I didn’t really know what romance was until my husband started greeting me with a warm cup of coffee every morning. When our kids were little and up before dawn, he’d say that if he couldn’t help me get more sleep he could at least make me coffee, and I’m pretty sure I swooned the first time he brought it to me in bed.
Parenting alongside him is the most challenging, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, which is why on special days – or any day really – I try to look for ways to tell him how much I love him. Like making him beard oil.
Because sadly, there’s no Hallmark card for “I want to kiss you everyday of my life but your scruffy beard is giving me road rash.” (You really need to get on that, Hallmark.)
This DIY beard oil recipe is not just for husbands, though. It’s great for brothers, dads, uncles, and even that guy everyone calls “Uncle” even though he’s not actually related to anyone.
What are the benefits of using beard oil?
- It softens and tames coarse beard scruff.
- It also helps to moisturize the skin underneath, which reduces skin flaking (aka dandruff or “beardruff” and itchiness.
- Depending on his preference (or yours), it can smell woodsy, fresh and clean, smooth and spicy . . . whatever you like!
What’s in beard oil?
It’s usually made of a carrier oil (sometimes called a base oil) blended with essential oils. Some carrier oils are light and quickly absorbed, while others are more moisturizing. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options:
Ingredient #1 – Carrier Oil
Although the carrier oil in this recipe will mostly be applied to facial hair, some will absorb into nearby skin so it’s a good idea to factor in skin-type when choosing an oil. The options below are generally good for all skin types, but as noted, some are lighter and more easily absorbed, while others are more deeply conditioning.
Argan Oil (Argania spinosa) – Made from Moroccan argan tree kernels, argan oil is rich in Vitamin E, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and antioxidants that help to deeply moisturize and protect hair. Sometimes referred to as “liquid gold,” it absorbs easily and makes hair soft and shiny. I use it as a heat-protectant and leave-in conditioner.
Avocado Oil (Persea americana) – Rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamin E, and antioxidants like oleic acid, avocado oil is nourishing without being heavy. It absorbs well and is compatible with normal, dry, and acne-prone skin.
Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis) – Has a structure that is similar to our natural sebum, which makes it uniquely compatible with our skin. It’s rich in vitamin E, absorbs quickly, and is considered helpful for supporting skin repair without clogging pores. Also, it’s actually technically a wax, but most refer to it as an oil because it’s liquid in its natural form.
Grapeseed Oil (Vitis vinifera) – Has a light, silky texture and is considered non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores). Absorbs well.
Fractionated Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera) – Excellent moisturizer for very coarse hair and/or use during dry conditions, but it may cause breakouts for people with acne-prone skin when used on the face. Takes longer to fully absorb.
Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis) – Light and gentle, sweet almond oil softens, soothes and moisturizes. This oil is a good option for guys with normal, dry, sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Ingredient #2 – Essential Oils
Although they’re primarily used for scent in beard oil, the essential oils in the recipe below may have some therapeutic aspects as well.
According to Robert Tisserand, inhaling essential oils (as someone would by breathing in the scent on their beard) is a very efficient way to absorb them into our bloodstream.
Inhaled substances pass down the trachea into the bronchi, and from there into finer and finer bronchioles, ending at the microscopic sac-like alveoli of the lungs, where gaseous exchange with the lungs mainly takes place.
The alveoli are extremely efficient at transporting small molecules, such as essential oil constituents, into the blood.” (1)
The essential oils in my recipe are diluted for safety reasons, but even in smaller amounts they may support mental clarity, relaxation, and more. Below are some of my favorite options – you’ll find suggestions for blending them together in the recipe below.
- Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) – With it’s dry spiciness and woodsy undertones, black pepper adds character and depth to essential oil blends.
- Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica) – Calming, woodsy, smokey and slightly spicy, cedarwood is skin soothing and also smells amazing in this Wild Vanilla No. 2 Solid Perfume Recipe.
- Frankincense Carteri (Boswellia carteri) – Woodsy and slightly spicy with a hint of lemon. Often used in skincare serums and creams because it supports cellular renewal.
- Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) – Calming, herbaceous, and uplifting, lavender is a top note scent that blends well with deep base notes like vetiver and sandalwood.
