A very common question from people just beginning to grow out their beard is “what is the main difference between beard oil and beard balm?” What distinguishes them from each other? Well the answer is that they both have lots of healthy benefits for your beard. There are a key few differences. The beard balm (sometimes called beard wax or beard butter) contains all of the oils in the beard oil, with the addition of beeswax and shea butter or cocoa butter. These additional ingredients make the balm have a solid, kind of waxy texture that melts in your hands when you rub them together.
So the balm allows for that extra firm hold that the oil does give. This helps to provide a really solid hold to your beard, kind of like a ‘beard gel’. Any fly-away, unruly hairs would be controlled and weighed down, giving your beard a more cleaner, tamed appearance. So the balm provide more control, as compared to the oil. So if you prefer to have more control, or if you have a longer beard, then balm is the way to go. But if you prefer to leave your beard the way it is, then go with oil.
Another key difference is that since the oil is a liquid, it will immediately penetrate the hair follicles and actively nourish, condition and hydrate the beard hair, as well as shock the hair into more growth. The balm, on the other hand, is more of a leave in conditioner with a thick solid texture that would condition the hair throughout the day. So oil provides more immediate stimulation, as it can more easily penetrate the hair follicles.
The oil leaves your beard with a shiny effect, while the balm has more of a matte finish to it. So this is also a matter of personal preference as well. Some people like that radiant shine that comes with the oil, while others simply prefer to have a non-shiny, more matter kind of style on their beard.
So to recap:
- Oil provides less hold, balm provides more hold and control
- Oil leaves a shine effect, while balm leaves a matte effect
- Oil works immediately by penetrating hair follicles, while balm takes its time and works at a slower rate throughout the day
So which one to use? Well, for shorter beards, we prefer the beard oil. For longer beards, typically over an inch long, we prefer the balm. But again, the difference is not so big, as both provide the same amount of health benefits. The difference is in the hold, and the shine effect they provide. Heck, some people even use both at the same time, which is awesome since you are getting the benefit of both at once!
You can apply the oil first, and get the benefit of the instant penetration into the pores, and then apply the balm for a nice, firm hold. Perfect combo!