Today is a golden age for beard care.
Neglected for decades, beard care products are making a resurgence, with wonderfully-scented and artisan-crafted products available from a wide range of retailers.
With so many options to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to start.
Here are the top-ranked beard oil brands of 2020:
1. Honest Amish
Honest Amish can be best described as a superfood for your beard.
Honest Amish also includes craft beard oil mainstays like argan oil and jojoba oil for their moisturizing properties.
When combined with a few essential oils, the classic Honest Amish formulation is a light and crisp fragrance that’s wildly popular among beard enthusiasts.
There is also a fragrance-free version and a premium blend, which adds several more exotic oils for a rich and more complex scent and texture.
For all of these reasons, Honest Amish is the reigning king of beard oils.
2. Bearded Bastard
Bearded Bastard does it all: from simple and airy fragrances to the rough and tough masculine blends to the top-shelf luxury preparations, Bearded Bastard has a recipe for just about every man.
Combining these oils together allows Bearded Bastard to take advantage of the strengths of each ingredient: the acne-fighting abilities of argan, moisturizing properties of jojoba, and the antioxidant power of grape seed and sweet almond oil.
3. Detroit Grooming
Crafted and made in Detroit Michigan, this line of artisan beard oils is rich in woodsy, masculine scents, and is based entirely on sweet almond oil.
As mentioned above, sweet almond oil can help reduce scarring in your skin, but it’s also a great moisturizer. Because of this, Detroit Grooming beard oils are great for men who have dry or itchy skin underneath their beards.
Though it lacks the anti-microbial properties of other beard oil ingredients, sweet almond oil does function as a strong antioxidant, protecting your beard from the elements.
4. Mountaineer Brand
If you want a rich, deep, masculine scent to your beard oil, Mountaineer Brand is the way to go. Its blend of grape seed oil and sweet almond oil help protect your hair and skin from the wear and tear of the elements. There’s even some evidence, albeit in rats, that grape seed oil can increase hair growth.
Sweet almond oil is also great for reducing scarring from old acne, so Mountaineer Brand can help on that front too.
The only men who won’t be satisfied with Mountaineer Brand are those with active acne or ingrown hairs—it’s not a product designed to address those problems.
5. Leven Rose
Leven Rose is the king of beard oils for men with long beards. It’s a blend of two of the best beard oil ingredients out there, the skin-soothing and irritation-fighting argan oil, and the moisturizing and non-comedogenic jojoba oil.
These make it a thick, oily formulation that will add shine to your beard.
If you find the fragrances added to other beard oils too noxious or irritating to put right next to your nose, the original Leven Rose is a great choice, since it’s got no added fragrances.
For those who value a scented oil, there are also versions with rose hips and essential oils added.
6. V76 by Vaughn
What do Bill Clinton, Tom Brady, and Bruce Springsteen have in common? They all had their hair done by Vaughn, the celebrity barber who designed V76 beard oil. It’s made specifically for men with short, close-cropped, very thick facial hair.
Unlike the more artisanal blends on this list, V76 isn’t made primarily out of top-of-the-line exotic oils.
Plain old canola oil and olive oil make up the bulk of the product, but it’s got a lot more herbal extracts and obscure ingredients than your average beard oil.
Do they work? That depends on how much you trust the wisdom of the hair wizard who designed it.
V76 also has more of a high-fashion scent to it; it’s been described as light, floral, and vegetal, which is something a little different than the musky, foresty, masculine smells of other beard oils on the market.
7. Dollar Beard Club
Cheap but effective—that’s the motto for Dollar Beard Club’s beard oil. Their original blend is comprised of sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and argan oil. It’s got a rich, woody scent thanks to the cedarwood and fir needle essential oils.
In addition to the pimple-fighting properties of argan oil, the jojoba oil in Dollar Beard Club’s formulation adds a potent moisturizing effect, so it’s a good call if you’ve got rough or dry skin underneath your beard. It should also help tame coarse, scraggly beard hairs.
The only drawback with Dollar Beard Club’s beard oil is that the sandalwood version might cause your skin to become hypersensitive to sunlight, resulting in blistering and redness. This is a rare allergy, but it has been reported by users of other cosmetic products made with sandalwood oil.
8. Viking Revolution Beard Oil
This beard oil plays it simple and straight. Viking Revolution is a blend of argan oil and jojoba oil, and comes with zero scenting or fragrance ingredients, making it great for sensitive skin.
Argan oil is great for cutting down on skin pimples and acne, and acts as an emollient for dry, rough, and irritated skin. This is great if you ever get razor burn along your beard line, or if you suffer from acne underneath your beard.
It’s great for minimalists, but this also means it might leave you with something to desire if you are looking for fragrance, fullness, or other beard care properties.
Who should buy beard oil?
