For those of you who thought growing a beard was the lazy man’s option and looked forward to regaining whole minutes in the morning, and saving money on razors, think again.
To look good a beard has to be groomed. Even the wildest and woolliest benefit from some TLC, in the form of beard oil.
Beard oil can cost up to £40 to buy, but you can make your own in minutes, from ingredients you may already have at home – for yourself, a partner, or as a great, personalised gift for Christmas.
Growing and taming a beard
Why should you use beard oil?
To keep your facial hair healthy, it needs nourishment – and that doesn’t mean the crumbs and drips that escape your mouth!
As the hair on your face is coarser than that on your head, it needs special attention. Using beard oil will soften and smooth the hairs, preventing flyaways and adding shine and condition.
It also helps to keep the skin on your chin healthy too, and minimises skin irritation.
Growing a beard to suit your face shape
You will need…
You’ll need a small amount of carrier oil, plus an essential oil or two. And you’ll need a container for your finished beard oil.
For your carrier oil, choose from:
Coconut Widely available, and reasonably priced in supermarkets (Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, £4.50, 300ml, Sainsbury’s), this is solid at room temperature, but melts at body temperature so will melt on your fingers as you apply it. This makes it easier to control how much you’re using, and less likely to leak so, for me, it’s the best to use.
Sunflower Widely available, maybe even in your own kitchen cupboard!
Sweet almond This is widely used for massage, and has a neutral smell. Buy it from Holland & Barrett (Natural Brand Aromatherapy Sweet Almond Oil Massage Base £4.39, 100ml) or in a blend with wheatgerm oil from Boots (Boots Botanics Fragrance Free Blending Base Oil £3.99, 100ml)
For a luxurious, extra-conditioning treat, add a couple of drops of argan oil (Dr Organic Pure Moroccan Argan Oil £14,59, 100ml, Holland & Barrett) to the carrier oil.
This tames frizz, boosts condition and adds shine, making your beard more lustrous and lovely, both to look at and to touch. Don’t use too much as it has an ‘earthy’ odour reminiscent of stables, which you might not want too near what you’re eating…
Add an aroma…
You can choose your own scent, to harmonise with other fragrance you’re wearing, introduce a new note, or go fragrance-free. Essential oils are best for this, as they’re pure, concentrated (so a little goes a very long way), possess hair-enhancing properties, they’re antibacterial – and they smell divine.
Which essential oil is up to you, but rosemary (Botanics 100% Pure Essential Rosemary Oil £4.79, Boots) is used in many haircare products, as it promotes hair growth and has an invigoratingly fresh, green scent.
Peppermint oil (Peppermint Organic Essential Oil £6.45, 9ml, Tisserand) will give a minty-fresh air.
Cedarwood is warm and woody, or add a citrus note with lemon or mandarin. Boots has a good range of the most popular essential oils and Tisserand is an aromatherapy specialist.
If you use coconut oil as a base, a small screwtop jar or pot is practical for storage (Muji has a good range).
Otherwise you’ll need a small glass bottle, ideally with a dropper. If you don’t have one already, you can buy them from Baldwins (95p for 30ml).
Beard oil: the basic recipe
Take your jar or pot, and spoon in enough coconut oil to fill it.
Melt the coconut oil by standing the pot in a bowl of hot water.
Add two drops of your chosen essential oil for each 50ml of coconut oil.
If you’re mixing essential oils, test the aroma by adding drops of essential oil to a mug of hot water. If it smells good, go ahead!
Add a couple of drops of argan oil. Stir to mix, then screw on the lid and leave to cool.
If you’re using another oil, pour it into a small bottle and add two drops of essential oil for each 50ml of carrier oil. Screw on the top, and shake to mix.
How to apply
If you’re at the stubble stage, you’ll need the tiniest amount, maybe one drop, or the equivalent in solid form. As the beard grows, so should the amount you use.
For the solid coconut version, scoop out a little with your fingernail, rub between your fingertips and palms, and smooth on to your beard and chin, working it in evenly.
For the liquid version, drop or pour a little on to your hands, rub and apply in the same way.
Don’t use too much or it’ll look greasy; too little and it’ll look unkempt and your beard won’t feel the benefit.
You may have to experiment to reach the right amount, but taking a couple of minutes with your appearance is time well spent.
As Christian Dior said: ‘Grooming is the secret of real elegance.'
Your good grooming tool kit