There are a lot of products out there for your beards. From beard oils to beard butters, beard balms and beard wax, beard conditioner and even beard vitamins. Some of these are easy to tell apart but some are a little more confusing. Among the most confusing of them are beard oil and beard conditioner.
Are they the same thing or are they different? Is beard conditioner the same as beard balm? Don’t worry, Beard Guidance has got your answers.
Beard oil is a liquid solution made up from a few kinds of oils. It is used to moisturize your beard and the skin underneath it. Some beard oils help to soften the hair, but only in a very minor way. If your beard is dry or has just lost its natural sheen, beard oil can fix the issue. Beard conditioner is used to soften beard hairs to reduce itchiness and irritation. Conditioner is also used to help repair damaged hair and treat skin conditions like dandruff that occur around a beard. Both are also used to help give your beard a better smell, though beard conditioner often leaves out scents so as to not compete with beard oil products in the marketplace.
These two products are used similarly, as they both help your beard to look its absolute best. Still, they are quite different in application and purpose. We’ll cover the differences between these two, when to use which, and we’ll explore the difference between beard conditioners and leave-in conditioners—so stick around.
Understanding Beard Oil and Beard Conditioner
Beard oil and beard conditioner are used for two different reasons. Both keep your beard looking healthy and great, but they include different ingredients, have different application guidelines, and produce different results.
Beard oils are used to improve the shine of your beard, moisturize the skin underneath it, and hydrate the hairs. This reduces the scratchiness of a dry beard and improves the sheen, but it doesn’t actually change the hairs in any real way.
Beard conditioner on the other hand is used to soften the hairs of the beard. Leave-in conditioners such as beard balm exist to help do this while they are still in the beard, but a beard conditioner that is paired with a beard shampoo achieves this effect in a more permanent way.
The Major Differences
The two major differences between these products occur at the level of the ingredients and the level of application itself.
Beard oil is made from a carrier oil combined with essential oils. The carrier oil serves as the base of the oil and the essential oils give the solution its smell, as well as various benefits of their own. Beard oils can be made using a few different carrier oils and a whole lot of essential oils. While only a couple essential oils are present in any one beard oil, they offer manufacturers a lot of variety when it comes to production.
Beard conditioner comes in both natural and artificial forms. As always, Beard Guidance recommends sticking with a natural product. They may cost a little bit more, but they’re always better for you. Beard conditioners use an oil base, such as coconut oil, which is able to soak into beard hairs the same way warm water does. Natural oils and fats are added to this base in order to help soften the hair and nourish both it and the skin surrounding it.
While beard conditioner often has some of the same ingredients as beard oil, it always will have more ingredients because it serves to accomplish more.
Beard oil is applied as needed though typically most men work it into their beards as part of their morning routine. After showering, they trim or shave as is necessary and apply beard oil before washing their hands and heading out to work. Beard oil comes in easy to carry bottles, so you can toss it into a bag or a pocket and take it with you anywhere.
In contrast, a beard conditioner is most often used in the shower. To apply, first wet your beard with lukewarm water and work a beard shampoo in. Let this sit for a minute or two before washing it out thoroughly. Beard conditioner is then worked in, left for a few minutes, and washed out.
The warm temperature of the shower allows for the beard conditioner to more easily suffuse the hair to strengthen and soften it from the inside out. There are leave-in conditioners that we’ll look at in a moment, but these are most often labelled as beard balms with conditioning properties rather than being exclusively called beard conditioners.
It is this difference in purpose, application, and ingredients which separate beard oils and beard conditioners from one another. For more information on the difference between these two, as well as beard balms and beard butters, check out this informative video looking at these products:
What’s the Difference Between a Regular Beard Conditioner and a Leave-In Beard Conditioner?
A typical beard conditioner is applied to the beard during a shower, usually following a beard shampoo. It is meant to clean and condition your beard in a similar fashion to a traditional head hair conditioner. Since it is applied during a shower, it is also washed out before the end of the shower.
A leave-in conditioner, which most beard balms are, is worked into the beard before going out for the day. While it may offer a little bit of a hold for styling, the purpose of a leave-in conditioner is to moisturize your skin and your beard throughout the day and to soften your beard hairs so that they aren’t so scratchy. It is washed out at the end of the day.
Can You Help Me Find a High-Quality Beard Oil?
With so many beard oils on the market, picking the one that’s best for you isn’t easy when you’re starting out. Despite having so few ingredients, there is a lot of variety to beard oils. While you should never buy too many at once, you should be encouraged to experiment and try several different brands to find which is right for you.
Pura D’or sells several high-quality beard oils that customers rave about.
If you’ve never used a beard oil at all, they’re a good starting point. You might want to consider purchasing a variety pack, although it’s best to stick to those with a maximum of three oils. They do expire, after all. For more on how to tell if your beard oil has expired, check out this article.
What About a High-Quality Beard Conditioner?
There are a lot of great beard conditioners out there. If you are planning on getting both a beard oil and a beard conditioner, then try one of the value packs from Viking Revolution or Grave Before Shave.
I personally like these two brands a lot. They create high-quality products out of natural ingredients, and they are known for responding to questions and ensuring that their customers are satisfied. So, even if all you are after is a single conditioner instead of a value pack, I still recommend Viking’s and Grave’s products.
Is There A Difference Between Beard Conditioner and Beard Balm?
The difference between beard conditioner and beard balm is very minor. Almost every beard balm on the market sells itself as a leave-in conditioner. This is because it works to soften the hair the same way that conditioner does. So, most beard balms are in fact a form of a beard conditioner.
However, if a product is marketed as a beard conditioner (as opposed to a leave-in conditioner) then it is meant to be paired with a beard shampoo and used in the shower. The effect that it has on the beard is going to be almost identical, although beard conditioners tend to be stronger formulated. Otherwise, a beard conditioner and a beard balm might as well be considered in the same framework as each other.
Beard oil is used to help moisturize your skin, hydrate your beard and keep it looking great. A good beard conditioner will achieve these same effects while also softening your beard. Since a conditioner is used similarly, you may get the impression that you can skip out on beard oil by purchasing a conditioner instead.
This is a bad idea. These two products should be thought of as teammates, both working together to help you level up your beard game and stay looking great. Beard conditioner is applied in the shower, but beard oil can be applied anytime. We can’t always jump in the shower, so having some beard oil on hand will ensure you can give your beard a touch up whenever you need it.
So, if you want to master your beard, purchase both a conditioner and an oil. And of course, keep reading Beard Guidance for more tips, tricks, and advice.