8 Best Pre-Shave Beard Oils
Beginnings often set the tone for the direction things will head. If your appetizers are great, you’re expecting a wonderful dinner. If your first impression of someone is glowing, you’re excited to get to know them. If your skin is perfect and ready to go, your shave will be amazing. It all starts with the prep step, and in many cases, that prep step will involve an oil.
A lot of companies create different blends of oils with other ingredients. Some ingredients are more beneficial for your skin than others. You can use a premixed pre-shave oil, or you can buy the raw ingredients and use them exactly as they are. It’s a no-fuss approach that will get you great results, and it will save you more than a few bucks.
Do I Really Need To Oil Up Before I Shave?
Shaving creates a lot of friction, and friction is always eased with extra lubrication. You’ve probably seen the cutmen for boxers and MMA fighters slathering vaseline onto their cheeks in between rounds. Even a fierce punch is a little less harmful when it’s encouraged to slide away. While your razor won’t need that much lubrication, a little bit of oil will do the trick and make a noticeable difference.
1. Coconut Oil
You might be tired of hearing about coconut oil by now. According to the internet, it can be used for everything. That’s partially true. It’s particularly helpful when you’re shaving -- perhaps more helpful than it would be in any other skincare application.
Coconut oil contains high levels of a compound called lauric acid. Anywhere from 40% to 55% of coconut oil is this compound. It’s safe to call lauric acid the active ingredient of coconut oil. The most amazing thing is its potency, as most products cap their active ingredients at a 5% concentration. Lauric acid is extremely potent and ready to do great things for your skin.
Lauric acid is a natural antibacterial agent. It kills bad bacteria, and works to improve the balance of good bacteria. Before you shave, you definitely want to have a clean face. You’re using a blade on your skin, and you might be creating tiny little wounds that aren’t apparent to the eye.
The lauric acid will manage the bacteria on the surface of your skin without the need for harsh, drying ingredients like alcohol. It’s great for men with dry or sensitive skin who find that other antibacterial products leave their skin in poor condition. Coconut oil helps them prevent infected cuts the gentle and natural way.
2. Argan Oil
Almost any hair product marketed as an oil contains argan oil, sometimes called Morroccan oil due to its origin. Argan oil is known for its amazing ability to strengthen, tame, and soften hair while adding shine. It’s a great multitasker with a ton of benefits, and it will work just as well on your beard as it will on your hair.
Most people use argan oil as a finishing product, but that may not be great for your beard. Argan oil is a little on the heavy side, and you don’t want to leave it lingering on your face all day. Your beard is a little harder to brush through than your hair, and you may not be able to evenly distribute every drop.
Instead, use argan oil as a pre-treatment. Let it sit for a few minutes while you’re getting the rest of your shaving stuff together. Shave, and wash away the excess argan oil with the remnants of your shaving cream.
3. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is nourishing, safe, and simple. That’s the whole point. People with sensitive skin love jojoba oil because there are so few reports of adverse or allergic reactions. It’s perfectly mild, pleasant smelling, and it balances the skin. Out of all oils, jojoba oils is closest to the composition of human sebum. The oil your skin products and jojoba oil will play off of each other, creating a balance.
This makes jojoba oil the perfect choice for men with dry or oily skin. Both of these skin types need to achieve some sort of balance to behave normally. Jojoba oil can help your skin to find this balance. Leave it on for a few minutes before you shave to let it work its magic.
4. Marula Oil
Marula oil is derived from a nut that grows with a native African fruit. It’s very rich in skin healthy compounds like omega 3 fatty acids. Marula oil is deeply hydrating and mildly antimicrobial. Any antimicrobial oil before a shave is always a good idea. It’s best to gently remove as much bacteria off of the surface of the skin as possible before approaching your face with a sharp object.
These antimicrobial benefits are also great for acne-prone skin and ingrown hairs. If you tend to break out, you might want to use marula oil. Its high antioxidant content makes it wonderful for dry skin. If you notice you get white flakes or dry patches in or around your beard, a pre-treatment with marula oil can help to keep them at bay.
5. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is a vitamin E powerhouse. You probably know that putting vitamin E on cuts, scrapes, or burns helps the skin heal. It’s deeply moisturizing and highly restorative. Grapeseed oil, the same kind you’d find in the baking aisle at the grocery store, has the potential to replace most of your skincare products.
It’s slightly anti-microbial and highly anti-inflammatory. If you get red bumps after you shave, oiling up with grapeseed oil might help to prevent them or reduce their severity.
6. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is a fairly pleasant unisex smell. If you like a little bit of aroma, lavender essential oil is a good choice. Traditionally, lavender has been used as a natural antibacterial agent. It also boasts some anti-fungal and skin soothing properties. That’s why so many natural hand soaps utilize lavender as an ingredient.
Lavender essential oil is very potent and shouldn’t be used on its own. Instead, add two drops to another oil (i.e. a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil) to reap the benefits of both.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is boasted as an anti-acne, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial solution. You can apply tea tree oil before or after you shave to enjoy the benefits. It’s often used as a natural remedy for razor burn and skin bumps. It works quickly to kill bacteria and combat inflammation, speeding up recovery time after shaving mishaps. You can use it as a preventative measure or as a quick fix when your shave goes awry.
8. Calendula Oil
Calendula oil is the oil of a marigold flower. It’s often used in shaving products. Many brands use calendula oil in the moisture strip on their razor heads. Calendula oil is commonly used for inflammatory conditions like eczema or diaper rash. It’s a great solution for sensitive skin and an all around catch-all for most shaving woes.
You can grab a pre-shave oil that contains one or more of these ingredients that you feel would be beneficial for your skin. If you don’t particularly care about finding something fancy, you can pick up the plain oil at the grocery store and use it all on its own.