Beard Conditioner vs Oil: Which is Right for You?

Alex Cutler

If softness is what you seek, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s be real – we’ve all been there. Your beard is itchy and it’s dry.

When you touch it, it feels like straw. It’s definitely not the soft and smooth beard that you imagined when you first started growing it.

That’s where beard conditioner and beard oil come in.

But what are the differences between the two? How do they work, and how are they used?

Well, if you’re asking those questions, today is your lucky day. We’ll cover all of that (and more) below.

What Is Beard Oil Used For?

Let’s start with beard oil. After all, it is one of the most popular beard care products on the market.

Beard oil is a leave-in treatment that replicates the natural oils in your skin (which is also called sebum). Natural beard oils are made with a mix of essential oils and carrier oils, and some cheaper beard oils swap out essential oils for synthetic fragrances.

For more information on the ingredients to look out for in high-quality beard oils, read about the most popular essential and carrier oils (like coconut oil).

Beard oil works to moisturize skin, soften beard hairs, prevent beard dandruff, and much more (but we’ll cover that later). You can also learn more about how beard oil is used here.

What is Beard Conditioner Used For?

Now onto the second moisturizer – beard conditioner.

While both beard oil and conditioner provide similar results, they’re not the same product.

Beard conditioner is an in-shower product that provides deep hydration that's perfect for coarse, itchy, and dandruff-prone beards. Where beard oil is left in all day, beard conditioner is applied during a shower, left in for a few minutes, and then washed out.

If beard conditioner sounds like something you need in your beard care routine, check out some of our favorite beard conditioners.

Benefits of Beard Conditioner

So what else should you know about beard conditioner?

Well, the benefits are pretty important.

Here are the top three benefits of beard conditioner:

1. Hydrates your beard

It might be obvious, but the biggest benefit of using beard conditioner is its moisturizing properties.

Most conditioners are packed with high-powered hydrators like shea butter, coconut oil, argan oil, and cocoa seed butter.

Not only that, but some conditioners use humectants – or ingredients that absorb water from the air and seal it into your hair and skin underneath your facial hair.

2. Softer & easier to manage

Secondly, beard conditioner will soften your beard hair.

Really, this is just a side effect of moisturizing your beard, but who doesn’t want a softer beard?

A softer beard is also easier to manage and style – so, if you spend a lot of time combing your beard, you might benefit from a beard conditioner.

3. Available as a leave-in or rinse-out

Since it’s very similar to a hair conditioner, you can choose to rinse out your beard conditioner, or leave it in for deeper hydration (although we’d only recommend this for very dry, coarse beards).

If you’re deciding to rinse it out – don’t forget to let it sit in your beard for a few minutes. That way, you can soak up all the nutrients and moisture you need.

The 3 Best Benefits of Beard Oil

Let’s change gears a bit here (although not too much), and talk about beard oils.

Here are some of the things you’ll notice once you start using it:

1. Moisturizes your skin and beard

Just like with beard conditioner, the main benefit of using beard oil is the added hydration.

A commonality between beard oil and conditioner is that they both use humectants to moisturize your beard.

Some of these impressive ingredients used in beard oil include: sweet almond oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, inca inchi oil, and vitamin E (which are all included in our True North Beard Oil).


2. Adds a healthy shine

If you want a shinier beard, there’s really only one solution. Can you guess what it is?

You’d be right if you said beard oil.

The lightweight formula of beard oil allows it to turn even the dullest and driest beard into a shiny and reflective one.

And, before you know it, you’ll be ready to be on the cover of a magazine.

3. Helps itchiness and fends off beard dandruff

Finally, beard oil can help prevent itchiness and beard dandruff.

And – if you know anything about growing a beard – you should know that these are two of the biggest challenges for beginners.

So – if you’re struggling with flaking, itchiness, or dandruff, we recommend trying beard oil. It may just be the solution you need.

But, what if it’s not? Well, then you might want to try beard balm – it has a thicker consistency that can cure itchiness as well.

If you’re interested in trying new products, we also recommend using beard wash or beard shampoo for the deepest clean. It’s simply the best way to clean your beard.

Differences Between Beard Conditioner and Beard Oil

To some people, beard oil and conditioner might sound pretty similar.

And, for the most part, it is.

However, there are a few key differences between the two.

Here they are:

How it’s applied

The way you use beard oil and beard conditioner is different.

While, yes – both of these beard care products work to nourish and moisturize your beard – each has a separate application process.

The key difference is how often you use them.

Beard oil, for example, can be used daily (in fact, we have a guide on how often you should use it). On the other side of things, beard conditioners should only be used in the shower. That can be as often as every day or as little as one week.

Some people opt to leave their beard conditioner in post-shower, but we recommend washing it out after 3-4 minutes and then applying an oil once you've dried your beard.


Another difference you’ll notice if you enjoy reading the labels on your products is the ingredients.

It’s pretty simple, really.

Beard oil is a lightweight product that uses lighter ingredients like essential oils and carrier oils. In comparison, beard conditioner is heavier, using stronger moisturizers like shea butter and cocoa butter.

That being said, beard conditioner isn’t as rich as beard butter or beard balm.

How to store beard conditioner and beard oil

Finally, how you store beard oil and beard conditioner is different.

While beard conditioner can live in your shower, beard oil requires more specific treatment.

Don’t worry though, it’s nothing difficult.

You just want to store beard oil in a dark and temperature-controlled location. Both sunlight and extreme temperatures can degrade it – meaning it won’t be as effective.

Do I Use Beard Oil Or Conditioner First?

We think that beard conditioner should be first on your list.

Beard conditioner is used exclusively in the shower. Beard oil, on the other hand, is used post-shower. That means you’ll want to use beard conditioner first, wash it out, dry your beard, and then apply beard oil. That way your facial hair is equipped with the support it needs to face the day ahead.

Can I Use Hair Conditioner On My Beard Instead?

Most people own hair conditioner.

For some, it can be tempting to use it on your beard hair instead of a beard-specific conditioner.

However, we don’t recommend it. The skin beneath your beard is more sensitive than the skin under your head – meaning it’s best to steer clear of using regular hair conditioner.

If you’re trying to save money, here’s a beard conditioner that’s completely budget-friendly.


Before this article you were probably wondering, “What’s the difference between beard oil and beard conditioner?”

But not anymore.

We’ve covered the A-Z of these two popular beard care products – including what they are, why they’re used, and the key differences between them.
If you’re interested in learning more about beard care (or looking for some top-tier products), we’ve got you covered.

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