By Jeff Reeves

The Best Beard Oils

Pretty much any beard oil is going to have the right carrier oils to soothe and moisturize dry skin and help eliminate "beardruff." The real trick to finding the best beard oil is landing on a scent (and scent intensity) that appeals to you — as well as anyone getting up close to your face. We rounded up the 19 most buzzed-about beard oils, tried them out, and pinpointed their scents to help you find which one's right.

The 4 Best Beard Oils

The Best Beard Oils: Summed Up

Rhett's Beard Oil
Leven Rose Fragrance-Free Beard Oil
Detroit Grooming Co. Corktown Beard Oil
Honest Amish Classic Beard Oil
Best Scent
Best Unscented
Best Gift
Best Value
Price
$16/oz
$14/oz
$22/oz
$6/oz
Carrier Oils
Apricot, Hemp, Grapeseed
Jojoba, Argan
Sweet Almond
Avocado, Pumpkin, Almond
Organic?
Scent Category
Woodsy
Unscented
Tobacco
Herbel

Rhett’s Beard Oil

Best
Scent

Rhett’s Beard Oil
Both men and women loved its mix of sandalwood, citrus, and rosemary. Its scent is milder than most but lasts all day.
Pros
Lightweight and Moisturizing
Pleasant woodsy scent
Beloved on Amazon
Cons
Scent too strong for some

Why we chose it

Lightweight and moisturizing

Our overall favorite oil is Rhett's Beard Oil, an apricot- and hempseed-based formula that left our beards pleasantly soft and itch-free with no greasy residue. Though not as common as some other carrier oils, Rhett’s top ingredients are both non-comedogenic — lightweight enough to use everyday, without clogging your pores. Hempseed oil is rich in Vitamins A, C, and E, and the fatty acids in apricot oil make it particularly good at soothing dry skin.

Pleasant woodsy scent

Nearly all of our testers loved Rhett’s “beastly but balanced” mix of sandalwood, citrus, and rosemary. Also, no other oil we tested won over as many noses — Rhett’s was simply our favorite smelling, bar none.

Beloved on Amazon

We’re not alone in our praise, either. Amazon customers gave Rhett’s an average rating of 4.7 stars, with more than 280 verified Amazon reviews. The fact that it costs only $16 an ounce is just one more thing to like.

Points to consider

Scent too strong for some

Rhett’s woodsy scent is definitely a bold enough one that you’ll catch whiffs of it all day — something one of our testers found to be too much. If you want all the lushness without the lingering aromas, check out the Leven Rose Fragrance-Free.

Leven Rose Fragrance-Free Beard Oil

Best
Unscented

Leven Rose Beard Oil
Prefer to avoid scent altogether? Leven Rose is just the good stuff — organic jojoba and argan oil.
Pros
Refreshingly simple
Lease likely to trigger breakouts
Organic
Cons
May be too light for some

Why we chose it

Refreshingly simple

Leven Rose has just two ingredients, organic jojoba oil and organic argan oil. Simple? Absolutely. But those two ingredients happen to be the most popular carrier oils in the beard game — and rightly so. Both are packed with antioxidants and naturally occurring Vitamin E. Even the packaging is down to earth, a 1-ounce brown apothecary bottle with a glass dropper and a simple label reading “Beard Oil.”

Least likely to trigger breakouts

Not only are jojoba and argan oils renowned for their moisturizing, antibacterial and antioxidant qualities, but they boast a combined comedogenicity score of less than one. That translates to a light, easily absorbed elixir that left our skin and beards feeling smooth and well-nourished.

Organic

If you’re someone who prefers using organic products, Leven Rose has the added benefit of being 100% organic. If simple and pure is your bag, Leven Rose is a great choice.

Points to consider

May be too light for some

Given that everyone’s beard and skin are different, some guys may end up preferring a slightly heavier oil. Some users note that Leven Rose seems to “dry” fairly quickly due to its low comedogenicity score. That’s preferable for some, but not all.

Detroit Grooming Co. Corktown Beard Oil

Best
Gift

Detroit Grooming Co. Corktown Beard Oil
A tobacco-vanilla scent that's bold in every sense. Our most intense pick comes in an unusual clear square bottle.
Pros
Our favorite bold scent
Elegantly packaged
Cons
Pricier than most

Why we chose it

Our favorite bold scent

Detroit Grooming Co. Corktown Beard Oil has one of the strongest scents of any we tested. The essential oils that join the sweet almond vitamin E carrier oils are unnamed but distinctive enough to identify: vanilla without a doubt, with a heavy splash of tobacco and cedar. While its intense scent means it didn’t achieve Rhett’s across-the-board popularity, those who did like the scent loved it.

Elegantly packaged

Is it a little arbitrary to recommend a beard oil based on looks alone? Sure. But in a medicine cabinet lined with brown apothecary bottles, Corktown stands out in a square-shouldered clear glass container without an eye dropper or even so much as a limiter cap. It’s sturdy. It’s elegant. If you’re looking for a beard oil to give as a gift, this one is certainly eye-catching.

