People have been growing beards for thousands of years. Although once primarily used for intimidation and warmth, today's beards are sometimes religious but often about fashion. Of course, just like the hair on the top of your head, facial hair requires special care, which often means unique styling products.
We dug deep to find some of the best beard oils on the market today.
Use this guide to help you choose the best beard oil for your needs and learn why about the benefits of using one.
What Is Beard Oil and How Does It Work?
Beard oil is part styling product and part facial moisturizing. Men who don't use products on their beards risk split ends, coarse, dry hair, itchy skin, dandruff or other embarrassing issues. Like beards themselves, beard oil dates back to ancient times.
In Mesopotamia, beards were curled, arranged in three tiers and often laced with ribbons, threads, henna and gold dust to draw even more attention. These adornments required smooth facial hair to work with, and historians believe Mesopotamian men used sesame oil to keep their beards smooth and moisturized.
Today's beard oils typically use combinations of carrier and essential oils with carrier oils making up the majority of the ingredients. When applied correctly and regularly, beard oil goes straight to the follicle, softening the hair and coating the skin underneath to prevent flaking or itchiness.
How We Created Our Rankings
We considered several factors when deciding which of the most popular beard oils were actually the best. We considered which ones used all-natural, organic ingredients as well as which ones were transparent about their process for creating beard oils. We looked at how much oil you would get for the price compared to other popular brands.
Finally, we read reviews from popular men's magazines as well as from customers to determine which brands lived up to their claims and which ones just talked a big game.
Best Beard Oil Brands
Our research has helped us sift through good and not so great brands. Listed below are the top beard oil brands currently on the market.
Overall Champ: V76 by Vaugh
At an easily affordable price point of just $19 for a 2-ounce bottle, you'd almost think V76 by Vaughn would be our budget-friendly choice, but this hydrating and conditioning formula was a clear winner among every category. Offering a vegan formula of saw palmetto, which soothes the skin and promotes hair health, and safflower oil, which smooths rough hair and prevents it from drying out, this conditioning beard oil is formulated without parabens, gluten, petroleum or mineral oils. A light woody scent with leathery undertones smells masculine without being overpowering. Other fragrances include coconut milk, violet, moss, nutmeg and peach.
V76 by Vaughn is an excellent choice for the man who cares about his health and the health of the environment around him. In fact, its lack of paraben, mineral oils and gluten, along with the cruelty-free methods of producing the oil, makes it one of the most socially conscious items available among men's grooming products. Additionally, it is certified vegan and vegetarian. Choosing V76 means choosing a product created by a true professional. Vaughn has worked with some of the top salons and some of the most famous men in the world, including Al Pacino and Ashton Kutcher.
With an overall rating of just over 4 stars on Amazon, users have a lot to say about this product. Among the most popular comments are that V76 smells amazing, although most of the negative ones are also about scent, which probably means that it simply comes down to personal preference. Even among those who aren't fond of the scent, many say it dissipates quickly enough that it isn't too much of a hindrance. When it comes to the actual product, words like "great" and "fantastic" are common in user-provided reviews. The oil is thick enough to do its job without feeling sticky, and the formula is perfect for moisturizing both the hair and the skin beneath it. Many customers love that V76 repaired damage to their beard, and several reviewers say their romantic partners were just as happy with the product because it didn't make them break out after making out like some other beard oils.
Budget Pick: Smooth Viking Beard Oil for Men
Just because Smooth Viking Beard Oil for Men is only $12 per 2-ounce bottle doesn't mean it's lacking in amazing qualities. Smooth Viking uses all-natural oils that are powerful enough to smooth even the unruliest beards and mustaches.
The company combines vitamin E, almond oil, avocado oil, pumpkin seed oil and a range of other carrier and essential oils to create a lightly fragrant mix that promotes healthy hair and reduces itching without leaving behind an unpleasant residue. All essential oils used are from Pure Essential, and their primary carrier oils include almond, argan, avocado, castor, jojoba, and olive.
Smooth Viking Beard Oil is as friendly to your beard as it is to your wallet. Just ask the more than 2,000 reviewers who have rated this product an average of 4.8 stars. The most common compliment is that the product does an excellent job of soothing the skin beneath the beard and eliminating dandruff, especially during the dry winter months. One reviewer recommends remembering to apply the oil on a damp beard after a shower, starting as close to the skin as possible and combing the oil out and down. Another common compliment is that the eyedropper-like applicator makes it easy to use just the right amount of oil, eliminating the need to constantly reapply or to wipe off excess and lose valuable product.
It took some digging to find the negative reviews since none of them were recent, but of those who did rate the product negatively, the biggest complaint was the woodsy smell of the oil. These ratings were all within a few months of each other, so it is possible they received a less-than-perfect batch, but more than likely, they just happened not to prefer the specific blend of oils. Overall, many users love the product and feel the more affordable price doesn't compromise the beard oil's ingredients or usefulness at all.
