Discovering the wonders of beard balms is a glorious feeling, especially if you’ve gone for quite some time with a beard but without using either beard balm or beard oil. A good beard balm tends to make the whole experience of having a beard better in so many ways – your beard becomes softer and shinier, all skin irritations and itchiness go away, both the beard and skin become much better nourished and hydrated, and there’s even a pleasing glow that’s now accompanying your facial hair.
Beard balms can be expensive too, however, especially if you want to buy and use a high-quality product. So, either to avoid that or simply to give your own personal touch to the beard balm you’ll be using, you might want to look into some homemade beard balm recipes. Are there any good DIY beard balm recipe suggestions out there? Let’s take a look.
What are the basic beard balm ingredients?
Normally, in a “Recipes for X” article you’d expect a list of different recipes for making something. When it comes to beard balms, however, all recipes follow the same formula of 4 basic ingredients that all beard balms have – waxes, butters, carrier oils, and essential oils (or other scented ingredient). What separates different beard balm recipes from one another is the exact type of waxes, butters, carrier oils, and essential oils they are made out of.
So, instead of listing different recipes that just include different types of the 4 major ingredients, of which there are dozens, let’s, instead, take a detailed look at said 4 ingredients and their variations:
Waxes are undoubtedly the most important of the 4 beard balm ingredients. Waxes are what gives the beard balm its thick consistency which differentiates it from beard oils. Waxes also give beard balms their slight hold which is vital for the prolonged effect of the balm as well as for the shine it gives your beard.
The most used type of wax for beard balms by far is beeswax. What makes beeswax perfect for beard balms is that it’s both solid at room temperatures and yet melts easily when you work it with your hands. Almost all beard balm recipes you will find on the internet will include beeswax because of how suitable it is for beard balms.
If you are a vegan or you don’t want to use beeswax for another reason, there are a myriad of plant-based waxes that you can use instead – soy wax and candelilla wax are among the most common alternatives to beeswax, as are other plant-based wax mixtures.
At the end of the day, however, we’d generally recommend beeswax for your homemade beard balm recipe as the best option. You can typically get it in pellet, bars or blocks with pellets being generally easier to measure and work with while for blocks or bars of beeswax you might want to get a set of kitchen scales.
The amount of beeswax you should use in beard balm recipes is generally measured in ounces, teaspoons or tablespoons. If you’re getting confused with these measurements, here’s a quick rule of thumb:
- 1 tablespoon equals 0.5 ounces
- 1 teaspoon equals 0.167 ounces
Another must-have ingredient of a beard balm is the butter. There are various butters you can encounter in homemade beard balm recipes but the two most commons ones are shea butter and cocoa butter. Either one works fine and they are both essentials as it’s the butters that soften the beard balm and make it less waxy and easier to work with.
Ideally, a quality beard balm should include not just one of these two butters but both of them, even though you’ll see a lot of recipes that just use one of the two types of butter. Shea butter and cocoa butter offer different qualities to beard balms, however, so it’s best to use both.
- Cocoa butter includes a lot of vitamins and oxidants which is why it’s widely used in different types of cosmetics and why it’s so good in beard balms.
- Shea butter, on the other hand, absorbs very easily through the skin and is an excellent anti-inflammatory ingredient, which also makes it perfect for beard balms.
So, our general recommendation is to use both of these butters together in your DIY beard balm recipe. If you don’t have or don’t want one of them, the next best substitute is mango butter. This butter offers a lot of great vitamins, oxidants, and minerals so it’s a great addition to a beard balm, however, it’s generally firmer than cocoa and shea butters so you’ll need to add less wax to your beard balm if you’re using mango butter. Another obstacle to using mango butter is that it’s usually harder to find than cocoa and shea butters so those two will likely be your best bet.
Carrier oils serve the same purpose in beard balms as butters – they soften the wax and the balm, and they give the whole mix a nice soft texture. If you put any essential or scented oils in the beard balm, the carrier oils also help carry their fragrances, hence why we call them carrier oils.
Unlike with waxes and butters where there are only a few viable and common options for you to choose from, with carrier oils, there is a great number to choose from. Most carrier oils bring with them a lot of different properties and characteristics to the beard balm so choosing the one you like is very important. In fact, the main difference between the many commercial beard balms you can find on the market is in the carrier oils and essential oils or scents they use.
In other words, don’t be afraid to mix and try different types of carrier oils until you find the one you like the most. Here are the most common variants:
- Sweet almond oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Walnut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Camellia seed oil
- Apricot oil
- Kukui nut oil
- Hazelnut oil
- Hemp seed oil
- Argan oil
- Emu oil
- Macadamia nut oil
- Grapeseed oil
Essential or other scented oils
Ironically, essential oils are the least essential ingredient in beard balms. They give the beard balm its scent but if you plan on using cologne or you just don’t want any specific scent, then you can easily skip the essential oils or the other scents that are usually added into beard balms.
If you do want to add a specific scent to your homemade beard balm, there’s obviously a great diversity of essential oils to choose from – cedarwood, rosemary, lavender, sandalwood, bourbon, vanilla, myrrh, patchouli, bergamot, and many others.
How to make beard balm yourself?
Now that we know what the main ingredients to beard balms actually are, the next question is – how to mix them?
The general mixture recipe most beard balms use is as follows:
- 1 ounce of wax, usually beeswax
- 2 ounces of butters, typically a combination of shea and cocoa butters or just either one
- 3 ounces of carrier oils such as coconut, avocado, or any other
- A few drops of essential oils
The way these ingredients are mixed is rather simple:
- Heat up the wax, butter, and carrier oils in a vat over low heat.
- Stir occasionally as the mixture is melting and blending. Do not let it boil.
- Once the mixture is perfectly melted into a liquid, remove the heat.
- Add the essential oils before the mixture has had time to solidify. Stir the essential oils in nicely.
- Pour the mixture into its intended tin or another storage carrier.
- Allow the mixture to cool down overnight. It’s now ready to use.