Helpful Tips & Tricks

Differences Between Different Beard Care Products


Since beards are back in style, you’ll have no trouble finding a wide selection of products to choose from including oils, balms, creams, conditioners, softeners, and shampoos. As you can imagine, there are plenty of options available to choose from, but if you’re new to beard life, then you may not know the differences between these products, how they work, why you need them, and exactly what each type can do for your beard.

The thought of purchasing several new products to care for your beard may have you rolling your eyes, but if you’ve only relied on a wax or oil to treat and maintain your beard, then you’re missing out. If you have a wild beard, beard dandruff, dry and itchy skin, or your beard simply doesn’t seem to want to grow, then the right products can do wonders for your beard and the skin that lies underneath.

Each type of product is designed to make caring for your beard more manageable. If you’re having trouble styling your beard, if dandruff is an issue, and if the itching is driving you insane, then you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve just started to grow a beard, then reading this guide will be a real eye-opener. It will also help by showing you which products can work the best to reduce dry, itchy skin, redness, and irritation, all of which are common during the first few months of beard growth.

This guide will walk you through the different types of beard care products, how they work and what they can do for your beard, whether its transforming the beard’s texture, taming it, or keeping it clean and smelling great.


Beard oils are probably the most popular type of beard care product. Many beard wearers tend to skip over regular beard grooming such as shampooing and conditioning their beard and instead will opt only for a good beard oil. While beard oil is important and it helps to keep the beard hydrated, other products are also necessary. So, what does beard oil do exactly? Beard oil is considered the foundational grooming product for most beard wearers, especially for new beard growth. The oil helps to treat flaky skin, beard dandruff and moisturizes both the beard and skin. This is a type of lightweight oil-based moisturizer that is applied throughout the beard. Since it’s a liquid, you can easily work it into a beard and it’s very effective in moisturizing the skin and hydrating beards, especially shorter ones.

How it Helps

Bearded man

Most beard wearers also claim that it does a better job of moisturizing the skin and beard compared to a balm. So, instead of the shiny appearance you’ll get when using a balm, the oil has more of a matte look that’s really flattering. Those with longer beards will have to use a comb in order to distribute the oil throughout the beard. Despite the fact that an oil will make only a subtle change in the appearance of your beard, it actually can give it a smoother, silkier texture. Additionally, you won’t have to deal with any product buildup like you can with some types of balms and creams.

The best beard oils will work wonders on even the thickest beards, regardless of length. You’ll only need to use a few drops of the oil at a time. However, since it’s an oil, most beginners often overdo it and end up with a greasy looking beard. Some products can also be difficult to rinse out, which is why I recommend using a shampoo specifically designed for facial hair. This type of product will make it easier to remove beard care products and will also help to keep it clean and moisturized.


Balm is a great product choice for men with medium to long beards, however, it will also work for short beard wearers who often struggle with dry skin. A balm is much thicker in texture compared to oil, so it tends to take much longer for the skin to absorb. Balms will sit on the skin and in the beard longer before it’s absorbed. This will provide longer-lasting moisture that’s more nourishing to the skin and beard. It will also add plenty of shine to a beard and can boost hair and skin health.

The balm’s thickness is enough to help tame a wild beard and prevent fly-away strands. It can also be used as a basic everyday styling product, however, it may not be strong enough when it comes to maintaining a denser beard.

How it Helps

Balms are also more versatile compared to oils. While your average beard oil will work well when it comes to keeping the skin and beard healthy, balms are designed to help style your beard and moisturize both the skin and beard. It can be used as a daily moisturizer, in addition to another type of styling product.

Beard Wax

Wax is known for its thicker consistency compared to balms and oils and for its important sculpting properties. However, sculpting your beard isn’t all it can do. Like a balm, wax also contains a variety of essential oils and moisturizing agents that will condition, nourish and keep the beard hydrated. These products tend to work the best for men with longer beards, which are normally harder to control and tame. A wax can also instantly thicken your beard, making it appear fuller and healthier.

Even men with shorter facial hair can benefit from using wax, which can make a new beard more manageable and appear well-groomed.

These waxes will work well for beards of all lengths and textures, that’s what makes them so versatile. Usually, they offer a mild fragrance that’s also very appealing.

How it Helps

Wax is more of a styling product. So, you could use both wax and an oil for your hydrating and styling needs. You could begin by massaging the oil into your beard, then apply the wax to sculpt and style it. With most waxes, you’ll find a combination of shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, and scented oils. However, wax differs from balm since it has beeswax, which totally changes the texture and provides a much stronger hold in comparison. Some types of wax may also have lanolin, which is a different type of waxy substance that will improve the product’s holding power.

