Bearding for the Modern Gent
Beard oil has been around for a long time. In ancient cultures like Mesopotamia the elite wore beards smoothed and nurtured with rich oils; after all, nothing screams class quite like a well-groomed set of whiskers. It's been around as a commercial product since the good ‘ol days when the electric razor was brand new and Gone With the Wind first made headlines. But for most of us, beard oil is pretty new stuff. As beards have become more popular in the past 10 years, so have shaving and grooming products like beard oil, mustache wax, pre-shave oil and aftershave. Men’s facial hair is at a whole new level of awesome!
So what’s all the fuss about?
For starters, that beard isn’t meant to be crunchy, flaky, or unruly. Beard oil is made with oils that resemble sebum – the oil in skin that keeps it healthy. I know I write this in almost every post, but here’s my disclaimer: always check the ingredients! If you find a beard oil made with mineral oil or some other cheap filler, it isn’t going to moisturize your beard (but you might get a nice pimple or two from the clogged pores you will get). That being said, look for jojoba, avocado, grapeseed, almond and other pure oils that will moisturize your beard and the skin beneath it.
A beard with more moisture will have less breakage and be softer. Beard oil conditions the beard and skin underneath, which prevents nasty skin from flaking through your manly locks. A moisturized beard is also easier to style, comb, and groom. The trend right now is to create a fragrance with various essential oils that nourish the beard and skin as well –so here’s my next disclaimer: essential oils are awesome. But too much essential oil that close to your nose will not be pleasant. A good beard oil will be lightly fragranced with a pleasant smell but not an overpowering one. We add tea tree oil as well - yet another oil that seals in moisture!
Beard oil is meant to be used sparingly – we’re not suggesting you oil that puppy down like the classy gentlemen of Mesopotamia might have done. A dime sized amount (for a short to average beard, not a super-long Merlin beard) worked into a beard every 2-3 days is really all the extra moisture a beard needs. If someone tells you to use more, they’re probably just hoping you’ll buy their product more often! So use your beard oil wisely, read the ingredients, and happy bearding!