The Best Beard Oils for Softer, Better Hydrated Facial Hair

best beard oils
The Best Beard Oils for Softer Facial HairKIEHL'S

Looking to find the best beard oil, but not sure where to start? You've come to the right place. Our expert-tested beard care product recommendations will work wonders for any hirsute man — from the well-groomed to those rocking more of aCastaway vibe — regardless of the length, style or texture of your facial hair.

Our team have personally tested a whole load of beard oils to find the ones genuinely worth adding to your grooming bag. Below are our 10 favourites, or read on for our full reviews.

Read more grooming tips from Men's Health

What Is Beard Oil?

Beard oil is a specially-formulated oil designed to be applied to your beard, stubble or other forms of facial hair to keep it soft, hydrated and healthy – think of it as a conditioner for your face. However, beard oil serves a different purpose to shampoo or shower gel, as your facial hair is coarser than the hair on your head, meaning it requires a little more upkeep and added hydration.

Beard oil also tends to be scented, leaving your goatee/ mutton chops/ lumberjack/ moustache/ soul patch smelling good all day. For example, this Booze & Baccy Beard Oil from Captain Fawcett and Ricki Hall combines base notes of honeyed fresh tobacco leaves, dusty aromatic frankincense, maple-like benzoin, woody oak moss and warm exotic vanilla bean, layered with mid notes of fresh hops and sweet bog myrtle.

Is Beard Oil Worth Using?

The hygiene, health and conditioning properties of good beard oil are incredibly underrated and — once you start using a decent one like those listed below — totally indispensable.

Rub your hand across your face. That rough, spiky feeling is the result of coarse facial hair. Thicker than the hair on your head, beard hair needs to be tamed if you want people to cosy up to it and stop it irritating your skin.

Beard oil will soften coarse hair and help make it supple and easier to style. And, behind the scenes, it will also help condition the skin underneath, thanks to natural oils and ingredients — including Argan oils, baobab and jojoba — that help to reduce any itchiness or flakiness. It will also deal with any rogue 'beardruff' — that's beard dandruff, FYI — so you can feel more confident in your facial fuzz.

Lastly, as we’ve already mentioned, beard oils tend to be fragranced, so you can make your beard smell fantastic all day, without having to resort to spraying it with cologne.

The Best Beard Oils to Buy in 2024

Verdict: Our winning oil set a new bar for smoothing stragglers during our tests, while the cedar and sage scent left beards smelling fresh. Hair was left feeling softer and easier to comb; so much so that our entire testing panel plan to stick with this non-greasy oil.

Verdict: If you find your skin is sensitive to heavily fragranced products, this beard oil is for you. Fragrance-free, it isn't heavy or greasy but we found it still boosted hydration, with all our testers noticing softer hair and no complaints about irritation.

Verdict: This cruelty-free option was a pro at leaving beards shinier and smoother, with zero irritation. The hydrating mix of hemp and Argan oil left hair easier to manage and helped eradicate dryness for most testers, and the spiced scent remained pleasant throughout the day.

Verdict: This organic, vegan beard oil can be used from head to toe to relieve any dryness. When it comes to your moustache, it absorbed quickly, leaving skin and hair softer and smoother. Despite doing wonders when it came to nourishment, it was lightweight and didn’t leave any greasiness in its wake.

Verdict: For long beards that need a bit of assistance to get a brush through them, try L'Oreal. We found this oil made beards easier to comb through after application and made taming any unruly hairs manageable.

Verdict: Nourishing your beard without costing you an arm and a leg. We loved this lightweight, non-greasy formula and found it managed to smooth down any frizz and flyaways. It left beards with softer skin and hair, too.

Verdict: This budget-friendly beard oil combines aloe vera, jojoba oil and green tea to soothe and tame the wildest and wiriest of beards, and left beards feeling softer and easier to style after just one use. The scent was also fresh and invigorating, while the texture struck just the right balance between being nourishing and not overly greasy.

Verdict: For those looking for something that will get along with all beard shapes and sizes, and absorb quickly, here's your new go-to. It reduced itchiness while increasing skin hydration and helped to tame unruly hair.

Verdict: Whether you have short stubble or a lengthy beard, taking care of the skin underneath is vital. Although the packaging may look like a miniature bottle of whisky, the liquid inside left us with softer-feeling skin, while adding a nice woody scent.

