As anyone with a beard will testify, when growing facial hair out from stubble, there will inevitably reach a point where you begin to suffer from itchiness and irritation. Whether you experience ‘the itch’ only mildly or suffer more severely, using a beard oil daily is a sensible idea for keeping your beard feeling comfortable.
But with manufacturers all claiming their beard oils are the best for everything from softening, nourishing, moisturising, conditioning, and hair growth, it can be hard to tell apart the grooming products you can trust and those you should avoid.
To help you find the beard oil best for you, The Recommended spoke to experts from two of London’s best barbershops to find out what you should look for (and avoid) when shopping for your next beard oil.
Jump to the best beard oil:
- Best natural scented beard oil: Ruffians Argan Beard Oil
- Best softening beard oil: Tom Ford Oud Wood Conditioning Beard Oil
- Best fragrance: Le Labo Beard Oil
- Best beard oil for wispy hair: Murdock London Beard Oil
- Best small batch beard oil: Captain Fawcett Beard Oil Private Stock 10ml
- Best multi-pack: ISNER MILE Store Beard Oil 4 Scents Pack Set
- Best budget beard oil: Hundred Beard Co Beard Oil
- Best conditioning beard oil: Bulldog Skincare Original Beard Oil
- Best for long beards: Men Expert Skin Care L’Oreal Barber Club Beard Skin Oil
- Best fragrance-free beard oil: Percy Nobleman Beard Oil
Our men’s grooming experts work for two of the best barbershops in London, with decades of experience between them helping their clients to achieve their dream looks.
Tom ‘TJ’ Hunt is one of the barbers at the multi-award winning barbershop and leading men’s grooming brand Ruffians. TJ is based at two-time barbershop of the year, Ruffians Shoreditch. Ruffians are credited as ‘the architects of the modern barbershop revolution’, launching their first outpost in Edinburgh a decade ago, with four subsequent barbershops through central London. Now with their own range of award-winning professional-grade barber products, Ruffians are an authority in modern men’s style and grooming.
Ben Vowles is a head barber at Murdock London, which has established itself as a master of grooming, offering a contemporary take on the traditional barbershop experience. Ben started in the industry in 2005 and spent the next ten years working at Toni & Guy before moving into men’s grooming with Murdock in 2016. He is passionate about passing on his knowledge, whether to his clients to find the best products or sharing his skills and experience with fellow staff.
Why should men consider using beard oils?
Using beard oils “is a no brainer”, says TJ. “Firstly, when you’re growing a beard out from stubble, the itch is real. Oil calms this and makes the grow-out process easier.
“Secondly, once a beard has grown out, the skin underneath is prone to dry out,” he adds. “This is a particular problem with dense beards as normal moisturiser or balms just don’t get through. Beard oil is a far looser, slicker consistency, therefore, it gets through and quenches the skin more easily.”
Ben points out that beard oils are particularly worth using if you have a long beard that needs a heavy product to strengthen and nourish the hair. If you have more of a stubble look going on, or a shorter beard, he recommends going with a beard moisturiser instead.
What should you look for and avoid when buying beard oils?
You should always look out for natural ingredients, says TJ. “Remember that this stuff is right up and around your chops, so you don’t want any negative reactions.”
Ben agrees, adding that essential oil based products are the best – specifically argan and jojoba oil. “The more natural, the better,” he says. “Natural products will leave the beard looking and feeling its best.”
Fragrance is equally as important. “You obviously want it to smell banging, but remember it’s right up to your nostrils all day, every day, so don’t be tempted to go for something overbearingly strong,” he says. “A lot of early iterations of beard oils were overly manly and smelt like charred logs or smoked meats. This may seem appealing initially, but can you imagine inhaling barbecue 24/7? Not for me, thanks.”
Ben specifically recommends avoiding silicone. “Some cheaper oils will be laced with the stuff,” he says. “Some is needed as it helps lock in the shine, but it shouldn’t have more silicone than natural oils.”
The best beard oils:
Best natural scented beard oil: Ruffians Argan Beard Oil
Made exclusively from natural oils
From our experts at Ruffians, this beard oil is made exclusively from natural oils, including argan, crambe seed, apricot kernels and tea tree oils, which TJ says makes for a fresh, uplifting scent.
