One of my favourite things about traveling is meeting new people. We often end up connecting as Facebook friends, and their international antics liven up my newsfeed. Ryan is one of these people. I met Ryan at the Glasgow airport—he was working in the duty free shop, and he sold me a bottle of delightfully inexpensive rum. It turns out that Ryan is an aspiring model, and quite interested in fashion and facial hair. I had no idea that beard balm was a thing until he posted about some. Apparently it can be amazing stuff… so I thought I’d make some.
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Beard balm, it turns out, is both for moisturizing and for styling one’s beard. I have gleaned this from the internet as I do not possess a beard, and Craig had never heard of beard balm, let alone used it. So, in keeping with this purposes, this balm is pliable, but soft enough to work with, and not sticky from too much beeswax.
The oils are hair favorites—shea butter, rice bran oil, broccoli seed oil, and hemp seed oil (USA / Canada). Shea, rice bran, and hemp work to impart moisture and general goodness, while the broccoli seed oil has a silicone-like effect that smooths and shines.
Once it’s done, it smells lightly of cedar and woodsmoke, with a hint of citrus from the bergamot. It’s slightly green from the hemp seed oil (USA / Canada), and has a bit of an antibacterial kick from the tea tree essential oil. It looks pretty rad in a tin with a rustic label, and it leaves beards both smelling and looking fantastic.
Cedar Smoke Beard Balm
5g | 0.18oz beeswax (USA / Canada)
4g | 0.14oz unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
6g | 0.21oz rice bran oil
4g | 0.14oz broccoli seed oil or camellia seed oil
6g | 0.21oz unrefined hemp seed oil (USA / Canada)
3 drops tea tree essential oil
3 drops bergapatene-free bergamot essential oil
1 toothpick swirl vetiver essential oil
5 drops cedarwood essential oil
Melt the beeswax, unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada), rice rban oil, broccoli seed oil, and hemp seed oil (USA / Canada) together in a small saucepan or double boiler over medium low heat.
Remove from heat and stir in the essential oils. Decant into a 30mL/1 ounce tin.
To use, massage a small amount into a beard or mustache (preferably yours, ask permission first otherwise).
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Hi Marie! very nice recipe….yeah…can i ask you something?, if we change here some essential oils and some oils can make wax for hair styling?. You know I love the wax for hair styling because it is good and nourishes hair, and do not hurt like hairspray which is horrible and as other styling products ..that destroy the hair but also the environment … with heavy chemicals are in them ….very nice recipe..and hello..
Eh… well… you could… but you will probably look like John Travolta in Grease pretty quickly. Plus, wax is really very difficult to get out of the hair on your head. Beard hair is much coarser, so it can handle the wax and extra oil, but the hair on our heads is much finer, and in my experience does not tend to style well with pure wax and oils unless you’re going for the greaser look :/ I can remember my brother using wax to style his hair once and ending up in the shower for hours trying to get it out as it repels water and would just melt further into his hair as he tried to wash it out. It wasn’t pretty.
Perfect timing! My husband just asked me to make him some beard oil and beard balm. Can’t wait to see how he likes this!
Fantastic 🙂 I hope he loves it!
Hi Marie….oh! it was a little? or a lot tricky?….yeah…is not the best …but here in the internet I have seen many recipes for hair wax i don’t know if these people who write these recipes have problems with it … and what kind of wax they put but I’ve seen yet …. I don’t know …
Well, it’s sort of like glue in the hair. It’s thick, hard, and sticky, and clings to the hair. I mean, people use wax to rip hair out from the roots. That kind of tricky, in high doses at least—and those are the doses you’d need to get much hold.
My boyfriend uses a beard oil I make for him with grape seed, apricot kernel and rice bran oil as base and a combination of essential oils depending on the mood. Next time i’ll give a shot at this balm. Thanks for sharing!
Lovely! Grapeseed oil is one of my favourite oils. I hope he likes the balm alternative 😉
Awesome! I have a son, a nephew, and an “adopted child” who all have beards and this would be the perfect holiday gift!
But I neither have camellia or broccoli seed oil. Can I substitute another oil or would that throw the whole recipe out of whack?
