A couple weeks ago I was having a patio chat with my friend Dallas, who was dithering over what to do with his facial hair. It was at the scruffy hipster beard stage, and he was considering sporting mutton chops, or perhaps a sturdy ‘stache. In his beard researching adventures he had started to learn about beard balms, oils, and mustache waxes, and was generally perplexed about the entire thing. Could he just use hair conditioner, he wondered? And that got me to thinking… I could make a conditioning beard balm.
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For something to be truly conditioning, it needs to be cationic. Cationic (or positively charged) ingredients adsorb (creates a very thin film on) our negatively charged hair. This leaves our hair feeling silky and soft, helping reduce breaking and increase hydration.
Now, your standard beard balm offers all kinds of great things to beards: some hold from a wax, some gloss and shine from the oils, taming, and some nice skin softening goodness for that face under the beard—but I’ve never seen a conditioning one before. Combine the gloss/hold/skin softening with some super awesome conditioning goodness, and I figured we’d have something pretty rad. It would be a bit like a solid conditioner bar, but waxier so it has some shaping and physical fly-away-taming abilities.
Since beard balms are oil based, we’ll need an oil based conditioning ingredient, which is where BTMS-50 comes in. Since BTMS-50 is also a complete emulsifying wax, it’ll also help this beard balm wash out a bit better when scrubbed at with water, reducing build up and negating the need for fancy beard shampoos (Dallas tells me he came across such a thing in his beard researching adventures… perhaps I shall invent one someday). It also means it works extra well when you use it with a slightly damp beard; the beard balm and water will self-emulsify, creating an awesome beard conditioner.
The consistency of this beard balm is also pretty nifty when compared to more standard beard balms—it’s quite creamy and wonderfully silky! Some viewers on YouTube have been asking about how to make a creamier beard balm, so hopefully they’re stoked about this 😃 If you want a firmer balm instead of this semi-soft creamy one, try adding another gram or two of beeswax to the blend to firm it up, but I would recommend checking out the video first to see what the consistency is like when made as-written.
So! If you are looking for an easy to make, creamy, conditioning beard balm, this is your recipe 🙂 Happy making!
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Conditioning Beard Balm
6g | 0.21oz BTMS-50 (USA / Canada)
2g | 0.07oz beeswax (USA / Canada)
4g | 0.14oz castor oil (USA / Canada)
8g | 0.28oz camellia seed oil
5g | 0.18oz mango butter (USA / Canada)
2 drops vitamin E oil
5 drops pine essential oil
5 drops spruce essential oil
2 drops cypress essential oil
Weight the BTMS, beeswax, castor oil, camellia seed oil, mango butter, and vitamin E into a small saucepan and melt over low, direct heat. Keep a close eye on it to be sure it doesn’t scorch!
Once everything has melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir the mixture as it cools to ensure it stays nice and creamy and uniform. Once the mixture has cooled quite a lot (the outside of the pan should only be warm to the touch) and the mixture has thickened into a lovely, yoghurt-like creamy consistency, stir in the essential oils.
Decant into a 30mL/1 ounce tin and leave the balm to set up; it’ll be usable in a couple hours, but give it a couple days before you assume it’s fully firmed up. To use, massage a small amount of the balm into a damp or dry beard. Enjoy!
Substitutions: You can use another lightweight oil instead of camellia seed oil. Broccoli seed, grapeseed, safflower, hazelnut, and macadamia nut would all be good choices. You can use shea butter instead of mango butter, but it will make for a greasier final product. You can use 10 drops of fir, pine, or spruce instead of the blend of pine and spruce, but I don’t recommend cedarwood; it’s too soft in the scent department. You can try BTMS-25 instead of BTMS-50, but I do find it to be a more potent hardener, so you might want to consider reducing the amount of wax to compensate. BTMS-25 is also less conditioning than BTMS-50.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this beard balm is 100% oil based, it does not require a broad-spectrum preservative (broad spectrum preservatives ward off microbial growth, and microbes require water to live—no water, no microbes!). Kept reasonably cool and dry, it should last at least a year before any of the oils go rancid. If you notice it starts to smell like old nuts or crayons, that’s a sign that the oils have begun to oxidize; chuck it out and make a fresh batch if that happens.
I don’t have the BTMS. Would soft & silky e-wax work, too?
The point of this is not that it is an emulsifier; it is that it is conditioning. Go back and re-read the blog 🙂
This looks awesome, gonna have to try this for the beard-o in my life:)
Happy beard pampering!
…is a very excited, bearded dude. 😀
Woo! Happy beard pampering 😉
I wonder how Cera bellina would work instead of beeswax 🙂 thank you for it, I am going to experiment with this 😉
It’s worth a go!
