Over the past 5 years, we have seen beards become more accepted in society at large. As a result, beard oil has become an integral part of men’s grooming and can be found in almost every pharmacy and big box. There are also hundreds of online purchasing options ranging from Amazon to made-to-order small-batch companies specializing in beard products. In addition to the obvious use of keeping beards soft and healthy, beard oils that are made from a variety of natural carrier oils have many other properties that can benefit your skin and hair.
Primary Uses – All About the Beard
In the infancy stages of beard growth, beard oil fights pesky beard itch that can cause even the most resilient guy to stop his beard growing efforts and shave. Beard oil moisturizes the skin underneath the beard and prevents “beardruff,” which is where dry skin causes flaking. As a beard gets longer, beard oil acts as a substitute for natural sebum oil. Sebum oil protects your hair and skin from moisture loss, and sebaceous glands generally don’t produce enough sebum for longer beards. Sebum production also declines with age, so us seasoned guys get the privilege of using more beard oil to compensate.
A good quality beard oil will also keep your beard soft and protected when combing and styling. Flyaway hairs will be more relaxed and manageable, and your beard will have a little more shine with less frizz. Arguably one of the best aspects of using beard oil is the variety of scent options on the market today. Small-batch companies cater to guys who enjoy trying and collecting different scents such as leather, tobacco, woods, cologne, etc… There are scents out there for every nose and beard.
Now that we have our beards looking, feeling, and smelling great, let’s go over some other uses for beard oil and dig into the science a little bit.
Moisturizer – An Alternative to Lotion?
Lotions are water based and tend to be absorbed quickly into the skin, but they also tend to be composed of synthetic ingredients, contain fragrances that are distinctly feminine, and can feel greasy. Natural oils that are found in quality beard oils, such as avocado, jojoba, and almond, mimic the natural sebum oil our skin produces and can repair and regulate the skin’s moisture barrier. Oils can be used in lieu of, or in tandem, with lotions to lock in hydration after a shower. Beard oil also does a wonderful job of keeping the most used and exposed parts of the skin protected. Our hands are used in almost every daily task, and the exposure and repetition can cause excessive dryness. Beard oil will leave hands and nail cuticles soft during dry weather or after repeated hand washing and frequent use of hand sanitizers.
Pre-shave and Post-shave oil
A combination of warm water and beard oil can prep your skin for a smooth and irritant-free shaving experience. Vitamin E, which is an ingredient of many popular beard oils, creates a lasting moisture barrier that can aid in a smooth shave and prevent razor bumps. Vitamin E can also help aid in healing cuts and prevent or lessen the visibility of scars. Besides being a wonderful moisturizer, sweet almond oil can act as an anti-inflammatory and fight against razor burn. In short, beard oil can help to give you a wonderful shave from start to finish. Kind of ironic, don’t you think?
Oiling Head Hair?
The practice of hair oiling is a technique that is centuries old and is common in many cultures. Certain oils can benefit both the health and look of hair. One of the best aspects of beard oil is that most contain carrier blends with several different natural oils resulting in multiple benefits from one product and application. Coconut oil, a common oil used in many beard oils, contains lauric acid as its principal fatty acid which can easily penetrate the hair shaft and bond to the hair’s protein. This can reduce protein loss and provide a natural protection for hair that is otherwise healthy or that has been damaged by heat, hair dyes, or various styling products.
Preventing Hygral Fatigue
Normal washing routines cause the hair shaft to swell. Constant swelling and drying of hair can lead to hygral fatigue which can result in several frequently occurring issues such as fizziness, dullness, brittleness, and breakage. Applying oil before washing will limit the deep penetration of water into the hair shaft thereby resulting in less swelling. By filling the gap between cuticle cells, natural oils can also prevent the penetration of more aggressive substances like the surfactants, or detergents, commonly used in shampoo. Use of beard oil before washing will protect your hair from the wear and tear of the washing process, thereby improving its health and lessening the symptoms of hygral fatigue.
As you can see, the combination of naturals oils contained in many beard oils can provide a multitude of benefits. The ability to protect your hair and skin at the base level while improving the look and health of both makes beard oil a perfect product to add to your hair and skin care regimen.
Authored by Bryan Haywood.