If you are growing out your beard, regularly using beard oil is a great way to keep your whiskers soft, smooth, and well-hydrated.
Just like long hair gets dry, frizzy, and brittle if you don’t use a conditioner, beard hairs will do the same. Applying a beard oil early and often can keep your facial hair well-kempt, not to mention smelling good. On top of that, beard oil can help keep the skin underneath your beard from getting dry, itchy, flakey, or irritated.
So, even if your beard feels fine, beard oil can help with the skin underneath.
How we ranked
To develop our beard oil rankings, we examined two key criteria across the current crop of beard oils on the market. First off, we looked at the quality of the oils included.
We dropped any beard oils that relied only on cheap synthetic oils, and prioritized products that had all-natural plant oils like argan oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil.
We looked for these high-quality oils because of the copious cosmetics research showing that they can protect and rehydrate both hair follicles and skin cells. These oils are at the core of what gives beard oil its dermatological benefits.
After selecting beard oils that optimize their oil content, we looked at the scent. While beard oils interact with your natural body oils, and as a result, create a distinct aroma that can differ from person to person, beard oil scents still matter.
We searched for products with well-balanced and masculine scents, giving bonus points for beard oil manufacturers that offer scents that span the gamut from musk-like woodsy smells to fresh, citrus-like smell. We dropped most brands that focus on just one scent, or just one category of scent.
We also sought out brands that offered an unscented variety of beard oil, as many men (or their partners) prefer not having fragrances and perfumes a few inches from their nose at all times. Moreover, men with very sensitive skin can suffer irritation from some fragrance chemicals, so they’d be best suited for a fragrance-free formulation.
Our rankings represent the best selection of beard oils on the market right now, and range from rich, woody-scented oils with many different high-quality oils to ultra-minimalist products with no fragrance and only one or two natural plant oils.
Natural plant oils can protect skin moisture underneath your beard. Beard oils take advantage of many of the advances made in cosmetics research, such as the discovery of high-quality plant oils that help your skin retain moisture and stay hydrated.
According to a review article on plant species used in the production of skin care products published in 2004 in the African Journal of Biotechnology, plant oils like jojoba and argan oil both mirror the skin’s natural moisturizing properties, which means they can help skin cells avoid dryness and water loss (1).
This means that a beard oil that uses these ingredients can help keep the skin underneath your beard soft, smooth, and well-hydrated. If you get dry, itchy, or flakey skin under your beard or on your neck near the edges of your beard, it might be because your skin is getting dried out. If that’s the case, a beard oil can make a big difference when it comes to skin health under and around your beard.
Argan oil contains powerful antioxidant agents that can help your beard. The utility of antioxidants isn’t just limited to your diet: a high quality beard oil that contains argan oil can help protect your skin and your beard hairs from oxidative damage (which often occurs as a result of exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun’s rays).
According to a 2011 research article published in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, argan oil is perhaps the most potent antioxidant among all plant oils (2).
The study examined the antioxidant properties of 22 different plant oils, all taken from a similar geographic region, using analytical chemistry techniques. The researchers concluded that the antioxidant potency of argan oil exceeded all of the other plant oils.
Another study, published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology in 2010, attributes the antioxidant capabilities to the fact that it shares many of the beneficial types of fat that other very healthy oils have, like olive oil (3).
These antioxidant properties make it very attractive as an ingredient in beard oil, which is why you’ll find argan oil in several of our top-ranked beard oil products. Other exotic oils, like jojoba and sweet almond oil, also share these powerful antioxidant properties, though perhaps to a slightly lesser extent.
An unscented beard oil is a better choice for irritated or sensitive skin. As with any cosmetic, some people will have bad reactions to certain beard oils.
If you get redness, irritation, or pimples within a few days of applying a beard oil, you should strongly suspect a negative reaction to something in the beard oil is to blame.
A clever study published in 2003 was able to show that a substantial proportion of the population might develop an adverse skin reaction to common fragrance ingredients used in cosmetics (4).
The researchers who conducted the study made a mixture of several of the most common fragrance ingredients found in cosmetics, then did skin-patch testing on volunteers to see if the mixture created an adverse reaction.
Nearly 5% of the general population could develop adverse reactions to the ingredients used in this mixture, and when the researchers looked specifically at people with eczema, the proportion jumped to 10%.
While it’s not a guaranteed fix (it’s still possible to be allergic to plant proteins in vegetable oils, for example), getting a beard oil that is fragrance free can go a long way towards reducing the risk of developing an adverse skin reaction to your beard oil.
If you have eczema, sensitive skin, or have developed a rash or itching from a beard oil product, try one that is fragrance-free instead.
Q: What is beard oil?
