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Beard Balm Vs Wax

by Gabbi

Men’s grooming products used to be limited to beard oil and 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner, and body wash products. Luckily, these days, men’s care has become more robust and widely accepted. 

This can be attributed partially to the changing societal norms and the growing popularity of beards. As more men are growing out their facial hair, it only makes sense that they need high-quality products to maintain the health and appearance of their beards.

Enter: beard balms and beard waxes. These two products joined beard oil as the top choice for beard care. 

Although all of these products are similar at first glance, beard oil and wax have different properties and uses, which are essential to know before investing your hard-earned cash into a hipster-clad tin of aromatic substance.

So, what’s the difference between beard balm vs wax? Although they are made of similar ingredients, beard balms are generally softer than beard waxes, and play an important role is moisturizing and softening the beard rather than providing a strong hold. Beard waxes are not as moisturizing, but they’re great as a styling product.

In this post, we will dive deep into the ingredients, uses, pros, and cons of each product, and help you figure out which one is a better choice for you!

Beard Balm Vs Wax Consistency

If you were to compare beard balm and beard wax side-by-side, the first distinction you’ll notice is the difference in consistency.

Beard balm is generally softer and more buttery, whereas beard wax can be hard like a salve. This is due to the concentration of natural waxes in each product.

Both beard balm and beard wax usually contain waxy ingredients, like beeswax or lanolin wax, but beard wax has more of them.

Beard wax also often contains pine rosin, among other things. This high concentration of waxes and resins gives beard wax its incredible holding power that allows you to tame and style your facial hair in whatever shape you want.

Beard balm, on the other hand, also includes a lot of oils and butter that provide hydration and softness to the hair and the skin: shea butter, jojoba oil, mango butter, and essential oils.

These oils make beard balm softer, so it won’t hold as well as wax, but unlike beard wax, it provides your hair and skin with additional moisturizing and healing benefits.

Ingredients In Beard Balm:

Beard balms often have a good balance of oil, butter, and waxes. Here are some common ingredients found in beard balms:

  • Beeswax
  • Shea butter
  • Mango butter
  • Essential oils
  • Jojoba oil
  • Argan oil

The percentage of waxes and butter determines how firm your beard balm is. Most beard balms are firm, but soft, and tend to melt under warmer conditions. 

Beard balms get easily absorbed into the skin and hair so that it’s not very obvious that you’ve put any product into your beard.

Ingredients In Beard Wax:

Beard wax often has a similar composition to beard balm, but a higher concentration of “hard” ingredients like waxes and resins. Here are the most common ingredients found in beard wax:

  • Beeswax
  • Shea butter
  • Cocoa butter
  • Pine resin
  • Essential oils

As you can see, beard wax still contains some moisturizing ingredients, like shea and cocoa butter. However, due to the higher concentration of waxes and resins, beard wax tends to sit on top of your hair and provide a stronger hold to the beard. This results in a lesser hydrating benefit.

Beard Balm Pros And Cons

Beard balm is a grooming product. Think of it as a leave-in conditioner or a skin moisturizer. It’s a multipurpose product that maintains the health and appearance of the beard but doesn’t provide a very strong styling hold. 

If your goal is to maintain the overall health and appearance of your beard, a beard balm is a great choice due to its many benefits:

Beard Balm Pros:

  • Moisturizes the skin of the face to prevent flaking and dryness
  • Soothes itchy skin
  • Moisturizes the beard hair
  • Softens the beard hair
  • Adds shine to the beard hair
  • Helps the beard grow longer while looking healthy
  • Provides all-day hydration
  • Makes the beard smell good
  • Provides light to medium styling hold
  • Works well for small to medium-length beards

Beard Balm Cons:

  • Not a lot of styling hold
  • Butters and oils in beard balm may clog pores and cause breakouts
  • Not ideal for precision styling, e.g., handlebar mustaches

Beard Wax Pros And Cons

Beard wax is like the harder version of beard balm, with fewer health benefits but a stronger styling power. If you want your handlebar mustache to hold a curl all day long, or you need to tame your beard to make it look neat, beard wax might be a great option for you:

Beard Wax Pros:

  • Makes your beard and mustache hold shape all day long
  • Ideal for precision styling 
  • Can make your facial hair look neat and professional
  • Ideal for styling an unruly and/or long beard
  • Does not absorb into the skin
  • Does not typically cause breakouts or clogged pores
  • Locks in moisture in the beard
  • Provides a shiny finish to the beard
  • Can be used to add texture to the beard
  • Water-resistant
  • Adds a pleasant smell to the beard

Beard Wax Cons:

  • Does not provide significant moisturizing or softening benefits
  • Does not soothe or soften the skin underneath the beard
  • Does not provide significant health benefits for the skin and hair

Which Is Best For You?

Choosing which product is best for you depends on many things, such as your personal preferences, the type of facial hair you have, and what your goals are. 

It’s possible that you might need both products depending on the day! Here are some things to consider when you are figuring out which product to get for your beard:

Length Of Beard

The first thing to look at is how long your beard is. Shorter beards typically don’t need a lot of holding power – they are short enough that they look neat without any product.

However, short beards can still experience dryness, flakiness, itching, and frizz. So, for shorter beards, it’s ideal to use beard oil or a beard balm. Both of these products provide significant moisturizing, soothing, and softening properties that’ll keep your beard healthy.

A medium beard can also benefit more from a beard balm than a beard wax unless you have very frizzy and unruly beard hair. 