Organic Option: Mystic Man Organic Men's Beard Oil
At $25 for one ounce, Mystic Man Organic Men's Beard Oil is pricier than others on the list, but most users don't mind the bigger hit to the bank account because it comes with the peace of mind of knowing they are using a 100% USDA-certified organic and hypoallergenic product, a quality that is especially important to those with sensitive skin or who take their health or the environment's health seriously. Carrier oils of black seed, jojoba, sunflower, sesame and coconut blend with essential oils of rosemary and sandalwood to create this light, fresh scent that customers love. Even better, the special blend turns even very coarse beards into soft and tangle-free ones that people will beg to touch. The ingredients also work to moisturize the skin and hair follicles, effectively reducing inflammation, acne and dandruff while promoting collagen production and healthy hair growth. Just a hint of sedr, which has been used as a deep conditioner for centuries, is added to this product. Mystic Man is packaged in a heavy-duty, dark glass bottle that helps to preserve the oils, which are all sustainably and ethically sourced. A portion of the profits goes toward education for disenfranchised youth.
Of course, the big question is whether the customers love the product as much as its creators love it. The answer is a resounding yes. When it comes to the scent, men who use Mystic Man Organic Men's Beard Oil appreciate that it smells good without being too overpowering of their usual cologne choice. Of course, the place where this product is a big winner is in the skincare department. Users who have acne-prone skin especially seem to enjoy the product, and some even use it on their entire face because it makes their skin feel healthier and has even healed some of the acne. Many users say their beard feels softer and smoother after using it, even if they previously had very coarse facial hair. A slight sheen is noticeable after use, which many feel makes the beard look cleaner, healthier and more pulled together. A couple of reviewers did feel the product didn't work well and caused more skin problems, but given that these reviews were sporadic, it is possible the oils just didn't work well for their skin types. Those who worry about the same outcome can always test the product on an inconspicuous patch of skin for 24 hours before applying it to the beard.
Of course, with dozens of beard oils on the market, we couldn't finish this guide without mentioning some of the awesome runners-up we came across.
Honest Amish Classic Beard Oil
At just $14 for two ounces, Honest Amish Classic Beard Oil is another excellent brand for the man on a budget. Handcrafted in the United States, the company uses organic virgin argan oil, jojoba oil and six other hydrating oils in its product. The all-natural, organic ingredients not only soften beard hair but also conditions the skin beneath to prevent breakouts and flaky skin. The company, which started out by selling its products at flea markets, festivals and other small venues, uses a total of 14 premium and essential oils in its beard oil, each of which has specific jobs such as conditioning or targeting hair growth. Lovers of the brand claim they saw improvement in dandruff and beard health in just one application, and many enjoy the smell, which some liken to black licorice. However, the fragrance in the oil also tends to dissipate quickly, so if black licorice isn't your favorite scent, you still may find the product useful.
Jack Black Beard Oil
At $25 per ounce, Jack Black Beard Oil is one of the pricier options on the list, but we couldn't pass up the gorgeous blue bottle design, and the stuff in it isn't too bad, either. Created with 100 percent pure essential oils, this beard oil aims to provide a conditioning treatment for your skin as beard alike. Its secret ingredient? Kalahari melon oil from Africa, an oil known for its strong conditioning and moisturizing properties. Additionally, plum oil softens dry facial hair to make it easier to manage and give it a healthier shine. The company uses only certified organic ingredients that are free of colorants, parabens and fragrances, and each batch is dermatologist tested. Users give the product an overall rating of 4.6 stars. According to reviews, advantages include a light pleasant odor, a light texture that doesn't feel greasy and a noticeable reduction in beard dandruff. As with most beard oils, disadvantages are related to the fragrance with some feeling it isn't strong enough and others simply wishing it smelled differently. Fragrance is usually a personal preference, so we wouldn't discount this brand until you test it for yourself.
Port Products Conditioning Beard Absolute
At $20 for an ounce, Port Products Conditioning Beard Absolute is a mid-priced, mid-grade product that has plenty of advantages but a few drawbacks as well. Most notably, the conditioning oil won Best Beard Oil in Men's Health's 2016 Grooming Awards. Port Products uses grapeseed oil to soften hair and create a smoother texture as well as argan oil to balance out unruly hairs and nourish dry and flaky skin. Australian sandalwood and bergamot essential oils provide a slightly woody aroma. Other ingredients include vitamin E, sunflower oil and pink grapefruit, among others. Those who love the product say it creates softer hair, has a pleasant fragrance and does not leave a greasy feeling. Others say it absorbs quickly and does a good job of removing flaky skin under the beard. Users who weren't as impressed typically say they have fuller beards with thicker hair and that the oil didn't penetrate well or make much of a difference. For this reason, we recommend this product for men with thinner, shorter beards for the best results.
