How and Why to Make Your Own Beard Oil
As a thoroughly bearded man, it seems like almost every conversation I have with other guys begins with something about my facial hair. “How long have you been growing that thing?” is a common refrain; equally common is something along the lines of “Doesn’t it itch like crazy? I could never grow mine out like that.”
First off: I’ve had a full, thick beard since around age 17, and haven’t regularly shaved since that restaurant job I had in college where they insisted that I shave and cut my hair because “welcome to the real world.” (Bitter? Who, me?) Second: no, it doesn’t itch – not since I discovered the wonders of beard oil.
Why use beard oil?
I have an especially thick, coarse beard thanks to my Mediterranean genes, and my face-scalp – AKA my cheeks, chin, and neck – is highly prone to dryness and dandruff. Beard oil completely eliminates this problem for me, moisturizing my skin and softening my beard hair.
In fact, I call it “beard oil” because that’s where it started for me, but these days I actually use it on my whole face right after showering. Beyond the personal health benefits, it also just makes me look, smell, and feel clean, and it’s become a crucial part of my daily routine.
You can purchase pre-made beard oil from many sources, but the price is typically sky-high compared to what it’ll cost you to make it for yourself. And once you’ve got the basic recipe down, you can tweak it in a million different ways to suit your personal preferences.
What is beard oil made of?
Beard oil is composed of two main ingredients: carrier oils and essential oils.
The carrier oil accounts for about 99.9% of the volume, and gives the final product its texture and thickness.
Common carrier oils include argan oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil, but there are many others as well, and their prices can vary dramatically. Each type nourishes your skin and your beard hair in different ways, and they all have distinct textures.
- Argan oil comes from the fruit of the argan tree, native to Morocco. It is a thin, light, non-greasy oil, which makes it great for dual-purpose use on skin and hair. It’s rich in Vitamin E, which can help stimulate hair growth and repair split ends.
- Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax derived from the seed of the Jojoba shrub, native to Southwestern North America. It is readily absorbed by our skin as it very chemically similar to our own sebum.
- Coconut oil is one of the best moisturizing agents on planet Earth, and it’s delicious to boot. It is used extensively for hair and skin care, providing both dandruff relief and crucial proteins to boost the health of your hair.
The essential oils you choose give your mix its scent and can confer many health benefits as well. Essential oils are highly potent and generally shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin, which is why we “carry” them with carrier oils. I’ll highlight a few favorites here, but don’t be afraid to experiment with whatever smells good to you.
- Cedarwood – anti-fungal, anti-itch; improves scalp circulation.
- Lavender – anti-microbial; naturally calming scent.
- Orange – anti-inflammatory, antiseptic; alleviates anxiety.
- Peppermint – anti-itch, anti-inflammatory; naturally energizing scent. Also thickens and nourishes damaged hair.
How to make beard oil:
For a 1-oz batch of oil, all you really need to do is mix about 1 oz of carrier oils with anywhere from 5-20 drops of essential oils, depending on their potency and your preferences – remember that you can always add more, but you can’t take it out if you overdo it, so play it conservatively with the essentials.
You’ll want to acquire some 1-oz amber glass bottles with eye droppers like these, which are cheap and can be reused over and over again. You might also want to consider a mini-funnel like this one, but it’s not really necessary if you don’t mind getting a little messy.
I like to use equal parts argan, jojoba, and coconut oil (which usually needs to be heated to liquefy) for my carrier base, as I find that the thickness is ideal for applying to my beard as well as the rest of my face.
As far as essential oils go, it’s all about what you like. Stick your nose in a million of the oil samplers at your local retailer and pick out your favorites. I would advise against mixing too many different oils together – stick to one or two at a time until you’re really comfortable working with them. Cedarwood and lavender go great together, as do orange and tea tree. Play around and discover what you like best.
How to use beard oil:
For best results, rinse your face and beard thoroughly with warm water, then towel dry.
To apply the oil, start with 5-10 drops in the palm of your hand, rub it into your beard, and massage it down onto the skin. Then comb it through with a high-quality beard comb like this one from Kent, which I use myself.
If you have an especially large beard like mine, 10 drops probably isn’t going to cut it, so you’ll have to experiment to figure out the right amount for you.
Do this once a day, and you'll be amazed at how much better your beard looks and feels. The people around you will notice, too, and they'll want to talk about it. Better get used to it!
About the Author
Sam Sycamore is a writer and homesteader located in Simpsonville, Kentucky. He helps tend to a small-scale market garden alongside his wife Brooke, while propagating edible perennials and raising chickens in their backyard. To learn more about Sam and Brooke's story, click here. Contact Sam here, and keep up with his daily adventures on Instagram @doityoursammy.