The Best Beard Oils to Maintain That Impressive Beard (2024)

Cultivating a thick, lustrous beard – the type that makes patchy-faced men weep into their real ale – requires patience. Dedication. And the tools to succeed (namely a decent beard trimmer).

But in addition to all that, a beard, like your skin, requires a purpose-built grooming kit – and a beard oil is arguably the most important thing you can do for your bristles.

Because beard hair is still hair. If you don't maintain it, nourish it, and look after it as you would the hair on your head, you'll end up with the sort of knotted thatch that causes people to heave at mealtimes. Modern beard icon George Clooney definitely uses beard oil. Ditto for old-school beard icon Papa Christmas.

How we test beard oils

We asked a panel of 400 men — with either stubble, short beards, moustaches or long beards — to help us find the best beard oils for styling and taming unruly strands and smoothing and softening facial hair. They each tried a beard oil from one of 31 market-leading brands and gave us feedback on the softness and hydration of their skin after use, noting if they experienced any reduction in itchiness.

Back at Esquire HQ, our grooming expert used a Dia-Stron machine to measure the performance of each beard oil by analysing the smoothness of facial hair before and after application.

Every product below with an Esquire Approved logo has been approved by our panel of testers and experts. The remaining products have been chosen by the Esquire editors.

“Beard oil should be used at least once a week as a deep treatment,” says Sam Hickey, head barber at Murdock London and a man who has built a career on tending to (and creating) impressive beards. “Beard hair requires special care and therefore specialised products, with beard oil aiding its long-term health.” So, in other words, not Head & Shoulders.

Instead, invest in something that's designed for the job at hand, and, with the right beard oil, you'll be as successful as a Midnight Sky-era Clooney. Probably.

What is beard oil?

Put simply, beard oil is a special blend of oils (no way!) that softens and conditions facial hair, which tends to be coarser. It makes the appearance of a beard smoother, and can also sculpt flyaways into a rounder, neater shape. It's not just skin deep, either. The right ingredients can also prevent split ends – especially important if you've got a longer beard.

Plus, it smells good which is always nice. “If you’re serious about having a soft, luscious beard, it’s so important,” explains Tom Harrigan, head barber at The Ned, who recommends investing in the right stuff just as you would with top level skin and anti-ageing products.

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George Clooney, beard hero

Beard oils are specially formulated to be lighter and less greasy, which means they're absorbed both by your beard hair and the skin beneath, rather than coating it. You can tell if you've got the right stuff because, after applying, your beard should feel soft, smooth and nourished without leaving any residue on your hands.

What to look for in a beard oil

The mention of oil might strike fear into your heart – after all, it’s sleekness not slime that we’re aiming for here – but listen up so you know what to look for and they’ll be no greaseball insults slung your way.

First off, the best beard oils use only natural ingredients; we’re talking argan, coconut, jojoba and sweet apricot oils, but skin-friendly additions like nourishing vitamin E are increasingly common too.

Steer clear of anything containing silicones or chemicals that you can't pronounce, says Harrigan. These “nasties”, as he calls them, coat the hairs to make them look smoother, but this can prevent the oils from actually being absorbed. No absorption means no softness, and softness is the holy grail.

Do I actually need to use a beard oil?

Beard oils aren't only for guys who mistake a Gandalf beard for a personality. You've just got a bit of scruff, surely you don't need to go to all that trouble? Not so.

“Every beard is different – in length, texture, thickness or colour – and not all of them will require beard oil,” says Harrigan. “If you have stubble, you can probably go without it and just use a good moisturiser. A beard often requires the extra hydration though.”

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Jason Momoa, perhaps pondering which beard oil to try next

In other words, if you can pinch some length, then beard oil is required.

Alternatively, if you're growing yours in, you'll appreciate the difference a beard oil can bring almost immediately. As it reaches medium length, the hairs begin to curl back on themselves, which is the cause of that familiar biblical itch around a week in.

Beard oil will soften sharp ends and help to keep the skin underneath moisturised, which also reduces the risk of beard dandruff (yes, it's as gross as it sounds).

Those with longer, thicker beards may consider switching to a beard balm, which is more pomade-like. Typically formulated with beeswax or shea butter, balm sits on top of the beard (unlike oil, which soaks in quickly), meaning it conditions deeper and gives a slight hold. Again, look for beard-specific products. Your face is no place for Brylcreem.

Will beard oil help my beard grow?

No beard oil is a magic growth potion, but achieving a full beard will be a lot easier when the conditions are prime.

