In 2014, I wrote an article about growing a marathon beard to help boost my confidence and spirit during the long hard months leading up to the New York City Marathon. The idea hit home with many runners. I was even featured in a Runner’s World article highlighting the best running facial hair of all-time.
Growing an impressive beard isn’t as easy as choosing not to shave. Sure, that will result in a hairy face full of shaggy scruff, but it’s not going to look and feel like a well-groomed beard. Many would-be beard wearing guys give up too soon because of dry skin, itching, or grooming mistakes.
The rules of growing a great beard are simple. Keep it clean. Keep it moisturized. Cut it carefully. When in doubt, seek the counsel of a professional barber. I’m talking about an old school barber with a red-and-white-striped pole out front and tattooed forearms, not a hair salon for women.
[bctt tweet=”The number one secret to growing heroic facial hair is quite simple: beard oil.” #MarathonBeard]
The number one secret to growing heroic facial hair is quite simple: beard oil. Beard oil keeps your skin healthy and your beard soft and shiny. In cold, dry climates beards can become brittle and result in patchy, scratchy facial hair that not even a mother could love. This is especially harsh on runners who collect ice and snow beards all winter long.
Beard oils are also a great way to keep your beard smelling manly and attractive. Beard balms are similar to beard oils, but help shape your beard similar to a pomade for short hair styles. The discovery of beard oils and beard balms has made growing out my winter coat a pleasurable experience.
The 7 Best Beard Oils and Balms
The Beard Baron The Beard Baron offers beard oil, mustache wax, and grooming kits to discerning and refined gentleman. I tried both the Citrus Bay and the Wildwood beard oils. Both were pleasingly aromatic and easy to apply with just a few drops in the palm. The fresh, citrus scent made Citrus Bay a favorite with the ladies. The earthy, masculine scent of the forest made Wildwood a favorite of mine.
Honest Amish Honest Amish beard oil and balms date back hundreds of years ago. The Amish were growing facial hair long before the trendy lumberjacks of today. Honest Amish products are made from natural ingredients. I recommend the Honest Amish Beard Balm Leave-in conditioner for a clean soapy fragrance and a soft, smooth beard.
Grave Before Shave makes high performance beard products. I enjoyed both Grave Before Shave Beard Bomb and Bay Rum Beard Oil. Both products soften and condition hair while also moisturizing and treating dandruff and dry skin. The Bay Rum Beard Oil smells like rum and leaves you with a hint of coconut. Let your Black Sails fly!
Brooklyn Grooming uses organic sesame and hempseed oils as the foundation for their restorative beard oils. Your beard and the skin underneath it, need to be cared for so that you don’t suffer from embarrassing beardruff or scalpface. I recommend the Commando scent for beginners. It’s basically unscented and derives its name from the common expression for going without underwear.
The Mod Cabin products are scented with 100% pure essential oils and invoke feelings of a connection to nature, wanderlust, and nostalgia. The Backwoods Beard Balm has a warm, woodsy smell and will leave you with a fuller, healthier beard. The pomade-like beard balm can even be used to shape your hair. Even if you’re trapped in a cubicle, you’ll smell like the great outdoors.
Beardbrand is a company started by a guy who just wanted to grow a beard and free himself from the conservative corporate cage he was trapped in. Each beard oil has a base of jojoba, almond, grapeseed, and castor oil which is lightweight and non-greasy. The clean, crisp, fresh scent of Tea Tree Beard Oil is a hit with the fairer sex and dresses up nicely.
Lucky Scruff Holy Beard Balm is just right when you need the conditioning effects of beard oil and the beard taming hold of a balm. The smell is clean and manly, infused with essential oils that capture the dusty, citrusy aspect of frankincense with a hint of mahogany.