don’t know much about them, you’re going to be best off choosing them based on how they smell. Essential oils are basically the ingredient that adds the smell to your balm – it’ll give you that initial punchy aroma, then gradually subside.
If you’re a beard product veteran, it’s well worth looking into the added benefits that essential oils can provide. For example, a beard balm that includes tea tree oil can be a fantastic way of treating acne. I’m sure most of us know that getting a spot underneath your beard is far from the nicest of sensations.
Essential Oils and their Healing Properties (Source)
Having beeswax in a beard balm is going to help to tame your unruly beard, by adding just enough hold into the mix. By using a beard balm with beeswax in it, you can rest assured that your beard will stay in the same position as it was when you left the house in the morning.
I know that I find myself constantly touching my beard to make sure I don’t have any ridiculously out-of-place hairs. One of my biggest issues is the left side of my mustache, where the hairs point upwards, giving me a strangely curious facial expression. Needless to say, beard balms have seen an end to that.
How Do You Apply Beard Balm?
Applying beard balm is pretty much as you would think – warm it up, get a bit on your hands and run it through your facial hair. Even if you’ve done it before, though, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the process.
Firstly, you’re going to want to get your thumbnail and scrape out roughly that amount of it. If you’ve got a longer beard, you might need to take a bigger scoop, but you’ll get a feel for how much you need. As always, it’s better to take too little and add more, than take too much and end up with a super greasy face.
After doing this, rub the beard balm into the palms of your hands until it’s evenly distributed. You don’t want to be left with any lumps, because these are going to look pretty weird if they find their way into your beard.
Start rubbing the beard balm into your beard, working from a top-to-bottom fashion. Once you’ve done this, switch it around and go from bottom to top. This will make sure that it’s spread out well.
The final step to applying beard balm is grabbing your beard brush and combing it through. After that, you’re done!
The Best Beard Balms
Take a look at the list below to see our favorite 3 beard balms. These have been selected based on online customer reviews, as well as personal testing over an extended period of time.
Honest Amish Beard Balm
Honest Amish have created a solid reputation for themselves over the past few years, and it’s no wonder. All of their products, including their raved-about beard balm, are created from scratch in their small workshop in Pennsylvania.
Honest Amish offers a beard balm at an incredibly affordable price and you get great value for money. As an entry-point into the beard-grooming world, I’d certainly recommend this beard balm.
One of the downfalls of the product is that they’re not overly open in disclosing the ingredients that go into their balm. Sure, they’re ticking a lot of boxes, but when you’re putting something on your face, you want to be sure that you’re not using filler chemicals that could cause more harm than good in the long-run.
Although it’s understandable that they’d want to protect their family recipe, I’m also in the camp of disclosing what people are getting for their money. Don’t get me wrong, though, Honest Amish does a fantastic job of keeping your beard hair soft and healthy and eradicating b eardruff. It’s also excellent value for money.
The scent that Honest Amish produces is hard to pin down, as they’re not overly keen on disclosing the exact essential oils that they use. Some people say it’s citrusy, with undertones of licorice. I personally get wood and cocoa butter from it.
Virtu beard balm by Liberty Premium Grooming Co.
With easy application, the Virtu beard balm by Liberty Grooming Co. makes an excellent addition to any beard-lover’s product shelf. The subtle aroma also means it’s a great choice for beginner balm buyers who don’t quite know what scent they like.
Once again, however, Virtu beard balm doesn’t disclose the essential oil ingredients. If you’re allergic to any facial products, it might be worth giving this one a miss. Despite the fact that it’s really rare, if you get an allergic reaction from this product, you’re going to have a tough time narrowing down which oils to avoid in the future.
This balm has worked wonders for me as far as keeping my skin hydrated is concerned, but if you have a longer beard that’s typically unruly, Virtu beard balm might not be the one for you.
Smooth Viking Beard Balm
Many men pass this beard balm by, put off by the basic looking tin container. I’ve tried this product though and let me say, that’s a mistake. If you look past the tin, you’ll discover an incredibly high quality and affordable beard balm that’ll satisfy all of your grooming needs.
Designed for both shaping and controlling your beard, the extra beeswax content might be too much for some men, but if you’ve got a longer beard, Smooth Viking beard balm is definitely the one for you.
Boasting all-natural ingredients such as argan oil, avocado oil and mango butter, this balm is as good for your beard as it is for the environment. Despite being thick and somewhat harder to apply than the balms above, Smooth Viking beard balm does a fantastic job of both softening and conditioning beard hair, ensuring that it stays in top condition.