What is the best butter to use for beard balm?

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Written By Dominic Howard

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Having a healthy, well-groomed beard takes effort and using the right products. An important product for beard care is beard balm, which helps soften and condition facial hair while providing hold and shape. When making your own beard balm at home, one of the key ingredients is the butter base. But with so many options for butters, how do you know which one is best? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top butters for crafting homemade beard balm to care for your beard.

What is Beard Balm?

Before diving into butter options, let’s quickly review what beard balm is and why it’s useful. Beard balm is a leave-in conditioner that helps moisturize and soften facial hair. It’s formulated from carrier oils, butter, and waxes that absorb into beard hair, providing hydration and nutrients.

Unlike beard oil that targets the skin underneath, balm coats the hair shafts along their length. This helps strengthen and protect the hair, reducing breakage and split ends. The balm also gives hold and shape to mustaches and beards, letting you style as desired.

The benefits of using beard balm include:

  • Softening and conditioning coarse hair
  • Reducing beardruff and itchiness
  • Adding shine and luster
  • Providing light hold for styling
  • Moisturizing dry hair and skin
  • Minimizing split ends and breakage

When shopping for pre-made balm, check the ingredients for nourishing carrier oils and butter. Or make your own with quality ingredients sourced in bulk.

Why Use Butter in Beard Balm?

The butter in beard balm acts as an emollient, spreading easily to coat each strand. As it melts from your body heat, the butter penetrates the hair cuticle to deliver deep conditioning. Butter adds body and thickness to the balm while also holding in moisture.

Compared to oils, butter has a higher melting point and thicker texture, which lends to the balm’s lightweight hold. The right butter choice imparts sheen and manageability without feeling overly greasy. Butter also gives beard balm its creamy consistency for easy spreading and absorption.

When selecting a butter, you want one that offers nutritional fatty acids and vitamins to nourish the hair and skin. The proper melting point ensures the butter coats strands without feeling waxy or heavy. Lastly, butter contributes to the balm’s aroma through its natural fragrance.

Choosing a Beard Balm Butter

With an array of plant-based butter options available, how do you determine the best one to use in your balm recipe? Here are key factors to consider:

Melting point – Aim for butter with melting points between 76°F to 82°F. This allows it to melt into liquid oil when applied but remains solid at room temperature. Shea and cocoa butter are good examples.

Texture and absorption – The butter should have a smooth, creamy texture that penetrates hair easily without greasiness. Look for butter that imparts sheen without feeling overly oily.

Nutrient profile – Seek out butter packed with essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants to nourish and protect beard hair. Cocoa, mango, and shea butter are very nutrient-dense.

Absorption – The butter should absorb readily into beard hair and skin without leaving residue. Try to avoid butter like Illipe or Borneo tallow that leaves a waxy coating.

Fragrance – Most butter has faint natural aromas that work well in balm. Make sure the scent complements other ingredients.

Cometic feel – Opt for butter that spreads smoothly and makes beard hair feel soft, not stiff or greasy.

Sensitivities – Keep in mind some individuals may be sensitive to certain butters. Perform a patch test before wider use.

Price – As you’ll need a substantial amount of butter for balm making, consider affordability. But don’t compromise on quality!

Top Butter for Beard Balm

Now let’s explore some of the best butter options to use when making homemade beard balm.

Shea Butter

Derived from the nuts of West African shea trees, shea butter is a staple in hair and skin care products. It melts at body temperature to coat strands in deep, long-lasting moisture. The high fatty acid content in shea butter replenishes oils, reinforcing the hair shaft against damage. It also protects against UV radiation and heat styling.

Shea butter has an off-white color and a faint nutty aroma. It’s solid at room temperature but applies smoothly without oiliness. Use unrefined shea butter to get the full benefits. Make sure to do a patch test though as some people experience breakouts or allergic reactions to shea.

Cocoa Butter

For an irresistible chocolate aroma in your balm, reach for cocoa butter. Made from cocoa bean extract, it has excellent emollient properties to hydrate hair while adding sheen. Cocoa butter is very high in antioxidants to fight free radicals and environmental pollutants that age hair. It also contains absorbable forms of iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamins A, D, and E.

With a melting point of 93-101°F, cocoa butter may feel slightly more solid than other butter. But it absorbs readily into hair and skin, softening coarse beard hair. Unrefined cocoa butter has the truest chocolate scent and nutrition. Those sensitive to chocolate or cocoa should avoid this butter.

