The Difference Between Beard Oil and Beard Balm

Beard growers new to the scene may be wondering what the difference is between beard oil and beard balm.

People say using beard oil and beard balm is essential to growing a comfortable and good looking beard. Those who say that are absolutely right.

Both products exist to do the same thing but they are distinctly different.


Beard Oil and Beard Balm Similarities

Beard oil and beard balm both act as beard conditioners. Regular use will result in a softer beard, reduced dandruff, and an overall healthier beard.

They both should contain carrier oils and essential oils. Organic and all-natural ingredients are what I recommend.


Carrier Oils

Carrier oils provide the hair softening and skin moisturizing effects. They comprise a majority of both the beard oil and beard balm solutions.

Carrier oils act to coat the entire hair in oil, from tip to follicle, providing a great benefit to your beard. They are named “carrier” because they also play a role in distributing the essential oil throughout your beard.


Essential Oils

A good beard oil and beard balm should contain essential oils.

Initially, you will notice the essential oils scent emanating from the beard oil and beard balm. The smell should be pleasant to your senses. Essential oils are therapeutic, after all.

However, the real benefit of essential oils lays in what happens when they are applied to your beard. Each essential oil provides various benefits to your beard in its own unique way.

For example, tea tree essential oil has many properties. One of those properties is that tea tree essential oil is antimicrobial.

Using a beard oil or beard balm with tea tree oil means you will be helping clean your beard of any microscopic bugs setting up camp. Those bacteria can fester and cause unpleasant side-effects such as aroma.

Another example of essential oil is peppermint oil. Peppermint essential oil is stimulating to your hair follicles. Stimulation means the act of drawing more blood to the follicle. Blood contains nutrients, so the more blood to the follicle, the more nutrients it receives.

Try to find a beard oil or beard balm that has great health benefits via essential oils, but also smells great too!


Beard Oil and Beard Balm Differences

Beard oil and beard balm are essentially the same product. They hydrate your skin, soften your beard, and help your beard look great.

The two obvious differences between beard oil and beard balm are:

  1. Ingredients in Beard Balm
  2. Length of beard determines which to use


Ingredients in Beard Balm

The major difference between beard oil and beard balm is quite apparent when looking at them.

Beard oil is oily and beard balm is balmy. Duh!

As mentioned earlier, both beard oil and beard balm share many common ingredients (carrier oils and essential oils). Generally, beard balm will have the exact same ingredients as beard oil PLUS two others- something to make it spreadable, and something to give it some hold.

A vegetable butter is typically used to give the balm its spreadable properties. Shea butter is commonly used in beard balms to provide an excellent spread. This allows the balm to cut through your thick beard, getting all the way down to the skin and follicle.

Shea butter is incredibly nourishing for the skin and also helps promote healthy hair growth.

Beeswax is a common ingredient added to beard balm to give it a bit more hold when in your beard. It can help keep your beard from drying out and also help tame those wild hairs from growing any direction they please.


Length of Beard Determines Use

The length of your beard should help you determine which product is the best fit for you. Now, this advice is totally optional, since both beard oil and beard balm do the same thing.

They both condition your beard and hydrate the skin, causing you to grow an amazingly healthy beard.

As a general rule, if your beard is short, use beard oil. If your beard is long, use beard balm.


Shorter beards don’t need the extra spreadability or hold provided by beard balm. The hair will be too short to really stand up on its own.

You’ll also be able to easily cut down through your beard hair, down to the skin, allowing for all the hydrating and softening benefits to be easily achieved.

However, if your beard is short but you found a beard balm that you really love, go for it. You’ll only notice the difference if the balm has A LOT of beeswax in it.

When your beard is able to hold a beard comb in by itself, hands free, you’re ready to upgrade to beard balm. I’d highly recommend pairing your beard balm with a beard comb.

Beard combs can help distribute the balm evenly throughout your beard. Their teeth can also cut all the way to the skin and follicle better than your meaty fingers.

As a fun bonus, beard comb teeth also help promote healthy beard growth. They help pry out ingrown hairs and stimulate the follicle to grow healthily. (Click here to learn more about beard combs).



At the end of the day, beard oil and beard balm are not that different. They share the same basic ingredients, with beard balm containing extra ingredients to make it more balmy and spreadable.

You can use either product at any stage of growth. However, we recommend beard oil at shorter lengths and beard balm for longer ones.

Beard balm will spread better and cut deep into the beard while providing subtle shaping and holding properties. Use a beard balm and beard comb together to maximize your beard’s potential.

I always recommend reading the ingredient list. Many cosmetic companies are hella sketchy and they will often add unnatural ingredients that are cheaper for them, and possibly not so great for you.

Do you really want to be putting a form of silicone on your skin? Up to you. I prefer not, despite the industry’s claims that it’s perfectly safe.

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