Have you ever opened up your beard balm and found that it was held together like glue—just a solid rock of beard balm goodness that you’d need an icepick to chip away?
If you’ve ever run into this problem, then you’ve probably wanted to know what causes this and what to do about it.
Beard balm is made to be strong by design by including beeswax in the ingredients. The other ingredients are much looser, but low temperatures can cause them to harden up. High-quality products can be worked through your hands to soften them up, but lower-quality and home-produced beard balms often don’t have enough shea butter. Melting them down and adding a bit more will fix the problem.
High-quality beard balm will emulsify quite easily, but if you need to fix your beard balm, you’ll need to be careful. You need to first break down the balm and then build it back up.
We’ll cover two easy ways of fixing hardened beard balm, as well as a more complicated but effective method that can be used to not only soften your beard balm, but even extend its lifetime.
Three Methods for Softening Your Beard Balms
There are three approaches you can use to fix your overly hard beard balm. The first can be done with no tools. The second will require a blow-dryer. The third requires the most work. Our three methods are:
- Emulsifying the balm with your hands.
- Using a blow-dryer to quickly bring up the temperature and soften the texture.
- Melting the balm on the stove and adding in more shea butter.
1. Emulsifying the balm with your hands
The first is the easiest to do. It is actually part of how you apply beard balm anyway, as you can see in this video:
If you can scrape out some of the beard balm from the container, then it doesn’t matter if it is harder than you expected. Just take a little bit of it in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together really fast. Your body temperature and the heat generated from the friction emulsifies the balm and makes it easier to spread out throughout your beard.
If this works, then your balm doesn’t have any problems. It might be hard, but the balm is also supposed to be hard to a certain extent naturally.
If this doesn’t work, then you may want to try the second method.
2. Using a blow-dryer
Plug a blow-dryer in and apply heat to the balm container. You don’t want to apply too much heat, however, so don’t hold the dryer too close. You don’t want to melt the balm entirely; just to loosen it up enough that you can get a little bit out of it. Once you get it loose enough, you should be able to work it in your hands again.
This can be a time-saving trick and is easy to sync up to your showering schedule, since you’ve probably got the blow dryer out anyway. But, as with the next technique, you need to be extremely careful not to expose the balm itself to too much direct heat. This will cause the oils in the balm to turn into fats. Balms should always be heated up through removed techniques, such as hot air or steam.
If neither of these methods work, then chances are that either the balm was not made properly or that it is very old. If it is the latter, then there might not be any way of saving it. However, there is a chance that this will work.
3. Balm Melting
The third method is to melt the beard balm and add more shea butter to it. One thing you’ll find in recipes for beard balm is it contains a lot of shea butter. This makes sense—if it wasn’t for the beeswax, beard balm would just be beard butter after all.
The beeswax in beard balm keeps it nice and hard, but the shea butter helps to soften it up. If your balm is too hard, it might be time to add a little more shea butter into it. In order to do this, we need to melt our balm down.
Melting down beard balm is done by using a steam method. The balm is melted in a pot heated by steam. Once it has melted, add shea butter back into the mixture. Melt the shea butter, then take the balm off the heat and put it in the fridge or freezer.
Your newly improved balm will be softer than it was before. If it is too soft, then you will have to repeat the process but add in more beeswax. This can quickly become an annoying balancing act, though. To avoid the headache, begin by only using a little additional shea butter and add more as necessary. It’s easier to err on the side of too little rather than too much.
Is This Common With Professional Brands?
It is. While beard balm manufacturers work hard to create top quality products, they aren’t alchemists that can change the natural properties of matter. Beard balm mixtures are prone to hardening and melting.
This happens primarily because of the temperature that the balm is stored in. If it is too cold, then it will harden. It also hardens with age as the various ingredients change with time. Some balms can last several years while others only keep for a few months. Hardening is one sign that perhaps your balm is reaching the end of its life.
Help! I Have the Opposite Problem!
Just as beard balms can freeze and harden, they can also melt due to temperatures where they are kept or when they’re shipped. This is why melted beard balms are a common experience for those that order their balms online.
Receiving a melted beard balm in the mail always sucks, but you can easily fix it. We took an in-depth look at reviving melted beard balms here, but the conclusion of it is that you fix melted beard balms the same way that you add more shea butter to it. Only you don’t need to add the extra butter this time because hardening isn’t a problem.
Is There Any Downside to Melting Your Beard Balm?
Normally, yes. When you melt down beard balm, the act of melting causes some of the ingredients to be cooked away and a little bit of product is lost in the process. If you have a half-melted beard balm, then you need to melt it to revive it. This will prolong the balm’s life, some of it will still be lost.
When we’re melting down an overly hard balm in order to soften it up, a little bit will be lost in the melting process regardless. But since we are adding more shea butter to the balm, this loss is then made up for with the addition.
So, while there is some balm lost in the melting process, this is irrelevant when we are adding more ingredients as we end up with more product in the end.
Can You Still Use Hard Beard Balm Without Fixing It?
Two of the methods that we looked at don’t require you to melt down the balm in order to fix it. If either of these work, then you are golden. But if you can’t get them to work, you won’t be able to use your balm without fixing it.
If you can get enough of the balm out of the container and into your hands, then you should be able to emulsify it between your palms. The problem is that initial removal from the container. If it is too hard to be removed, then you need to fix it if you want to use it.
It is unlikely that you will encounter beard balm that is too hard to emulsify unless it is either old or your homemade blend. Melting and fixing it may keep your balm around longer, but you might also want to consider purchasing a new one such as Badass Beard Care’s The Ladies Man, one of their many aromatic beard products.
If you are working with a homemade balm, then you will want to melt it down and add more butter. If this doesn’t fix your issue, you’ll want to try out a new recipe.
So, there you have it. Three techniques that you can use to soften your beard balm so that you don’t need a mining pick to use it. Make sure that you begin by attempting each method in order. You don’t want to go adding shea butter to the balm until you know that there really is a problem.
If you still find your beard balm too hard after all of that, then you might want to consider switching to beard butter instead. Beard balm and beard butter are mostly the same, but beard balm has a stronger hold for styling your beard. If you aren’t interested in styling, then you’ll find beard butter to be a much easier solution.
Until next time, keep looking sharp!