A DIY (Do It Yourself) project is a great way to save money and learn something new in the process — whether you’re building a fence or changing the oil in your car. Beard Balm is no different. Creating your own beard balm will not only force you to learn about a variety of all-natural cosmetic ingredients available to the consumer, you’ll also save yourself the 500% markup that most grooming brands are charging you for their run-of-the-mill beard products.
If you landed on this article by way of search engine — and are sporting a substantial beard already, then you likely have forgone the use of beard oil altogether for it’s thicker, waxier beard balm counterpart. Good decision. Beard oil is just that, oil. Due to it’s lack of wax or butter of any kind, it does little to manage and maintain a decent beard aside from making it soft and greasy. Stick with making your own beard balm (or beard wax for the truly disheveled beard) and enjoy a thick, polished, and healthy looking face rug you’ll be proud to show the world.
Beard Balm Ingredients
Before you throw a bunch of ingredients into a pot and start making your own beard balm, you’ll need a quick primer on some popular ingredients used by the professionals, what they do for your beard, and where to buy them. Which ingredients you decide to use in your DIY beard balm is ultimately up to you.
Wax is the base ingredient of DIY beard balm and likely the most important. As mentioned above, wax is what makes beard balm so much more different than straight beard oil. Wax gives the beard balm a much thicker consistency and makes it heavier, which helps to give a slight hold to your beard and in the process making it more manageable. The logical choice when making your own beard balm is beeswax. Its the most popular choice of wax by commercial brands and do-it-yourselfers alike because it is inexpensive, has a relatively low melting point, and is, of course, an all-natural ingredient.
Most commercial grooming brands shy away from the pellets of beeswax but for DIY balm, pellet beeswax is an easy, affordable option that works. You can grab a bag at the link below to get you started. As always, if you click the links in this article and make a purchase, we make a small commission that helps keep this site up and running.
As you may have read in my article on the strongest mustache waxes, carrier oils are not your friend if a hold is what you’re after (like when sculpting a handlebar mustache.) Oil in beard balm is a must, however, for three reasons: 1. Oil renders the beard balm soft enough for application to your beard, 2. It keeps the beard hairs soft, nourished, and healthy, and 3. It helps distribute the essential oils in your concoction (more on that later.)
If ever you have seen a bushy beard that looks super dry and frizzy, that is what carrier oils in beard products are designed to treat and/or prevent. You don’t want to look like the caveman from the Geico commercials, which is why you landed on this article in the first place. Again, beard oil is just that, oil. But when used in conjunction with beeswax, you’ve got something special. Here are three carrier oils frequently used in a DIY beard balm:
– Coconut Oil
Pros: All natural, pleasant smell, softens the beard, moisturizes skin, reduces inflammation.
Cons: Very greasy, shorter shelf life, can be difficult to wash out of your beard.
– Jojoba Oil
Pros: All natural, conditions the beard and skin, strengthens hair, prevents dandruff, long shelf life.
Cons: Very greasy.
– Almond Oil
Pros: All natural, not greasy, promotes beard growth, prevents dandruff, strengthens hair.
Cons: Shorter shelf life.
Shea butter, cocoa butter, and mango butter are what i’m talking about here. Technically, your DIY beard balm could do without a butter altogether; Just beeswax and a carrier oil, but the more butter you use, the creamier and thicker its going to turn out.
Shea butter is the favorite here, and it’s got a lot going for it in terms of beard care. In the simplest terms, shea butter is all-natural and will make your beard super soft. Another known secret but not often discussed is that shea butter makes a beard — especially longer beards — appear much thicker.
*Pro tip: Lanolin, while not a butter, can be substituted for a butter, and will make your beard feel and look super thick. It doesn’t always smell that great though. If you decide to use it and the lanolin you order happens to smell fairly strong, then make sure to add in some essential oils to mask the smell.
Essential oils serve no other purpose than to give your DIY beard balm it’s scent. Whether you want your homemade beard butter to smell like peppermint, wintergreen, the beaches of Nantucket after a storm, or your Aunt Linda’s apple pie, there’s likely an essential oil out there to accommodate you. And you’ll want to add it to the mix or else your beard balm experiment will smell of wax and bourbon (never actually add bourbon to your beard balm, however a nip here and there during concoction will only enhance the experience.) If a waxy, earthy scent is fine by you, then you can skip the addition of an essential oil altogether and spend that money on more wax, or tins to pour your DIY beard balm into.
I won’t go through the list of essential oils and their benefits, because they’re all pretty much the same in regards to their function (scent). They also cost a pretty penny. You’ll no doubt eat up your margins indulging in different flavors of essential oil. Spend wisely and use sparingly. A little goes a long way.
Making Your Own Beard Balm
Now that you have a firm grasp on all of the ingredients you could possibly need to make your own beard balm, let’s get down to actually concocting it. I didn’t cover every single ingredient available, so if I left any out that you’re interested in, feel free to experiment.
Before we start mixing and melting ingredients, make sure you’ve got the proper hardware. Melting beeswax in a pot directly on the stove won’t turn out well for you. It will burn, stick, and make the process much too difficult to reach fruition. The best way to melt your ingredients is via the double boiler method: Fill a medium-sized pot half full with water, and place your ingredients inside another pot or metal container that will sit inside the first pot of water. I personally use this one. It’s affordable, smaller, and simple to use.
Measure Out The Ingredients
I’ll provide the recipe I personally on my beard at the end of this article for reference. However, the more you experiment with the ratios of beeswax and carrier oils, the more likely you are to create a beard balm that works perfect for your beard. The chances of making the perfect beard balm on your first try is extremely low. Aim high anyway and see how it goes. Begin by measuring out your ingredients (except for the essential oils) and add them to your double boiler.
Most resources say that you should slowly melt your beard balm ingredients on low heat, and they aren’t incorrect in saying so. But I personally like to use a medium/high heat to get the water boiling quicker and the ingredients melting faster so I can spend more time doing other things like sipping bourbon and combing my beard.
*Pro Tip: Melting shea butter quicker with more heat has been known to cause the shea butter to become grainy a few days later. While there is some truth to this, my experience has shown me that the quality of the shea butter itself can lead to these issues. It’s best to use forego the unrefined butters and shoot for a highly-refined shea butter when making beard balm.
Melt The Ingredients and Pour
Add your ingredients to the double boiler on medium heat, stirring occasionally. The beeswax will obviously take the longest to melt. That’s ok. Have some patience and drink a beer. It will all soon be worth your time. Once all of the ingredients are melted and you now have a liquid in your pot, turn off the heat and add the essential oil of your choice. Adding essential oils just before your pour the ingredients into containers helps prevent them from evaporating into thin air.
After you pour your custom beard balm into metal tins, let the tins sit for several hours to cool, or allow them to cool overnight if you’re a patient man. This very beard balm you make will give you the necessary baseline for adding/subtracting ingredients and changing the ratio of ingredients going forward. Don’t feel like experimenting? Check out my very own DIY beard balm recipe below. It’ll have your beard looking dapper in no time.
Joey Finstock’s DIY Beard Balm Recipe
Makes 1 Ounce
- 0.3 oz beeswax
- 2 tsp lanolin
- 1 tsp shea butter
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 10 drops of wintergreen essential oil