A: Beard oil is a cosmetic product that is designed to keep your beard hairs soft and well-kempt, as well as nourish the skin underneath your beard. It also has the added benefit of imparting a pleasant aroma to your beard, if you get a scented beard oil.
As the name suggests, beard oils are oil-based, meaning they rely on plant oils like jojoba oil, argan oil, and sweet almond oil to help protect your beard hairs and your skin underneath.
These oils are similar or identical to the ingredients often used in face moisturizers, because they have very similar purposes: help retain moisture, and help protect from or reverse oxidative damage.
Q: How do you use beard oil?
A: Applying beard oil is pretty easy—you put a small amount on your fingers, and thoroughly work the oil into your beard hairs and the skin underneath.
Don’t forget the skin on the edges of your beard—that’s where a lot of beard-related skin irritation can occur. Most men should apply beard oil once or twice per day to keep their beard hairs and skin soft and supple.
Q: Can beard oil grow your beard?
A: Contrary to popular opinion, beard oils are not meant to be magical potions to grow beard hairs. While some men do resort to vitamins for hair growth for similar motivations, the real reason to use beard oil is to preserve and strengthen the beard hairs you already have.
You might notice your beard looking fuller and healthier after using beard oil for a few weeks, and this is a real effect—however, it’s not because your body is growing more beard hairs. Rather, you are preventing the thinning, breaking, and loss of beard hairs that, without beard oil, would be getting dry and brittle.
Q: Does beard oil actually work?
A: In terms of nourishing and strengthening your beard hairs, yes, beard oil is quite effective. The key ingredients in a high-quality beard oil (namely, the natural plant oils) have been demonstrated to have hydrating and antioxidant properties that help both your beard hairs and your skin retain moisture and stay healthier.
As mentioned above, beard oil won’t actually make you grow a beard any faster than you naturally do, but you might notice your beard looking fuller as a result of the healthier hair follicles that make it up.
Q: Does beard oil clog pores?
A: A high-quality beard oil will be formulated only with non-comedogenic oils, meaning that they do not clog your pores.
However, lower-quality products with a lot of synthetic ingredients and low-cost carrier oils might plug your pores. If you notice yourself breaking out with pimples or ingrown beard hairs, that’s a sure sign your beard oil is clogging your pores.
If that’s the case, opt for a higher-quality product, or one with fewer or no fragrance ingredients. A fragrance-free high-quality beard oil based on something like argan oil will not clog your pores, however.
Q: What does beard oil do?
A: The primary role of beard oil is to protect your beard hairs and the skin underneath from oxidative damage and to help retain moisture.
The two main enemies of healthy facial hair are dryness and damage. Exposure to the elements, whether it’s harsh sunlight in the summer that causes oxidative damage via ultraviolet light, or cold and dry air in the wintertime, will cause damage to your beard and aggravate the skin cells underneath.
Beard oils combat both of these effects using the hydrating and antioxidant properties of the oils included in the formulation. That’s why it is so important to use a beard oil that has high-quality oils like argan or jojoba, and not beard oils that use cheap synthetic carrier oils.
A poor quality oil will not help your skin and your beard hairs retain moisture as well, and could actually clog your pores, leading to skin problems.
Q: Does a beard oil help your skin?
A: Yes, in fact one of the biggest benefits of a beard oil is what it can do for the skin underneath your beard. Most people think of beard oil as a way to strengthen and nourish your beard hairs, which is true.
However, many people do not realize that the skin underneath your beard also benefits from being moisturized and protected from oxidative damage. If you have itching, “beard dandruff”, or irritation on the skin under your beard or around the edges of your beard, a beard oil might be able to help.
Try a beard oil that’s fragrance-free if you have sensitive skin, and when you apply your beard oil, make sure you work some of the oil into the skin under your beard and the skin along the edges of your beard.
Q: Can you make your own beard oil?
A: Yes, if all you want is a basic beard oil, it’s pretty easy to buy key ingredients like argan oil and jojoba oil in bulk and mix them together. However, commercial beard oil manufacturers have a few advantages that you can’t get at home.
First, they get access to the highest quality harvests of exotic oils, and the quality of the oil depends on how the plant was processed after harvest (e.g. drying time, cold pressing technique).
The real advantage of a commercial beard oil, though, is the access to expert knowledge on fragrance ingredients that won’t irritate your skin or make the aroma too overpowering. So, if you are looking for a beard oil with fragrance, you’ll probably have better luck with a commercial product.
Beard oil supplements are essential if you’re trying to grow the baddest beard on the block.
What would your friends think if your beard was growing twice as fast as theirs, and looked twice as good?
If you know you want to try a beard oil but you’re unsure which one to go with – don’t worry – our list narrows down the eight best beard oil supplements on the market to make it easy for you to get started on some serious beard growth.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 beard oil recommendation, click here.