The Fundamental Ingredients
Beard oils are created using two essential ingredients: carrier oils and essential oils. This section will help you determine the importance of each.
Carrier oils are derived from kernels, seeds or nuts of plants are used to "carry" essential oils and other ingredients, which is what allows you to apply them to your skin.
- Jojoba Oil - This oil is closest to the ones naturally produced by your body, making it easy for your skin to absorb it.
- Olive Oil - Olive oil is popular in a range of beard oils and other beauty products. The fats in olive oil are good for your skin and hair but can cause a greasy feeling if you use too much.
- Safflower Oil - This oil is perfect for people who are prone to acne because it is high in linoleic acid. It not only lubricates your skin but also removes bad oils and dirt without causing your skin or hair to dry out.
- Sunflower Oil - This light oil is another good option for people with skin problems. It is useful for treating dry skin, eczema and psoriasis.
- Avocado Oil - Because of its high content of fat-soluble vitamins and fatty acids, avocado oil is an excellent choice for people who have sensitive skin.
Essential oils add scent or create other effects. Some essential oils are more common than others.
- Rosemary - Rosemary oil stimulates the hair follicles and can result in stronger and longer beards. It also benefits the skin and has even improved cognitive abilities.
- Sandalwood - Sandalwood provides plenty of benefits for your skin as well and is especially helpful for people who have acne or tend to get itchy. In addition, it smells better than most other essential oils.
- Tea Tree - Tea tree oil is helpful for skin ailments as well as for stimulating your hair follicles. If you are prone to breakouts or have very sensitive skin, look for an oil with tea tree in it.
- Vitamin E - Although not technically an oil, vitamin E is still popular in many beard oils. This is because it is known to moisture skin and hair as well as to stimulate growth of the hair.
- Bergamot - A cold-pressed oil, bergamot has antiseptic and antibacterial products that keep your skin clean and healthy. However, it is most often used because of its pleasant scent.
The Benefits of Using Beard Oil
Beard oil might seem unnecessary if you aren't used to using products. However, the natural ingredients that most are made of actually provide several benefits for your skin and hair.
It Soothes Itchy, Dry Skin
About a month into the beard-growing process, most men develop "beard itch." If you're tired of scratching all the time but don't want to give in and shave, a beard oil can provide the moisture necessary to keep hair follicles and skin moisturized and free of itching. This is because it lubricates the sebaceous glands. Although these glands do produce their own oil, it is usually not enough to cover both the follicle and the skin and therefore creates dry areas.
It Stimulates Hair Growth
Nobody wants to be called "Patches" by the guys. If you are trying to grow in your beard but are noticing patchy growth, a beard oil can help. Some of them contain ingredients known to moisture skin and stimulate follicles so that they grow healthy facial hair again.
It Provides Styling Options
The longer your beard gets, the more likely it is to become unruly if you don't use a beard oil. Oils allow you to comb through tangles and shape your beard into a comfortable style without needing to use all the dangerous chemicals found in most styling sprays or gels. Your beard will look sleek, well-defined and professional, which is especially important in certain careers.
It Can Relieve Acne Symptoms
As you grow your facial hair, you may begin to notice more acne. This is because hair follicles become clogged and cause inflammation. Using a beard oil can help. Certain ones contain essential oils and carrier oils that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties to heal your skin and reduce redness and blemishes related to acne.
It Can Make You Smell Better
If you aren't someone who likes to wear a lot of cologne, beard oil might be a friendly alternative. The carrier and essential oils in them often have light fragrances that smell natural, such as the woody aromas of sandalwood. They don't contain the harsh alcohols that colognes do, meaning you can protect your skin and hair without giving up smelling good.
It Gets Rid of Dandruff
Even longer beards can fall victim to dandruff sometimes, especially during dry winter months when skin is prone to flaking. Beard oil helps you to keep your skin moisturized so that you are less likely to see those unwanted flakes when you look in the mirror.
How to Choose the Best Beard Oil for You
Most importantly, consider your skin type. If your skin is prone to breakouts, rashes or other unsightly problems, look for an oil that is all-natural and uses oils that are more likely to soothe the skin. You should also consider whether your facial hair tends to grow in thick and coarse or in smaller patches that are straighter or finer. After you determine which types of oils are best for your hair and skin types, consider the fragrances and "thicknesses" of the oils. Do you prefer something that smells woodsy or herbal, or would you prefer no fragrance at all? Do you want your beard to have a shine to it, or do you simply want it to look more pulled together? Remember, most men end up trying several different beard oils before settling on one they like, so don't be afraid to experiment.