To learn more about beard wax, how it works, and which products earned a top rating, click here to visit my buyer’s guide.

Beard Shampoo

Portrait of male

Beard shampoo is a must. Buying a shampoo specifically for your beard may sound unnecessary or even frivolous, but it’s actually very important for beard health. These shampoos work to specifically treat the skin beneath the beard, in addition to the coarse beard hairs. These shampoos are much different than the type you’ll use on your head. This is because the skin that lies under the beard is considered much more sensitive than the hair on the scalp.

This is why most beard shampoos contain organic ingredients that are designed to prevent irritation and will instead soothe this delicate skin while providing relief from general discomfort, itchiness, and dryness. It can also boost hair health, prevent ingrown hairs, kill any bacteria in the beard or on the skin, and leave your beard feeling softer and more manageable. Under the beard, the facial hair is continuing to grow through thickened skin and other hair shafts. If the hairs are too coarse then the growth process can be very uncomfortable. This is why many men tend to give up on growing a beard during the first one to three months.

Beard shampoo is designed to cleanse the facial hair while removing contaminants, dirt, dead skin, and food trapped below the hair. And the result? Softer and smoother skin and hair. These shampoos can also treat and prevent any dandruff that’s accumulated in the beard. While some beard shampoos may seem pricey, you only need to use a dime-sized amount, which means one bottle can last several months.

Using a good beard shampoo each time you shower will do wonders in terms of transforming your beard. It will also make styling it much easier, since your comb will move smoothly through your beard, instead of getting caught on knots and tangled hair. During those first few weeks when you’re growing out a beard, you need a shampoo designed for facial hair. For most men, that first month is the most challenging since the stubble can irritate the skin, causing inflammation, redness, ingrown hairs, and discomfort.

How it Helps

A good shampoo can help the hair to easily get through this rough stage by softening the hair and removing any dead skin cells on the surface of the face. Thick and long beards will definitely benefit from this type of shampoo since using a regular shampoo tends to strip away the natural oils in the face, leaving it more susceptible to breakage. The fact that it can help to moisturize even the coarsest beard should give you more than enough incentive to buy.


There are a wide range of conditioners to choose from as well. But before you choose the first product you see, unlike shampoos, there are some factors you’ll need to take into consideration.

If you have a full beard that’s very thick, then you can go ahead and choose any type of basic beard conditioner. However, if you have sensitive skin then you’ll need to find a product that’s free of chemicals. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to find an all-natural conditioner that contains a variety of ingredients that will hydrate the skin and beard, without causing breakouts, rashes, or skin irritation in general.

Additionally, if you’re dealing with some heavy-duty dandruff, then you’ll want to look for a product that offers an anti-dandruff formula. If your skin is very itchy and dry, then you need a conditioner that contains oils designed to moisturize the skin and prevent and treat dandruff.

How it Helps

Your beard length and the coarseness of the hair can also play a role when it comes to choosing the right conditioner. Unlike balms, conditioners can reach deep down into the hair follicles to moisturize, which is why it’s so important to use a conditioner in addition to a balm.

A guy with coarser and thicker than average hair should use an extra-strength conditioner that’s designed to soften the hair.

These conditioners don’t have to be used daily, but they can be, even if you don’t use shampoo. There are many different types of beards that will benefit from daily conditioning. However, if you have a very fine, thin beard, then you may want to avoid using a conditioner daily, and instead, deep condition only two to three times a week.

You can learn more about beard softening products and the importance of keeping your beard hydrated and your skin moisturized by clicking here to read my in-depth buyer’s guide.

Final Thoughts

There are definitely several types of beard products to choose from. Each will have its own fragrance and the power to transform your beard with consistent use. But finding the right products for your beard will depend on beard length, coarseness, and thickness. Knowing this will help you choose a product that will shape your beard up in a matter of weeks. Product use will be especially important during the first one to three months of growth since this is when beards tend to cause the most irritation, itchiness, and general discomfort.

Now that you know more about the different types of beard care products, you can create a beard care regimen that will boost hair growth, help to keep your beard looking and smelling great, and a product that you can use daily for styling purposes. While there are plenty of products to choose from and some may not seem necessary, if you’re trying to maintain a long beard, at the very least you’ll need a good conditioner and shampoo and one styling product. These products will work together to ensure your beard continues to grow and looks groomed and well taken care of.