- Lemon (Citrus x limon) – Fresh, clean, uplifting citrus scent. Cold-pressed lemon essential oil can cause photosensitivity (meaning it increases sun sensitivity), but steam distilled lemon essential oil does not. If you’re using cold-pressed, a maximum dilution of 2% (about 6 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil) is recommended to avoid sensitivity to sunlight. (1)
- Orange, Sweet (Citrus sinensis) – Bright, fresh, and happy, sweet orange essential oil is a top note that blends well with spicy, woodsy base notes.
- Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum majorana) – The fresh, slightly sweet, herbaceous scent of marjoram makes it one of my favorite essential oils. It rounds out blends that would otherwise feel like they’re kind of flat or missing something.
- Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin) – Thought to promote youthful skin, the rich and earthy scent of patchouli is a great addition to men’s personal care products including beard care, skincare, homemade deodorant and body wash.
- Vanilla in Jojoba Oil (Vanilla Planifolia) – Creamy and sweet, the scent of vanilla is one of my favorite top notes to blend with base note oils such as frankincense.
- Vetiver (Vetivereria zizanoides) – With its woody, smoky scent, vetiver is often used for emotional grounding and relaxation.
Manly Essential Oil Blend Suggestions
Here are a few of my favorite blends:
Freshly Cut Cedar & Spice
This one is my husband’s top choice. It smells like freshly cut cedar with just a hint of black pepper and creamy vanilla.
- 12 drops cedarwood
- 8 drops black pepper
- 4 drops vanilla in jojoba oil (Because it’s pre-diluted, we’re able to use it at higher concentrations in this recipe)
Clarifying & Refreshing
My husband says this one reminds him of fresh mountain air. It’s got a grounded, woodsy component that layers well with the refreshing scent of fresh herbs and the faint smell of juicy, peeled oranges. In 2 ounces of carrier oil, mix:
- 6 drops patchouli
- 6 drops vetiver
- 6 drops sweet marjoram
- 6 drops sweet orange
Spicy & Smooth
This blend is slightly peppery with notes of vanilla and the distinct woodsy scent of frankincense. If you’ve ever walked by a pipe tobacco store and enjoyed the deep, peppery, and sweet vanilla scent wafting through the doors, this might be a good one to try.
In 2 ounces of carrier oil, mix:
- 10 drops frankincense
- 28 drops vanilla in jojoba oil (Because it’s pre-diluted, we’re able to use it at higher concentrations in this recipe)
- 6 drops vetiver
Crisp & Clean
Unlike some of the more woodsy scents, this one is light and crisp. In 2 ounces of carrier oil, mix:
What To Buy If You Don’t Want To DIY
If you don’t have the above ingredients on-hand and would rather buy a pre-made blend, here are some good options:
- Striking Viking makes a set of four scented beard oils (Vanilla, Citrus, Cedar & Sandalwood) that are crafted with organic ingredients. The bottles are smaller than other beard oils, but you get more of them, so overall the price per ounce is about the same and you get to experience different scent options.
- Viva Naturals makes a good unscented beard oil that’s made without essential oils.
- If your recipient needs a little more conditioning power, Honest Amish Beard Balm is made with organic oils and natural butters like hokum and cocoa butter, plus organic essential oils.
DIY Beard Oil Recipe
- 2 ounce glass dropper bottle
- stainless steel fork or toothpick
- measuring cup
- 4 tbsp carrier oil (Argan Oil, Avocado Oil)
- 18-24 drops essential oil (See suggestions in “Manly Essential Oil Blend” section above)
- In a measuring cup, use a stainless steel fork or toothpick to mix the carrier oil and essential oils together.
- Pour the homemade beard oil into a glass bottle and store in a cool, dark place.
- The amount needed varies depending on the size and texture of the beard, but most beard aficionados recommend working in a a few drops into freshly-washed (slightly damp) facial hair first thing in the morning, then increasing if needed. It can also be applied to dry facial hair if preferred.
- To use, your recipient will just rub the beard oil between their palms and massage into beard hair, then comb if desired. It takes about half an hour for the oils to absorb, so don’t freak out if it feels a little greasy at first. After that, they’ll love their softer, more kissable beard! And if it’s your significant other, you’ll enjoy kissing the one wearing it. 🙂
Need another gift idea for men?
Clean and woodsy with spicy notes and a hint of citrus, this bay rum aftershave recipe is as manly as it gets, and you can use the leftover rum to make hot buttered rum!
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1. Tisserand, Robert and Young, Rodney (2013) Essential Oil Safety: Second Edition