Can this be unscented or are the essential oils necessary to the working of the balm?
It won’t smell as nice, but you can leave them out. Essential oils are usually not important to the function of a product, so it’s generally safe to leave them out.
Thanks – with all the scent-free zones, I would like to be safe.
You can definitely leave ’em out, though the scent is really very subtle 🙂
Thank you, sounds great! Can E-wax be used for the emulsifier? Thank you!
Go and read the post again, BTMS is necessary for this recipe because it’s cationic, unlike some other emulsifying waxes.
I tried adding some more light oils to the beeswax at a 1:4 ratio. The conditioning effect is great! However, I want incorporate lanolin at the same ratio. I did so and the balm was very broken with tiny pieces/”grains” of the balm mixed in. Would you have any tips or suggestions on how to resolve this? I’m looking for a more whipped product with the BTMS-50 and lanolin but not so far as a absolute butter feel.
I’d try stirring the balm as it cools and bringing it to “trace”—check out the video for this recipe to see that in action 🙂
The point of this is not that it is an emulsifier; it is that it is conditioning. Go back and re-read the blog 🙂
So out of all the emulsifying waxes I found on Amazon.de & the shops in my country, I cannot find BTMS-50 (nor 25) anywhere. I’ve been looking for substituents based on the ingredients found in BTMS-50, yet no luck. Do you have any idea how I could substitute it or what substances would be able to do the trick?
Hey! So, the BTMS’s are very unique in what they do. There are other cationic ingredients that will offer the conditioning BTMS brings, but they are thin liquids that are quite a bit more expensive than BTMS, and have no emulsifying properties. I guess you could try using a regular e-wax and including a liquid quat (honeyquat, polyquat), but I highly, highly doubt that’ll really give you very good results. The BTMS’s are often sold under different names, though, so I would suggest looking for products with the same INCI that the “BTMS” name in particular. BTMS 50 is Behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetyl alcohol (and) butylene glycol and BTMS 25 is Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol. Sometimes these are sold as “conditioning emulsifier” or something similar, but if the INCI matches, it’s the same product! Good luck!
Everything beard related you develop, I make. Everything.
I have two boys and a husband who insist on hiding their beautiful faces with hair, so what can I do but nag and make them great products?
I’m making it today, like in a couple minutes. Thanks Marie!
Afterthought…So no washing out? Rub in and leave?
Woo! I designed it as a leave-in, but when the beard is washed it’ll wash out well, and it’ll apply nicely to damp hair, too 🙂
This is brilliant 🙂 And I happen to need a gift for a bearded dude in a couple of weeks 🙂 Thank You 🙂
Woohoo! Happy beard pampering 🙂
I live in China. I so need to move where men can actually grow facial hair and it looks good!!!! In all my years here I’ve seen maybe (and this is being generous) five guys out of millions that are rocking the facial hair. On most, it is a really sad. And that sounds horrible. I really miss men with facial hair.
And I want to make this. But no one to make it for!!!! Weep for me!
Aww no! 😛 I mean, you could use this as a sort of hair conditioner, too… you’d just have to be pretty sparse with it
My hair and this recipe? Yikes! I’d look like a drowned cat! Including the I am so not happy face.
Do you think this would work for African hair?
I do think it would be good for African hair, though in teeeensy doses it would likely do well for my hair—though I’d likely choose other things first, as this was definitely designed for coarser hair than the stuff on my head 🙂
Penny, U-S-A, U-S-A…..we have plenty of bearded men here for you to make stuff for…..just sayin’ in case you want to relocate…..
Marie, can I substitute straight emulsifying wax for the BTMS 50…..I wanted to make sure that you answered that question once more before you completely pulled your hair out……
Have you gotten any packages lately???
It was waiting for my on my porch when I got home from the airport in the wee hours of the morning! Thank you! 😀 WHEE!!!!
You got that fast! Awesome! Enjoy your new goodies! I can’t wait to see what you make with them!
For the postage price listed, I better have!
Yeah, I may have choked a little when the USPS clerk quoted me that price.
Stupid postage rates. Using a local company here that couriers parcels across the border into Montana allows me to ship across the USA for about 1/4 the cost of shipping within my own darn city. What’s up with that, man!?!
Made this for a friend with afroish hair and should get some replies soon!
Meeting up with the co-worker today for the first time since he’s been back will let you know!
I would be interested in hearing how this would work as a leave in conditioner for biracial children’s hair. I am thinking of making it for a friend’s daughter. It seems like a product that would work well for this!
