conditioner making on a table

A quick look around the beard scene will tell you that there are tons of products available.

Beard oils, of course, are the most popular, brushes and combs too, then there’s even the special beard shampoo’s.

But what about beard conditioners? Are those necessary or even useful at all.

Today we are going to learn what exactly is a facial hair conditioner, how to use one, why to use it, and what ingredients make the difference between a bad quality beard conditioner, and a high-quality beard softener.

All of this will be explained in detail below. ↓

What Exactly are Beard Softeners and Conditioners

jar of beard cream softenerI get that it’s sometimes confusing when there are so many different beard products out there for your facial hair, with all spanning in between various categories of products, yet all being somewhat similar.

Specifically, it’s really hard to distinguish between beard balms and butter, conditioners, and creams.

The two kinds of “real” conditioners are:

  • Conditioners that you apply in the shower, let affect on the beard for a couple of minutes, then wash away.
  • Leave-in conditioners, which you usually apply after the shower and just leave it, these are rather similar to beard balms, to be honest.

Difference Between Conditioner and Beard Oil

facial hair conditioner and beard oil bottleThe end goal of both products is rather similar; to get your beard healthier, properly nourished, and moisturized.

But at the end of the day, beard oils are usually a mixture of very light oils that you only apply few drops to replace some of the natural oils lost through showering, face washing. etc.

Whereas beard softeners and conditioners are more about directly softening the mane, relieving “the beard itch”, and preventing rashes & infections.

Beard conditioners tend to also be more rich and creamy rather than oily.

Which is more useful? I’d have to say beard oil. Yet, there are some good reasons to use beard softening conditioners as well, especially if you have a sensitive beard that is prone to itchiness, dandruff, and dryness.

It’s like with anything in the beard-o-sphere, there are products for all ailments, none are truly necessary, but most still prove quite useful.

What to Look for in a Conditioner Product

vellus hair to terminal hair transitionThe design and packaging are irrelevant, what matters, are the ingredients.

Truth is that beard growth is all about the androgenic master male hormones; DHT and testosterone, and there are certain ingredients that hurt the production and localized effects of the hormones, ingredients that are mostly neutral, and ingredients that definitely hurt your beard growth hormones.

The worrying trend in the beard industry is that many manufacturers have no basic understanding of the role of androgens in beard growth and maintenance, and they happily use DHT-blocking oils and chemicals in their products.

Sometimes even claiming that their products would “promote growth” when sadly, the opposite is true.

It’s crucial to understand that facial hair is androgenic and desperately needs DHT and testosterone to grow, whereas scalp-hair is not androgenic and shouldn’t be confused with the beard.

Hormone suppressing ingredients in beard products:

  • Most polyunsaturated vegetable oils (PUFA) are potent at blocking DHT1,2.
  • Peppermint oil, mint oils, soybean oil, hemp oil, suppress T and DHT3,4.
  • Rice bran oil, safflower oil, and pumpkin seed oil5 are potent DHT-blockers.
  • Paraben preservative chemicals (methyl, butyl, ethyl, etc) are highly estrogenic6.

Ingredients that can help your beard hormones:

What’s worrying is that if you search for beard conditioners on Amazon, for example, you will find hundreds of products, which look cool, promise you the moon and all that, but then when you take a look at the ingredients:

And quite often they have parabens in there, silicone and sulfates, many types of cheap high-PUFA vegetable oils, and as a finishing touch, nearly all of them have peppermint or mint oils for the scent.

This is why I think the best way to guarantee you get the optimal type of beard conditioner (if you’re going to use one in the first place) is to make your own. DIY style. It’s not hard and it saves you a lot of money.

If DIY isn’t your cup of tea, then sure, there are three worthwhile products I did find that don’t have any DHT-blockers or nasty ingredients in them.

The Best Beard Conditioner Products You Can Get

Here are the two best beard conditioners in my humble opinion. ↓

1. The Ultimate DIY Facial Hair Softening Cream

ingredients for a homemade conditionerAs I said, the ingredients in most pre-made products are quite simply; bad for your beard growth hormones, and often contain unnecessary chemicals and xeno-estrogens.

So if you really want to be sure of what you’re putting on your beard, make sure to follow this DIY beard conditioner recipe to get a softer beard naturally:

  • Into a bowl, add 200ml shea butter, 50ml jojoba oil, 50ml argan oil.
  • Heat the bowl up a bit, and mix the ingredients when the butter melts.
  • Add in 5 drops of spruce essential oil or balsam fir, mix into a creamy consistency.
  • Pour the mix into ~300ml container, glass is best, but plastic is fine too.
  • You’re done, simply use this in your beard for ~5 minutes before washing.

You can play around with the ingredients, just remember to use saturated or monounsaturated fats and oils and make sure the essential oils you use for scent are not antiandrogenic DHT-blockers.

If you want that “energizing” effect that peppermint oils and mint oils give, try adding in some black coffee. Instead of hurting your beard growth hormones, coffee can actually boost DHT and activate androgen receptors via prevention of cAMP molecule breakdown.

For the visual folk, here’s a video of a woman doing a DIY hair conditioner, do as she but use the ingredients above instead and you can’t fail.

Don’t have time or motivation to make your own? I got you covered below. ↓

2. Scotch Porter Hydrate & Nourish Beard Conditioner

scotch porter beard care productsScotch Porter’s beard care & washing lineup is one of the few beard care products I can honestly recommend without losing my sleep.

The reasons I like them are simple;

  • Natural ingredients, no sulfates, parabens, no petroleum, no silicones.
  • No DHT-blocking oils, the base is shea butter & coconut oil.
  • Nice design, quite large 8 oz. (236 ml) jar.
  • Pairs well with their beard shampoo, which I also recommend.

I know there are hundreds of other products out there, but I’m gonna stick to recommending only this one for now.

I just simply can’t justify some of the ingredients the other brands are putting in their products.

Again for the visual folk, here’s Drew’s Obsessions from YouTube reviewing the lineup:

Conclusion on Beard Softening Conditioners

Are they absolutely necessary? Not really. If you get good beard shampoo and don’t wash your beard too often (crucial beard mistake), then you might not need any conditioner either.

However, if your beard is itchy, sensitive, and often dry and flaky, then you might benefit from either making your own or buying some quality conditioning products.

Until next time, thanks for reading and keep on beardin’.

1.
Liang T, Liao S. Inhibition of steroid 5 alpha-reductase by specific aliphatic unsaturated fatty acids. Biochem J. 1992;285(Pt 2):557-562.
2.
Volek J, Kraemer W, Bush J, Incledon T, Boetes M. Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1997;82(1):49-54.
3.
Akdogan M, Ozguner M, Kocak A, Oncu M, Cicek E. Effects of peppermint teas on plasma testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone levels and testicular tissue in rats. Urology. 2004;64(2):394-398.
4.
Kumar V, Kural M, Pereira B, Roy P. Spearmint induced hypothalamic oxidative stress and testicular anti-androgenicity in male rats – altered levels of gene expression, enzymes and hormones. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(12):3563-3570.
5.
Cho Y, Lee S, Jeong D, et al. Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:549721.
6.
Darbre P, Byford J, Shaw L, et al. Oestrogenic activity of benzylparaben. J Appl Toxicol. 2003;23(1):43-51.
7.
Derouiche A, Jafri A, Driouch I, et al. Effect of argan and olive oil consumption on the hormonal profile of androgens among healthy adult Moroccan men. Nat Prod Commun. 2013;8(1):51-53.

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