If you're new to beard care, you might be surprised at how high maintenance they actually are. Just like the hair on our head, our beards require the same levels of care and dedication to ensure they look their best
But what's the difference between beard oils and beard balms? Yes, both essentially have similar benefits. The main difference is texture and functionality. Beard Balms are generally thicker in texture, with the thickness giving you the opportunity to style your beard hair more while nourishing it. In this article, we've handpicked the best beard balms to add to your routine.
Best Beard Balm for New Beards: Proraso Beard Balm: Wood and Spice
Discomfort is normal when you're growing out your beard for the first time. As a result, you need a beard balm with soothing properties to alleviate irritation as the new beard hair grows. The Proraso Beard Balm is an excellent choice due to its ability to soothe and soften hair at the same time.
Made in Italy, the calming formula has Glycerin as one of the first five ingredients, meaning it's quite high in concentration. Glycerin helps to soften hairs by keeping it moisturised. As a humectant, it absorbs moisture from the air and brings it back to the skin. Maintaining optimum moisture levels in the skin and hair is the best way to prevent any itchiness and rashes.
To add to its soothing capabilities is Vitamin E in the form of Tocopheryl Acetate. Vitamin E strengthens the skin's barrier by being a potent antioxidant, protecting the area against free radicals like air pollution that can accelerate ageing. Vitamin E is renowned for its strong healing properties - a welcome benefit especially if the beard hairs are growing in an area where you might have cut the skin during shaving.
The simple yet effective ingredients list is vegan, if that is something you'd like to consider when thinking of which beard balm to choose. If you also like options, the Proraso Beard Balm comes in three other scents: Refreshing, Cypress & Vetyver and Azur Lime.
Regarding the packaging, you'll notice this beard balm is in a bottle, rather than a tub. Rest assured this makes no difference to the efficacy of the product, it simply comes down to your preference.
Best Beard Balm for Conditioning & Styling: American Crew Beard Balm
With wax-based beard balms, the consistency is thicker with better hold as opposed to water or oil based ones. Therefore, if your intention is to mainly style the beard rather than just condition it, this is a great choice. The stronger hold means hair stays in place longer without the need to reapply product and restyle as the day goes on.
Beeswax has been chosen as American Crew's wax of choice. Being antibacterial, it inhibits the growth of bacteria, reducing the likelihood of ingrown hairs and breakouts which can add to any irritations. Furthermore, beeswax has vitamin A properties which regulates your skin's natural cell renewal process. Generally, skin renews itself every 30 days but vitamin A speeds up this process. In doing so, skin is able to retain its softness. Without the buildup of dead skin, beard hair can also grow with ease, resulting in significantly less discomfort.
The scent is a herbal soap aroma that's not overpowering, making this a decent choice if you're not a fan of heavy smells. Sweet Almond Oil is listed as the first ingredient in the formulation. This lightweight oil encourages hair growth with its high levels of magnesium, biotin and vitamin E, as hair loss is often attributed to a lack of magnesium in the body. Without the magnesium, beard hair can be prone to becoming brittle with split ends. Sweet Almond Oil helps with its composition containing oleic and linoleic acids. Both work together in unison to lubricate the hair from tip to follicle, preventing split ends from happening while keeping the area moisturised.
Meanwhile, Shea Butter is a common emollient that contains the lesser known vitamin F. An essential fatty acid, this converts into a ceramide when applied to skin and hair. Ceramides are essential for keeping hairs soft and hydrated. To top it off, when this vitamin does convert to ceramide, it offers some UV protection from the harsh Australian sun. A separate sunscreen is still recommended though.
Best Hybrid Beard Balm: Captain Fawcett Booze & Baccy Beard Balm
When it comes to beard balms, most brands will either make it wax, oil or water based. The Captain Fawcett Booze & Baccy Beard Balm has a different take on this, creating a unique fusion by mixing five base creams, some waxes and ten essential oils together. The result is a product with potent nourishment and low shine for a natural semi-matte finish.
As mentioned, this beard balm is both wax and oil-based. Since it uses the best of both worlds, it's a medium texture that's still light enough to comfortably style hair without much effort. Think of it almost like a lighter pomade texture, but for your beard hair. The scent - made naturally from a mix of essential oils - is a spicy 'Bay Rum' fragrance.
But its uniqueness lies in its ingredients list. For example, Crambe Seed Oil is included. While an uncommon ingredient to use in grooming products, this light oil is responsible for the natural but subtle lustre. It’s able to untangle hair too, which is extremely beneficial if your beard is long in length. It plays well with other ingredients, helping to lock in the moisture gathered from other ingredients in the formulation, like Sweet Almond Oil.
The wax component of this beard balm is evident in the Candelilla Wax, which has numerous benefits to the beard hair. Firstly, its thicker emollient properties prevent moisture loss, keeping the beard hair nourished for long periods of time. Secondly, it's a light lubricant that absorbs quickly, which creates more slip thus making it easier to spread along your beard and style it. Thirdly, it has incredible binding properties which prevents the oils and wax in this beard balm from separating, ensuring the product's generous longevity.