A beard balm acts as a leave-in conditioner which will help your medium-length beard look healthy and smooth. Beard balms can provide a light to medium hold that can keep your medium-length beard more or less in place.

If you have a very long beard, you can still use beard balm, but chances are you’ll also need beard wax. Longer beards can look a little messy, because the longer your beard hair gets, the more each hair seems to have a mind of its own.

A beard balm can help secure your long beard in place and provide it with a more cohesive shape. Of course, regular trimming will also be helpful.

Mustache Style

Another important thing to think about is do you have a mustache, and how long is it. Most people tend to keep their mustaches fairly short and trimmed, in which case beard balm should be enough to keep the mustache healthy and moisturized. 

However, if you’re more of a fancy gentleman with a handlebar mustache, then beard wax will be your best friend!

Beard wax is what allows you to shape your handlebar mustache, add curls at the edges of it, and keep the look in place for the entire day.

Beard Texture

Just as different people have different hair textures, different people also have different beard textures.

Some people have softer facial hair while others can have coarse, curly, or frizzy hair. Some people’s facial hair is straight, while others can be wavy or even coily. The texture of your beard hair depends on genetics.

For people with straighter or softer hair, beard balm or beard oil is probably the better choice. Beard balm is lighter and absorbs better. It can hydrate your beard hair without making it look sticky.

If you were to put beard wax on perfectly straight beard hair, it probably wouldn’t look all that great (unless you’re specifically going for a spiky look).

Coarse, frizzy, and coily beards can benefit more from a beard wax. A beard wax has more holding power and can keep those wild hair in check!

Your Personal Goals

Just because you have one type and length of hair, doesn’t mean you need to use one product over the other. 

Ultimately, which product you use depends on your personal goals. Think about what your beard currently needs:

  • Do you need more moisturization and softening?
  • Do you want to heal and nourish the skin?
  • Do you care less about styling and more about grooming?

If you answered yes to the questions above, you will find a lot of use for beard balm.

However, if you answer yes to the following questions:

  • Do you need a styling product for your beard?
  • Do you need something that can hold your beard in shape all day?
  • Do you care less about moisturization and more about the appearance of your beard?

In this case, you’ll probably find that a beard wax works better for you.

Using Both

People often wonder if they can use both a beard balm and a beard wax, of if the products shouldn’t be used together.

The truth is, it depends on your beard type, but most people can use both products at the same time. 

The only exception is that some people’s beards are fine and straight, so using beard wax could be too much. Beard wax is often too heavy for fine hair.

However, if you don’t have super-fine beard hair, you can use both products with a lot of success!

Think of using beard balm as a leave-in conditioner, and beard wax as a hairspray. For example, you could use beard balm daily to maintain the health of your beard and only use beard wax on days when you feel you need extra styling.

There is nothing wrong with using both products at the same time.

How To Use Beard Balm And Beard Wax

If you’ve never used these products before – don’t worry, it’s super easy! Here, we will go over step-by-step how you can use each product to make your beard look healthy.

How To Use Beard Balm

Beard balm can be applied daily or as needed. A good routine for beginners is to apply beard balm every time you get out of the shower to keep your skin and beard hydrated.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start with a clean and dry face and beard.
  2. Pick up a pea-sized amount of balm out of the container with your finger.
  3. Spread the balm on your palms by rubbing it between your hands. The balm should begin to melt and soften.
  4. Press your palms against the skin under your beard first and gently rub it into the skin.
  5. Gently pull the balm through your beard hairs down towards the ends, making sure to get the balm on as much of the beard as possible.
  6. Whatever is left on your palms can then be spread upwards towards the area of your sideburns.
  7. Finish this off by brushing your beard with a boar-bristled brush to spread the balm through the beard evenly and to give it a healthy look.

That’s it! The balm will stay in your beard and keep hydrating it throughout the day. It will also give your beard a light hold and a pleasant smell.

You can do this as often as you need to, just make sure to wash your beard with a clarifying shampoo once a month or so to ensure there is no product build-up.

Here’s a great tutorial from Baddogbeards on YouTube.

How To Use Beard Wax

Unlike beard balm, you don’t have to use beard wax every time you shower or every time your beard feels itchy. Beard wax is best used on occasions when you need to style your beard – whether that’s daily or weekly.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start with a dry beard.
  2. Brush your beard out using a boar-bristled brush. Start at the roots of the beard hair and work your wait towards the bottom of the beard.
  3. Once your beard is brushed through and untangled, use your finger (or thumbnail) to scrape out a small amount of beard wax from the tin.
  4. Warm up the wax by rubbing it between your palms. It should take on a buttery consistency.
  5. Run the palms of your hand over your beard using a downward motion. This should begin to shape and tame your beard.
  6. Put any remaining wax over your mustache and sideburns, as well as any areas that seem to be out of place.
  7. If needed, you can get more wax out of the tin.
  8. When finished, gently run the boar-bristled brush over the beard to secure the shape in place.

That’s it! The wax will help protect your beard from the elements and keep it shaped nicely all day.

Next time you shower, make sure to use shampoo to wash your beard. Use a clarifying shampoo once a month to prevent wax build-up on your beard hair. 

Here’s a great tutorial from Green Beard Grooming Co. on YouTube.

Final Thoughts

Beard balm and beard wax are excellent products for men who like to keep their beard nicely groomed and healthy.

Beard balm acts like a leave-in conditioner and provides your beard with moisture and softness, while beard wax is more of a styling product that keeps your beard in place. 

We hope this article helps you figure out which product works best for you so your beard can look its best!

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