We see it far too often. Men, bold in their convictions, throw down their razors and set off on a journey that forms their identity and defines their character: they grow a beard. Then, with all the sudden drama of a summer thunderstorm, they shave it off. Gone.
Common excuses range from itchiness to frustration at an unkempt appearance – fair enough, but giving up on something that took so much patience to create is a drastic step. Even more so when you consider that the beard gods divined beard oils and balms to solve these issues and more.
Suits: Short-to-medium length beards
Light in consistency, most beard oils are made from a blend of all-natural ingredients that are designed to easily absorb into the hairs and underlying skin. Just a few drops massaged through (or brushed for longer beards) will condition the hairs, leaving them smooth without appearing shiny.
The antibacterial and moisturising properties of the oils serve a second function that’s arguably as important as the first. That is, beard oils will relieve the itchiness of beards in their early stages, and fight any dry skin and dandruff-like flakes that can appear buried under beards that are more luxurious.
Suits: Medium-to-long length beards
Most beard balms are produced as hard, wax-like pastes that use their slight hold to lock down particularly stubborn fly-away whiskers that a beard oil gives up on. With these styling chops in their locker, beard balms are more useful for use on beards with some decent length.
Application is similar to beard oils; a fingernail-sized blob warmed between the hands rubbed through the beard will do the trick, and a brush can be used to give a uniform look. Like beard oils, beard balms will soothe itchiness and moisturise the underlying skin.
I know what you’re thinking, “Can I use both?” – and the answer is yes. While beard oils and beard balms have their similarities, each also has a unique benefit compared to the other. If you do use both products, remember that moderation is key, and apply less of each than normal.