Verdict: This mix of natural oils provided ample lubrication when shaving, and also impressed as a post-groom treat, leaving beards feeling soft and hydrated. It also helped to relieve beard itch and made facial hair easier to style.

Verdict: If you’re looking to add some shine to strands, this is your guy. It left beards looking soft, glossy and easier to manage, leaving hair easy to comb through after applying just a few drops.

Verdict: This oil is ideal for anyone worried about excess greasiness in their product. It's fast-absorbing and won't leave your beard slick after use. Your hair and skin will also feel softer after application. Using natural oils, Murdock London's beard oil offers an 'ultra-nourishing' blend to hydrate dry hairs and enhance shine without excess grease. The pump bottle is a nice touch, too — meaning a mess-free application is guaranteed.

Verdict: Rituals' lightweight beard oil gives a non-greasy finish for a well-groomed appearance. Featuring Sencha antioxidants, it will help hydrate both your skin and beard hair. And the addition of Japanese Mint Oil will leave you feeling refreshed with softer facial hair and a natural, noticeable shine.

Verdict: Perfect as a gift or as a bit of grooming indulgence, this premium beard oil from Acqua di Parma uses locally-sourced ingredients, including sweet almond and grape seed oils, to provide a gently cleansed and tangle-free beard. Use daily for best results.

Verdict: It's no surprise that award-winning barber shop Ruffians also offers an award-winning beard oil. As well as endowing your facial fuzz with an elegant, citrus smell, Ruffians' offering locks in moisture and protects your skin from sun damage.

Verdict: Packing in some of our favourite nourishing ingredients, including avocado, jojoba and sweet almond oil, this oil smoothed hair, while its softening effect lasted throughout the day. If itchiness is your bugbear, it helped soothe the skin, while leaving hair easier to tame and style.

Verdict: Okay, so this was originally designed to tame dry and frizzy hair, but, by happy coincidence, it works just as well on your face. Its key ingredient is linoleic acid, which has been proven to aid hair growth and helps to keep the skin beneath your beard healthy.

Verdict: Made with a fresh blend of woodsy essential oils, this beard oil absorbs quickly and easily to soften your hair while soothing the skin underneath the beard. Exfoliating salicylic acid gently removes dry skin cells to prevent dandruff, with a lasting scent of cedarwood, sandalwood and eucalyptus.

man hand with oil
Dealing with coarse hair and itchy skin? Beard oil could be your saviourriccardo bianchi2 - Getty Images

How We Test Beard Oils

Every product listed here has been rigorously tested to find the best for styling, brushing and taming beards, as well as those that help to smooth and soften facial hair. During our testing made notes on the softness and hydration of our skin, along with any noticeable reduction in itchiness.

In the Men’s Health Lab, our expert testers then used a Dia-Stron machine to measure the smoothness of hair before and after application. The easier the switches were to comb through, the higher the beard oil scored.

a man's guide to beard oil and the best to buy in 2023
You can apply beard oil to any length of facial hairserezniy - Getty Images

How Long Does Your Beard Hair Need To Be?

In theory, you can apply beard oil to any length of stubble, or even use it as a serum on your freshly shaved face (although if you were going to do that we’d recommend using a proper skin serum).

For maximum results and minimum greasiness though, we’d suggest applying it once your beard has started to get thick enough to cover the skin underneath — somewhere around the centimetre mark. At this length, your beard will be getting thick enough that if left untamed you could look a little…unkempt.

How Often You Should Use Beard Oil

Like any grooming product, how often you should apply it is entirely down to you. Some oils will absorb and wash out easily, making them ideal for daily use. Some will have a little more staying power, making them better suited for anyone who doesn’t have time to wash their beard every day.

When you do use it, we’d suggest washing the hair first with a beard shampoo — such as this 2-in-1 beard shampoo and conditioner from Bulldog, which is better suited for coarse hair than regular shampoo. Towel or blow-dry it, depending on how thick it is and apply the beard oil as per the instructions on the bottle. Comb it through or work it in with your fingers and smooth the beard down to finish off.

Can You Use Coconut Oil Instead of Beard Oil?

In short, yes. Apparently useful for whitening your teeth, throwing into a frying pan a-la Joe Wicks and now as a grooming product, coconut oil is a real multi-tasker. Use it sparingly and work a small amount in your hands until it’s melted before running it through your beard.

Less greasy than most oils thanks to its lauric acid content, it will nourish and condition the hair. You may smell like a Bounty chocolate bar, though.

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