I might drop the wax since I’m not sure you’d need the hold, but I think it could be great, especially if applied to damp hair! I look forward to hearing how it works if you give it a go 🙂
Thank you for this! I’ve been looking for a softer, conditioning beard balm for a while now. My only problem is that I can’t quite mask the rather terrible smell of the btms-50? I used a different blend of EOs, so that may be the problem. However, I was wondering where you get your btms-50, and if it smells particularly bad too? Could you notice the btms-50 smell in this recipe?
Hmmm… my BTMS-50 doesn’t have any noticeable smell, so I’ve never even thought about trying to mask it ’cause there’s nothing there to mask. Mine’s from Windy Point here in Calgary.
BTMS-50 has a terrible smell. Smells almost like fish. Every one I’ve used and bought all smell the same unfortunately
Have you ever done Shave butter my husband loves the one from dollar shave club Dr. Carver
Making this for some bearded guys in my life!
Also, for the CDO among us (I’d say OCD but that’s not in alphabetical order! ), could you be more specific with your essential oil names? In one of your other beard recipes, you say “cedar wood “-I have like 3 or 4 different ones, then you clarify in the video that you have Himalayan cedar wood. Would be helping me know that I’m getting similar results so if I like it I know what to do, while if I don’t, I’m left wondering if we just have different tastes in aromas or am I using different smelling oils. Thanks.
And thanks for all you do, especially your science-y stuff. (Fellow nerd here!)
Ah good call! I will endeavour to do this 🙂 It can get tricky, though, when I suggest one kind that is no longer available from the source I got it from… this invariably results in dozens of sourcing questions I can’t answer :/
True, but if you’re sourcing oils from a reputable company, one would hope that the scents from different companies, same plants would be similar. Of course, not even same company, same plant are necessarily the same since geographic source and changing weather patterns cause variables in the GC/MS tests. I understand from folks who do research on essential oils that this is a problem with doing research because unlike laboratory created drugs, you can’t keep the product you’re using constant. It makes reproducing the experiments problematic.
Still, having the same Latin name is a bit of assurance that my stuff sort of smells like yours.
For sure! I was moreso thinking of EOs that have been discontinued from the only place I knew of to get them 🙁 I hate feeling like I “can’t” use them because my readers can’t find them. EO addict problems lol.
Now you’ve got me intrigued. I’ve always been able to find the oils in the recipes I’ve tried of yours. Also, Aromatics International has this nifty feature where you can search on their website for similar oils by constituents if you need to substitute a different oil. Handy.
Anyway, even if the oil is no longer available, I’d still like to know so I can approximate the blend and I bet others would as well.
Another eo addict!
The one I’m having trouble sourcing in Canada right now is Cape Chamomile (Eriocephalus punctulatus). Everywhere I’ve found that has it listed is out of stock 🙁
Hi Marie. I found a few places that seem to have it in stock. Floricopia, Stillpoint Aromatics, and Miracle Botanicals all seem to have it. All say international shipping available but I don’t know if they’ll price you out of reach with US-Canada shipping fees. I think I also saw it at Original Swiss Aromatics but their page was down this morning and I couldn’t check current availability. I have a small bottle-it is a lovely scent!
Thanks! From my experience with shopping from the US shipping is typically a minimum of $20–25 USD ($25–30 CAD), plus duties. 15mL is just shy of $90CAD from Stillpoint Aromatics, and adding another $30 for shipping on top of that… ouch! The 15mL bottle I got from New Directions back in the day was $14.03CAD, which makes $120CAD (+ import duties and fees, likely another $10–20) a very bitter pill to swallow haha. I may love it, but perhaps not at current market + international shipping prices. Oh well, there are many other lovely EOs out there 🙂 Thanks for your sleuthing!
Two things I noticed after I let the balm solidify, #1 it becomes too hard for just a firm finger to be absorbed by it. #2 Once I have it in my hands and I rub it in my palms before I go to apply it to my beard, it becomes the same texture as Vaseline. If you could help id surely appreciate it. Thank you
I’m not sure what you want help with? Sounds like everything is fine?
What do you think about cocoa butter in place of mango butter? It would make it harder but would it be greasier? Thanks!
It’ll be both harder and oilier, though not hugely oilier. Mango butter has a dry finish and cocoa butter has a lightly oily finish.
I’ve made this product and I love it, the feel of it on my hands, like a light barrier cream. Which I realize is not what you designed it for. I’m wondering about the % of BTMS in this recipe, it is a lot higher than the max 10% recommended usage I’ve seen from the various suppliers. Is it safe to use at double the recommended usage rate?
