Beard oil is a conditioning product that some people use to groom their facial hair. It claims to soften hair as it grows in, condition skin, and result in a beard that appears to be clean and well-groomed.
Since coconut oil is an ingredient that can soften skin and condition hair, some people opt to use it as a low-cost and simple beard oil alternative. We spoke to a dermatologist to find out if coconut oil is really good for your beard.
Coconut oil is known for its ability to soften your hair while protecting its outer layers. There’s also a belief, based mostly on anecdotal evidence, that coconut oil stimulates hair growth.
It can also be used to soften the skin on your face. When the skin on your face is healthy, moisturized, and free of obstruction — like flaking, clogged pores, or dead skin — your beard grows in evenly and is less prone to razor bumps.
Coconut oil has been researched for use as both a hair softener and cosmetic ingredient for your face. Virgin coconut oil may decrease the formation of split ends, as well as protect and nourish your skin barrier.
It also promotes healing if your skin is irritated, and it works as an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent.
All of these properties seem to point in favor of using coconut oil on your beard.
According to Dr. Owen Kramer, a dermatology resident at the University of Illinois at Chicago, there isn’t a lot of clinical data supporting the use of coconut oil as a beard oil.
Having an allergy to coconut oil is extremely rare. You may still experience some skin irritation even if you’re not allergic to the oil.
“[Coconut oil] is comedogenic,” said Kramer. That means it’s a substance that’s extremely likely to clog your pores. “From an acne standpoint, any product that lists coconut oil has the potential to cause acne,” he said.
Kramer pointed out that while not everyone who uses coconut oil on their face will experience a breakout, those who want to try coconut oil to groom their beard should certainly be aware of this possibility.
If you have any predisposition for acne around your beard area, you may want to opt out of using coconut oil as a beard oil.
Like any beard oil, coconut oil is best applied to your beard when it’s clean and dry. Your beard and your skin will absorb the oil, so you won’t have to worry about washing it out.
How to apply coconut oil to your beard
- Remember that it’s better to start with too little and add more to your beard than to overwhelm it with coconut oil.
- Start by rubbing a teaspoon’s worth of coconut oil together in your palms. This will warm the oil enough for it to melt, making it easier to apply.
- Slowly massage the oil directly onto your face, stroking the oil in a downward direction to tame stray hairs and shape your beard.
- Finish by putting emphasis on the very bottom of your beard, massaging leftover oil into the ends.
The area of skin where a beard grows tends to be more prone to sensitivity than other types of human hair.
Beard hair tends to grow unevenly and at different shapes and angles. That’s why figuring out how to best groom your beard can take time, and a lot of experimenting with different grooming products.
Some people believe that coconut oil promotes hair growth. But this appears to be a myth.
“Hair growth is a tough subject, and there are a lot of claims out there that X and Y product will increase your hair growth rate,” said Kramer. “I could not find any studies to substantiate [this claim],” he added.
If your hair grows at a normal rate and you’re otherwise healthy, it’s unlikely that there’s any beard oil or similar product that’ll make your beard grow in more quickly.
There are plenty of other natural alternatives for beard oils and balms.
If you’re looking specifically for a natural oil with soothing properties that may help your beard grow in faster, consider peppermint oil.
The scent of peppermint is strong, and diluting it with another softening carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or sweet almond oil, is essential for a DIY beard oil.
If you’re looking to prevent hair breakage, you may want to use pure vitamin E oil.
Other options for natural products that shape and groom your beard include:
Coconut oil has hydrating and protective properties that soothe irritated skin and improve hair’s appearance. For these reasons, it may work for some people as a beard oil or balm.
You can use coconut oil in its pure form or look for products that contain it as an ingredient. Be wary of beard oils that promise to accelerate hair growth — they probably don’t work.
If you have acne-prone skin, there are other natural alternatives to beard oil that are less likely to cause you to break out.