The natural oils mentioned above contain a mix of antioxidants and vitamins that, together, can help nurse a sad, sparse little beard back to life.

In short, the healthier the habitat, the plusher your beard will be, but don’t expect an overnight miracle akin to a multi-grand hair transplant.

Do I need to shampoo and condition my beard?

In short: yes. "It’s important to look after the skin underneath your beard,” says Harrigan. “Make sure you cleanse and exfoliate to avoid the dreaded flaky beard.”

The jury’s out on whether a specialist shampoo is necessary – more important are the ingredients in whatever you’re using. Sulphates are often added to face washes and shampoos to help them foam, but they are renowned for drying out skin and hair (especially brittle hair types, such as afro).

A sulphate-free face wash will probably suffice for most, although some (especially those with longer, thicker beards) may prefer to use a shampoo bar with added conditioners.

Whatever you use, Harrigan advises you go deep. “Make sure you get your fingers right in there and give your face a good scrub, rinsing product out thoroughly.” He also suggests using a soft bristle brush on your beard twice a week or so, to help exfoliate and slough away dead skin cells that can get trapped in your thatch.

Once you’ve patted your beard dry, apply a beard oil or moisturiser. Hickey recommends oil as a weekly conditioner, with a specific beard moisturiser as part of your daily routine.

These specially formulated serums are better at reaching the skin underneath your beard than your usual lotions, and won’t leave any sticky residue (moisturising is extra important if you've got a beard because all that facial hair sucks moisture out of the skin beneath, which dries it out, makes it flaky, and causes dreaded beard dandruff). They can also be mixed with an optional drop of beard oil, for those who need it.

How to use beard oil

“Beard oil should be applied to a dry beard, which will help avoid it dripping onto your clothes,” says Hickey. “I would recommend three pumps of beard oil into the palms of your hands. Rub them together and work into the beard upwards and downwards to ensure maximum coverage.”

Once rubbed through, use a beard brush or comb to guarantee an even spread, and to style. If you’re unsure about the amount of oil to use, start sparingly – you can always add another drop or two, but you can’t take any away. The Deepwater Horizon look is not what you're after.

The Best Beard Oils for 2023

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Acqua Di Parma Barbiere Beard Serum

Best beard oil


Let's face it, the Italians have good facial hair. And that’s why we weren't surprised when this sweet almond blend left our testers with smoother, softer and more hydrated whiskers. It effortlessly tamed everyone's beards, making them easy to style and groom, while also leaving skin grease-free. One tester described the texture as “velvet”, and another said dandruff vanished. Not bad.

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Percy Nobleman Signature Scented Beard Oil

Best conditioning beard oil


Every tester said they would continue to use this beard oil after the trial ended, with 86% reporting their skin felt softer and more hydrated. They all found it easier to brush and style their beard too, with the conditioning effect lasting all day. It proved easy to dispense the right amount and also worked well as a pre-shave product, absorbing quickly without feeling too greasy.

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The Body Shop Cedar & Sage Conditioning Beard Oil For Men

Best for smoothing


    The Body Shop’s beard oil is the gold standard for smoothing unruly hairs, according to our expert. It also melted quickly and evenly into skin, leaving everyone's hair softer and easier to brush through. The cedar and sage fragrance was a hit and everyone wanted to keep this guy in their grooming arsenal for the foreseeable.

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    ESPA Men's Triple Action Grooming Oil

    Best for pre-shave


    This luxe multi-tasker is a beard, shaving and facial oil in one. One tester was impressed by how well it softened their coarse hair, while everyone commented on how easy their beards were to style after application. A sound investment.

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      Jack Black Beard Oil

      Best beard oil for adding shine


      Ideal for injecting some life into facial hair, 90% of our testers said this beard oil left their whiskers feeling smoother and with a fuller, healthy-looking finish. It reduced scratchiness too, while 88% said it made combing through their beard each morning easier. It also successfully tamed stragglers and didn’t leave any sticky residue behind.

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      Heath London Beard Oil

      Best for exfoliating


        Packed with salicylic acid, this vegan formula aims to encourage hair growth by gently exfoliating skin, preventing trapped hairs and breakout-causing bacteria. Smart, right?

        It impressed our expert with its smoothing powers and won much of our panel over for how effectively it hydrated and softened skin, with no irritation reported.

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        Captain Fawcett Ricki Hall's Booze & Baccy Beard Oil

        Best oil for shorter beards


        If you’re at the start of your beard-growing journey and need a product that’s straightforward to use, then this is your best match. Our testers said only a small drop was needed and it absorbed quickly, while 80% said it helped tame unruly strands. It's also a smart choice if your skin is on the sensitive side.

