Beard Wax vs Balm: Which is Best for Facial Hair Styling?

New to facial hair styling? In this Beard Wax vs Balm comparison article, I’ll give you all the things you should know about beard balm and beard waxes. I’ll discuss their pros and cons and to help you understand which facial hair styling product is best for your beard and mustache!

Nowadays, there are so many different products men can use to keep their facial hair tidy. Beard shampoos, facial hair waxes, beard balms, and beard mousse are just some of the products available in the market.

In addition, there’s also a newfound obsession with keeping men’s beards in check, and rightfully so! They say hair is the crowning glory of women, then facial hair can be the pride and joy of men! From beard grooming kits to beard shampoos up to beard dyes there’s so much to go around. 

But aside from all those hair and beard products, you’re surely here for the beard balm vs wax spectacle, right? Then let’s jump right in!

What’s A Beard Balm?

Beard balms are kind of like leave-in conditioners for your beard. They usually have oils, butter, essential oils/fragrances, and wax to condition, moisturize, and hold your beard. 

Viking Revolution Beard Balm - All Natural Grooming Treatment with Argan Oil & Mango Butter - Strengthens & Softens Beards & Mustaches - Citrus Scent Leave in Conditioner Wax for Men - 1 Pack

The types of fat like oil and butter that are used in your balm are vital for your beard and face’s health. Your skin produces a natural sebum oil. Beards pull and absorb this oil, so that’s the reason why you start feeling itchy or irritated over time. This is precisely why you’ve got to give your beard some love! Some oils and butter will only add to the already heavy oil production of your skin. It can leave you with an oilier feel and shine.

However, others can balance out your skin’s oil production, and its minimal oils can be more readily absorbed leaving a plush, healthy-looking beard. Another thing you should watch for: certain oils and butter can clog your pores, irritate your skin and cause breakouts.

Balms generally give your beard enough hold strength to tame some flyaway hair. It has a salon-to-homecare level of conditioning and holds. In addition, it can have moisture-locking properties through its waxy component. The essential hold of a balm is suitable for medium-sized beards.

Beard Balm Benefits 

  • Moisturizes, conditions, and nourishes beard
  • Prevents dandruff and itchy beard
  • Protects your beard from weather
  • Adds volume

Best Beard Balm Products on Amazon

What’s Beard Wax?

Beard wax is similar to beard balm, especially with its same components, but beard wax has an extremely strong hold!

Badass Beard Care Beard Wax for Men - The Ladies Man Scent, 2 oz - Softens Beard Hair, Leaves Your Beard Looking and Feeling More Dense

The beard wax’s hold can go up to competition strength for those wanting to shape and modify their beard’s aesthetics. A beard wax gives you a stronger hold strength to help shape and tame your beard. Wax is great for larger beards where the extreme length tends to be unruly and hard to manage.

What is Beard Wax used for?

Beard wax is mainly used for styling, controlling, and managing unruly beards. Most beard waxes today contain healthy natural ingredients, making them safer for daily use.

Beard Wax Benefits 

  • Powerful yet pliable hold, allowing you to style your beard
  • Provide moisture and a cooling sensation
  • Protects your beard from weather

Best Beard Wax Products on Amazon

Beard Wax vs Balm: Common Ingredients

With the Beard Balm vs Wax debate, the two often contain four main categories of ingredients. Below is a list of them and their respective purposes:

Carrier Oils

These oils help nourish and moisturize the skin.  Carrier oils are almost unscented while having a slightly nutty aroma. Carrier oils help give the beard softness and some kind of glow or shimmer. These oils are also natural, so it helps keep your skin, face and beard hair healthy. These oils are extracted from various plants such as sweet almonds, jojoba, argan oil, and grapeseed. In addition, both beard balms and waxes contain these oils in varying levels. These oils all imitate the viscosity of natural sebum while ensuring that the skin isn’t irritated.

