I recently left a job where we were required to be clean-shaven. We know beards are big right now: it sometimes seems like every guy has one. So I jumped on the trend and started growing my beard on the first day. Fortunately, I have a fairly thick beard and soon enough I had a decent beard. I was then faced with the array of beard grooming products both online and at the pharmacy.
The first time I put in beard oil, I made a mess. I used the dropper to fill my hands with oil and completely coated my beard with oil. Lots of oil.
The first thing that I learned was that beard oil is an essential part of beard care. But I had a lot of questions and made a lot of (greasy) mistakes. Here is what I learned:
Why do you need beard oil?
Your beard hair is different than the hair on the top of your head. It is stronger and more coarse and as a result, can feel rough and dry. That prickly feeling can drive you crazy. It is also going to drive the person that you kiss crazy (really: this is one of those times when you hear, “Either the beard goes, or I do”). Beard oil helps keep the hair moisturize and soft. Most oils are also lightly scented to make your beard smell good. Finally, the beard can isolate the skin underneath. It will need that oil to help keep it moisturized too.
How much beard oil do I put in? Can I use too much:
The first time I put in beard oil, I made a mess. I used the dropper to fill my hands with oil and completely coated my beard with oil. Lots of oil. Not only did it look terrible, but I was dripping oil all over the house. A little research told me that I should not be using handfuls of oil, but just a few drops. Depending on how thick your beard is, you may need more than just a few, but be careful. Less is more. Of course, if you have grown your magnificent beard down to your navel, you will definitely need more to coat it. On the other hand, if you have oily, sensitive skin, you will want to use just a few drops.
In general, you should use this chart for a reference:
- Beards up to 1/2 an inch: 2-3 drops once a day
- Beards up to 3 inches: 3-5 drops once or twice a day
- Beards longer than 3 inches: 5 (or more) drops once or twice a day
You will like need to experiment a little to find what works best for you.
Help! I used way too much beard oil!:
If you end up in a situation like I did, where your beard is just dripping with oil the best thing to do is take a shower. Wash your beard with shampoo and conditioner. That may solve your problem completely. If you really used a huge amount of oil, you probably will not need to re-apply after the shower.
When should I put beard oil in?
I found it best to put the oil in after getting out of the shower. Dry your beard so that it is not dripping water on the floor. Keep a bit of water in it as you apply the oil. In general, you do not need to apply the oil more than once a day. Exceptions are if you are swimming in the ocean or a pool. The salt in the ocean and the chlorine in the pool will both dry out your beard. You will need to re-do your daily beard care after you get out. Freshwater is a different story: you may be ok and not have re-apply the oil. Add a few drops more if it looks and feels dry.
Should I use beard oil before bed?
You probably do not want to apply your beard oil prior to bed. It needs time to absorb into the hair and your skin. My first night after applying beard oil was a mess. The oil-coated my sheets and pillow-cases. The wife was not happy. At all. If you need to apply oil in the evening, give it a couple of hours before going to bed.
What else do I need to watch out for?
Especially right after you have applied the beard oil, be careful what touches your face. If you are pressing your cell phone against your face, you will like to find it covered with oil after the call. Fortunately, it comes off of most phones easily. But you would be surprised what else touches your beard. I have had shirts and coat collars get covered with oil (from turning my head to the side). Even the seatbelt in my truck ended up with oil on it (yeah, my beard is pretty big). Needless to say, you need to be very careful when laying down on the couch: you can easily stain the upholstery and pillows.
What else do I need to care for my beard?
After applying your beard oil, you will want to use beard butter (or a similar product). The butter assists the beard oil in hydrating your beard and skin. It gives you that final touch that makes it soft.
You need to get a good beard brush and use it after you have applied the butter. If you have a wild beard that is difficult to manage, you may have to do some training with a hairdryer.
If you are new to the world of beards (as I was), it can seem overwhelming. You have spent a good part of your life dealing with the hair on your head. You had your whole childhood to learn how to get it to do what you want. Your beard is a new part of your body and because the hair is different than the hair on your scalp, it will take some time to get it right. Be patient and make little changes over a period of days. Don’t think you’re using enough oil? Add an extra drop tomorrow. Then another one the next day. Don’t go from 2 drops to 10 overnight.
With a little work, you can have a magnificent beard!
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