I haven’t found anything to suggest it wouldn’t be; many solid conditioners use it at much higher rates. Many e-waxes have similar recommended usage rates that fall within the usefulness range for creating emulsions, so I think that is moreso what those ranges are for when we’re discussing ingredients like this, rather than a max use for EOs which would be more of a safety thing.
Last weekend, I made this with a custom scent blend for my fuzzy-faced husband. He really appreciates the velvety feel of the balm, and we both think that the look and feel of his beard improved almost from the first use. Also, he really likes that his hands rinse off cleanly after use because that is not the case with the typical beeswax only balm. Apparently, I’m about to make another tin for him to take to work so he can touch up during the day if needed (he strokes his beard when he’s thinking).
AWww, I’m so thrilled! WOO! 😀
Hi, is this receipt made up from 100% natural ingredients? I wasn’t too sure about the BTMS.
That depends on how you define “natural”. I’d recommend giving this and this a read 🙂
Hi, I recently made some beard balm (not this recipe) and after about 2 months I have noticed mold forming on the top of my balms. I made sure not to get water into any of my tins. I am at a loss as to why there’d be mold growing. Do you know why this might be?
Are you certain it is mold? It can’t grow without water. Could it be graininess setting in? Do you have any photos you can share?
(TL;DR: Whip it! Whip it real good!)
I’m finally compelled to leave a comment because I just made my third version of this and it is absolutely my most favourite! I still don’t have Camellia oil (or rather Windy Point doesn’t, and I’m too lazy to look elsewhere yet) so my only sub this time was to use macadamia nut oil instead.
I decided to whip the balm because I like the little bit of hold that the beeswax gives, but it still left me with more of a waxy, finger coating feeling than I liked.
I was pondering how I could get the balm to feel less dense and concentrated whilst stirring… stirring… stirring… stirring… A-ha! Whip it like I would a body butter!!
I’m sure you can relate, but there is something so wonderful about a great lightbulb moment!
This latest version is so light and fluffy, it applies smoothly and works through evenly. Best of all, any excess product seems to give the hands more of a lanolin-y feel than a coated beeswaxy feel.
I’m thrilled! Thanks for doing what you do and having the courage to share it!
Very cool! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 I love (and often forget!) how much a simple whipping can really transform things 😀 Thanks for DIYing with me!
I love your recipes for everything related to beards! If I wanted to make this into a beard “butter” would I just leave out the beeswax or would I substitute something else it?
Thank so much!
Hey Brian! This is pretty dang “buttery” as written—I’d really recommend making it as-is at least once to see what you think of it 🙂 If you leave out the beeswax you will drastically lower the melting point, which will effectively make this a beard oil when you go to apply it.
thanks for you great work and videos!
I have a question for you. I was prepering my DIY beard balm (well – different everything comparing to your recipe… 😛 diffent carrier oils, shea butter, beeswax, essential oils, cocount oil). I managed to melt everything in a “smart way” (beeswax and shea butter first, then cocount oil, then – when temperature droped down a little bit – carrier oils with essential oils, to preserve their scent and properties. Everything went great, I poured my balm to 1 x 60 ml glass jar and 2 x 30 ml glass jars (120 ml overall) and then it started cooling down… And here is the problem – my balm started to cool down from the top of the jar to the bottom (reasonable, right? 😛 ) and because of that – the big hole appeared in the center, with cracks at the top of my jar… I know it’s because the top of the jar cooled down the fastest, and the bottom at the end, so the top must always “collapse” in the center because of the balm volume (it was shrinking while cooling off and “sitting” on the botom of the jar. So – long story short – is there smart any way to prevent cracks and holes at the top-center of the jar? I think changing the container (like to alluminium 60 ml can, not jar, would help (“can” would be much wider but not so tall, like jar is, so the balm would not “be sitting” that hard), but I really like my brown jars with alluminium caps on them… Please, help me, if you can! 😀
Hey Adam! This is a pretty common problem 🙂 The easiest way I’ve found to solve it is to pour about 80% of the jar full and let it cool a bit before topping it off with more molten liquid balm. Happy making!
Merry Christmas, Marie and thank you for your reply!
Aaaah, the easiest ways are the best, you say? 😀 Thanks, I will try to do so next time…
One more thing… Maybe do you have any tips for lumps in the balm, after few weeks of “resting” in my bathroom? I noticed them recently, but I’m 100% sure there wasn’t any, when I created the balm and also few days later, when I was using it. Now they appear even on the yet “non-scraped” half of my balm in the container, and more appear every day… :O The balm is stored in my bathroom (~22*C, general polish humidity conditions – not extreme in any way, if you have no idea how it looks like in here 😀 ).