Winner of the ‘Best for Facial Hair’ award at the GQ Grooming Awards 2021, this highly-rated beard oil is designed to naturally cleanse facial hair and rejuvenate your skin, while the omega-rich essential oils are said to encourage a healthy-looking beard.
Best softening beard oil: Tom Ford Oud Wood Conditioning Beard Oil
This conditioning beard oil from Tom Ford is recommended by our expert TJ, who says its scent will leave you “wanting to make out with your own beard”.
Its formula includes almond, jojoba and grapeseed oils, which are said to soften and nourish your beard, as well as Vitamin C, which is designed to strengthen.
Best fragrance: Le Labo Beard Oil
Our expert TJ describes this beard oil from Le Labo as “an absolute scent bomb”. Its fragrance, he says, is “a modern take on a classic barbershop vibe”, mixing bergamot, lavender, violet and tonka bean.
With a formula encompassing sunflower, grapeseed and jojoba oils, this beard oil is designed to protect, smooth and nourish hair and skin. It is also vegan and cruelty-free.
Best beard oil for wispy hair: Murdock London Beard Oil
Strengthens and nourishes
From our experts at Murdock London, this beard oil comes recommended by Ben, who values its 100% natural oil formula for its ability to strengthen beards.
According to Murdock London, this beard oil is specifically designed to target the cuticles of facial hair to prevent it from becoming dry and wispy. With a ‘clean label formula’, it is also free from synthetic and unnatural ingredients.
Best small batch beard oil: Captain Fawcett Beard Oil Private Stock 10ml
Handmade by experts
Recommended by our expert barber Ben, this beard oil is handmade in small batches by Captain Fawcett’s ‘master blender’, and comes in a small glass bottle with a pipette designed for easy dispensing.
Captain Fawcett’s Private Stock beard oil consists of a blend of essential oils, including sweet almond and jojoba, and is scented with cedarwood, black pepper, patchouli and palmarosa. It is available to buy in either 10ml or 50ml bottles.
Best multi-pack: ISNER MILE Store Beard Oil 4 Scents Pack Set
Great for gifting
Made exclusively from organic and natural essential oils such as jojoba, this four-pack of beard oils from Isner Mile ticks a lot of our experts’ boxes.
With four different scents – sandalwood, cedarwood, sweet orange, and sage – these oils are great if you prefer to switch between fragrances depending on your mood and act as a great substitute for cologne. These beard oils are also said to keep your beard looking full, soft, strong and moisturised, and even promote beard growth.
Best budget beard oil: Hundred Beard Co Beard Oil
Leaves a shine
Despite the low price, this beard oil consists of an all-natural formula of essential oils, promising to soften beards and leave a healthy shine while also tackling beard itch and dandruff.
The scent of this beard oil, according to Hundred Beard Co, is ‘reminiscent of a virgin forest’, which we presume means a woody fragrance. In total, this beard oil consists of a blend of seven oils: jojoba, rapeseed, castor, sweet almond extract, pine, cedar and eucalyptus.
Best conditioning beard oil: Bulldog Skincare Original Beard Oil
If you suffer from a dry and itchy beard, this beard oil from skincare brand Bulldog features an aloe vera, chamomile and green tea formula specifically designed for softening and conditioning.
According to Bulldog, this beard oil also improves the shine of your beard without it looking greasy. It is also cruelty-free certified, contains fully natural ingredients, and its packaging is made from 100% recycled plastic.
Best for long beards: Men Expert Skin Care L’Oreal Barber Club Beard Skin Oil
If you have a long beard, L’Oreal’s Barber Club beard oil is specifically designed to tame, condition and soften longer facial hair without leaving any greasiness, as well as moisturise the skin beneath.
Enriched with cedarwood essential oils, L’Oreal says this beard oil contains no soap, parabens and colourants and is made without any ingredients derived from animals.
Best fragrance-free beard oil: Percy Nobleman Beard Oil
If you prefer to use aftershave as your sole scent but still need a beard oil to soften and moisturise your facial hair, then a fragrance-free beard oil such as this is a great option.
Consisting of a blend of argan, almond, avocado and jojoba oils, this fragrance-free beard oil from Percy Nobleman promises to prevent itchiness caused by beard growth and leave your beard feeling soft and tamed.
Want to read more expert-recommended hair care essential round-ups? Check out our Grooming page for a full list of recommendations, including our guide to the best hair clippers for men and the best beard trimmers, as recommended by our men’s grooming experts.