2017 Best Beard Balms: A Complete Buyers Guide
Beard Balms are an increasingly popular product that many guys are including in their daily beard care routine. A good balm will condition and soften your beard and depending on the brand, could also provide some hold and styling help.
If you've never bought a Beard Balm before or want to be a more informed buyer, scroll on down the bottom of the post to find our complete beard oil buyers guide.
Best Beard Balms for 2017
One of the benefits of running a website like this is that I have countless products laying around the house and could use a different brand every day if I wanted. So I can’t think of much higher endorsement than saying this is the brand I use on a regular basis. Combine that with the fact that it has 800+ Amazon reviews with an average rating of 4.5 Stars, and I think we have a winner!
Virtu has a light, pleasant, barely noticeable aroma that won’t overpower or clash any scented colognes or oils you may use. It has notes of citrus and eucalyptus and softer notes from the Shea Butter and Coconut Oil in the blend.
This blend is able to combine all of the benefits you want from a balm. It’s got an all natural mix of ingredients that condition your face and whiskers, aide in beard growth, reduces beardruff, and provides just the right touch of styling hold. At the time of writing it was selling for under $20 on Amazon for a 2 ounce tin, which is about average pricing for a balm. If you are searching for a new balm or you are a first time buyer, this is a great choice.
We’ve come to expect outstanding products from the folks at Honest Amish and their balm is no exception. Billed as “Better than an Oil” they infuse over 15 different botanical into the base oil and butter mixture to come up with a truly unique blend.
While we recommend using a beard oil as your primary conditioner, this is one balm that might be the exception to the rule. We found it left our beards exceptionally soft and our whiskers manageable and ready to style. At room temperature this balm is still solid, but it is notably “creamery” (for lack of a better word) than other brands we’ve tested.
In addition to its excellent conditioning and styling capabilities, the company states that the proprietary blend of ingredients also helps to grow a stronger beard.
The brand we reviewed was the originally scented version. Their beard oil of the same scent can be a bit overwhelming, but it really is quite pleasant in the balm form. They also offer an unscented version if that is your preference.
To read more reviews and check current pricing CLICK HERE.
This is a relatively new player in the beard balm game and is an outstanding product for the price. At the time of testing this was selling for just under $10 for a 2oz tin on Amazon, which was by far the most affordable of the bunch.
Don’t let the price tag fool you though, this is a great balm that delivers on all fronts. It combines some unique ingredients like Avocado Oil with the standards like: jojoba oil, shea butter, argan oil, beeswax. They also add in a bit of bay rum essential oils to give it a subtle masculine aroma.
It does pretty much everything you could want a balm to do. It gives an aide to conditioning and locking in moisture, it has enough wax to help with styling, and its affordable enough to fit any budget.
Check current pricing and read additional reviews: CLICK HERE
The final entry in our “Best of” rankings is Grave Before Shave Beard Balms. GBS makes an entire line of beard care products, with a variety of scent options. Each scent has a custom designed logo and some of the designs are pretty dang nifty. Each of the blends is more or less the same in terms of how effective they are on your beard, the only difference is the scent (and packaging).
What we like about this line of balms is that they do a great job of making your beard more manageable. On the flip side, they don’t soften your beard as much as other options, but that doesn’t necessarily need to be the primary role of a balm anyways.
GBS products are always popular gift choices because they are competitively priced, has unique and stylish branding, and they have tons of different gift sets to choose from.
Check lowest pricing and read more reviews: CLICK HERE
Beard Oil Buyers Guide
What Are The Benefits of Beard Balm?
One of the challenges in choosing our favorite brands was that not all beard balms set out to provide the same benefits. At minimum any brand worth using will moisturize and soften your beard and will to help eliminate beardruff. Many balms will also help you style your beard by adding a touch of “hold”.
The amount of hold in a balm is dependent upon the type and amount of wax used in the blend. Blends with heavy beeswax concentrations are at the high end of the “hold” spectrum.
Do I Need A Balm That Provides Hold?
Good question (glad I asked). The answer depends on what your beard goals are and what other products you're using in your routine. I use a Beard Oil as my daily beard conditioner, and then use a balm to provide some styling assistance on days that I need it. So for me, I always look to brands that provides some element of hold.