Hi Cathryn! Broccoli seed and camellia seed oils are both super awesome for hair, but if you don’t have them, something else quick-absorbing like grapseed oil or safflower oil would be a good alternative 🙂
This haas been on my list of things to do since I read yiour post. I finally got around to it today and I can’t tell you how pleased I am. A wonderful scent! I ended up subbing lanolin for the rice bran oil, so mine is probably a little firmer than your recipe. Gotta order some rice bran oil and make this again. Thanks for sharing this and all your other wonderful recipes.
Hi Kathy! I’m so thrilled you love the beard balm 🙂 I’m such a fan of coniferous EOs for the gentlemen (and my EO diffuser—MAGIC). Thanks for reading & DIYing with me!
Hi Marie, what a great idea for the men on my Christmas list who grow ‘playoff beards’ when their favourite hockey teams are in the running. Thanks for sharing! Kim
Enjoy! Here’s hoping their teams make the playoffs so they’ll get a chance to try the beard balm 😉
Hi there! Thanks for sharing. I was just wondering how well this ended up working out? I’m currently looking around at different beard oil / balm recipes as I’ve just started growing mine.
Also, where can you get little tins like that?
Hi Joe! This beard balm smells nice and a good consistency for hair—thick and creamy once warmed between the fingers, but not so soft you can accidentally over apply.
The tin is from Saffire Blue (link in the big box above).
Thanks for getting back to me! My girlfriend ended up making me a bunch of oils and balms for Christmas. It was a fantastic idea. I think I’ll pick up some of these tins for the future. Thank you for the inspiration!
What a wonderful gift 🙂 And I find the 2oz size of the tins most useful—I motor through ’em.
To make this more vegan friendly I still use 5g of candelilla wax or carnauba wax?
No—the plant based C waxes are quite different from beeswax in both strength and texture, so you can’t do a direct swap. I’d recommend checking out my experiments on carnauba and candelilla to learn more 🙂
Question, I know you always have certain ingredients for a reason…but I need to pretty much sub all oils.
So, if I have almond oil, safflower oil, coconut oil (even extra virgin), avocado oil, jojoba oil, olive oil…
what would be good to sub and should I change the grams used?
I was thinking I want to use safflower oil and coconut oil…thoughts? I dont know whether to add a third since there are 3 oils above, or if I can just do 10g of safflower oil and 6g of coconut oil
Hi Anna! Since you wan to change all the ingredients, all I can really suggest is reading this, and then trying to keep the ratio of liquid:soft:wax more or less the same. Start small, and take notes, because you’re pretty much flying solo at that point 🙂
I tried to follow this and something strange happens.
When cooling, the wax goes to the top and solidifies before everything else.
becomes a bit of a mess 🙁
Is there a way to keep it under control?
Hmm—try re-melting it gently and popping it in the fridge to solidify. Hopefully a faster chill will bring everything together 🙂
I love your site. Which my sound odd coming from a 48 year old man who previously had no interest in “beauty” products.
Your methodical testing of ingredients puts you a head above most people online putting out their opinions on natural ingredients.
Your recipe listed here would probably work for most people. (You wouldn’t believe how many recipes I’ve seen online that I know wouldn’t work well because the beeswax ratios were so far off.)
I’m trying to make my own beard balm and want to find a balance between hold and ease to melt.
I want it to melt easily when I scrape some out of the container but once I put it in my beard I want enough control to keep down flyaway hairs.
I feel I’m close with 25% beeswax, 22% Shea Butter and 53% carrier oils. I get a good melt but the hold could be better.
(Your recipe above has 20% wax, 16% Shea & 64% oils)
I’ve been thinking of lowering the amount of beeswax and Shea butter but adding cocoa butter and thought it may provide hold and still melt well.
Maybe 16% Beeswax, 16% Shae, 16% Cocoa butter & 52% carrier oils.
What do you think? Any advice?
I’ve learned a lot from your knowledge of melting points and your testing of ingredients.