Butter

This is different from the butter we find in our kitchen, but still very valuable for our health! Butter found in beard balm tends to serve a different purpose. It’s used to moisturize the beard, keeping it hydrated and healthy. The butter coating also helps to protect one’s beard against harsher weather conditions such as winter or rainy days season. On the level of application, the butter also helps ensure that the beard balm melts ever so slightly, and spreads evenly when applied throughout the beard.  It can also serve as an additional nourishing agent, complementing the carrier oils. The typical butter for both beard balms and waxes used are shea or cocoa butter

Essential Oils

These oils are added to the beard balm and beard wax to give off aromatics and fragrance. These are similar to those essential oils we already love to put in our air humidifiers at home. Direct application of carrier oils can cause irritation or allergic reactions prompting the dilution of essential oils with carrier oils. This pairing also helps give the oil appropriate weight and volume. These essential oils also sometimes give off valuable antiseptic properties to heal damaged skin, prevent acne development and alleviate irritation. 

Beeswax

Beeswax can be classified as the strengthener in beard balm vs wax, providing the competitive hold both products have. Depending on the amount of this component, it’ll dictate how high or low-strength the hold of the product is going to be. The beeswax component also helps in retaining moisture and ensuring one’s beard doesn’t dry out. It’s nature’s protectant and styling agent, which is also found in many other cosmetic and hair care products.

Beard Wax vs Balm: Benefits

If you’re not a fan of shaving, then beard products are a necessity. There are a lot of beard products available today, so why should you use a beard wax or beard balm.

Moisturizing

Beard balms moisturize and make the beard hair softer. This means early beard growth is less itchy and irritating, as it’s smooth and hydrated. Beard wax can have a similar effect with just small amounts of usage, but again, be careful as it stays on for a long time.

Weatherproof 

Beard balms can help protect the beard against extreme weather conditions. Regardless if it’s extremely warm or freezing, a good beard balm is trustworthy. Quality beard balms can help ensure your hair and beard are strong enough to not break off. Meanwhile, beard waxes are perfect for more humid areas! The beeswax in these products ensures protection for your beard.

Volume

Beard balms and beard waxes add volume to one’s prized beard. This is especially useful when someone is trying to grow and cultivate a thicker beard. The butter and beeswax both help to add volume to one’s hair and help shape it in a way that presents a thicker appearance. Moreover, the nutrients in beard balm and beard wax stimulate healthy hair growth. If you’re going for extreme levels of volume, beard wax is your friend.

Style

Both beard balm vs wax allows you to shape your beard in a variety of ways. Although, note that beard balms have a softer look while beard wax has a harder, firmer finish. Depending on your preferences, the two products can help you a lot!

Beard Health

It may not be that obvious, but beard balms and beard waxes aren’t just for aesthetics. The health benefits it can offer you are absolutely worth the try, too! The micronutrients in beard balms and beard wax also promote general health and better skincare. 

Beard Wax vs Balm: The Differences

Essentially, both beard balm vs wax have similar benefits, it’s just that they have varying levels and targets of effectiveness. Here are some of the main differences between these two products.

Beard Wax vs Balm: Ingredients

Both beard balm and beard wax contain the same base ingredients: carrier oils, butters, and essential oils. However, beard wax has the added advantage of having more beeswax. This gives beard wax the edge when it comes to styling your beard.

Beard Wax vs Balm: Type of Use

Both beard balm and beard wax can be used to moisturize your beard and do away with itchiness and dandruff. However, beard balm is used more for its health benefits, and it’s slightly better than beard wax in this regard. Beard wax, on the other hand, is a styling tool above all else.

Beard Wax vs Balm: Hold 

In terms of hold, beard wax is the clear winner. Since beard wax uses more beeswax, it provides a strong yet flexible hold that lets you style your beard any way you want. That’s not to say that beard balm can’t style your beard. Both beard wax and beard balm are long-lasting. It’ll depend on the type of hold that you need.   

Beard Wax vs Balm: Volume

Beard balm wins in the volume category. Just a smidge of beard balm can give your beard a fuller, healthier, and shinier look.

