The Difference Between Beard Oil & Beard Balm

short bearded man applies beard oil

If there was only one product that people think of when it comes to beard grooming it is beard oil. Beard oils are a concoction of many different oils put together in various ratios to ultimately make your beard feel and look better. Beard oil also plays an instrumental role in your beard's aroma, acting as a cologne and magnet for attention.

So with this product being so effective a lot of people have asked “what is the point of beard balm?” or “what’s the difference between a beard oil and a beard balm?” In this blog we will look closely at the similarities and differences of the two products based on a number of factors.


All things being equal, beard oils generally have a stronger scent than beard balm. This is due to the volatility of the oil over waxes, meaning oils naturally emit perfumes greater than those coming from a wax if the fragrance is in the same concentration in each. However, the beauty of either a beard oil or beard balm is that the longevity of the fragrance tends to surpass that of many alcohol-based fragrances. This is because the alcohol tends to "burn off" relatively faster meaning you get a bigger hit of aroma up front, that tends to wane as the day wears on whereas a balm or oil will keep on keeping on.


Oils are designed to absorb better into the hair follicles & skin. This is because the molecules in oils are a lot smaller than those of wax molecules. When it comes to using beard oils some people are skeptical as they wonder why they would want to put oil in their hair and make it look greasy.  In fact, if you're using a quality beard oil, a greasy look can only occur when too much is applied.

One of the best oils for absorption is coconut oil, which is found in both our oils and balm. There is only so much a hair can absorb before it becomes saturated. Think of your hair like a sponge. There is a limit to how much liquid as sponge can absorb before it becomes completely saturated. But unlike a sponge it is not easy to remove excess oil from your beard so a good rule of thumb is less is more.

Moisturising properties

As beard hair tends to become brittle and dry it's important to keep moisture in the follicles to avoid a rough-feeling beard & split ends. Both Milkman Grooming Co oils and balms have amazing moisturising and nourishing properties. They both contain the same oils e.g. argan, coconut, jojoba, hemp as well as many others. Each of these oils has amazing properties for repairing dry hair and skin and also helps to prevents split ends and dryness.


Of the two products a beard balm has a greater hold. This is due to wax content in beard balm, which give the hair a greater rigidity and more holding capabilities. The oils have some styling capabilities as they absorb into the hair and give weight to the hair allowing you to comb and direct your beard hair into your desired style, but they are not as good as the balm.


When it comes to getting rid of those knots and tangles in your beard, beard oils are probably the best course of action. When you apply beard oils they act as a lubricating agent allowing your comb to pass through the hair without getting caught as easily. There's is nothing worse than combing your beard and seeing big chunks of hair being ripped out. Do your self a favour fellas if you’re going to comb your beard then use some beard oil, you worked too hard to grow it, don’t lose your hairs down the sink.


Beard balms tend to give the hair a higher lustre than beard oils. This is because a well-balanced beard oil is meant to be absorbed into the hair follicle & skin. Whereas balms do have some of these absorption properties but are also meant to coat the hair, which gives it some shine. We are not saying that either are better or worse for that reason, but it just comes down to personal preference, in the same way one person might use a matte clay hair product and someone else might like the wet look.

Finally, it's worth noting that some people prefer to use both beard oil and beard balm, as they complement each other nicely. Using beard oil first provides hydration and nourishment to the beard, while using beard balm afterwards provides styling and control.

    At the end of the day using one product or the other, or both at the same time comes down to personal preference. It depends on what you wish to gain from the products, how you style your hair and what look and feel you would like achieve. 

    Health Disclaimer

    This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Results may vary.

    This information does not constitute medical advice and it should not be relied upon as such. Consult with your doctor before modifying your regular medical regime.

    author dr ben de campo  

    Dr Benjamin De Campo

    Ben studied Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Western Australia where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science (with 1st Class Honours) & a PhD. He went on to complete a law degree & spent almost 10 years advising in the fields of medicine, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics & nutrition before starting his own cosmetics company Milkman Grooming Co & white labelling for other personal care brands. 


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