We found the absolute best beard balm because unfortunately some guys simply let their beard grow out, putting in minimal effort to shape and condition it along the way. You know the look: Playoff hockey players, and guys that look like playoff hockey players but are worse at ice skating. Meanwhile, other guys grow a beard. Really, it’s no different from growing out one’s hair: Either you look moppy or you look intentional. When it comes to facial hair, products like beard balm separate the sloppy from the sophisticated. But don’t mistake me: You can have a big, bushy beard and still look intentional. It’s these beard products, like balm, that make all the difference.
Beard balm is a blend of nourishing ingredients that you apply after you wash your beard in the morning. Its primary purpose is to condition and nourish your scruff, while also providing some level of lightweight control and style over the entire beard. The amount of taming power each balm has will differ from one product to the next, as well as the level of shine.
Beard balm and beard oil share some benefits, though they do not serve the same purpose. Beard balms are better for taming and styling long beard hairs. Oils, on the other hand, have less control over the style of a beard, but are easier to apply throughout—including on the skin underneath.
Anyone with a beard can use beard balm, but it is most useful for medium and long beards that need extra taming and nourishment. The balm itself can feel heavy on the skin, which is why most short-bearded guys opt for a beard oil or simply an extra helping of facial moisturizer. Beard balm is best applied throughout the beard itself, and not on the skin, especially if it contains comedogenic ingredients like coconut oil, which can lead to breakouts on acne-prone skin.
Different brands have different terminology for their products—some products called “beard wax” are very similar to beard balm. However, standalone waxes typically have a sticky, stubborn consistency, and are best used for finishing touches like patting down flyaways or coaching some hairs to cover up patchy spots. Balms tend to be more lightweight, to better evenly throughout the hands, then can be massaged cleanly throughout the beard.
How to Apply Beard Balm
- Have a clean, dry beard: You need a freshly cleansed, totally dry beard prior to applying beard balm.
- Muss it up: Start by combing or picking out your beard, making it extremely scraggly and unkempt. You can do this by working up from underneath the chin, and upwards and out around the face.
- Apply a pea-sized amount up and out: Massage the product throughout the beard, keeping it unkempt. In other words, mimic the second step, except now with balm on your hands. Make sure your’re getting it up between the hairs, too.
- Tame everything down and into place: Here’s where you will coach everything into its spot. You can probably do this with your hands, but some beards and balms will allow for a light combing-through, too.
- Comb it out: Now, mess everything up again, taking your wide-toothed comb and sending the hairs out of order once more, up and out. This fully distributes all of the product.
- Comb it back down: And at long last, you can comb it back into place, using both the wide teeth and your hands/fingers to give it shape and style.
The Best Beard Balm
The Best Beard Balm for Unruly Beards
Dry, coarse, and stubborn scruff meets its match in this delightful cream from Scotch Porter. It harnesses castor seed oil and shea butter to condition and soften hairs, as well as biotin to smooth it all into place.
The Best Beard Balm for Long Beards
We wish more beard balms came in tubes: it’s much easier to control how much you use. This one is more like lightweight hair cream. It emulsifies and distributes much more easily (especially with a comb; you won’t experience any tugging or knotting). Best of all, it wears lightly in longer beards and gives you extremely soft, touchable results.
The Best-Rated Beard Balm
There’s no denying Honest Amish’s hold on the Amazon beard marketplace—the mixture of nearly two-dozen natural oils and waxes have long been the favorite of reviewers.
The Best All-Purpose Beard Balm
While you could use this on everything from cracked heels to hangnails, Beardbrand’s utility balm is a workhorse on facial hair, while also smelling amazing.
The Lightest-Hold Beard Balm
This shea butter “balm” needs the air quotes, because it dissolves into a liquid as you massage it into your hands, and then throughout your beard. But it’s still got all the nourishing power of balms, with light hold and bold shine.
The Best Beard Balm for Stubble
They make terrific shave products, so of course The Art of Shave’s beard balm has your skin in mind: This helps nourish stubble and skin, to keep whiskers soft and itch-free, while also preventing dry skin underneath. Use it on your first week or two of growth, or between shaves.
The Best Beard Balm for Hair and Beard
Lightweight control over beards and heads of hair, thanks to a blend of oils (like argan, jojoba, and grapeseed), butters (shea and cocoa), as well as beeswax.
The Longest-Lasting Beard Balm
This balm is so big, it’s on the no-fly list. (it’s .6 oz. over the TSA limit). It softens the coarsest and most stubborn beards thanks to a rich blend of coconut oil and shea butter, and its tobacco-vanilla-cedar scent gives you daylong aromatherapy.