DIY Beard Balm

Wooden shave set and balm.

If you’re sportin’ a beard, chances are you’re already familiar with the many beard balms on the market. With no shortage of oils on the proverbial (and literal) shelf, the choices can be overwhelming, expensive, and sometimes confusing. 

Of course there are so many beard care options available because no two beards are the same. As a result, it often takes some experimentation to find the best beard balm for your unique skin and hair. Instead of throwing money away on commercial products that may or may not work for you, try creating your own for pennies on the dollar. 

This DIY recipe will give you complete control over the ingredients in your beard balm, and allow you to customize the scent. Perhaps you’d benefit from increasing the  amount of shea butter to provide extra moisture for skin that’s particularly dry. Or, if you find yourself frequently sick, perhaps you’d be best off customizing your scent with an immunity boosting blend of essential oils. Regardless of your specific needs, the right mixture for you is out there!

What is the difference between beard balm and beard oil?

While beard oils are primarily for conditioning the skin, beard balms are used to condition and style the hair itself. Once a beard grows in, it starts to absorb the natural oils produced by the skin. This will not only dry out the skin, it will also fail to adequately moisturize the beard. Left untreated, both the skin beneath the beard, and the actual hair itself can become dehydrated. 

Many people prefer to use both beard oil and beard balm in their beard care regimen. Skin that is prone to being oily may not require additional moisturizing, in which case the beard oil can be skipped. However, like the hair on the scalp, hair in the beard will almost always benefit from regular conditioning through the use of a beard balm. 

In addition, beard balms usually contain some amount of beeswax to give the balm “hold,” in other words, that structured quality that helps support a style. The amount of beeswax in the recipe will determine how much hold the balm has or not, and whether the final product has a firm or creamy consistency. With enough beeswax, the balm is no longer considered a balm, and is instead referred to as beard wax, which is used with the primary intent to hold a style. 

DIY Beard Balm Benefits

Perfecting a beard balm recipe is cost-effective and allows for complete ingredient control. Many self-care products in stores contain sulfates, parabens, and other additives that pose known and/or unknown health risks. This recipe cuts out questionable ingredients for a balm base that is simple, healthy, and effective.

When you’re doing it yourself, beard balms are fully customizable, and each ingredient can be switched out for another depending on your needs. For example, for beard hair that is particularly dry and requires a balm with deep conditioning properties, coconut oil is a great carrier oil option. But, for skin that is prone to acne and requires a less comedogenic option, jojoba oil may be a better alternative for the pores, without sacrificing beard hydration. Try researching different carrier oils and their specific properties for an even more personalized balm. 

Essential oils are another way to endlessly customize your beard balm. These can be easily added to the balm mixture to provide a custom scent and take advantage of their many mood-enhancing and therapeutic benefits. The wide range of essential oils in the market can provide almost any aroma desired, and their various potential health benefits give DIY balms an edge over store-bought options.

Choosing Essential Oils

Choosing which essential oils to use in the recipe is perhaps the most exciting part of creating a DIY beard balm. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to make a final selection. Luckily, there’s a perfect essential oil for everybody. Whether the goal is to create a woodsy and masculine scent, or leverage the mood-boosting properties of essential oils, it will not take long to find the perfect oil for the job. 

Masculine Scent Profile

Men’s fragrances often prioritize woodsy and earthy aromas over floral scents. For a balm with a traditionally masculine scent, try using sandalwood or Vetiver Essential Oil.

Sandalwood Essential Oil has a warm, woody, and soft scent profile. It’s commonly used during meditation because of its anxiety-reducing benefits. Vetiver comes from the same family of grasses as lemongrass and citronella, and offers an earthy, musty aroma. It’s often used in men’s colognes and has been shown to boost alertness and reduce mental fatigue.

Skin First Oils

While balms are primarily for beard hair, it’s important to keep the skin in mind since it will be coming into contact with the formula, too. For sensitive skin, or skin prone to dandruff or eczema, this is particularly true. Essential oils have many known benefits for the skin, and when added to a balm recipe, they can help relieve itchiness and irritation.

