Men and beards have a long, onerous history. From the Viking’s braided wildness, to the Mongol empire’s lengthy goatee to the mutton chops that adored our Victorian counterparts, beards have proliferated the timeline of powerful men.
Thoroughly back in fashion thanks to the exceptional efforts of east London hipsters, beards are again a modern accessory.
Throw in the fact that facial hair can reshape a face, strengthening, balancing and maturing even the weakest of bone structures and one understands why everyone has gone from shaven to shaggy.
We got our bearded testers to try out more than 40 oils, judging texture, tone and scent to separate the reputable from the rubbish.
All reported back as pleased with their softer, shinier beards as their partners were (note from those partners; beard oils reduce ‘stache rash, so kissing has turned from pain to pleasure). A win-win, we say.
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Mauli Rituals nourish post-shave and beard oil: £44, Mauli Rituals
Everything you want a beard oil to be, Mauli Ritual’s most recent launch is calming, conditioning and deliciously fragrant in equal measure. Beard oils can be tricky, often far too heavy and subsequently weighing down one’s beard, but the nourish post-shave and beard oil is lightweight and nourishing. Throw in the therapeutic effect of moringa, black seed, argan and watermelon seed oil and you’ve got a product as relaxing as it is result-driven.
Tom Ford oud wood conditioning beard oil: £44, Tom Ford
Almond, jojoba and grapeseed oils form the base of this beard oil, but the real game-changer is a dose of Vitamin E. An overlooked nutrient, Vitamin E is great for stimulating hair growth by nourishing your skin’s lipid barrier and giving the beard a solid base, so this might be the one to go for if you’re looking a bit patchy. Did we mention it smells like Tom Ford’s private blend oud wood fragrance? Reason enough to add to cart.
Haeckels hydrating beard oil: £34, Haeckels
Harvesting seaweed from the beach outside its storefront, Haeckels beard oil takes its cues from sailor remedies of old, softening coarse hair that often faced dry, damaging conditions. Seaweed extract is one of skincare’s silent superheroes that works efficaciously on hair, repairing and protecting the follicle to keep in moisture. With a base of neroli, sweet almond and argan oil, Haeckel’s hydrating offering can also add antibacterial and antiseptic to its impressive result roster. Sign us up.
Murdock London natural beard oil: £18, Murdock London
Made here in England, Murdock’s all-natural product is a nourishing blend of over 13 plant-based oils, granting them the “clean label” award that many brands covet. There are no parabens, phthalates, sulphates or synthetic dyes involved in the ingredient list, so if you are deeply sensitive this might be right for you. Do note it contains fragrance (which seems odd considering all the gorgeous scents the oils would evoke) but our reviewers didn’t find that irritating. It’s a solid oil for a great price from a trusted shaving brand, so that’s three ticks from us.
Le Labo beard oil: £47, Liberty London
The niche, cult-classic brand that gave us santal 33 (if you know, you know) hits another home run with its beard oil. Enriched with sunflower oil to protect, grapeseed oil to smooth and jojoba oil to nourish, Le Labo’s oil is a solid choice for a scented, sleek beard. Hipsters, get ready.
Kiehl’s nourishing beard grooming oil: £22, Kiehl’s
The distinguishing factor of Kiehl’s beard oil is the ingredients list, which contains a clever blend of pracaxi oil and salicylic acid to slough off dead skin (aka the dreaded “beardruff”). If your complexion produces excess oil that is then trapped by your beard, salicylic is your miracle worker. On top of that, look to the eucalyptus for antibacterial properties and sandalwood for a sanguine scent.
Baxter of California beard oil: £20, Mankind
Squalene and avocado oil (the best combination, FYI) form the foundation of this lightweight formula, which is heaven for flakiness, brittleness and irritation. It absorbs quickly, leaves your beard with a little bit of shine and calms any ingrown hairs. A real multi-tasker.
Penhaligon’s sartorial beard oil: £49, Penhaligon’s
As English as it gets, Penhaligon’s is a perfumer that date back to the Victorian era, known for scents such as “blenheim bouquet” and “Elizabethan rose”. Add another icon to that list. With more positive reviews than the pudding counter at Harrods, Penhaligon’s blend of sunflower, grapeseed and wheat germ leads to a supple, smooth and softer stubble. If you love a token product in your bathroom cabinet (for Instagram or just general aesthetics) then do indulge.
Bad Norwegian oil beard: £44, Cult Beauty
Clean, cruelty-free and of course, vegan, Bad Norwegian (great name, no?) is housed in an airless jar to prolong the lifespan and cleanliness of the oil. Not leaving the innovation there, the product is infused with cannabis seed oil for all the soothing, calming and nourishing qualities we’ve come to expect from the multi-tasking plant. A good shout if redness under your beard is something you struggle with.
Dr Jackson’s everyday oil: £35, Dr Jackson
It’s called everyday oil for a reason. Not only can you use it – you guessed it – everyday, but also everywhere. From conditioning hair and cuticles to rehydrating skin after shaving, this will help lock in moisture with its lightweight, glow-inducing texture. It’s a deeply versatile product, perfect for travelling if you want a skin solution and beard oil in one.
Hawkins & Brimble beard oil: £10, Hawkins & Brimble
Beyond well-priced and easy to use, Hawkins & Brimble’s offering is made in the UK and includes all the staples of a classic beard oil – argan, olive and sweet almond. If you are a beginner to the category, start with this one – nothing in it will irritate and it is free from all allergens (even soy or corn, if you want to get that niche).
The verdict: Beard oils
Trust a brand that bases itself in thousands of years of ayurvedic research to deliver the ultimate beard oil. Scented, soothing and nourishing to the core, Mauli Rituals post-shave & beard oil is formulated to sort out skin and stubble in equal measure.
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.