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You’ve likely seen beard oil at stores next to other male grooming products, like shaving cream and aftershave. However, if you’ve never used it before, you might not be sure what it’s for or how to use it.

Despite the common misconception, there’s no evidence beard oil makes your beard grow faster.

It essentially acts as a moisturizer to keep your beard soft and the skin underneath hydrated. Many people find that beard oil makes it easier to manage their beard, especially as it gets longer.

Let’s break down how to properly use beard oil, what it actually does, and what you should avoid when using it.

Beard oil is easy to apply. All you need is a comb, and if you have a very short beard, you may even be able to get by with your hands.

You can find many combs on the market specifically for beards, and many men prefer to groom their beards with wooden combs. However, any type of comb with a wide and narrow section can work.

Most beard oils come with an eyedropper or a lid that lets you pour one drop at a time. If yours didn’t or if you’re using homemade beard oil, you may also need a container that lets you easily portion it.

There should be specific instructions on the back of the container. However, here’s how beard oil is generally applied:

  1. Apply two to three drops of beard oil in your palm and rub your hands together to spread the oil around your palms and fingers. You may need more oil later, but it’s better to start with a small dose to avoid making your beard too greasy.
  2. Rub your palms and fingers across the hair on both your cheeks.
  3. Next, rub your hands down the front of your face so that it covers your mustache and chin.
  4. Go over your mustache again with your fingertips.
  5. Run a comb through your beard to evenly distribute the oil. Comb both with and against the growth of your hair.
  6. Apply more oil if you don’t feel like you’ve used enough. People with particularly long or dry beards are most likely to need more.
  7. Comb your beard back into place and groom it as you like.

The best time to apply beard oil is after washing your face or taking a hot shower, when your hair and face are clean. Before applying the oil, dry your beard with a towel so that it’s damp but not wet.

You likely don’t need to apply beard oil every day. You can start by applying it every other day, and adjust as needed. If you live in a particularly dry climate or have a longer beard, you may need to apply more often.

If you notice your beard feels greasy, you can cut back how often you apply oil.

The amount and frequency you apply beard oil is up to you, but you should avoid:

  • putting so much oil on that your beard feels greasy
  • leaving in clumps of uncombed oil
  • pouring the oil directly on your face
  • using oil if it’s causing discomfort or irritation
  • applying oil when your beard is still wet

There’s a limited amount of research examining the effect of oils on beard health. However, beard oil may have the following benefits:

  • Moisturizes dry skin. Applying a beard oil may help moisturize the skin underneath your beard and prevent dry, flaking skin. Applying many types of oil to your skin creates a water-repellent layer to block trans-epidermal water loss.
  • Lessens itchiness. The moisturizing properties of beard oil may help reduce itchiness caused by flaking skin.
  • Softens your beard. Oils that contain saturated fats or monounsaturated fats may be able to penetrate the outer layer of your hair to help it keep its natural moisture barrier. Maintaining this moisture barrier keeps your hair hydrated and soft.
  • Protects against folliculitis. Some types of oils like coconut oil have antimicrobial properties that may prevent folliculitis. Folliculitis is an inflamed hair follicle caused by bacterial or fungal infections.
  • Makes your beard smell good. Many beard oils contain fragrances that give your beard a pleasant smell.

Beard oil, wax, and balms have similar functions but different textures. They can all offer the same moisturizing benefits but may change the way you style your beard.

Beard oils are often made up of carrier oils and essential oils along with fragrances. It’s the most lightweight option and won’t weigh down your beard.

Beard balms contain the same types of oils but have a thicker texture. They’re often recommended for men with fuller beards. Balms take longer to be absorbed than oils, so they have a longer-lasting effect. The extra weight of the balm may also help you style your beard and tame flyaways.

Beard wax is the thickest option of all. Along with the carrier and essential oils, they also usually contain beeswax. This wax gives it the ability to hold your beard in place when you’re trying to achieve a particular style. Wax may be your best option if you find your beard is unruly or hard to manage.

Beard oil is easy to find at most places that sell men’s grooming products such as pharmacies and department stores. You can also find beard oil online from many retailers.

Shop for beard oils online.

Despite what you may have heard, there’s no evidence that beard oil makes your beard grow faster. However, it does have the potential to keep your beard hydrated and to give it a shiny texture.

You can easily find beard oil at most places that sell men’s grooming products, or you can make your own with castor oil or coconut oil.