Beard balm is another type of conditioner for your beard with slightly different properties. It can be applied to your mane by hand or with a beard comb, usually in the morning, to provide lasting protection throughout the day. Without beard balm, your carefully grown beard may become brittle and disheveled.
As with oil, beard balm is a blend, but it differs in some crucial ways. Shea butter is often used for softening the beard, sweet almond oil for conditioning and growth, and beeswax for sealing in moisture. These various waxes and oils are combined intentionally to achieve the best results.
Again, beard balms vary significantly in price, and choosing one to suit your needs will depend on your budget and the type of beard you have. There's no point in overspending on a good balm if you only sport a Shakespearian goatee; that said, there are balms available for every type of beard, all with their particular strengths.
Applying beard balm is quite a straightforward process and involves four key steps which we'll walk through below.
All one needs to apply beard balm is: beard balm, beard comb, their hands.
Related: Beard Balm vs Beard Wax
How to Apply Beard Balm
Open up the beard balm and grab a tiny teaspoon onto the thumb. The balm at this point is quite solid but will quickly melt away due to one’s body temperature.
Start rubbing the balm on the palm of one's hand until it starts to soften sufficiently and takes on a viscous but thick and malleable consistency. At this point, it's ready to be applied into the beard and while one works it into the beard, it'll melt and fully absorb.
Using one's fingers, apply the balm evenly throughout the beard, making sure to apply it through the full length of the hair. If the balm quickly gets absorbed, this may mean more balm needs to be applied and one should repeat the first two steps.
After applying the beard balm throughout the beard, it’s time to use a beard comb to style the beard and spread out any remaining balm throughout the beard.
Don’t use too much beard balm
It may seem enticing to grab a nice big lump of beard balm but in fact when it comes to applying beard balm always start with a little and then work through understanding if more is needed. Too much beard balm in one’s beard can make the beard too oily and promote acne and general irritation. Always err on the side of less.
At minimum, apply after showering in the morning
It's good practice to start each day by using some beard balm. After taking a shower, one's beard is clean without very little dirt or debris. At this point, ensure it's patted dry and apply beard balm, this will ensure it's nourished and protected for the rest of the day.
If it’s greasy, pat it dry
Too much beard balm can make one’s beard greasy. This also depends on how much one’s own skin secrets natural oils. Because of this, greasy beards may happen at the start while one learns to calibrate their use of beard balm for their specific beard’s needs.
Pair with other products
Along with using beard balm it's important to use other beard care products such as shampoo, conditioner, beard oil, and beard moisturizers. Depending on the health of one's beards, these products should be paired together so that one's beard is well taken care of.
Related: Why some men can't grow a beard
The Big Difference Between Oil And Balm
There is a natural confusion between balms and oils as both appear to service your beard in similar ways, but there are some key differences that can help you decide which product is best for your beard.
Both balms and oils tend to provide the same vitamins and nutrients for your beard and skin, but oils are much lighter and don't hold the same weight as balms do. Balms are made with a primary base of beeswax, cocoa butter, and shea butter, and different brands employ different blends depending on what properties they want to enhance. Some products are firmer than others; some have different melting properties, and others are softer and more nourishing.
There are two types of balms, conditioning and sculpting. The conditioning ones work in much the same way as oils. They give a light treatment to the beard, providing it with scent and nourishment but very little for a firm hold. However, a sculpting balm is quite different, it uses a much firmer primary base, such as cocoa butter, and provides a firm hold on your beard, allowing you to maintain its ideal shape for longer.
It's important to always check the ingredients before buying oil or balm. It should not be water-based or include silicone; cheaper products use these to mimic authentic, natural ingredients.
What’s Best For My Beard - Oil or Balm?
Whether you should use beard oil or beard balm is very much down to your beard size, style, and personal preference.
Those with short beards or long stubble may only require a drop of oil to keep the roots nourished and prevent the skin from drying out. It's unlikely guys in this category will need a great deal of sculpting; therefore, a solid balm is probably unnecessary.
For those with longer beards in need of regular grooming and taming, it may be wise to find a suitable conditioning or sculpting balm to control unruly whiskers; maintain the general shape and look of your beard, and keep your skin underneath adequately nourished.
When choosing a product, oil or balm, consider the length of your beard and the type of skin you have, dry or moist. Will you be grooming your beard with a comb or applying a simple solution in the way you might put on some aftershave?
There is no rule against using a firm balm on a short-haired beard just as there is no rule against using oil on a long beard. In fact, many guys apply both to their beards as they benefit from them in different ways.
It's important to play around with your options and discover a formula that's right for you.
Need quality beard balm and beard oil? Check out Beard Gains for a wide variety of selections!
The Bard And His Beard
These days beards are everywhere, almost as famous as they were in the days of The Bard; that’s good news if you're looking for beard-care products in the shops or on the internet, as there are plenty to choose from. Be careful though, don't choose one based on price alone, instead read the ingredients and consider its properties, are they natural, essential ingredients; avoid products that are water or silicone-based.
Your beard is an expression of who you are as an individual as well as an important lifestyle choice, and it has probably taken you a long time to grow and cultivate your beard into a shape and style that you're happy with. A beard such as this deserves proper care and maintenance, which is why it's so important to decide on a product, or products, that serve you best.
Don't get too hung up on oil or balm at first, instead experiment with both. See how your beard and skin respond to different combinations of solutions until you discover a match that suits you best.