Updated: Sep 26
Canada has seen an increasing number of men sporting beards in recent years. The beard oil market has received a boost with micro-brands and well-established corporations releasing their line of products hoping to get a share of the pie. However, not all beard oils are equal!
For someone entering the world of beard care, there is an infinite variety of beard oils to choose what suits you best. However, it also makes the decision a lot more complicated. You would not want to use something that harms you in the long run. After all, around 64% of anything you apply to your skin enters your blood. So, what goes into a good beard oil? And what ingredients should you look out for?
Beard Oil Ingredients
The ingredients in beard oil can be categorized into two parts: natural and synthetic components. Natural ingredients include base oils and essential oils. Synthetic ingredients are artificial chemicals added to the oil.
Base oils are also called carrier oils. They are called base oils because they make up 90% to 99% of beard oil. These oils are commonly mixed and used as a combination for maximum benefit. They are usually odorless, and each of them has unique properties that benefit your hair and skin.
Commonly used base oils include sunflower seed oil, castor oil, olive oil, sweet almond oil, Jojoba oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
Essential Oils are oils extracted from various sources, including plants, fruits, buds, trees, and flowers. These oils are responsible for the smell of natural beard oil. Along with that, they also have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. They are usually very volatile and potent. Applying essential oils directly on your skin can lead to burns, and unwanted skin irritation. They also have an overwhelmingly strong scent. Their potency is the reason only small amounts of essential oils are used in beard oils so that the (proportionally) large quantities of base oils dilute them.
Frequent sources of essential oils are sandalwood, patchouli, bergamot, peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, and cedarwood.
Some kinds of oils are susceptible to going rancid by getting oxidized. In simpler words, when oils are exposed to heat, light, and air, they can go bad. Some oils are more susceptible and spoil quicker than others. The natural preservative used in the majority of beard oils is Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is oil-soluble and is an excellent antioxidant. It is often listed as tocopherol in the ingredient list and is extracted from vegetable oil. It protects oils from oxidizing in the bottle and after you have applied it onto your face. It is also exceptionally nourishing for the skin: moisturizing it, supporting skin repair, and preventing wrinkles.
Many brands add a myriad of chemicals in their beard oils to artificially boost the smell and effects of their oils. Though, it seems like a good idea at first glance. The reality is that these additives have a lot of known and unknown side effects on the body. Following are some known synthetic ingredients and their consequences.
It is a polymer that forms a shiny outer layer on the hair, making it artificially lustrous. It is very inexpensive compared to natural oils, so it is used commonly in hair care products. As a layer, it acts as a sealant preventing nutrients and moisture from getting to and from your hair. In the long run, using silicon makes your hair dull and causes a buildup of dirt and silicon that is difficult to wash off. They can be hard to identify in the list of ingredients. Silicones can end with “-xane”, “-cone”, or “-col”.
They are used because they aggressively break down dirt. However, this aggressiveness comes with the side effect of being damaging hair and robbing it of healthy moisture. Sulfates are easy to spot on the ingredient list: anything ending with ‘-ate’ is usually a sulfate.
They are synthetic preservatives that help prevent bacterial and mold buildup in cosmetic products. Unlike natural Vitamin E, parabens have been linked to hormonal imbalances and certain kinds of cancer. Parabens can be identified in the ingredient list by checking for anything that ends with -paraben.
The sensitivity of your face and the unknown nature of the added chemicals make a wary combination. Consumers understand this, which is why companies try their best not to mention synthetic additives in their list of ingredients. You may ask how they get away with this.
Many products have ‘fragrance’ listed as an ingredient. Since the fragrance is a proprietary blend, brands are not obliged to reveal what goes into it. This tactic is to prevent competitors from copying and producing a similar product. However, companies can use this loophole to add hundreds of chemicals into the product without consumers knowing what they apply to their faces.
Even after you know what to look for, scanning through the ingredients of the multitude of beard oils can be tough, especially when brands utilize all sorts of shady practices to boost their sales.
At Nabotical, we do not simply claim our products are 100% natural. We believe that everyone should know what the product they use contains. Each of our beard oils proudly lists every ingredient they have, so you can rest assured that your beard receives nothing but the absolute best!