Prim & Prep’s Guide to the Best Beard Balms

Bearded men beware. Not taking proper care of your beard can turn your manly growth into something more unruly or totally unattractive, which is why I definitely recommend using beard balm or oil to help keep your facial follicles healthy and happy.

Although the hairs on your face may seem a lot thicker and stronger than those on your head (especially if you’re one of the unfortunate many that happens to be balding), the truth is that facial hair actually requires way more maintenance to keep it looking its best. While beard hair is definitely much thicker, you’ve probably noticed that it’s also a heck of a lot coarser — and it’s for this reason that beards require special care and attention.

best beard balms

Unlike the hair on your head, which is often just fine with a quick shampooing, beards not only need to be thoroughly washed every day, but also require a daily conditioning. This is why so many men out there are searching for the best beard balm, as it can help their beard and the skin underneath it stay healthy and hydrated.

In truth, beard oil does almost exactly the same thing and there are quite a few great beard oils out there that we can recommend (Best Beard Oils). However, I definitely prefer beard balms, as they have one major advantage over beard oils. While both products can help keep your beard looking and feeling better, beard balm also works to help you style your beard as well.

Both beard balms and oils contain a variety of natural oils and butters (such as shea or coconut), but beard balms typically also contain a small amount of wax as well. This makes them thicker and ensures a good beard balm clings on to the hairs to provide a bit of extra hold and allow you to achieve whatever beard style you’re shooting for.

Some of the best beard balms can also help make your beard look thicker, which is perfect if you happen to have a slightly patchy beard. Of course, the main point of a beard balm is that it helps to keep your facial hair looking and feeling soft and shiny, but for anyone with an unruly beard, a balm is definitely a must as it can help you get it under control to ensure you don’t look like a lazy slob.

What Goes Into to Making the Best Beard Balms?

What Goes Into to Making the Best Beard Balms

When it comes to facial grooming products, I would definitely recommend looking for something all natural, or at least a product that contains as many natural ingredients as possible. I am a big fan of natural grooming products including deodorants, shaving soaps, etc. Since the point of beard balm is to condition your face and hair, you definitely want to avoid something with a bunch of chemicals as they will end up drying out your face and making your beard more brittle. Good ingredients to look for include shea butter, beeswax and lanolin—all of which are natural ingredients that will condition your beard and provide some level of hold, without drying out your face or making your facial hair brittle.

Since one of the ideas behind using a beard balm is to help provide a bit of hold to allow you to style your beard or keep it under control, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the amount of hold that a particular balm has. Various brands of beard balm provide differing levels of hold. Therefore, if you’re mainly looking for something to smooth out your beard and just keep it under control and free from stray or unruly hairs, you can probably go with something with less hold. On the other hand, if you’re looking to really style your beard, or you have a wild, unruly beard that sometimes seems to have a mind of its own, you will probably want to choose a product that has a stronger hold. If you are pairing your beard with a mustache, be sure to check out our list of the best mustache waxes as well.

The level of hold is usually determined by the amount of wax that the balm has in it. Those with a lesser hold usually have a higher percentage of oil, while those with a stronger hold typically contain a greater proportion of wax. Still, if you don’t feel like you really need any hold whatsoever, you may consider just using beard oil, as this will provide the same level of conditioning, but without stiffening up your beard and making it stay in place. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something with a strong hold, you should probably consider using a beard or mustache wax in addition to a balm. If you’re still not sure which product is right for you, check out our post on the differences between beard balms and oils.

When choosing a beard balm, the most important thing to remember is that you’ll get what you pay for. Now this isn’t to say that the best beard balms are prohibitively expensive, as they are definitely not. In fact, most of the best beard balms generally cost less than $20-30 for a container that should last for months. Therefore, it is important not to be skimp and simply choose the cheapest one you can find. Otherwise, you and your beard may quickly come to regret it.

The Ins and Outs of Using Beard Balm

Before we get into our list of the best beard balms, it is first necessary to look at how these products should be used. While it is definitely not rocket science (and really any idiot should be able to figure it out), you’ll still get better results if you follow these simple steps.

  • Thoroughly wash and dry your beard, preferably using an all natural soap or shampoo.
  • Take and a small, dime sized portion of the balm and rub it into your hands to soften it up and cover your fingers.
  • Starting from the neck and working your way up, thoroughly rub the balm into your beard. Make sure you work the balm in fully, rubbing it into the skin underneath your beard in addition to your facial hair.
  • Once the beard and skin have been fully coated with balm, work your fingers down through the beard to smooth out the hair.
  • Style as wanted.

In most cases, simply applying the balm once a day in the morning should be plenty sufficient. However, if you have an unruly beard or simply love the feeling, you can repeat these steps as often as you want throughout the day to keep your beard looking its best. If you’re applying the balm more than once a day, you can just reapply as needed without having to wash your face and beard over and over again. In fact, it’s recommended that you don’t wash more than once or at most twice a day, as too much washing can end up drying out your skin and beard—cancelling out the good conditioning work being done by the balm.