Of course thats just my personal preference. There are plenty of brands with very little or no hold that are perfect for guys that don't like the consistency of beard oils, yet still want to condition their beards.
How Does Beard Balm Work?
A good beard balm will do two things: condition and tame. The taming part is pretty easy to explain. Balms generally are made with beeswax or a similar agent that adds a bit of hold to your whiskers, which then allows you to style it in your preferred fashion. As your beard grows longer you’ll notice your whiskers going in all sorts of different directions and a balm helps manage that issue.
As your beard gets longer, your pores reach a point where they can no longer produce enough natural oils to keep both your whiskers and face moisturized. Once this happens you’ll start to notice your beard gets dry, itchy, and may even develop the dreaded Beardruff.
By regularly applying a beard softening agent like a balm, you are able to “replace” the natural facial oils with healthy plant based alternatives that will absorb into your beard whiskers, allowing them to remain soft and healthy looking. Moreover, you will keep your skin from getting dried out, which is what causes flaky skin and bear dandruff.
What Are Beard Balms Made Of?
As we’ve discussed throughout this guide, different balms are setting out to accomplish different goals. However, they all contain similar elements that contribute to an effective product.
Each balm uses a basic mix of the following three types of ingredients:
- Emollient (Carrier) Oils that serve to moisturize and nourish the beard
- Natural Butters to lock in moisture and condition your face and whiskers
- Wax (almost always Beeswax) to provide hold and seal in other ingredients
- Other Essential Oils in trace amounts to enhance scent profiles
Let’s take a closer look at the different elements and how they impact the quality of the balm:
Moisturizing Carrier Oils
Carrier Oils are common to both Beard Balms and Beard Oils as well as a myriad of other natural skin and hair care products. The term carrier comes from their ability to work as a solvent for other more volatile oils that would be too harsh to apply directly to your skin without first diluting them in a carrier oil.
Best Carrier Oils to Look For and Their Benefits
- Jojoba Oil: This is commonly found in beard oils and balms. It has a very similar chemical makeup as your natural sebum oil, so not only does it moisturize, it aides in beard growth and prevents split ends too.
- Grapeseed Oil: This is a very light oil, absorbs easily into your whiskers, keeping them soft. Grapeseed oil has a tremendously short "shelf-life" and it can turn rancid somewhat quickly. You don't need to avoid it, but you definitely want to keep that in mind when choosing a Balm.
- Argan Oil: If there is one oil that seems as if it was put on earth to nourish hair and whiskers, its Argan Oil. It provides a wealth of vitamins and nutrients, softens and conditions, and also provides elasticity and strengthens your beard.
- Other Oils: You will encounter other oils such as Castor Oil, Almond Oil, Hempseed Oil, Avocado Oil, and More.
Butters to Lock in Moisture
The addition of natural butters to a balm serves a few purposes. It allows the balm to spread evenly and smoothly across your whiskers, soothing your skin along the way. It also helps to lock in and preserve the emollient oils, and finally, it adds nice aroma to the balm.
Most Common butters in Beard Balm
- Shea Butter: Shea butter is probably the most common ingredient we see in balms. Its locks in moisture, doesn't clog pores, and spreads evenly. It's the most versatile butter.
- Cocoa Butter: This is also a very common ingredient in balms and is a solid choice. It is wildly popular because of the pleasant aroma to the mix.
- Coconut Oil: You may have noticed from the name that this one isn't a butter at all! That said, it is solid at room temperature and has many of the same qualities as the butters. As such, a number of brands use it in addition (or instead of) the traditional butters.
How to Use Beard Balm
Unlike a beard oil, you want to apply balm after you've had the opportunity to thoroughly dry off your beard.
Start by scooping a small amount of balm onto the back of your thumbnail. (*Or if you bite your nails like me and don't have much to work with, I find a guitar pick to be a helpful scoop). Then you want to work the balm into your fingertips, warming it up and converting it into an oil state.
From there you simply want to work it completely into your whiskers. This video from the Beard Baron does a great job of showing the process of applying balm for both long and short beards: