If you’re searching for a way to get through that uncomfortable, itchy beard phase let me recommend the best beard conditioners.
Wait, isn’t a beard oil a beard conditioner? Maybe you should just use an oil, right?
Well, I am not here to tell you not to use a beard oil, but I should clear up the misconception that beard oils and beard conditioners are the same things. They will both give your beard many benefits so it’s natural to be confused.
In this article, I will go over why some guys should be using a beard conditioner and which ones are best.
What are the benefits of a beard conditioner?
Any hair conditioner is a lotion that will smooth out your hair, soften it, hydrate it and strengthen it. The good ones anyway. There are some that are better than others as we will discover in this article.
The primary thing it does is to repair your damaged cuticle. The cuticle is the skeleton of your hair that gives it its strength. As your hair is exposed to the elements like the sun, soap, the chemicals in your tap water, the cuticle gets weakened.
This is how your hair ends up losing moisture and getting brittle and leads to split ends.
And your beard hair is especially susceptible to a damaged cuticle so it is in a much bigger need for a conditioner than your head hair.
Your skin produces sebum, your body’s natural oil, that coats the hair to nourish and moisturize it. Your face doesn’t produce nearly as much sebum as your scalp so your beard really doesn’t end up getting enough sebum.
So, the best beard conditioner will replicate that sebum and do the heavy lifting. This is especially true for long beards.
If you need a recommendation for a good beard shampoo then click that link to read a review of some of the best.
Beard oil vs conditioner
Both are similar in the sense that they will soften your beard and give it the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
How they work is a bit different though.
A beard conditioner (don’t be tempted to use a hair conditioner! I’ll explain why in a minute) is used in the shower and can be left in or washed off. Many of the good ones have the same essential oils as a beard oil, but it is formulated much differently. There are many more ingredients in a conditioner.
A beard oil is just an oil or mix of oils that will moisturize and repair your hair. It is meant to be left in your beard to absorb slowly over the course of the day.
A beard conditioner should be used only when you shampoo your beard, whereas a beard oil can be used every day and at any time.
Ideally, you should be using a beard oil and a beard conditioner to really keep a perfect beard. Especially if you have an already severely damaged beard. To see which ones are best then check out this list of the top beard oils.
When you should use a beard conditioner
There is no time to early to start using the best beard conditioner especially since it benefits the skin just as much as the facial hair.
You should only be shampooing your beard twice a week at most, so just make it a habit to use the conditioner after you’ve shampooed it. It works to replace the natural oils you’ve stripped from your skin and hair by washing it. So this is the ideal time to get those softeners and vitamins back into the cuticle.
Whether your beard is only a few weeks old or it is a yeard, you should be using beard conditioner.
Don’t wait until you see signs of distress. You can use a conditioner as a preventative measure to avoid damage common with beards that are not taken care of.
Here are some signs that you should start using a beard conditioner.
- Dry, brittle hair. If your beard feels rough when you feel it then it means your hair is not getting and retaining enough moisture. Your hair needs to stay hydrated to stay strong and able to repel all the negative conditions thrown at it, like from the sun and your tap water.
- Tangled strands. If you can’t run your fingers through your hair without getting stuck in knots and tangles then you definitely need to be using a conditioner. It will smooth out the rough edges of the hair and rebuild the cuticle to straighten the hair out.
- Split ends. As your hair becomes brittle it is susceptible to breakage. Usually at the ends. This is also exacerbated by your hair getting tangled and knots developing. When your beard won’t do what you want and looks frizzy it’s because of the split ends.
- Little to no shine. When your beard is just starting to show signs of needing to be conditioned it usually presents itself as a dull looking beard. A good beard conditioner will bring a healthy sheen to your beard.
When should you use a conditioner and when an oil?
If you’re seeing these symptoms, then you can absolutely start using a beard oil over a conditioner if you want. But once you’re seeing damage I suggest using both. This will get your beard back on track in no time.
In fact, a benefit of conditioner over beard oil is how quickly it gets absorbed and can heal the cuticle. It takes a bit longer for a beard oil to work it’s magic as far as repairing the hair. It also is less likely to weigh the beard down. Some beard oils are fairly lightweight, but even those can weight down your beard if you use too much.
Though, you will see immediate results in how your beard looks and feels with a beard oil.
Basically, treat all the problems with your beard holistically and attack it from every angle.
Set up a routine where you use shampoo and conditioner twice per week and a beard oil every day or every other day.
Can you use a regular hair conditioner instead of a beard conditioner?
While technically there is nothing stopping you from doing this, you’re doing your beard a disservice since your facial hair is much different than your head hair. As such, it has many different needs so the conditioner should be formulated for that.
The follicle is far rougher in texture and is way more porous. Having a specially formulated beard conditioner will ensure that the beard gets all the nutrients and benefits from the lotion as it may not when using one formulated for your head hair.
Another big difference is that the skin on your face is much more sensitive than your scalp. A conditioner that is gentle on your scalp may not be so gentle on your face.
It is possible to use too much conditioner?
Yes, you definitely need to take it easy with conditioner.
If you use too much you risk clogging your pores and could end up with acne on your face. Though, let me be clear that I don’t mean if you use it too often.
Using conditioner often is not a problem. Only if you use way more than is directed at a time.
What happens is that it becomes difficult to rinse all of the conditioner out and it will end up as a layer on your skin.
You also shouldn’t leave it on to much longer than is directed for the same reason. You really only need it in from 2 to 5 minutes.
Unless it is a leave in conditioner. And this type of conditioner is probably the worst offender when it comes to clogging pores if you use too much, so pay attention to the doses.
What are the best beard conditioners?
I am a big proponent of using the most natural products possible for your skin and hair.
There is little reason to use anything with harsh chemicals that can have adverse side effects when there are so many natural beard products on the market.
So I am only including all or mostly natural beard conditioners on the list.
Here’s my list for the top 5:
Scotch Porter – Hydrate & Nourish Beard Conditioner
Not only is Scotch Porter an all natural beard conditioner, it uses a formula with some pretty unique ingredients.
Ever hear of marshmallow root or slippery elm bark? Yes, they sound like a Witches Brew recipe with only the eye of newt missing, but apparently they do wonders for the type of hair that facial hair is.
And those aren’t the only ingredients. There are tons of things like aloe vera and shea butter for moisturizing, jojoba oil and argan oil to repair the hair cells and strengthen the cuticle and nettle and neem leaf for antioxidants.
I don’t recall ever seeing a list of ingredients that pack so many rich oils and butters to take care of your hair.
In addition to what it does have, make not of what it doesn’t. No parabens, silicones, petroleum, mineral oils or artificial colors. In fact, it is so free from harsh chemicals that it works even on beards that have been dyed or colored.
It may only be 8 ounces which seems like you would go through it in no time, but trust me, a little goes a long way. You’ll only be using a tiny dollop twice per week so this jar should last you a couple of months.
What does it do? Primarily it focuses on bringing and maintaining moisture to your beard. It will leave your beard softer and smoother with split ends being a thing of the past. The argan oil will strengthen the cuticle so your beard will be straighter and less prone to fly away hair.
It goes on lightly and never makes your beard feel heavy.
If you have an itchy beard then this is the ideal solution as it takes care of that plus so much more. Since it doesn’t just work on the hair, it will leave your skin plump since it helps encourage the production of collagen.
The scent is very light and fresh. It does not overpower and won’t conflict with any beard oil fragrance that you might use in addition.
Bossman Fortify Intense Beard Conditioner
This is the ticket you need if you are trying to grow out a thick beard as it is the best beard conditioner for patchy beards.
It is specifically formulated to help your facial hair grow in thicker and faster so your patchy spots look much fuller.
How does it work?
It is loaded with essential oils that will stimulate the roots of your beard to give it a jumpstart. It also focuses as much on the skin as it does on the hair. After all, your skin will determine how fast and healthy a beard grows since dry skin will slow down your beard growth.
With ingredients like mango butter, avocado oil and cocoa butter, your hair and skin will end up totally hydrated and the addition of argan oil will ensure that it stays moisturized.
This leads to plump skin and fuller, thicker follicles to make your beard appear fuller and fill in those patchy areas.
Now, no beard product out there can grow hair where there are no roots, so don’t expect to suddenly start sprouting hair where there was none. But, what will happen is that dormant roots that have thin, wispy and damaged follicles will suddenly wake up and start producing healthier strands that will make your beard much thicker.
One thing I’d like to point out is the presence of Cetearyl Alcohol. I am always telling guys to be on the lookout for alcohol in their hair and skin products as it tends to dry everything out. Which would undo all the hydrating benefits of using a conditioner. Cetearyl Alcohol is an exception as it not only does not dry out the skin and hair, but it actually helps keep it moisturized. Not every ingredient is the same so keep that in mind.
In addition to seeing an improvement in your beard thickness, it will also leave it easier to comb and form since it is less prone to drying out and split ends. It will have a soft feel and a very healthy shine to it.
The scent is also very light and fresh and smells really good. The scent is very old school barber shop in that it smells a lot like a shaving soap. It has cedar and sandalwood for a woodsy aroma and then finishes with vetiver and bergamot. Very, very classic.
Polished Gentleman Beard Growth and Thickening Conditioner
No list of best beard conditioners would be complete without an appearance by Polished Gentleman. They are one of the best beard wash and conditioner brands out there.
Like the Bossman, this conditioner does wonders for those with a thin or patchy beard. Even if you are happy with the thickness of your beard, you’ll get the bonus of faster facial hair growth by using this conditioner.
All natural and organic, this beard conditioner contains essential oils and vitamins to grow thick, healthier facial hair. And in less time than if you had used nothing.
Tea tree oil, rosemary oil and eucalyptus oil all help stimulate the circulation in the skin, bringing fresh blood loaded with oxygen and nutrients to nourish the hair which makes it grow faster.
The addition of peppermint oil is also great news for guys with patchy beards since it has been proven to be as effective as Minoxidil in helping to grow hair.
Biotin is also prevalent so it helps add strength to your hair by fortifying the cuticle.
Aside from all of those things it also does what a conditioner is supposed to do. Namely, it softens the hair, strengthens the follicle and leaves it smooth and with a nice, healthy glow.
The scent is very subtle, but slightly minty and kind of like a menthol. When you apply it you will feel an invigorating tingle on your face which is very refreshing combined with the scent.
Beardsley Ultra Conditioner for Beards
Since there has been such an explosion in beard products over the last 5 years it’s easy to forget the simpler times when Beardsley was one of the only brands that focused on beard and mustache products.
They were founded in 1993 during a time when virtually nobody had a beard save a few grunge musicians sporting goatees.
In other words, they have a pedigree which gives them a lot of experience in the sector and know what it takes to make a good, all natural beard conditioner.
Primarily fortified with Vitamin B-5 for superior nourishment and jojoba to mimic the natural sebum our bodies produce, it is very good at naturally conditioning and softening the hair. The addition of interesting ingredients like hops extract and henna give it other properties like a stimulating effect and giving a darker tone to your beard.
It is very intense so a little goes a very long way. By intense, I mean that it works quickly and well, not that it is harsh in any way. In fact, the formula is gentle enough that you could use this beard conditioner everyday if you so choose.
If you opt to use it everyday, don’t be tempted to shampoo your beard as often however. Just wet your beard and rub it in and leave it for 5 minutes before rinsing.
Of all the beard conditioners reviewed in this article, this one will probably leave your beard the softest. In addition, it will be easier to comb or brush and will have a deep shine to it.
If you don’t want to have everybody asking to touch your beard then be careful when using this!
As far as scent goes, it does have a slightly sweet scent that is not for everybody. It is a bit floral probably due to the marigold extract in it. It is very light though and won’t conflict with any cologne you may be wearing.
ZEUS Beard Conditioner
Another classic brand for beard products is Zeus. They do all natural beard products like this incredible beard conditioner. Which incidentally gets the prize for the best beard conditioner for scent, at least in my opinion.
With verbena lime, sandalwood and vanilla rum all available, it has a very masculine and deep scent to it without being overpowering.
Packed with Vitamin B5, jojoba oil, and avocado oil, it is a very intense conditioner that will add tons of moisture to your facial hair for an incredibly soft and manageable beard. It also has an interesting ingredient called Dragon’s Blood which is a tree-based extract which reduces and prevents inflammation of the skin. Preventing inflammation will keep your facial hair growing quickly for a faster beard.
Of course, being all natural means it is paraben and sulfate free so it is not harsh on your skin or beard at all.
You’ll notice that not only is your hair softer and smoother, but your skin is more elastic, plump and very smooth, too.
It gives you all around protection from the effects of the environment like the sun and dry weather. If you spend a lot of time outdoors then this is a good conditioner to have.
As is the case with all the Zeus beard products, the price is a bit on the steep side. But, you don’t need to use much and it does such a good job at softening that you really only need to use it a couple of days per week.
How to use a beard conditioner
It really is not rocket science when it comes to how to apply a beard conditioner.
All of the ones on this list, I should point out, are rinse out conditioners. If you opt for one not on the list make sure you read the label to see if it is a leave in or not as the way to use it will be different.
After you’ve washed your beard with shampoo or given it a thorough rinse if this is on a day when you are not washing your beard you’ll want to apply it.
Your beard should be wet, however, you shouldn’t apply this when it is too wet and especially not under running water.
You don’t want to have the lotion wash off before it has had a chance to do its thing.
After you’ve rinsed out the shampoo, squeeze out some of the water in your beard with your hands. Be gentle though, you don’t want to rough up your beard. Just try to get out as much water as you can without too much effort.
Then apply the recommended amount listed on the bottle. Rub it in like you are washing it. In fact some of the ones on the list contain glycerin so you may notice a slight lather forming. That is ok.
Leave it in your beard for around 5 minutes and then rinse it out. To avoid wasting water, do this when you first get in the shower. By the time you are done with washing the rest of your body, it will be time to rinse.
Make sure you rinse it out really well as you don’t want any residue clogging up your pores.
Then sit back and watch how many people want to touch your softened and straightened beard!
Is it worth it to use a beard conditioner?
I know how overwhelming it can be if you have been reading up on how to maintain your beard. It seems like you have to take half of your day washing, conditioning, brushing and everything else to take care of it. Not to mention expensive with all the recommended products it seems you need.
Truth be told, you don’t have to do it all. Though I recommend using a conditioner and beard oil, too, you can certainly get away with one over the other. Just make sure you are using something and always avoid products meant for your head. And definitely never use your wife or girlfriends hair products on your beard.
Keep it simple if you need to and your beard will still look glorious!
If you have any questions about your beard care routine, then drop a line in the box below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!