beard oil at the beach

In the last post we talked at a high level about the types of oils that you typically find in a good quality beard oil.  Now we're going to drill down a bit more into the specific types of oils that you will see in the Milkman range and discuss the various benefits that each imparts.  All of these oils are plant-derived and do not involve petrochemical or carbon intensive processes to manufacture.  Some you may already be familiar with after seeing them in other grooming products or from spending time in the kitchen (because many of these oils are very nutritional dietary oils, as well has being great for your skin and hair).

Coconut oil makes a fantastic skin moisturizer, helping with dry skin that is often associated with "beard itch" and reduces protein loss when used in hair due to its penetrative properties.   Coconut oil has a high saturated fat content which gives it some very useful qualities in cosmetic, food and medical application.  Firstly, it helps give coconut oil a high melting point relative to other oils meaning that it has a buttery, waxy consistency at room temperature, perfect for thickening oil mixtures and melting into the skin when it hits body temperature.   The saturated fat content also means that it is slower to oxidise, thereby making it resistant to rancidification and giving it a long shelf life.

Grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for controlling moisture of the skin.  It is ideal for use in a beard oil because it is  light and thin, meaning it will stay with your skin and hair like your body's natural sebum and won't end up all over your collar.  Because it is so similar to sebum, grape seed oil is also often used in massage oils and as lubricants for shaving.  Grapeseed oil is interesting because it contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils, which is great in a beard oil.   There is scientific evidence associating linoleic acid with anti-inflammatory, acne reductive, and moisture retentive properties when applied topically on the skin.   Grapeseed oil is also packed with vitamin E, a potent natural antioxidant. 

Safflower oil is also often found in skin care products because of its amazing properties.  Not only does safflower oil act as a natural lubricant for your skin and hair, it also has occlusive properties, meaning that it acts as a protective barrier to prevent water from leaving the skin.  It works with your skin to soften dryness, smooth roughness and soothe some skin problems.  We love using safflower oil in all of our beard oils but you might also find it in other products such as moisturizers, conditioners and facial cleansers.

Jojoba is world famous when it comes to cosmetic products because it injects life and body into the skin and hair.  It is often used in applications for soothing and nourishing dry and cracked skin.  Jojoba spreads really well, does not shine & penetrates quickly.  It is fascinating for a few reasons.  Technically, it is not actually an oil, rather a wax that does not contain the same level of large breached molecules compared with other oils.  It is instead packed with molecules that are long and narrow.  This, and its natural affinity to sebum allows jojoba to penetrate deep into the skin, making it one of the ultimate moisturisers.  Jojoba oil was also substantially responsible for the decline in the use of sperm oil, harvested from sperm whales.  Now that's something to be thankful for.

Argan oil has been used  traditionally as a treatment for skin diseases and as a cosmetic oil for skin and hair.  It has become a very popular ingredient in hair products these days because of its propensity to add shine and body to the hair.  It also has the added benefit of containing a number of anti-oxidants such as tyrosol and oleuropein.  Side note:  argan oil is derived from the kernel of the argan tree which is only grown in harsh arid environments.  Because its growing areas are so limited, argan oil is one of the rarest oils in the world. 

Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamins A, B1, B2, D, E, and beta carotene. Amongst other things, avocado  is extracted for cosmetic use because of its very high skin penetration and rapid absorption.  Interestingly, avocado oil is one of few edible oils not derived from seeds, rather it is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit.  Small amounts of avocado oil is typically added to other carrier oils in order to enrich protein and vitamin content.   It is also a slightly denser oil than a lot of other carrier oils so can be used to balance out the viscosity and 'feel' of a beard oil.

Castor oil is one of the most amazing plant-derived oils that is used in a vast array of industrial applications and can be found in mechanical lubricants, food additives, moisturisers, mould inhibitors, adhesives, lacquers, paints, pigments, sealants and washing powders.  It is dense and sticky oil, compared with the others in this list and for that reason it is great for making a film on the skin.  In beard oil this is only desirable to a small extent so you may see it in some beard oil formulations although we don't use it in ours.  Our shave oils on the other hand have a lot more castor oil in them because a lubricating film that sits on the top of the skin, rather than absorbing into it, is exactly what's needed for a shave lubricant.

Tamanu oil is derived from the nuts of the tamanu tree.  It has been traditionally used as a skin regenerative agent, by a number of Pacific Island nations who have used it for things like insect bites, rashes, cuts, sunburns and blisters.  Medicinal qualities like these are a perfect enhancement to a skin and hair treatment and as such, we put tamanu in all of the beard oils in our range.  The oil has a rich, deep scent with a bold dark colour that enhances our beard oil formulations, helping them to stand apart from anything else you'll see on the market. 

Hemp seed oil is derived from varieties of Cannabis saliva that do no contain psychoactive levels of THC, making them useless for pizza and kebab shops but perfect for use in men's grooming products.  Hemp seed oil is packed with essential fatty acids, making it of very high nutritional value and the subject of much scientific interest.  In beard oil it makes a fantastic non-clogging skin and hair moisturiser that adds body and shine to your beard hair.  Cold pressed hemp oil has a dark green colour due to it's high chlorphyll content.  When added to a beard oil, this gives a lovely rich, manly green colour to the mixture.  As a relatively exotic oil, hempseed oil tends to be more expensive than a lot of other plant-based oils so it is more often found in premium grooming products, rather than regular ones.  

Camellia oil is obtained from the seeds of the camellia plant, mostly grown in Asia.  This oil has been used traditionally for centuries in Japan to nourish and condition the skin, hair and nails.  It is high in oleic acid (oleic up to 80 % and linoleic acid 9 %) and rich in Vitamins A, B, and E.   With these properties, camellia oil is an excellent ingredient to add to beard hair treatments.   It has a non-greasy feel, absorbs well and adds lustre to beard hair.  

Neem seed oil is derived from the seeds of the neem tree, found in India and a number of tropical regions.  It mainly contains fatty acids oleic acid (omega-9), palmitic acid, triterpenoids (the main one being azadirachtin) and steroids which give it anti-inflamatory properties.  The oil is used in ayurvedic (traditional Indian) cosmetics to help manage acne and to soothe dry and itchy skin.

That concludes our posts on demystifying beard oil.  If you have anything else you'd like to know about beard oil, leave a comment down below and we'll either answer them in the comments section, or do a separate blog post on it.  Beard on.

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