Keep Your Beard Calm with Some Balm

portrait-997190_1920-002What do you do when your beard hairs start getting wild and out of place? Calm them down with some beard balm!

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.

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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.

Sheabutter-virginsheabutterThe 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.

 

512px-Cocoa_butter_p1410148Cocoa 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…

 

Molten_beeswaxDIY Beard Balm

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!

 

Sources:

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?

Spoil Your Beard with Some Oil

scraggly beard - beard-698509_1920 - pixabay

So, you’ve decided to grow your facial hair out… If you want your beard to look, feel and smell its best, you’ll have to invest some time in its upkeep by developing a proper beard care regimen.  If you haven’t already, in addition to washing, conditioning, and trimming your face bush, make sure to add a good beard oil to your line up!

 

Why beard oil?

Beard oil will keep your whiskers soft, supple, shiny, and smelling good—and keep your significant other loving your whiskers as much as you do (read: tickles are nicer than scratches!)

What is beard oil exactly?

Beard oil is an oil mixture for softening your beard made up of two types of oils: essential oils and carrier oils.

Essential oils are natural oils that are extracted from plants and carry the fragrance, or the “essence”, of those plants.  These oils have been used throughout time for medicinal or aromatherapy purposes because of their natural healing properties.  Essential oils are potent compounds which could irritate or even burn your skin, so they should not be applied directly to your face, and this is why they are usually combined with carrier oils.

Carrier oils, or base oils, are oils used to dilute or “carry” the essential oils to keep them from irritating your skin.

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Popular essential oils for beard care:

  • Cedarwood
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme

Carrier oils - oils-740177_1920 - pixabayCommon carrier oils:

  • Almond
  • Argan
  • Avocado
  • Castor
  • Coconut
  • Grapeseed
  • Jojoba
  • Olive

There are a number of beard oils out on the market to choose from, like Happy Jake’s Beard Oil, Jack Black’s Beard Oil, and Shea Moisture for Men Shea Butter Beard Softener & Skin Protector; but if you’re feeling adventurous, you could also make your own at home.

 

DIY Beard Oil

To make your own beard oil, you’ll need:

Small 1 oz (30 mL) bottles;

A funnel;

The essential oil whose scent you like the most;

Your carrier oil of choice;

An eye dropper (if your bottle of essential oil does not come with its own dropper).

 

Buy some small 1 oz (30 mL) bottles to hold your oil once it’s made (or even slightly larger bottles, like the ones you use for your carry-on liquids when flying, if you want to make a bigger batch);

Use a funnel to pour 1 oz (30 mL) of your carrier oil into a bottle;

Use your dropper to add 3-10 drops of your essential oil (depending on how strong it smells) to every 1 oz (30 mL) of carrier oil;

[You don’t have to stick to one essential oil and/or carrier oil: you can play around with different blends of oils to create your own signature beard oil.  For example, you could mix 1/2 oz (15 mL) of one carrier oil with 1/2 oz (15 mL) of another, and then add a couple of drops of 2 or more essential oils.]

Mix the oils together by shaking the bottle for about 30 seconds; and voilà– you’ve got your own beard oil!

 

How often should you oil your beard?

Oil your beard at least once a day: after washing and conditioning your beard, pour a few drops on to your fingers and massage into your beard and the skin underneath.  Use a brush or comb to evenly distribute the oil throughout your beard.

Enjoy spoiling your beard with some oil!

 

Sources:

Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 2012.

The Art of Manliness, “DIY Beard Oil”: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/09/09/diy-beard-oil/#disqus_thread

Beard Mountain, “Beard Oilcyclopedia Part 2: Essential Oils and How to Make Beard Oil”: http://beardmountain.com/beard-oilcyclopedia-part-2-essential-oils/

The Manliness Kit, “What is Beard Oil and Why You Should Care”: http://manlinesskit.com/what-beard-oil-why-should-care/

The Manliness Kit, “DIY: How to Make Beard Oil. Quick & Easy Recipes” http://manlinesskit.com/diy-how-to-make-beard-oil-quick-easy-recipes/

Swanson Vitamins, “Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Beginner’s Guide to Using Essential Oils”: http://www.swansonvitamins.com/blog/natural-health-tips/essential-oils-aromatherapy-guide

What oils/blends do you use to spoil your beard?