There are many tools of beard care. In a collection that already includes a beard comb, scissors, beard shampoo, and beard oil, the only thing missing is beard balm. But is it really necessary? What is the difference between that and other beard products?
Beard balm is a great tool for those with unruly facial hair. As soon as the beard grows out to a third or half of an inch, facial hair reveals its true disposition. A beard of this length might not hold its shape well. Unruly hair is most affected by weather conditions. If life demands constant trips across town, leaving the office environment for the gym, or introduces skiing trips in the mountains, then beard balm is just the thing. It helps tame hair, makes it smooth and easier to shape. Men with thick beards will appreciate the softening effect of the balm, as it makes the hair easier to comb.
The difference between the beard oil and balm is that the latter contains beeswax and is not a liquid; instead, its consistency is closest to a cream. Though it looks thick and paste-like, it quickly melts from body heat, and is easily applied.
Thanks to its density, beard balm is good at fixing the beard into shape, and it aids in styling and maintenance. It is not sticky, gives hair a subtle shine, and makes hair look natural without the 'Brylcreem effect' (think super-shiny men's hair in the 1930's).
Additionally, beard balm makes the beard look thicker and more solid, and easier to comb. It nourishes both the facial hair and the skin underneath.
Balms vary in their hold levels. There is a lightweight formula designed for maintenance, and a thicker one for a strong, day-long hold.
Many believe that only owners of very long beards should use the balm; in fact, as a means of maintenance, it is also suitable for those who have only just started the process of beard cultivation. Natural vegetable oils and essential oils in the composition of the balm help relieve itching and skin irritation, strengthen hair follicles, and prevent split ends. It's just like the good old TV-Park advert said, "Hair becomes silky and smooth."
Bearded experts suggest that balm usage, be it frequent or not, should depend on the condition of the hair. If the hair is porous, curly, and easily breakable, the balm will help tame the beard, and smooth it into shape. If the hair gets greasy quickly (especially if the beard is longer than average), the balm should not be overused, since it can make the hair look oily and limp.
Those who work outdoors will greatly appreciate the balm. It makes the beard look good even in unpredictable weather conditions. Of course, to each his own. That said, its benefits make the beard balm worth trying.
How is the balm applied? Rub a small amount of the balm between palms until it melts, and immediately apply to the beard and skin underneath. Very serious beard enthusiasts might own special spoons or applicators for balm use, claiming that using hands on the beard might introduce bacteria or dirt into the hair. The choice between hands or accessories is definitely a matter of personal preference, but using hands is perfectly safe, if they are thoroughly washed with soap prior to balm application.
So! The balm is applied to the beard and skin underneath, rubbed in using circular motions. If the beard is long enough, the balm is combed throughout along the length of the hair. The beard is subsequently combed and shaped.
The amount to be used is an individual decision, but it is important not to use too much. The amount depends on the length of the beard, and hair texture. While smooth, straight hair does not require a strong hold, curly, misbehaving hair might need a more forceful approach.
The beard balm should be stored in a cool, dark place, avoiding sun exposure, to prevent a constant cycle of thawing and re-solidifying, which might affect balm quality and make its effect unreliable.