There are a lot of men with beards these days and, despite popular opinion, they’re not just confined to the realms of hipsterdom. If you’ve decided to let the face fuzz run wild, you’ll need to be properly looking after it.
Beard oils aim to soften beards, keep the hair (and skin beneath) healthy and reduce irritation. They come in a variety of aromas, and although we’ve listed some of what we think are the best smelling below, it is of course subjective, so make sure to go for a scent you’ll probably be fond of.
The amount of oil you use depends on the length of your beard — if it’s not too recently grown out from stubble, only use a couple of drops, while much longer beards warrant around five or six. Use daily, ideally after showering so your pores are open (but make sure your beard is fully dry before applying). It’s a good idea to test a drop on your skin before use, just in case there are any allergic or irritable reactions.
We rounded up some follically fulsome fellows to put these oils to the test.
1. Fit for Vikings Hálendið: £20 for 30ml, thebeardemporium.com
If you would prefer not to have an aroma cling to your face after usage, or if you’ve got particularly sensitive skin, opt for a scentless oil like this one. Inspired by the cleansing Icelandic highlands, our tester enjoyed the nourishing ability of this rich oil, and suggested that it would perfectly complement an aftershave.
2. Ricki Hall’s Booze and Baccy: £34 for 50ml, captainfawcett.com
Thankfully, this one doesn’t actually smell of alcohol and cigarettes. Rather, it’s got an alluring, herbal scent which wasn’t too overpowering when we applied a couple of drops each day (the amount we used for each of these oils). Designed in collaboration with the model Ricki Hall, it was up there with the most effective when it came to beard softening, too.
3. Baron Bergamot and Orange: £4.99 for 10ml, Amazon
Our long-bearded tester reported that this relatively cheap oil certainly did the job. Hair looked and felt considerably smoother after a couple days’ usage, there was no unwanted irritation and the agreeable orange scent lingered for around an hour.
4. Old Joll’s Mandarin and Cedarwood: £7.95 for 10ml, brightonbeardcompany.com
This smells beautifully natural — a surprisingly pleasant mix of orangey zest and cedarwood — and it is totally natural, with the ingredients including sweet almond oil and extracts of mandarin and juniper. We found it was effective in eliminating the infamous beard itch, too.
5. The Buccaneer: £5.95 for 10ml, theaudaciousbeardco.com
Hand-blended and bottled by two artists in Kent, this citrus-smelling oil doesn’t leave behind a greasy feel, which can be a problem with some. Many of the ingredients are natural — tea tree and bergamot orange are among the contents here — and it is remarkably well-priced.
6. Zeus: £29.95 for 50ml, firstolympian.com
A mix of spice and flowers are discernible in the scent of this oil, which is produced by a family-run firm from Durham. Our tester told us that it tamed his long and usually unruly beard, and he was also impressed by the look of the bottle, which comes with a cork stopper.
7. Style and Shine: £8.60 for 50ml, belenostherapy.co.uk
Quite a departure from the usual herbal smell of most beard oils we tried, this one smells sweetly of cinnamon and vanilla, which won’t be for everyone but that we enjoyed. It ticked all the boxes — softening, reduced irritation and taming — and it comes at a great price for the amount.
8. Premium: £24.99 for 50ml, percynobleman.com
This one is designed for longer beards, but we found it worked well on the shorter end of the scale too. Probably our favourite smelling oil, the aroma lingers for a while after use, and not in an off-putting way — you get a subtle waft every now and again. At 50ml, you also get a lot for the price.
9. Men Rock Soul: £14.50 for 30ml, amazon.co.uk
Part of a range from Men Rock inspired by musical genres (there are two others called Blues and Jazz) this beard oil has a presiding citrus smell, but features hints of sage and cypress. Our tester praised its ability to transform his beard from untidy and wiry to neat and soft.
10. Beardbase Beard Oil: £13.50 for 30ml, beardbase.co.uk
Here's another option for those who prefer the scentless oil. We found this oil was rich but didn’t leave behind a greasy residue, and left our beard feeling fully refreshed.
11. Autumn Warmth: £7.95 for 10ml, fellowseg.com
We may have entered the winter gloom now, but this spicy oil will transport you back a few months into autumn. Our tester's beard looked healthier and sleeker after a few days' use, and there was no irritation to be reported.
As we mentioned earlier, which of these beard oils smells the best is very much open to debate, and down entirely to personal preference. But our favourite scent came courtesy of Percy Nobleman, and seeing as it was wonderfully adept at softening, taming and conditioning the beard and skin below, it gets the nod from us.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing
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