The Best Beard Balms of 2016

#1 Honest Amish Beard Balm Leave-In Conditioner

The Amish know all about fully, manly beards. While this product isn’t actually made by the Amish, it can give you a beard that any honest Amish man would be proud to own. In fact, this is hands down the best beard balm we’ve yet to come across, and it seems that most men agree, as this Honest Amish Beard Balm is the #1 best-selling beard conditioner/oil on Amazon. Still, don’t just take our word on it, as you can try it out yourself, and if you’re not 100% satisfied, you can return the unused portion for a full refund (as long as there is at least 50% of the balm left).

Honest Amish Beard Balm Leave-In Conditioner
Honest Amish Beard Balm Leave-In Conditioner 2

In terms of softening and conditioning the beard, this product really can work miracles. Still, that’s not the only thing to like about it, as many men also comment on just how pleasant they find the slight woody fragrance it features. However, there’s no reason to worry if you’re not wild about the scent, as it will fade away within 20 to 30 minutes.

If you’re just starting to grow your beard and are being driven nuts by the constant itching, this is definitely the solution you’ve been searching for. Those of you that sometimes suffer from beard dandruff should also give it a try, as it will moisturize the dry skin under your beard and quickly put an end to that unsightly condition.

It is made using all natural, vegan friendly organic oils and butters, meaning it is free of any of those harsh chemicals we’ve warned you to stay away from. The only thing to note is that this particular balm provides very little hold, so if your beard is unruly or you’re looking for something that will help you style your beard a bit more, you may want to consider the Honest Amish Heavy Duty Beard Balm, as this one provides extra control and styling power.

#2 Wild Willie’s Beard Butter

Wild Willie's Beard ButterAnother one of our favorites, Wild Willie’s Beard Butter is made from 13 all natural and organic ingredients that are sure to leave your beard feeling soft and looking great. All Wild Willie’s products are handmade in the USA using only the finest ingredients, so you know you’ll be getting the same amazing quality tin after tin. In fact, most all of the things we mentioned about the Honest Amish Beard Balm easily apply to Wild Willie’s and the other balms on our list (we just happen to be partial to the Honest Amish products but Wild Willies also made our list of the best beard oils as well).


#3 Grave Before Shave Beard Balm

Grave Before Shave Beard BalmAnother strong contender for the title of best beard balm has to be the Grave Before Shave Beard Balm. The company produces two different scents of beard balm. The standard beard balm has a very pleasing, piney and lemony scent, which is definitely my favorite of the two. However, the company also produces a hugely popular Bay Rum scent that many men swear by. Still, no matter which scent you choose, you’ll be getting a product that will really get the job done.

#4 Beard Balm for The Modern Gentleman (Virtu Beard Balm) by Liberty Premium Grooming Co.

Beard Balm for The Modern Gentleman (Virtu Beard Balm) by Liberty Premium Grooming Co.Like all of the other products on our list of the best beard balms, this one uses all natural oils, butters and waxes. Still, the thing that really makes this product stand out in our opinion is the addition of Argan oil, which has been used for centuries as a hair conditioner. In fact, not only will the Argan oil help keep your beard soft, but it is also known to help promote new hair growth—making it perfect for those of you with a patchy beard. All in all, you can’t go wrong with this beard balm (or any other product on this list).


#5 Professor Fuzzworthy’s Beard Care Balm and Gloss Conditioner

Professor Fuzzworthy's Beard Care Balm and Gloss ConditionerWith packaging reminiscent of old-school “snake oils” and miracle cures, you could be forgiven for thinking that Professor Edward J. Fuzzworthy’s Beard Care Balm is merely a gimmicky product that doesn’t work. However, this is far from the truth, as this balm is just as deserving of a spot on this list as all of the others.

In terms of ingredients, this is one is similar to the others, as it includes olive oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, beeswax and a blend of essential oils. Using a blend of eucalyptus, bay, lime, rosemary and cedarwood essential oils, this balm has an incredible, unique fragrance that has to be one of the most pleasing and invigorating scents we’ve come across in a balm. Nonetheless, what really makes this one special is the type of beeswax it uses. While most products contain a blend of different types of beeswax, this one uses only rare organic leatherwood beeswax. Sourced from Tasmania, Australia, this type of beeswax is produced using only the pollen from one specific type of flower, making it one of the most pure and unadulterated forms of beeswax around. In addition, this balm uses certified organic olive oil from Australia, plus one more secret, quintessentially Australian ingredient—Kunzea oil—which helps stop itching, eliminates skin blemishes and is perfect for those with sensitive or irritated skin.