Tree Tree Essential Oil not only has an appealing spicy and warm scent, its antifungal properties can do wonders for beard dandruff and soothing skin irritation. For somebody concerned about their hair follicles, try Cedarwood Essential Oil to stimulate hair growth and reduce hair loss.

Mood-Boosting Oils

Essential oils have been used for centuries in the practice of aromatherapy, and there are few applications more suited to taking advantage of this than beard balm. Just a few drops of essential oil in the beard can positively affect the emotional landscape of the day.

To perk up and increase focus, Peppermint Essential Oil is a classic stand-by. The fresh scent is stimulating and is known to improve concentration and memory. Frankincense Essential Oil is known for its soft and warm aroma, and it is a great option to encourage less stress and a lower heart rate. 

Adjusting the Recipe

One of the most difficult  parts of creating personal care products at home is determining the best ingredients to suit individual preferences. They are called “personal” products for a reason, afterall. However, that doesn’t mean the process should be intimidating. Before you get started, here are a few tips and tricks from the pros:

  • Consistency: the main thing to keep in mind when making a beard balm recipe is that the amount of beeswax in the recipe will determine how thick or not your final balm is. For a balm that is intended primarily as a beard conditioner, reduce beeswax. For more styling power, increase beeswax. To get this ratio right on the first try, use the spoon trick while mixing your ingredients to test how your formula will turn out once it solidifies. Place a few spoons in the freezer prior to starting, and dip them in the melted mixture to test consistency. The mixture will harden quickly on the spoon and give a good indication of the final results. If the mix is too firm or too thin, there is still time to adjust the ingredients accordingly until it’s just right. 
  • Scent Profile: essential oils will be the last ingredient added to the balm recipe. Therefore, the final aroma can be played with and determined before adding the essential oils to the mixture. Keep it simple by sticking to one essential oil, or try combining oils as a way to create a unique scent profile and add multiple benefits to the balm. Mix the essential oils in a separate bowl first, test the scent profile, and adjust accordingly.

Beard Balm Recipe

Making balms and other self-care products is easier than it may seem. The supplies in this recipe are items that might already be lying around at home or are readily available online. From start to finish, the process takes about an hour. Once the balm has had time to cool overnight, beard care can commence! 

Supplies

  • Kitchen scale
  • Cooking pot
  • Mason jar
  • Eye dropper
  • Metal spoon
  • Round tin(s) to store balm. 

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. beeswax (for a softer beard balm, reduce the amount of beeswax)
  • 2 oz. shea butter
  • 2 oz. cocoa butter
  • 3 oz. of carrier oil (coconut, jojoba, argan, avocado, or other)  
  • 3-10 drops of essential oils

Instructions

  1. Place beeswax, butters, and carrier oil into a mason jar.
  2. Place the mason jar into the cooking pot, and fill the pot with water so that the water line comes about halfway up the mason jar.
  3. Bring the water to a boil and allow the mixture to heat slowly. Water should not be so high that it gets into the mason jar.
  4. Stir mixture as needed, and do not let it come to a boil.
  5. Once the mixture has reduced to a liquid, remove from heat.
  6. As quickly as you can, add essential oils to the mixture and stir. Option to put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously to mix the ingredients quickly.
  7. Once mixed, pour the balm into round tins* and cover.
  8. Allow the balm to sit overnight and solidify. 

*Leftover mixture can be kept in the original mason jar to refill tins at a later date. To refill, simply reheat the jar as outlined above, and pour back into empty tins.

Application

Beard balm is best applied immediately after the shower when skin and hair follicles are open. Use a dime-sized amount and rub it into the beard, focusing on the hair and not the skin. Once it is thoroughly rubbed in, gently style the beard and tame any flyaway hairs. Reapply throughout the day as needed.

Gotta Have ‘Em All

If you can’t choose just one scent profile, you don’t have to! Making multiple balms that address different needs for different contexts is easy. Make all of your favorites, so you can decide which balm you prefer depending on the mood or the day.   

Once you master your perfect DIY beard balm recipe, you will never want to go back. It is a cost-effective alternative that gives you complete control over your beard care regimen, and allows you to take advantage of the many benefits essential oils have to offer. Customize the recipe above to suit your personal preferences and skin needs, and experiment with which oils work best for you! 

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