It sounds like it’s gone grainy—I’ve got an FAQ on this 🙂
Thanks Marie, God bless you! 🙂 Best wishes and only positive thoughts to you! 😉
Hi, so I’m the recipe you list castor oil twice, once with 4g and once again with 8g, is this a typo?
Thanks and happy new year!
I believe the 8g is camellia seed based on what is written in the post. In the instructions she has camellia listed as a second oil. Castor oil being the first one. That would be 4g for castor oil and 8g camellia seed oil.
Good morning Tyler!
The formula calls for 4g castor oil, and the 8g would be camellia seed oil! I’ll let Marie know about the typo! Thanks for bringing it up!
Honey you have castor on there twice. The 8 oz use to be Camellia seed oil?
Never fear! Marie fixed it! Happy Making!
hi I’ve recently came across your DIY beard butter recipe with the add ingredient BTMS-50 on youtube , so my question is do i have to rinse it out of my beard a few hrs later after applying this recipe,
or can i just leave it in and use it for my every day daily and nightly routine and not wash it out. and is there any Cons in using it in this was
This is a leave-in product, but as with all leave-in products it will eventually accumulate, so you’ll want to wash your beard every now and then 🙂 It will wash out easily, though, thanks to the BTMS!
Wonderful recipe. I wonder if one could a bit of water soluble ingredients, like aloe gel and panthonol to this recipe (with a good broad-sprectrum preservative, off course. What are your thoughts?
It would be a pretty fundamental change and the introduction of water (in the form of the gel) will reduce the hold. I’m not sure how stable the emulsion would be, either. If you try it make sure you start small and take lots of notes 🙂 You might also find this helpful. Happy making!
I was not very happy with the way this recipe turned out. I weighed the ingredients out precisely though I did increase the total batch size to 2 ounces. I did substitute grapeseed oil for the camelia oil, but everything else was the same. The end product was hard as a rock after solidifying and difficult to melt in my hands. I applied some after my shower when my beard was damp and it was just a mess. It was extremely difficult to work into my beard because it was so hard even after melting in my hands. It beaded up on my beard hairs and looked terrible. I am not entirely sure what the issue is but I suspect there is too much BTMS-50 in the recipe. I will note that I did not have any vitamin E to add to it.
I made this with rosemary infused sunflower oil instead of camellia oil, I also used
low % of rosemary CO2 + orange eo. This is a winner so far, according to my fiance. Stunning recipe. He likes the powdery skinfeel and how it softens stupple (I don’t remember how to spell it). He doesn’t were beard but loves this anyway. 🙂
Hello!! I made this recipe for my bearded man and he really likes it! He does say that it is a bit difficult to get it worked into the beard as it kinda wants to sit on top of the beard. I followed the recipe exactly so I’m wondering if you have any tips on making this even more of a beard conditioner that still has the hold that it does. Do you think adding something like cetyl or cetearyl alcohol would make it easier to penetrate the hair better? In doing some research on beard products and ingredients, I did come across a recipe that used Cocamidopropyl Betain, which I thought was interesting since that is usually used to help with rinse off. I’d like to keep the recipe oil based if possible, unless you think I may have to incorporate water and/or vegetable glycerine…am I way off here?? Thanks in advance for any advice!!! I LOVE your recipes and am having so much fun making and learning!
Ok, so, while (patiently) awaiting some advice from you (), I went ahead and played around a bit more with the formula…first I converted it to percentages and then I incorporated a few different liquid oils and also some shea butter and cut the btms50 from 24% down to 15%. I kept the beeswax amount the same. Anyway, we’ll see how the bearded one likes it…i have a feeling he’s going to say it’s a tad too greasy/oily…ugh. So, now my question is, could I maybe use one of your leave-in conditioner formulas and add some beeswax to it for some hold? And if so, which formulas do you suggest I start with? Thanks again for your help!!
From the look of your video it looks like its the perfect texture and has the right conditioning properties i need for a perfect beard butter. I have already ordered all of the ingredients for the formula i cant wait to make my first balm! Question, how would you scale the formula up to 2oz tin vs the 1oz, and scale it up to larger batches. Sorry of it seems like a silly question but i’m just not sure how to do the math to scale up for larger batches.
Hey Timothy! I’ve shared an in-depth scaling tutorial here 🙂 Happy making!
Thank you i downloaded the spread sheet & also watched your scaling video, very helpful. Ive tried this recipe as well as played around with my own. Im having the same issue with all of the final products, they are coming out too hard once fully solidified. What is the solution to this? Seems like there are other people in this thread having a similar problem.
Hello Marie, thank you for your recipe. How do I bring in Candelila wax into this recipe?
Why do you want to? I’d recommend making it as-is first 🙂