Controversial opinion alert: Beard oil is less of a "grooming product" and more of a marketing scam. If you've been engaging in facial haircare of any kind, you have been fooled. I have a beard, so I can say this.
Back when I subscribed to men's Birchbox, a fun subscription service that delivers 100 vials of beard oil and a necktie to your door every month, I didn't understand what beardcare was all about, but I was game to try. After weeks of gingerly massaging oil onto my hairy man face, my beard was not more lustrous, not more nourished, and not like any of these. It looked the same, but wet, which is gross. So beard oil: Not necessary. Abraham Lincoln, a regular man with a famous beard, got along just fine with good ol' Embryolisse.
Saying something is a beard oil is just semantics—the products themselves tend to actually be really hearty blends of oils that also smell good. They also run a little cheaper than your Sephora-available face oils, hair oils, and perfume oils. Having uncovered the scam that is beard oil, what is a boy to do with cornucopia of beard oil samples, boundless curiousity, and a full calendar year to write a story about said beard oils? (It's true—I pitched this story 12 months ago, but it was deemed a good fit for No Shave November 2016.) He will procrastinate it for 51 weeks until it's due, absolutely, and then he'll proceed to test them everywhere and anywhere that isn't facial-haired. If you're an oil addict looking for your next fix, consider the following:
Beard Oil For Your Hair: Proraso Olio da Barba
(That's Italian for beard oil. Arrivederci!) This is a $16 oil that smells like a not $16 D.S. and Durga fragrance. It's great for your hair because of its high concentration of sunflower oil, which is omega-6 rich and incredibly fortifying—very important for the season ahead. All you need is a tiny bit to smooth ends—or, point the dropper at your roots and comb it through to the tip.
Beard Oil For Good Smells: Tom Ford Conditioning Beard Oil in Oud Wood
This is a life hack for all of the Budget Bridgets out there who love a good scent but cannot reconcile a $300 fragrance purchase, no matter the gift set that comes with it for a limited time only. Go for Tom Ford beard oil in any of the private blend scents—I like Oud Wood because it smells wintry and is subtle but lasting (perfect for date night) but follow your bliss.
Beard Oil For Your Facial Skin: V76 By Vaughn Beard Oil
Most beard oils are super scented—because, I don't know, guys love that?—but this one is more botanical than perfumey, which makes it the perfect $20 face oil. Castor oil, which is the flagship ingredient, has been said to treat acne. But overall, it's just very moisturizing and nice on skin. Add to the mix safflower oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, and you've got the best little face blend one Andrew Jackson can buy. And it's available on Birchbox, whom I hear is very generous with samples.
Photographed by Tom Newton.
Next up: Brendan Fallis, Didier Malige, and James Pecis share the products they borrow from their female other halves.