Beard Wax vs Balm: Ease of Use 

Both beard balm and beard wax are easy to apply and easy to remove.

Beard Wax vs Balm: Side Effects

Neither beard balm nor beard wax have side effects directly linked to their use. However, people with allergies should pay attention to the natural ingredients that each brand uses for their beard products. Folks with sensitive skin should also shy away from using beard balm or beard wax with large amounts of alcohol, as this can dry the skin and cause irritation.

Beard Wax vs Balm: Moisture, Dandruff & Itching

Dandruff on one’s beard is primarily caused by dryness, dead skin cells, and other debris that can stick to the beard. Beard balm with its more liquid consistency can help minimize this. On the other hand, too much use of beard wax can contribute to further development of dandruff, so be careful!

That’s why, in terms of moisture, dandruff, and itching control, beard balm is far more effective than beard wax. Remember – beard wax is designed to be a styling product, and while it does contain some great ingredients, it’s not as potent as beard balm when it comes to health benefits.

Beard Wax vs Balm: Summary

Even after all that you’ve read, you may still be confused on which of the beard balm vs wax debate you should side on and purchase. Here’s a shorter set of tips according to your situation that may help.

Consider using a beard balm if this describes your situation:

  • You’ve got a dry, sensitive, or itchy beard
  • You live under a naturally drier climate, or that you experience hotter weather
  • You’re planning on growing your beard for the colder weather
  • Your beard isn’t too hard to handle or you can style it easily

Consider using a beard wax if this is your situation:

  • You’ve got a beard that’s unruly or has a lot of wispy hairs
  • You need to modify your beard may it be for office settings, work, or entertainment purposes
  • You live under a moderate climate with just enough moisture to go around

Beard Balm vs Wax: Verdict

From the Beard Balm vs Wax comparisons we’ve listed down, there’s really no clear winner as both beard balm and beard wax have their own roles to play when it comes to your beard. Styling-wise, beard wax is the winner by a huge margin as its added beeswax gives it a hold that beard balm can’t compare to. However, beard balm is notably lighter and is a facial hair care tool from the ground up. 

If you’re looking for styling, go with beard wax. If you’re looking for more health benefits, beard balm is a better choice.

FAQs about Beard Balms and Wax

Is beard balm and mustache wax the same?

No, they’re not. Mustache wax is closer to beard wax, but is even tougher. Beard balm is a conditioner for your beard.

Mustache wax vs beard wax: What’s the difference?

While both of these waxes are styling tools, mustache wax is more potent than beard wax because beard hair tends to be much softer than mustache hair.

Beard wax vs oil: What’s the difference?

Beard oil is a product that’s meant to help nourish and maintain longer beards. Beard wax is a styling product that has minor health benefits for your beard.

Beard pomade vs wax: What’s the difference?

Beard pomade is similar to leave-in conditioners for your hair. Rather than helping style your beard like beard wax, beard pomade is really just for holding down flyaway hairs and making your beard look better.

Beard balm vs butter: What’s the difference?

Compared to beard balm, beard butter has a creamier look and feel. It’s also much more slippery, which makes applying it even easier. However, beard butter absolutely cannot be used to style beards – whereas beard balm usually has minor styling properties.

Beard wax vs hair wax: What’s the difference?

Hair wax is specially formulated to help style and nourish the hairs on your head, while beard wax is for beard hair, which has a different composition. You can’t use these products interchangeably.

Should I wax my beard?

The only reason to use wax on your beard is if you want to style your beard. If you need to wax daily, use a natural product to avoid the common side effects like skin irritation and build-up.

Bernadette - UOB writer

Bernadette is a writer who’s also a trained and certified cosmetologist in New York. Her specialties are shampoos and hair treatments! She loves to share tips and tricks to find the best products you can use at home. When she’s not writing, it’s either Bernadette’s in school attending continuing-ed classes or traveling and taking photos!

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