Don't let the hipsters fool you: beard oil is nothing new. It has been used for well over a thousand years by men whose very stature in society was evident in the health and fullness of their beard. They considered their beard nothing less than a statement of wealth and a testament to a hearty lineage.
Many of the beard oils today, however, fall into the category of gimmicky, rather than functional, and leave the beardsman greasy and smelling like a synthetic forest.
The Purpose of Beard Oil
As we discuss in this article, the purpose of beard oil is to moisturize the face, first and foremost, and the beard as a secondary concern. The richness of the beard and the vitality of color comes as an after effect of keeping the skin well moisturized. (However, our beard oil accomplishes both. Keep reading to find out why.)
Where Many Beard Oils Fall Short
In order to accomplish the above, a beard oils needs to be lightweight and quickly absorbed into the skin. Most beard oils, however, feature jojoba oil as the primary oil (also known as the carrier oil). Jojoba is widely regarded as being the closest oil to that which is produced by the skin (sebum oil). In theory this sounds great, but in actuality it is a serious problem.
Why Jojoba Oil is a Bad Carrier Oil
#1 - It aggravates the problem of beard dandruff, aka, "beardruff"
Sebum oil is produced by the glands of the skin. When functioning properly, it keeps the face healthy and moisturized. But, as many a teenager can attest, when it is over productive it can clog pores and lead to acne. Not only this, but it also plays a role in seborrheic dermatitis. In short, the skin produces more oil and dead skin cells than normal, resulting in geasy, flaky skin also known as dandruff.
This happens to us bearded men as well. When we grow a beard we allow for a buildup of moisture, oil and dead skin. This results in the dreaded "beardruff" (See our article on the 2 Reasons Beards Flake). When we use jojoba oil in our beard oil, we compound the issue.
You see, jojoba oil isn't technically an oil. It's what's known as a liquid wax.
"But, Mike, isn't jojoba oil good for fighting acne?", you may ask. It can be, but that's with teenagers and hormones and stuff men aren't dealing with. We need something that balances our face oil, not contributes to it.
#2 - Jojoba oil is greasy
To me, this is the most obvious of problems with jojoba oil in beard oils. Stick with me here and I'll explain.
Sebum oil is found where? On the outside of the skin, right? Jojoba oil is similar to sebum, so where is it going to live? On the outside of the skin. The problem is, we want to moisturize the beard, which happens primarily at the roots. So, we need to get into the skin. Jojoba oil is just too heavy to do that well.
I've been sent a number of beard oils over the years and the results are typically the same: I put on the beard oil, and then I can't touch my face for another 45 minutes, else I take a chance of getting oil on my clothes and most certainly my phone screen. That's ridiculous!
Argan Oil is the Best Carrier Oil
When we set out to make a better beard oil, we knew we had to solve the problem of "greasy beard". There had to be a better way. We set off to an essential oils shop and lined up five or so popular oils. Keep in mind that these were all of the highest quality available.
Here is what we found:
- Jojoba Oil - Too heavy. Left a greasy residue.
- Sweet Almond Oil - Too light. Absorbed quickly but the skin didn't feel natural afterwards.
- Coconut Oil - No. Just no. Coconut oil is great for soothing wounds and has some antimicrobial properties, but it leaves the area feeling dry, though it is saturated. The absorption rate wasn't great, either.
- Avocado Oil - A close contender to Argan Oil. It was a bit slicker than Argan and the absorption rate wasn't as good, but it was a minor difference.
- Argan Oil - Quick absorption rate. No greasy residue. Skin felt healthy and balanced afterwards.
Argan oil was the clear winner and it's the only oil we use as a carrier oil. Nothing else is needed.
Further Researched Shows More Benefits of Argan Oil
As we started down the path of using Argan oil in our beard oils, we wanted to make sure there wouldn't be any adverse effects. As it turns out, it's one of the best oils you can use for the skin and hair.
Argan Oil Balances Sebum Oil
Where Jojoba contributes to the buildup of sebum-like oils, argan actually cuts through it and balances it out. Check out this review of our beard oil from a customer of ours:
"As a man with eczema, I've always battled keeping my beard, mustache, and other areas of my face moisturized so as to avoid getting dry, flaky skin to appear. This has been a point of humiliation and a constant struggle to try different oils (still use coconut oil on my scalp to help moisturize). However, this beard oil and the others offered by Wolf and Iron are effective, aromatic, and don't leave my hands and clothes covered with residue and stains." - Jake G.
Argan Oil Gets Into the Skin & Beard Hair
Here's what we've noticed: After applying our beard oil, it is quickly absorbed into the skin. The beard itself has a bit of a benefit from it, but the real results show up about 30-45 minutes later and last all day.
There is a noticeable saturation of color in the beard: the browns or blacks (and the greys) look much more healthy. Any beardruff is cleared up and those pesky under-beard pimples happen less frequently.
Honestly, I never thought beards oils and the interplay of them and our skin would be such an interesting topic. Like most guys, skincare isn't something I had previously thought much about. But, I'm a firm believer is making products that work and that's just what we've done.
Have any questions on beard care or which of our beard oils might be right for you? Just reach out. We answer every email.
- Mike Yarbrough