Any beard oil is going to have the right carrier oils to soothe and moisturize dry skin and help eliminate “beardruff.” The real trick to finding the best beard oil is landing on a scent (and scent intensity) that appeals to you — as well as anyone planning on getting close to your face. Reviews.com recently rounded up the nineteen most buzzed-about beard oils, tried them out, and pinpointed their scents to help you find which one is right for you.
Their team conducted a poll of one hundred beard oil users to learn more about their habits and their preferences.
Beard oils moisturize skin — without clogging pores.
Beards collect and camouflage all manner of nasty stuff, from food to dirt, while shading your face from solar rays that kill bacteria. That can result in a variety of undesirable side effects, notably dry skin and comedones — enlarged beard follicles filled with dead skin debris and your body’s natural sebum oil. You probably know them as blackheads.
The vast majority of any beard oil, typically more than 90 percent, consists of carrier oils. These base oils soften your whiskers and help to tame, if not completely eliminate, beard itch. Carrier oils also moisturize and nourish your skin.
Many men experience seborrheic dermatitis, or “beardruff”. Beard oils can help decrease the redness, scaliness, and dryness while keeping the hairs in place. —Dr. Rhonda Klein, Dermatologist at Connecticut Dermatology Group
But in the world of oil, some are better for skin than others.
According to Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and CEO of LovelySkin.com, it’s important to make sure the product you choose is designed for your skin type. If the oil you choose doesn’t absorb easily, it can make it harder for skin cells to turn over and this leads to clogged pores. The oil you choose should be lightweight and easily absorb into your skin rather than sitting on the surface.
There’s no way to be 100 percent certain which oils will absorb most effectively without triggering a breakout — everyone is different — but the comedogenic scale is a good place to start. Cosmetic chemists use it to estimate a substance’s propensity to clog pores on a scale of zero to five.
The lower the number, the less likely to trigger a breakout.
Comedogenic Rating: 0-1
Carrier Oils: Argan, Avocado, Hemp Seed, Olive, Calendula, Castor, Pomegranate, Rosehip, Sesame, Sweet Almond
Comedogenic Rating: 2-3
Carrier Oils: Apricot Kernel, Baobab, Borage, Grapeseed, Hazelnut, Jojoba, Peach Kernel, Peanut, Pumpkin Seed, Sunflower
Comedogenic Rating: 4-5
Carrier Oils: Cocoa Butter, Coconut, Flaxseed
Source: Journal of Cosmetic Science
A low comedogenic number often corresponds to an oil that is chemically similar to the natural sebum oil your skin creates. That’s a key quality for beard oil, says Craig Chapman, a PhD chemist and lifelong beardsman. “Ideally a carrier oil should be as close in molecular composition and pH to the oils produced by your own body.” All the products we tested used carrier oils rated 3 or lower.
Always test a new oil on the inside of your wrist.
The barbers we spoke with reported a number of their clients have had adverse reactions to beard oils. (This happened often enough that they stopped using beard oil as a pre-shave lotion.) Vitamin E oil might be to blame, and it’s in every single one of the beard oils we tested, either as pure synthetic vitamin E oil, or occurring naturally in other carrier oils, like Argan oil.
None of the oils we tried irritated our skin, caused redness, or triggered acne breakouts in our testers. But to be safe, always test a couple of drops on the inside of your wrist before committing to a full-face rubdown. “If you’re allergic or even just sensitive, you’ll know within a half-hour,” Dandie says.
A special warning to those with nut allergies.
Most allergens are removed during the extraction process, but if you’re severely allergic to tree nuts, steer clear of any products with sweet almond oil, including:
Beardbrand Four Vices Beard Oil
Beardbrand Tree Ranger Beard Oil
Detroit Grooming Co. Corktown Beard Oil
Grave Before Shave Bay Rum Beard Oil
Honest Amish Classic Beard Oil
Mountaineer Brand WV Timber Beard Oil
Smooth Viking Beard Oil
The American Beard Company Beard Oil
The Gentleman’s Beard Oil Unscented
For best results, apply after a hot shower.
Dr. Schlessinger recommends applying the oil right after you shower or wash your face. That’s when your beard and the skin below needs moisture the most. “Those with dry or very dry skin can often use an oil in the morning and evening, but oily skin types should limit their application to once a day at most.”
Applying the oil is simple, just make sure your face is completely dry so the oil can absorb. Apply a couple drops in the palm of your hand, then rub your hands together so the oil is evenly distributed. Then, gently rub your hands back and forth along the sides, down the front, and through the bottom of your beard. Finish with a beard brush or comb to smooth the hair.
Find more information about Reviews.com and their research on beard oil, along with their top picks here.