You have a beard and you want to take care of it. Maybe it's a new beard (hello coronavirus beard!), or maybe the idea of taking better CARE of your beard is new to you.
Regardless, you go to the store and there are a myriad of beard products to choose from!
In short, how do I make sense of all this STUFF?
We at ManBasics are here to help.
We are going to break this down into three categories:
In this article we will focus entirely on the first topic.
Growing a healthy beard doesn't really involve taking care of your beard at all. It means taking care of your FACE!
Think about your beard as a lawn of grass. In the same way your grass is drawing moisture out of the soil, your beard is drawing moisture out of your face. It stands to reason then that in the same way you would water the grass to take care of a dry and damaged lawn, you would do the same thing to take care of a dry or damaged beard.
Except remember, when you water the grass you aren't trying to water the grass, you are actually trying to water the DIRT. In the same way we are trying to find a product that will help our face in order to give us a more healthy beard.
Except, instead of "watering" you beard you are going to "oil" it. See, beard oil should really be called FACE oil (in fact, in women's cosmetics that is EXACTLY what it IS called).
The whole point of the beard/face oil is to put moisture in to your face that can then be used to "feed" your beard. The roots of your beard are in your face the same way as the roots of the grass are in the soil.
Not only is your beard drawing moisture out of your face in ways that it wasn't without the beard, but you are ALSO likely washing your face well for the first time in . . . well, ever if you were like us.
Every time you wash your face you are washing out dirt and impurities, but you are ALSO washing out the natural oils and "sebum" that keep your face and beard moisturized.
Beard oils (face oils) are meant to replace those oils. With a quality beard oil you can easily grow a soft, luxurious and healthy beard.
We recommend beard oil as the FOUNDATION to great beard care. The best way to have a soft and healthy beard is to use beard oil from the day you start growing it, because the hair will be well nourished from inception. No need to "fix" the beard.
Well, that turns in to a matter of personal preference. Nearly ANY of them will help in SOME way.
The difference between most beard oils is:
Carrier oils will make up more than 98% of your beard oil. They are called such that they literally are meant to "carry" any essential oils that could be in the beard oil (more on this later).
A good carrier oil will be all natural and likely sound awfully familiar, like avocado oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, or castor oil. Keep in mind that the ingredient listing could have the "scientific name" of said carrier oil which can give a terribly not natural sounding name to a wonderful all natural ingredient (For example "Butyrospermum Parkii" is the INCI name for "Shea Butter", which is FANTASTIC ingredient used in beard balms and many other great products).
So how do beard oil manufacturers choose what carrier oils to use?
Well, sadly the answer is often "price". While there are some great inexpensive ingredients you can use in a beard oil, WE prefer to construct a beard oil with an end goal in mind rather than simply "price" (in fact that is exactly what we did! You can find our fantastic all-natural beard oils here!)
Some ingredients will absorb into the skin more quickly, which will help moisturize the skin. Others will absorb less quickly and can actually absorb in to the hair itself giving it a nice shine and helping to soften the beard.
There's an excellent article about which oils soak in to the hair and which more "coat" the hair here.
We can't speak for any other beard oil manufacturers, but why don't we go in to the thought process ManBasics used in coming up with our own carrier oil recipe for our beard oils?
Firstly, we wanted our beard oil to be a great "all around" beard oil. This meant that functionally beard care for oily skin could also work as beard care for dry skin. That meant using a combination of oils that could both penetrate the hairs of the beard while also simply coating them . . . which would make them more easily then penetrate into the skin.
We knew that our "philosophy" of beard care would be to treat the skin first and the beard hair itself secondarily (for our oil at least, we took the opposite strategy with our beard balms) . . . which led us to jojoba oil.
Jojoba oil doesn't want to penetrate into beard hair much at all. It is one of the most commonly used face and skin care ingredients because it is a natural ingredient that most closely mimics the natural sebum oils of your face. It has long been associated as a remedy for acne, dry skin, and many other skin conditions. There are countless skin care ingredients that use jojoba as the foundation of their products.
In short, if we wanted a carrier oil that would help the skin under the beard this was the best place to start.
As we said before though, we wanted to achieve a BALANCED beard oil . . . so next we looked at Castor Oil. Specifically black castor oil.
Castor oil lubricates the hair shaft and also has been linked to being an all-natural solution for dandruff in hair care. If our goal is healthy hair and skin, this was a great addition. It also is thicker than most other oils, which we love in our beard oil.
Lastly, we added Moroccan Argan oil. Argan oil is well documented as an oil that both helps the skin while also hydrating the hair itself. Packed full of vitamin E and anti-oxidants it helps give hair a full, shiny and renewed look.
One other consideration we used for both Argan and Castor oil was that they both have higher "smoke points", which is definitely a consideration for anyone planning to use a hair dryer or beard straightener (more on this in our third installment of this blog series).
So those were the three key carrier oils we targeted in our formulations. As we said, the carrier oils are meant to carry . . .
Essential oils are exactly what they sound like, oils created from the "essence" of an ingredient. For example, rosemary essential oil is the essence of rosemary leaves.
The great thing about essential oils is that the distilled essence of many many botanicals in nature are GREAT for us. Essence of peppermint has been shown in studies to be as effective fighting hair loss as Rogaine and Minoxidil. Oh, and it does it with none of the potential side effects of the drug. Rogaine for beard growth or minoxidil for beard care is something we get asked about all the time, so you can bet we were interested in including it in at least one of our beard care products.
As you can imagine, "essence" is pretty concentrated. It can only be used in small percentages of any recipe. It certainly lends credence to the saying that you can have too much of a good thing. Again, this is why we use carrier oils to "carry" the essential oils.
Nearly every essential oil has some sort of health benefit. You can check out our individual product pages to take a closer look at why we included each essential to each of our beard oil blends.
Oh, and they can smell amazing!
We sort of buried the lead here, but essential oils smell great and can be blended in endless combinations to come up with an endless number of scents.
Which leads us to Fragrance Oils.
Fragrance oils are similar to essential oils in that they smell great and are used in small amounts to effect the scent of a beard oil, but that's where their similarities end.
Fragrance oils smell great, but that is ALL that they do. They don't lend any of the health benefits of essential oils. That said, they DO have scents that can't be achieved from essential oils (Vanilla and Peach for example). Additionally, fragrance oils tend to have a longer lasting scent than an essential oil.
|Essential Oils||Fragrance Oils|
Fragrance oils are a little bit controversial these days as in many cases the ingredients of the fragrance oil are either dubious, unknown, or both.
Fortunately, many leaders in the cosmetics and natural skincare industry have heard and addressed these concerns. Many fragrance oils CAN be purchased with a high degree of certainty as to what is in them.
At ManBasics, we made the decision to use only essential oils in our beard oils and beard balms ensuring they would be considered 100% all-natural. That said, we use a number of different fragrance oils in our handcrafted soaps and some other products. We believe that with research fragrance oils smell great and aren't bad for you at all . . . they just aren't GOOD for you like the essential oils are.
In the end we believe we came up with an amazing beard oil that is great for people with dry or oily skin, helps to hydrate the skin AND the beard, and also smells great!
So, in review we believe that Beard Oil is the foundation of great beard care. Using beard oil as part of your daily routine will ensure that your beard grows healthy from the moment you decide to grow it. While beard oil can also benefit an existing beard, its true worth is in ensuring new growth is super healthy.
Next up . . . Fixing an unhealthy beard.
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