Beard care has become an essential part of grooming routines for many who sport beards.
Beard oils, creams, and serums are available to keep your cheeky mane in prime condition and each helps condition, moisturize, and nourish both the facial hair and the skin underneath.
They prevent dryness, itchiness, and flakiness and soften beard hair, making it more manageable and reducing tangles and knots. But while they serve similar purposes, each has unique qualities and benefits.
In this detailed overview, we explore the similarities, differences, and best uses for beard oil, beard cream, and beard serum, as well as the key ingredients and features to look for in each.
Versatile and widely used, beard oil typically consists of a carrier oil base infused with essential oils for fragrance and additional benefits. With a lightweight, liquid consistency that makes it easy to apply and distribute evenly throughout the beard, it absorbs quickly into hair and skin, leaving no greasy residue behind.
Beard oil is most beneficial for shorter to medium-length beards or for those in the early stages of growing their facial hair. It is suitable for daily use and can be applied anytime during the day.
Use a few drops of beard oil, rub it between your palms, and massage it into your beard and skin, starting from the roots to the tips.
What to Look For
Carrier Oils: Look for carrier oils such as jojoba oil, argan oil, sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil. These oils provide essential moisture, nourishment, and conditioning properties.
Essential Oils: Choose beard oils that incorporate essential oils with desired fragrances or therapeutic benefits. Common options include cedarwood, sandalwood, peppermint, eucalyptus, or citrus oils.
Additional Ingredients: Some beard oils may include ingredients like vitamin E, tea tree oil, or chamomile extract for added benefits, such as soothing irritation, and reducing inflammation.
Beard cream is a thicker product, resembling a light lotion, designed to provide deep moisturizing and conditioning throughout the day with the additional benefit of styling and control. It offers a longer-lasting, stronger hold and can help tame unruly facial hair.
Beard cream is suitable for all beard lengths but particularly beneficial for medium to longer beards, which may be more prone to dryness and frizz. It works best when applied on hair that has just been washed and towel dried.
Gently massage the cream into your beard, starting from the roots and working your way to the tips, then use a beard comb or brush to distribute the cream evenly.
What to Look For
Natural Oils and Butters: Look for beard creams that contain natural oils and butters like shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil. These deeply moisturize, nourish, and soften both beard and skin.
Botanical Extracts: Some beard creams include botanical extracts like aloe vera, chamomile, or green tea for their soothing and calming benefits, reducing irritation and redness.
Essential Oils: Infusions of essential oils provide a pleasant scent and may offer additional benefits such as promoting hair growth, soothing the skin, or providing antimicrobial properties. Test first to ensure all are compatible with your skin.
Many beard creams include beeswax or lanolin to provide hold and control for shaping and styling your beard. These are animal derived, and lanolin in addition raises concerns due to the chemicals used to harvest and process it. (Bytewrthy does not carry those.)
With a consistency typically midway between oils and creams, beard serums are concentrated blends of active ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that are specifically designed to nourish and strengthen the beard and to target specific beard concerns such as itchiness, irritation or breakage. Some beard serums are also thick enough to provide a light hold for styling and impart a subtle shine to the beard.
In addition to moisturizing natural oils and butters, essential oils, vitamins, and antioxidants, beard serums may include ingredients such as keratin, biotin, or hydrolyzed proteins, which are promoted to stimulate hair follicles, help repair and strengthen damaged beard hair, and improve overall beard health.
A concentrated serum may well be just the thing for you. But additional benefits may or may not really accrue from reaching further to premium-priced serums. While anecdotal evidence does exist to suggest that their ingredients may support beard growth, for instance, the scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness is limited. Simply moisturizing the beard can promote a healthier appearance and reduce issues like itchiness and flakiness.