Despite the media trying to stop beards happening (no, they aren't out of fashion and no they don't harbour more germs than a dirty toilet) they are still a thing- we did well over 200 beard trims in July alone. While big, well groomed beards are still popular, we're seeing an increase of small, neat beards in the barbershop. No matter the size of beard, they remain well groomed and looked after and this is key to them looking good.
While washing them is really important (try Bearded Chap beard wash or Baxter of California's daily Facewash) beard oils and beard balms are really important products that our bearded friends need to be aware of. Both have super important functions and depending on your specific circumstances, you'll want to use either or in some cases both.
Put simply- beard oil is an oil based product, the equivalent to a leave in moisturiser or conditioner and the beard balm is wax based- more like a pomade for your beard. Both are going to provide moisture, but beyond that have very different benefits.
A beard balm, like our favourite Scoop Deluxe is the best starting point for an all in one product to moisturise and style a beard. Applied straight after a shower, it will seal in the moisture and make your beard look thicker (making it especially ideal for longer or sparse beards). It's great for longer beards that need styling as it will have a light hold.
Beard oils, such as The Bearded Chap and Handsome Devil will moisturise the skin underneath your beard and are great for that irritating beard itch you get in the first six weeks of growing a beard. They'll tackle unsightly beard-druff- patches of dry skin in your beard and will also soften the beard hair. Beard oils are especially good for new beards and can even make your beard hair grow faster. Don't fall into the trap of using too much oil- 4 drops for an average sized beard- more for longer beards, less for short ones is fine; any more will make you prone to breakouts. You'll also get less breakage in the beard hair with the oils provide moisture and protection.
Beard oils can be used daily- even more in extreme weather conditions and should be preferably applied to dry beards so that they don't look greasy. With both products a small amount is applied to your hands and rubbed together to warm the product and make it easier to distribute through the beard hair. Come up from the bottom with your hands and smooth it through the beard- concentrating on the roots and then spreading it through to the ends of the beard. If you are going to use both apply the oil first and then the balm over the top- this will allow the oil to get to work, while sealing it in.