Do You Apply Beard Butter Wet or Dry?

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Written By Dominic Howard

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Beard butter has become an extremely popular grooming product for men with beards in recent years. Made from natural ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils, beard butter helps condition, soften, and style facial hair. But when it comes to actually using beard butter, many guys wonder – should you apply it to wet or dry facial hair?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the pros and cons of applying beard butter to both wet and dry beards so you can decide what works best for you.

What is Beard Butter?

Before we dive into application methods, let’s do a quick overview of what exactly beard butter is. Beard butter is a leave-in conditioner and styling product used to soften coarse or wiry whiskers, eliminate beardruff, and give shine and moisture to facial hair. The texture is smooth and creamy, allowing you to scoop out just the right amount with your fingers to spread evenly throughout your beard.

Beard butter contains natural moisturizers like shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, and coconut oil that penetrate the hair shaft to deep condition. Essential oils give beard butter their signature scents and provide additional benefits. Common essential oils found in beard butter include tea tree oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and vitamin E.

Compared to a beard balm or beard oil, beard butter contains more butter than wax so the consistency is richer. The extra moisture makes it a great option for dry or damaged beards in need of some extra TLC. Now let’s look at the pros and cons of wet vs. dry application.

Applying Beard Butter to Wet Facial Hair

Here are some benefits and drawbacks to consider when applying beard butter to freshly washed and damp facial hair:


  • Deeper absorption and conditioning. The moisturizing ingredients can soak into damp whiskers more effectively. Warm water opens up the hair cuticle allowing the natural oils and butters to penetrate deeper to nourish the hair and skin underneath.
  • Easier to spread and style. When facial hair is damp, not fully dry, the beard butter glides on easier allowing you to distribute it evenly with your fingers or a brush. The residual water helps disperse the product.
  • Prevents beardruff. The damp application ensures the moisturizing and exfoliating ingredients reach the skin to help prevent dryness and flaking that contributes to beardruff.
  • Fortifies cleansed hair. Washing removes some natural oils so applying beard butter to clean, wet hair helps restore moisture and fortify strands.


  • Longer dry time. It will take longer for your beard to fully air dry if the butter is applied on top of damp whiskers. Give yourself some extra time if you need to style and get ready.
  • Potential heaviness. The extra moisture from a wet application can weigh down thinner beards once dry, making them look flat or greasy. Beardsmen with already coarse or full beards won’t notice this as much.
  • Needs touch-up. You may need to do some touch-ups and re-smoothing once the beard dries because damp hair wants to dry into its natural texture and shape.
  • Potentially less hold. If control and hold are important for styling, letting your beard fully dry first can help the beard butter set up better to keep whiskers in place.

Applying Beard Butter to Dry Facial Hair

Now let’s look at the upsides and downsides of putting beard butter into dry, freshly groomed facial hair:


  • Lightweight feel. Applying beard butter to dry hair means there’s less tackiness or heaviness. This can help hair feel naturally soft and flowy.
  • Better styling and shaping. Getting beard hair fully dry first allows you to use the butter to add subtle shaping and texture. The drier canvas holds the shape better.
  • Creates texture and separation. For fuller or curlier beards, using beard butter on dry hair makes it easier to define curls, tame flyaways, and prevent clumping.
  • Less transfer or greasiness. The butter absorbs well into each strand without excess sitting on the surface of hairs ready to rub off on clothes and pillowcases.
  • No wet beard hassles. You don’t have to deal with excess dampness which can be annoying right after showering or washing up.


  • Potential dryness. Dry hair doesn’t allow the oils and butter to penetrate as deeply into the hair shaft to condition. Nourishment stays more superficial.
  • Tougher to distribute. It can be harder to spread dry beard butter evenly throughout all your facial hair without the assistance of dampness helping to disperse it.
  • Skin conditioning minimized. When applied to dry whiskers, less beard butter reaches the skin underneath to moisturize and prevent beardruff. Focus more on the skin after brushing.
  • Stronger hold. Some beard butters contain waxes and balms that can set up harder in dry hair causing a firmer hold. For some this is good but it limits flexibility.
  • Potential clumping. Fully dry coarse or curly beards may clump together if the butter isn’t evenly distributed. Use a boar bristle brush to work through strands.

Which Is Better?

When it comes down to the big question of whether you should use beard butter on damp or dry whiskers, there’s no definitive right or wrong answer. Both methods have their pros and cons so it depends on your specific beard type and styling preferences. Here are some general tips:

  • Thick or coarse beards = damp application
  • Thin, fine, or soft beards = dry application
  • Severely dry, brittle, or damaged beards = damp application
  • Strict hold and shaping needed = dry application
  • Supreme conditioning required = damp application

It also comes down to timing. If you need to quickly style and go, the dry application allows you to skip extended drying time. But if you have time to let your beard fully air dry after a shower, you’ll get the most conditioning benefits from putting butter into damp hair.

