Beard balm can be used not only to moisturize and soften your facial hair (similar to beard oil), but also to mold and hold your whiskers in place.
Why beard balm?
Although beard oil and beard balm both condition your facial hair, beard balm might be a better choice for you if you struggle with hairs that keep sticking up in the wrong direction, or if your beard feels especially stiff, dry, or wiry. The thicker consistency and weightiness of beard balm will help your hairs clump together and make them stay uniform throughout the day.
What is beard balm exactly?
Beard balm is a leave-in conditioner/styling agent for your beard, made from a combination of beeswax, natural butters (i.e. shea and/or cocoa butter), essential oils, and carrier oils.
Beeswax is a natural wax made by honeybees to make honeycombs. Beeswax gives beard balm its holding properties.
The natural butters in beard balm make it spreadable. Shea butter is a cream- or yellow- coloured nutty-smelling natural butter that is made from the nut of the shea (or karité) tree, found in West and Central Africa. Unrefined shea butter is an excellent conditioner for your hair (and skin) and is also a source of vitamins A and E and fatty acids.
Cocoa butter (or theobroma oil) is a pale-yellow chocolatey-smelling natural butter that is made from cocoa beans. Cocoa butter contains antioxidants and is used to make chocolate products(!), and, more importantly, hair and skin products. Though solid at room temperature, cocoa butter easily melts when it comes in contact with the skin.
Essential oils are natural oils that are extracted from plants and carry the fragrance, or the “essence”, of those plants, and are often used for medicinal or aromatherapy purposes (i.e. tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil). Essential oils are potent compounds and should always be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied to the skin.
Carrier oils, or base oils, are oils used to dilute or “carry” the essential oils to keep them from irritating your skin (i.e olive oil, castor oil). Coconut oil is often used as a carrier oil in beard balm, not only because of its conditioning properties, but also because, at room temperature, it has the consistency of a butter. (For a list of good essential and carrier oils for beards, click here.)
Popular Beard Balms
Beard balm, like beard oil, is becoming increasingly popular in men’s grooming. Though I could not find many that are specifically formulated to meet the needs of beard wearers with kinky, coily hair, Scotch Porter (formerly known as NUDE) Beard Balm stands out as one of them. Two other brands that also seem to be popular for all hair textures were Virtu Beard Balm by Liberty Premium Grooming Co. and Honest Amish Beard Balm Leave-in Conditioner. In any case, you could always try your hand at making your own…
To make your own beard balm, you’ll need:
A small pot or double boiler;
2 Tbsp beeswax;
2 Tbsp shea butter
1 Tbsp cocoa butter;
5 tsp of your carrier oil of choice;
A few drops of the essential oil whose scent you like the most;
A small storage tin.
***Designate a pot that you will use only for making beard balm because it will be hard to get the ingredients off of it when you’re ready to use it for food again***
Put your beeswax, natural butter, and carrier oil into the pot.
Cook over a very low heat, or use a double boiler (Whether you use a pot or a double boiler, you want to avoid using high or direct heat: you want your ingredients to get warm enough to melt, but not burn or boil!)
Allow the ingredients to melt, while stirring occasionally.
Once the solution has become a liquid, remove from the heat.
Add your essential oils, making sure to do so before the balm solidifies, and stir well.
Immediately pour the mixture into a storage tin and cover.
Let the balm sit overnight to cool; and you will have your own beard balm by the morning!
Make it your own!
You can play around with the proportions until you find the consistency that you like; but aim for having about 2/3 of your balm consisting of your room-temperature solids (namely, your beeswax, natural butters, coconut oil, etc), and 1/3 of your mixture being made up of your liquid carrier oils.
If your balm is too soft and not holding well, add more beeswax; if your balm is making your beard crunchy, then use less beeswax.
How do you apply beard balm?
After washing and drying your beard, rub some balm through your beard once a day. You can even use your beard balm along with your beard oil to double-up on the conditioning effects!
About.com, “Shea Butter: What It Is, Why It Works”: http://multiculturalbeauty.about.com/od/Natural/a/Shea-Butter-What-It-Is-Why-It-Works.htm
Beardoholic, “How To Make Beard Balm At Home (DIY)”: http://beardoholic.com/how-to-make-beard-balm/
Beard Pros, “Best Beard Balm 2015”: http://www.beardpros.com/best-beard-balm-2015/
Encyclopedia Britannica, “Cocoa Butter”, 2015: http://www.britannica.com/topic/cocoa-butter
Grow A Beard Now, “Beard Balm Recipe”: http://www.growabeardnow.com/beard-balm/
Livestrong, “What are the Benefits of Raw Shea Butter?”: http://www.livestrong.com/article/324195-what-are-the-benefits-of-raw-shea-butter/#sthash.olm0XvYX.dpuf
The Manliness Kit, “How to Make Beard Balm with Beeswax in 5 Simple Steps”: http://manlinesskit.com/how-to-make-beard-balm-recipe-with-beeswax/
Tools of Men, “Beard Balm Recipe: The Ultimate DIY Guide”: http://www.toolsofmen.com/beard-balm-recipe/
Do you think beards should be kept “calm” with balm? Or should they grow free?