Like with the hair on your head, using harsh ingredients on your face can strip skin's natural oils and leave you dry and itchy. The best beard conditioners are gentle and moisturizing to keep hairs soft and the skin beneath it nourished (because beardruff is real, friends). As you start shopping, keep these considerations in mind:
Leave-in or wash-out: When it comes to beard maintenance, you'll first need to choose between a leave-in or wash-out product. Part of this is just a matter of personal preference. However, also keep in mind that one of the main purposes of wash-out beard conditioners is to clean your beard, while leave-in conditioners are designed to soften hair and many can help shape your beard.
Texture: While wash-out conditioners all tend to have a similar shampoo-like texture, when it comes to leave-ins, your choices will include oils, balms, foams, and gels. If you're looking for just a little styling help, an oil is a great option (just be sure not to overdo it). Foams are another solid alternative with a light hold, but you'll want to work the product all the way in for the best results. For a little more control, look to balms and gels. Balms are a tried-and-true option for conditioning and hold, but some people find gels easier to spread through longer hair.
Whether you're looking for the best beard oil or something with a balmier texture, the products below have earned rave reviews on Amazon. I've also included a cost-efficient grooming set that comes complete with a brush, comb, and scissors.
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1. The conditioning beard shampoo
This rinse-out conditioning beard shampoo will get your beard clean, but thanks to the conditioning oils, it won't feel dried-out. Specifically formulated for facial hair, this shampoo helps clean, hydrate, and soften your beard with argan and jojoba oils. It's scented with peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils, which many reviewers loved. However, the fragrance could be irritating to those with sensitive skin. With a texture much like regular shampoo, this rinse-out conditioner works for all beard lengths.
One reviewer says: “I had been buying a much more expensive shampoo and conditioner for my beard. I saw the ingredients on this one, and it wound up smelling and being really nice. I have bad beard dandruff and head dandruff. I actually use a medicated shampoo at times but no need with this stuff. It works great! And it moisturizes and makes the beard soft and nice-feeling.”
2. The beard balm
Honest Amish's Beard Balm is made with a blend of nourishing argan, avocado, almond, pumpkin seed, and apricot kernel oils. These ingredients all work together to help soften your beard and encourage new growth for all hair lengths. They can also help relieve the annoying itch caused by dry skin. Reviewers have compared the balm's scent to anise, black licorice, and even black jelly beans, which many liked but may not be for everyone.
Its balmy texture lends a little hold, but if hold isn't what you're looking for, consider the oil below instead. Those with longer beards might also want to consider the gel below, which many users found to be easier to work into their beards.
One reviewer says: “My beard feels soft and not wire-like and the Honest Amish product last all day long until its gets washed out again. The smell of it is fantastic too."
3. The conditioning beard gel
If you're looking for a bit of hold, Billy Jealousy's Beard Control gel nourishes while taming flyaways and allowing you to style with ease. Aloe leaf juice softens and deeply hydrates, while jojoba oil conditions and adds shine without weighing hair down. According to the manufacturer, this is best for beards that are longer than 1-inch long.
This leave-in beard conditioner has a fresh, woodsy fragrance, and users frequently commented on the pleasant scent. Just keep in mind that users also warned a little goes a long way.
One reviewer says: "I love this stuff!! I can finally use my cell phone again without it getting greasy enough to fry eggs on! It gives me excellent hold and tames the flyaway all day long just like my former Beeswax-based balm, but it leaves my beard dry to the touch. It's also way easier to apply than balm- it's a very simply cream that doesn't leave my hands sticky of greasy afterward either."
4. The beard oil
Because it’s an oil, this Cremo leave-in conditioner is incredibly easy to apply and lightweight. Argan, sunflower, and jojoba oils soften your beard, restore moisture, and promote healthier growth. The brand says it's a good fit for all beard lengths including stubble, scruff, and long beards. However, you won't get hold with this product.
The Forest Blend is formulated with spruce, cedarwood, and rosemary oils, and the scent smells just as you would imagine, like a woodsy forest. However, it's also available in unscented (great for sensitive skin and noses) and minty varieties.
One reviewer says: “Very nice scent and does an excellent job softening my beard. For [...] oil, it really doesn’t feel that heavy and definitely doesn’t feel greasy after application.’
5. The beard foam
Formulated with a blend of natural ingredients, this beard foam absorbs quickly to help soften hair, add a little volume, and reduce itching and irritation. What’s more, it's great for all beard lengths as it helps tame unruly hairs and offers a touch of hold. Witch hazel, rosemary, and other natural extracts are added to neutralize odors. To use this foam, dispense two to three pumps into your palm and rub it into your beard and skin; then use a wide-toothed comb to distribute it evenly.
One reviewer says: “I've been using this for at least a year now, and I've noticed my beard is flake-free and soft as whispers from, like, a baby unicorn. The container lasts a while, as you don't need to use a ton of it.”
6. The complete beard grooming kit
If you're looking for an assortment of grooming essentials to keep your beard looking in tip-top shape, this beard grooming kit is packed with everything you need. Suitable for everything from stubble to a long beard, it includes two beard oils, beard wash, beard balm, a comb, a brush, and scissors. It all comes packaged in an attractive box that makes it a great gift, too. Plus, the whole set is less than $30.
One reviewer says: “I have had this product for a few days now, and I have tried everything that's included, and I must say it is very much worth the money. The wooden comb just glides through my coarse beard and doesn't break or split the ends [...] The oil is really light and works right into the beard, as well as the beard balm. Everything softens and soothes my beard insomuch that I can actually feel the difference from the then to now, and it has only been a few days."