Experiment to see what works best for your facial hair. You may even find that a damp application followed by additional dry butter once fully dry gives you the perfect results. Listen to what your beard needs. With some trial and error, you’ll find your ideal butter application method.

How to Apply Beard Butter Correctly

To get the most out of your chosen beard butter, it’s important to learn proper application techniques. Here are some tips:

If Applying to Damp Hair:

  • Pat dry your beard first with a towel to remove excess dripping water. You want it damp, not sopping wet.
  • Scoop out a fingertip-sized amount and rub it between your hands to melt slightly before massaging into your beard.
  • Distribute evenly using your fingers or a wide-toothed comb, ensuring full coverage down to the skin.
  • Style as desired and let air dry the remainder of the way before needing to go out.

If Applying to Dry Hair:

  • Make sure the beard is freshly washed, dried, and combed thoroughly.
  • Use a tiny bit of butter to start – a little goes a long way.
  • Focus on ends first then lightly work up toward the roots for even coverage.
  • Use a boar bristle brush to shape and evenly distribute as needed.
  • Style with your fingers, comb, or blow dryer to finish. Reapply lightly as needed.

Proper storage and scooping are also essential to not contaminate your beard butter. Always use clean hands or a small spoon to scoop out only what you need. Don’t dig in with your fingers repeatedly. Store in a cool, dry place with and lid tightly sealed.

The Best Beard Butters

Now that you know how to apply beard butter for optimal results, let’s look at some top recommended products:

  • Honest Amish – Heavy Duty Beard Balm – great for coarse or unruly beards
  • Badass Beard Care – Beard Butter – excellent for conditioning dry brittle beards
  • Beardbrand – Tree Ranger Butter – woodsy scented, good hold
  • Scotch Porter – Butter – treats beardruff and moisturizes skin
  • Detroit Grooming Co – Butter – contains marshmallow root and coconut oil
  • Grave Before Shave – Butter – reduces frizz and flyaways
  • Beardoholic – Butter – high vitamin E formula, very emollient
  • Maison Lambert – Ultimate Beard Butter – stimulating citrus and cedar scent
  • ArtNaturals – Beard and Stache Butter – ideal for mustache grooming
  • Sir Hare – After Hours Butter – gives a sleek refined finish

Experiment with different beard butter formulas to discover your favorites. Switching between damp and dry applications is helpful in finding the right products and techniques for your beard type and style.

Frequently Asked Question

1: Should I apply beard butter to wet or dry hair?

A: You can apply beard butter to either wet or dry hair, it mainly comes down to personal preference. Applying it to damp hair after showering can help the butter absorb into the hair shaft more easily. Applying dry hair provides more control to target specific areas.

2: What is the benefit of applying beard butter to wet hair?

A: Applying beard butter to damp or wet hair allows it to penetrate the hair shaft more deeply and evenly. The water helps open up the hair cuticle so the oils and butter can really get in there. This helps condition and soften the beard well.

3: What is the benefit of applying beard butter to dry hair?

A: Applying beard butter to dry hair allows you to target specific areas precisely. The thicker texture makes it easy to control application and coat the ends or any particularly dry spots. It also allows you to apply the product without needing to wet your beard.

4: Should my beard be completely wet or just damp before application?

A: For best absorption, you want your beard hair to be damp rather than completely wet. Apply the beard butter right after showering or wetting your beard with water. The remaining moisture helps it spread easily without being overly thinned out.

5: How much beard butter should I use on wet vs. dry hair?

A: You’ll typically need less product when applying beard butter to damp hair since it spreads easily. Focus on your tips and any visibly dry areas. When applying to dry hair, you may need a bit more to evenly coat the strands. Start with a pea-sized amount and increase as needed.

6: Should I blow dry my beard before applying beard butter?

A: If you prefer to apply beard butter to fully dry hair, it’s best to let your beard air dry rather than blow drying. The heat from a hair dryer can be damaging to facial hair over time. Let your beard dry naturally before butter application.


While most beard butter can be used on both damp and dry facial hair, choosing the right application method makes a big difference in conditioning, absorption, shaping, and overall results. Finding your ideal timing and techniques may require some trial and error to see what works best for the needs of your unique beard. With the tips above and a high-quality beard butter, you’ll be styling sleek and healthy facial hair in no time – whether you apply wet or dry!

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