Points to consider

Pricier than most

At $22 for a 1-ounce bottle, Corktown is more expensive than our other picks, but if you’re looking for a beard oil (or a gift for a bearded bud) that really stands out, this is it.

Honest Amish Classic Beard Oil

Best
Value

Honest Amish Classic Beard Oil
Our most subtle pick has notes of tobacco, clove, and black licorice, but the scent fades quickly.
Pros
Vitamin-rich
Lightweight and easily absorbed
Excellent value
Cons
Scent fades quickly

Why we chose it

Vitamin-rich

Honest Amish Classic Beard Oil gives you the vitamin-rich goodness of avocado, pumpkin and almond oils (avocado in particular is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E). It rounds out the oil blend with moisturizing apricot, plus a touch of jojoba, argan, and kukui.

Lightweight and easily absorbed

The blend is refreshingly lightweight and all of our testers reported it moisturized their skin and beards without leaving greasy residue. Avocado oil, the main ingredient, also ranks low on the comedogenicity scale, at just 2, meaning it’s easily absorbed and unlikely to trigger breakouts.

Excellent value

At $14 for a 2-ounce bottle, you really can’t beat the price of Honest Amish. We love the oil, but another thing we really like is the packaging. Other budget oils come in plastic bottles that look and feel cheap; Honest Amish is packed in a brown glass apothecary bottle with a glass dropper, like a supersized version of the more expensive oils we tested.

Points to consider

Scent fades quickly

Not everyone wants their beard’s aroma to linger throughout the day, but if you do, you might be disappointed at how quickly Honest Amish’s scent fades. That said it’s not even a particularly strong scent when you first apply it, so if you’re into fragrance you probably want to stick with Rhett’s Beard Oil.

Guide to Beard Oils

How to find the right beard oil for you

Choose a price range

Most beard oils are priced between $15 and $20 an ounce, and a little tends to go a long way. But if you have a really big, bushy beard that you oil every day, you may want to economize with something like the value-priced Honest Amish. On the other hand, if you love the idea of impressing the noses of your special occasion dinner companions, it may be worth it to spend a little more.

Pick a scent and intensity

We learned in our research that the biggest difference from beard oil to beard oil is scent: what it smells like and how intensely. Do you want something bright and citrusy? Warm and rich? Fresh and tingly, almost to the point of astringent? We know all of these are available because we tested them all. But only you know what you like best.

Test first (on the inside of your wrist)

None of the oils we tried irritated our skin, caused redness, or triggered acne breakouts in our testers. But to be safe, always test a couple of drops on the inside of your wrist before committing to a full-face rubdown. “If you’re allergic or even just sensitive, you’ll know within a half-hour,” Dandie says.

Beard Oils FAQ

How does beard oil work?

Beards collect and camouflage all manner of nasty stuff, from food to dirt, while shading your face from solar rays that kill bacteria. That can result in a variety of undesirable side effects, notably dry skin and comedones — enlarged beard follicles filled with dead skin debris and your body’s natural sebum oil. You probably know them as blackheads.

The vast majority of any beard oil, typically more than 90%, consists of carrier oils. These base oils soften your whiskers and help to tame, if not completely eliminate, beard itch. Carrier oils also moisturize and nourish your skin.

Are some beard oils less skin-clogging than others?

There’s no way to be certain which oils will absorb most effectively without triggering a breakout — everyone is different — but the comedogenic scale is a good place to start. Cosmetic chemists use it to estimate a substance’s propensity to clog pores on a scale of zero to five. The lower the number, the less likely to trigger a breakout.

Comedogenic Rating
Carrier Oils
0-1
Argan, Avocado, Hemp Seed, Olive, Calendula, Castor, Pomegranate, Rosehip, Sesame, Sweet Almond
2-3
Apricot Kernel, Baabab, Borage, Grapesee, Hazelnut, Jojoba, Peach Kernel, Peanut, Pumpkin Seed, Sunflower
4-5
Cocoa Butter, Coconut, Flaxseed

Source: Journal of Cosmetic Science

A low comedogenic number often corresponds to an oil that is chemically similar to the natural sebum oil your skin creates. That’s a key quality for beard oil, says Craig Chapman, a PhD chemist and lifelong beardsman. “Ideally a carrier oil should be as close in molecular composition and pH to the oils produced by your own body.” All the products we tested used carrier oils rated 3 or lower.

When is the best time to apply beard oil?

Experts recommend applying beard oil right after you shower or wash your face. That’s when your beard and the skin below needs moisture the most. Applying it is simple, just make sure your face is completely dry so the oil can absorb. Put a couple of drops in the palm of your hand, then rub your hands together so the oil is evenly distributed. Then, gently rub your hands back and forth along the sides, down the front, and through the bottom of your beard. Finish with a beard brush or comb to smooth the hair.

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