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        Seven Potions Beard and Body Oil

        Best beard and body oil


        Streamline your collection of grooming products with this two-in-one oil that can be used to hydrate facial hair and any dry patches on your body. Our panel liked its lightweight texture - perfect for those with finer strands - and it impressed our expert when it came to softening coarse beards. It was mess-free to dispense, absorbed instantly and helped keep razor burn redness at bay. Though not the best for styling, it’s a fantastic, versatile moisturiser.

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        Redken Men’s Beard Oil

        Best for softer skin


        You can’t grow a decent beard without treating the skin underneath first. Our testers found this lightweight oil did the trick, noting that their skin felt softer and more comfortable after use. They appreciated its “pleasant woody scent” and loved that it didn’t feel greasy, particularly when used on wet facial hair straight after a shower. It reduced itchiness for 71% and one tester’s wife commented that her husband looked more groomed – result.

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        L'Oreal Men Expert Barber Club Long Beard & Skin Oil

        Best beard oil for detangling


        If managing to grow a lengthy beard is the first step, the second is styling it so you don’t end up looking like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. That’s where this guy comes in. Our entire panel said it tamed flyaways and made facial hair easier to comb through, without feeling heavy. They found it easy to use and liked the subtle woody scent, with some testers noting that their skin felt moisturised after use. It worked well as a shaving lubricant, too.

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        Gentlemen’s Tonic Beard Oil

        Best non-greasy beard oil


        This non-greasy formula absorbed instantly, without leaving any sticky residue behind. Claiming to eliminate dry skin and promote shine, our panel appreciated how fresh it left them feeling, with one tester even noting that it soothed their sensitive skin. It made facial hair easier to brush and style (88% said so), with many testers saying they would incorporate it into their future grooming regimes.

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        Elemis TFM Smooth Result Shave and Beard Oil

        Best oil for dry skin


        Shaving parched skin is a one-way street to irritation and redness. This featherlight must-have helps eliminate that problem – its rich blend of nourishing oils give shavers a bit of slip to avoid aggravating your skin. Our testers raved about how rapidly it absorbed and how “unbelievably soft” it left their hair and skin. The majority found their beards easier to brush and style after use, but the screw cap made it tricky to dispense the right amount of oil.

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        Haeckels Hydrating Beard Oil


        “I’ve used literally hundreds of beard oils and balms over the years and this is my top recommendation,” says Harrigan. With a blend of seaweed extract (good for dry hair) and oils including neroli (antibacterial and smells delicious), it’s a great all-rounder.

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        Murdock London Beard Oil


        Murdock knows its way around a beard, and this nous extends to its products. Fresh-smelling and reasonably-priced, this beard oil's blend of jojoba, almond and other natural oils is lightweight and dries matte.

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        Tom Ford Conditioning Beard Oil


        A light blend of almond, jojoba and grape seed oils are enriched with vitamin E, which helps prevent dandruff and itching. Available in four of Tom Ford’s covetable Private Blend scents: Neroli Portofino, f*cking Fabulous, Tobacco Vanille, and our favourite, Oud Wood.

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        Mr Mullans Beard Oil


        Biker turned hair stylist, John Mullan is a busy man. Between running his salon, boutique Soho store and jumping on editorial shoots, he has his own grooming range, crafted from all natural ingredients, including this made in England beard oil.

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        Le Labo Inc Beard Oil


        An entirely plant-based, paraben- and colourant-free beard oil that’s good for sensitive skin. Enriched with jojoba, grapeseed and protective sunflower oil, it also smells the business. But what else would you expect from Le Labo?

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        D R Harris & Co Beard Oil


        Good for those annoying early days of beard growth, D.R. Harris’s oil combines a fresh, citrusy scent with vitamin E, jojoba and Abyssinian oil, said to be the next big thing in grooming.

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        The Püre Collection Beard Oil Organic


        Oud oil, so rare that it's worth more by weight than gold. Earthy, dark oud is balanced with baobab, prickly pear, sandalwood and rose otto oils, with the promise that it'll stimulate beard growth and eliminate dandruff. Smells nice, too.

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        The Best Beard Oils to Maintain That Impressive Beard (22)

        Florence Reeves-White

        Senior Beauty Writer

        Florence is our Senior Beauty Writer, specialising in expert-tested beauty and grooming reviews — from toothbrushes to the latest skincare launches. She’s committed to sharing recommendations for products that truly work and make people feel confident and healthy. Prior to this she was at Tropic Skincare, where she worked closely with biochemists in the lab, delving into the functions of each fresh, natural ingredient and conveying its efficacy to her audience in easy-to-digest terms.