Hi Gary! Before you try cocoa butter as a thickener, read this article on my experiments with it. It’s not a particularly good thickener, and it has such a low melting point that it is unlikely to be solid anywhere near the skin. Have you thought about trying a different wax, or perhaps some stearic acid? Something with a melting point above body temperature is probably a good place to start 🙂
Thanks for reading & DIYing with me!
After daily usage with my previous recipe I began to feel that it was just too difficult to melt. I’d work the balm but it was sometimes difficult to work into my beard well.
The addition of Cocoa Butter made the balm melt much easier and gives it an almost creamy texture.
I don’t know if my beard hit a tipping point on length or what but this new recipe gives me enough control and the good melt I’ve been tweaking. And it absorbs well into my beard.
This has become my “go to” base recipe:
Beeswax 14 grams 25.00%
Shae butter 7 grams 12.50%
Cocoa Butter 6 grams 10.71%
Almond Oil 12 grams 21.43%
Argan oil 12 grams 21.43%
Jojoba 5 grams 8.93%
Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing, Gary 🙂 I love cocoa butter for it’s relatively low melting point + brittle texture (and crazy addictive scent, yum!).
Hi Gary – this looks great – what size tin would i need for this amount/recipe
Just add up the weights of the ingredients to figure that out 🙂 This one is more than 30g, but under 60g, so you’d probably want a 60g/2oz tin.
I was wondering if you could leave out the beeswax and use as beard oil?
Yup, for sure!
Could I use fragrance oils instead of essential oils?
I like beard balm in the winter. It seems to last longer than beard oil. I may give it a try. If you don’t feel like making your own these guys have some good stuff at reasonable prices: http://www.usbeard.com/
No problem, thanks for the recipe! I’m going to give it a try.
I took some serious artistic licenses with this recipe and swapped out the rice bran and hemp oil for a crazy mix of 1g rosehip 1g sea buckthorn 2g jojoba 2g argan and 6g grapeseed oil (I’ve been following your site for too long and have way too many oils!).
My friend loves it so much he shared it with his beard buddy and now they want more!
Thoughts on a horsetail infused oil/wax? Also, I saw your brief recipe for a mustache wax, but interested in seeing an official one!
How fun! It sounds like you had a great time playing with the recipe and I’m so glad you came up with something you like 🙂
In other news… I have been working on a mustache recipe, it’s in testing!
My son has a kind of Don Johnson -y scruffy facial growth thing going and I’d like to make him something that would be nice for both his face and the 1/8 to 1/4 inch growth of hair he has on it. Would this recipe work or would the beeswax make it too heavy and hard for the face?
Thanks Marie. Can’t tell you how much I love this site!
Hey Judith! As long as he applies it sparsely it’ll be great 🙂 He should just have slightly greasy finger tips and then works those through his beard. Happy DIYing and thanks for reading!
What other oil could I use instead of the Rice Bran Oil? I can’t seem to find it anywhere.
It’s a low scent carrier oil with an average absorption speed—check this article for a chart full of suggestions 🙂 Argan would be a decadent choice!
My gosh I love this blog! You sre the reason I use tallow instead of palm and I pass that info on to anyone who will listen:)
question about the veviter…can I sub cade or patchouli? I’ve never actually smelled veviter but I’m going by the description. Also can I sub cajput for tea tree?
Thanks, Jaimie! Cade would be a good alternative for vetiver as both are quite smokey (I don’t find patchouli to be smokey at all). In general I wouldn’t suggest using tea tree where cajeput is called for, but in this case the reverse will work quite well—the final blend will just smell a bit less medicinal, which is great if you don’t love the scent of TTO 🙂
All this sounds great especially to someone such as myself who is always in search of the perfect product for my beard but wouldn’t it be cheaper just to buy beard balm, as buying all these ingredients can be rather costly because you typically only find them in speciality stores..
Hey Chuck! Making things yourself isn’t cheap; it’s cost effective. Think about making your own bread: you’d probably spend $15 to get yourself some flour, yeast, and salt, which is much more than you’d spend on a single loaf of bread. However, that $15 will make far more than a single loaf of bread, driving your cost per loaf below that of shop bought bread over a few batches—it’s a larger upfront investment for savings that pay out over a few batches (and, as a bonus, you’ve got something that you made fresh and can customize however you like). It’s the same thing with making body products; sure, you’ll spend $30+ on your ingredients, but the amount of beard balm/lotion/lip balm/etc. those ingredients will make would likely cost you 10x that to purchase pre-made 🙂 (also, the ingredients really aren’t that expensive if you shop online; specialty shops really work you over!)
I have an idea but I’m 99.9% sure it won’t work: adding silk to the recipe (I finally bit the bullet and ordered a 100g bag of silk peptides). I know it’s great for hair, and I figured it would be equally good for beards, but some part of my brain is telling me that silk is not oil-soluble and then I’d have a gritty balm by accident. Advice on what to use instead, if this is the case?
I think you’re correct on this one, and a further concern would be that the silk wouldn’t do much of anything undissolved in water; a lot of its awesomeness is its ability to lightly coat the skin and hair, and it can’t do that if it isn’t first dispersed in water. That’s my hypothesis, at least!
I don’t think my boyfriend could be happier about this recipe. He just ran out of a pomade he was using in his beard and I whipped up this (replaced the oils a bit here and there with what I had on hand) and I think he’s going to leave me to run away with the balm, he loves it so much! Now he’s requesting a recipe for his hair (on the top of his head, not his chin) with a little more hold for styling! I used some Sweet Orange for the scent and he can’t stop sniffing the tin. Amazing recipe!
Woohoo! Take that, $30 shop-bought beard balm 😛
UPDATE: my boyfriend saw an advertisement for “beard cream” and requested some — after making beard balm I just stuck around and whipped it a bit during the curing process and this morning he tried it out and went insane like a dog getting a bowl of their favorite food after not eating for days. He is in love, and it’s not with me. It’s with the “beard cream”.
Needless to say I recommend whipping your beard balm.
SO COOL! Love this idea, thanks for sharing! 🙂
Mine is as hard as a rock. I couldn’t get broccoli oil or its substitute so I used argan oil. Would it cause that?
No, it shouldn’t. You did everything by weight? This balm should be firm, but not rock hard. Have you tried pressing through the top layer? Often times the top layer of balms like this is much harder than the rest of the balm, which can be misleading.
Any issues with photo toxicity? In terms of damaging or bleaching the beard I mean.
This sounds lovely and I can’t wait to try it but moving into the warmer months just want to take proper precautions!
Whoops, that should say bergapatene-free bergamot EO! It does now 🙂 Good catch! Using the bergapatene free version will mean no photo toxicity. Happy making!
I have really enjoyed your site, it’s better than the dedicated beard product making sites out there 🙂
Having made some balm I have a question, which I couldn’t find the answer to. How do you clean the Pyrex jug after? It just stays oily (at least I bought a new one rather than take one we already had in the kitchen). I figure since I only plan to use it for making more balm, it’s not a huge deal, but curious.
Thank you! I’ve got an entire article on clean up here—the comments are great, too! Getting that container clean definitely is a big deal—the leftover oil will go rancid and will contaminate all your other projects! Erk :/
Hi Marie. I made this balm for my partner. But it seems to be quite hard when it sets up. I’d compare the hardness to a body butter bar. Is there any way to make it softer? Or is there a softer version of this?
Hey! You’ll find the answer to your question in my FAQ Happy making!
Can I substitute my favorite eau de parfum in place of the essential oils?
I don’t recommend it; commercial perfumes typically contain alcohol as the base, and alcohol is not oil soluble.
Hi Marie, This is a great recipe. I was wondering is there was something that could be added to make the wax look white or off-white once it is all solidified. I know you have used BTMS-50 in another recipe and it made a nice white color. But, what could one use other than BTMS-50?
Hey Brian! For a product like this, if you want it to be white, you need to use predominantly white or clear ingredients—adding something like titanium dioxide will give it a milky green appearance and might also make your beard white! Most of the ingredients in this beard balm aren’t white or clear as is—you’d have to use refined/bleached versions to get a white end product. Happy making!
Thank you! And wow, I can’t believe my comment was read and answered! You made my day!