Mango Butter

Mango butter comes from the tropical mango seed and imparts a delicate, sweet scent. It melts at a similar point to shea butter but feels less greasy. With moisturizing fatty acids and vitamin E, mango butter boosts hair and skin hydration. It helps tame frizz and flyaway hairs in the beard, enhancing shine.

Those with nut allergies can use mango butter as an alternative. Refined mango butter has very little aroma or color while unrefined retains its natural beige tint. Both refined and unrefined mango butter works well in beard care recipes.

Kokum Butter

Kokum butter hails from the kokum tree’s seed oil and offers an exotic, new butter option. It has a higher melting point than other butter but still readily penetrates beard hair. Kokum butter contains antioxidants and essential fatty acids to hydrate while adding luster and sheen.

With its creamy white texture and mild scent, kokum butter makes a nice addition to balms without overpowering other ingredients. It helps balm spread smoothly over the beard without feeling heavy or waxy. Those with latex allergies should perform a patch test before applying kokum butter.

Avocado Butter

For deeply nourishing moisture, consider avocado butter made from the fleshy fruit. Its fatty acid profile absorbs perfectly into beard hair, providing vitamins, antioxidants, and proteins. As a lighter butter without a waxy or greasy feel, avocado butter also moisturizes the skin underneath the beard.

The greenish tint and faint aroma offer something unique to balms. But it can cause breakouts for acne-prone individuals. Like its vegetable namesake, avocado butter works best unrefined. But refined versions have longer shelf stability.

Cupuacu Butter

Harvested in South America from the cupuacu tree, this exotic butter melts at a slightly higher point than shea or mango. But when blended in balm, it imparts exceptional softness, shine, and moisture retention. Cupuacu butter provides antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids, especially oleic and linoleic acids.

While the aroma is mild, cupuacu has excellent absorption properties. It leaves no greasy residue behind in beard hair or skin. Cupuacu also improves texture and elasticity to help tame unruly flyaways.

Murumuru Butter

From the Brazilian murumuru palm comes this unique butter. With a light beige color and creamy texture, it melts readily into beard hair to replenish essential fatty acids. Murumuru butter contains high levels of lauric and myristic acids for deep hydration.

It imparts radiant shine while moisturizing both the hair and skin underneath. The subtle, nutty aroma makes it a great component for an all-natural beard balm. Murumuru butter works best in small amounts blended with complementary butter.

Illipe Butter

Derived from the Malaysian illipe tree, this specialty butter has value in beard balm. It contains antioxidants and oleic acid to condition dry hair prone to frizz. The fat composition also helps repair split ends and protect against breakage.

Illipe has a thick, waxy texture that requires blending with other more fluid butter. When combined in optimal ratios, illipe butter can penetrate beard hair cuticles. But use sparingly as it may leave excess greasy residue. The aroma is mildly nutty and sweet.

Kpangnan Butter

Also called sal butter, pagan comes from seeds of the African savannah tree. It has excellent moisturizing powers thanks to nutrients like vitamin E and oleic acid. Kpangnan butter absorbs rapidly into beard hair to enhance softness, sheen, and manageability.

The natural aroma is mild and slightly sweet, complementing other ingredients nicely. Kpangnan has a drier, crumbly texture that requires melting before blending into balm. When used in moderation, it makes hair more supple without greasiness.

Borneo Tallow

Found in Borneo, Malaysia, and Sumatra, this vegetable tallow has redeeming qualities for beard care. It melts at body temperature to coat the beard but feels less waxy than other dense butter. Borneo tallow contains oleic acid, vitamin E, and antioxidants for added nutrition.

Keep in mind this butter has a thick, sticky feel and is slow to absorb. Using too much can leave a tacky residue on the beard. But blended properly with more fluid butter, Borneo tallow can infuse balm with its mild, earthy scent.

Making Your Own Beard Balm

Once you’ve selected one or more butter, it’s easy to make your own quality beard balm at home. You’ll also need carrier oils like coconut, jojoba, argan, sweet almond, and grapeseed. Essential oils provide aromatic qualities.

Here’s a basic recipe to follow:

  • 1 oz. butter (shea, cocoa, mango or your choice)
  • 1 oz. carrier oils (coconut, jojoba, argan etc.)
  • 1 tsp. essential oils (cedarwood, sandalwood, lemon, etc.)
  • Beeswax (1-2 Tbsps)


  1. Melt butter and carrier oils either separately or together in a double boiler.
  2. Once liquified, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Add essential oils.
  3. Pour into containers or tins and allow to fully solidify before use.
  4. Rub a small amount through beard hair and skin daily or as needed.