        With over five years’ experience in beauty and health journalism, Florence has written for ELLE, Women’s Fitness, Sister Magazine, National Geographic Traveller and many more, with a strong sustainability angle thread through much of her work.

        When she isn’t packing for a trip away, working out, eating out or reading up on retinol serums, you’ll probably find her experimenting with her film camera and building her portfolio of portraits. Florence’s photography can be found at, her Instagram is @florencereeveswhite and her twitter is @floreadsnwrites

        The Best Beard Oils to Maintain That Impressive Beard (23)

        Tested byOrla Badger

        Senior Beauty and Grooming Tester

        Orla is our Senior Beauty and Grooming Tester and has extensive knowledge of skin and hair composition thanks to her first class bachelor's degree in cosmetic science from the Universy of the Arts London. She also spent time as a Formulation Chemist intern at Amelia Knight Cosmetics.


        I am an expert and enthusiast and expert assistant. I have access to a wide range of information and can provide insights on various topics. I can help answer your questions and provide information on cultivating a thick, lustrous beard and the importance of beard oil in grooming.

        Cultivating a Thick, Lustrous Beard

        To cultivate a thick, lustrous beard, it requires patience, dedication, and the right tools. One essential tool is a decent beard trimmer. However, in addition to that, a beard requires a purpose-built grooming kit, and beard oil is arguably one of the most important products for maintaining and nourishing your beard [[1]].

        What is Beard Oil?

        Beard oil is a special blend of oils that is designed to soften and condition facial hair, which tends to be coarser than the hair on your head. It not only makes your beard appear smoother but can also help sculpt flyaways into a neater shape. Moreover, beard oil can prevent split ends, which is especially important for those with longer beards. Additionally, beard oil can have a pleasant scent, adding to the overall grooming experience [[1]].

        Benefits of Using Beard Oil

        Using beard oil offers several benefits. Firstly, it helps to soften and hydrate your beard, making it more manageable and reducing itchiness [[1]]. Secondly, beard oil can help prevent beard dandruff, which is caused by dry skin beneath the beard [[1]]. Thirdly, beard oil can promote healthier beard growth by providing nourishment to the hair follicles and the skin beneath the beard [[1]].

        Choosing the Right Beard Oil

        When selecting a beard oil, it is important to look for products that use natural ingredients. Some common natural oils used in beard oils include argan oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and sweet apricot oil. These oils are known for their nourishing properties. It is also recommended to avoid beard oils that contain silicones or chemicals that are difficult to pronounce, as these may prevent the oil from being absorbed properly [[1]].

        How to Use Beard Oil

        To use beard oil effectively, it is recommended to apply it to a dry beard to avoid any dripping onto your clothes. Start by dispensing a small amount of beard oil (usually a few pumps) into the palms of your hands. Rub your hands together to distribute the oil evenly and then work it into your beard, making sure to cover the hair from root to tip. You can use a beard brush or comb to ensure even distribution and to style your beard. It is best to start with a small amount of oil and add more if needed, as you can always add more but cannot remove excess oil [[1]].

        Recommended Beard Oils

        Here are some beard oils that have been recommended by experts and tested by a panel of men:

        • Acqua Di Parma Barbiere Beard Serum: This sweet almond blend left testers with smoother, softer, and more hydrated beards [[1]].
        • Percy Nobleman Signature Scented Beard Oil: Testers reported softer and more hydrated skin, and found it easier to brush and style their beards [[1]].
        • The Body Shop Cedar & Sage Conditioning Beard Oil For Men: This beard oil is known for its ability to smooth unruly hairs and leave the hair softer and easier to brush through [[1]].
        • ESPA Men's Triple Action Grooming Oil: This multi-tasking oil is suitable for beard, shaving, and facial care. Testers found it effective in softening their coarse hair and making their beards easier to style [[1]].

        Please note that the above recommendations are based on the article you provided and the opinions of the testers and experts involved. Individual preferences may vary.


        Cultivating a thick, lustrous beard requires proper care and grooming. Beard oil plays a crucial role in maintaining and nourishing your beard, making it softer, smoother, and more manageable. By choosing the right beard oil and using it correctly, you can enhance the health and appearance of your beard.

        The Best Beard Oils to Maintain That Impressive Beard (2024)


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