Experiment with different butter and oil combinations to find your perfect beard balm recipe. Store in a cool, dark place, and your homemade balm will keep for several months.

Benefits of Homemade Beard Balm

Crafting your own beard balm allows you to control the ingredients and customize the formula for your beard type. You can select the most nourishing butter and oils suited to your hair’s needs. Beard balm also makes a great handmade gift for the bearded men in your life.

Additional perks of homemade beard balm include:

  • Natural ingredients you recognize
  • Cost savings over store-bought
  • Creative blends and scents
  • Freshness (no preservatives)
  • Ability to tweak the recipe
  • Moisturizing carrier oils you select
  • Fun weekend DIY project

By investing some time in preparing beard balm from scratch, you can keep your beard looking its best. Paying attention to high-quality ingredients will maximize the benefits for your facial hair.

Tips for Using Beard Balm

Once you’ve created a nourishing balm, make sure to use it properly for optimal results:

  • Apply to clean, damp beard hair – The balm will spread and absorb better.
  • Rub into skin too – Hydrates and softens skin underneath.
  • Use fingernails to scrape balm from the container – Don’t contaminate it with fingers.
  • Start with a pea-size amount first – Add more if needed.
  • Apply after showering – Hair follicles are open to better receive moisture.
  • Let balm sit for a few minutes before styling – Allow it to penetrate.
  • Style as desired – Balm lets you shape fuller beards.
  • Reapply as needed – Use daily or every other day.
  • Store in a cool, dark place – Heat and light degrade balm.

Avoid using too much beard balm as it can make hair look greasy or limp. Target problem areas like skin patches and ends. With the right application method, your beard will look healthy and well-maintained.

1. What is the role of butter in beard balm?

Butter in beard balm serves as a natural moisturizer and conditioner for your beard and the skin beneath. It helps soften and tame beard hair, making it more manageable and enhancing its overall appearance.

2. What types of butter are commonly used in beard balms?

Shea butter, cocoa butter, and mango butter are some of the most common types of butter used in beard balms. They provide nourishment, hydration, and a smooth texture to both the beard and the skin.

3. How does shea butter benefit my beard?

Shea butter is rich in vitamins and fatty acids that promote beard health. It helps reduce itchiness, flakiness, and dryness by providing deep hydration to both the hair and the underlying skin.

4. Can I use cocoa butter-based beard balm if I have sensitive skin?

Yes, cocoa butter is generally well-tolerated by sensitive skin. It has soothing properties and can help alleviate irritation. However, it’s recommended to do a patch test before applying it to your entire beard to ensure no adverse reactions occur.

5. Is mango butter suitable for all beard types?

Mango butter is suitable for most beard types. It’s lightweight, non-greasy, and absorbs well into the skin and hair. However, those with extremely oily skin might prefer using it in moderation.

6. What’s the difference between butter and carrier oils in beard balms?

Butter is thicker and has a creamy consistency, providing intense moisture and some degree of hold. Carrier oils are liquid and offer moisture, nutrients, and easier spreadability. Balms often contain a combination of both to provide various benefits.

7. Can I make my own beard balm with butter at home?

Yes, you can create your own beard balm using butter and other natural ingredients. There are many DIY recipes available online. Just ensure you’re using high-quality ingredients and following proper measurements for a well-balanced product.

8. How often should I apply a butter-based beard balm?

The frequency of application depends on your beard’s needs. In general, using beard balm 2-3 times a week should be sufficient. Adjust the frequency based on how your beard feels – if it’s dry, increase usage; if it’s oily, reduce.

9. Can I use butter-based beard balm on a short beard?

Yes, you can use beard balm on a short beard. However, since shorter beards require less styling and maintenance, you might need to use a smaller amount of balm to avoid overloading the hair.

10. Will butter-based beard balm make my beard look greasy?

When used in moderation and properly distributed, butter-based beard balms should not make your beard look greasy. Start with a small amount, and if needed, gradually increase until you find the right balance for your beard’s texture and length.


Beard balm with nourishing butter and oils is an essential product for maintaining a healthy, attractive beard. With so much plant-based butter to choose from, you can experiment with different options in your homemade balm recipes. Look for butters that melt to a liquid oil, absorb well, and provide hair-loving nutrients. By crafting your own balm with quality ingredients, you can hydrate and care for your beard hair without harsh chemicals. Your face fur will look and feel its best.

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