two-panel with bearded man on the left and bottle of baby oil on the right

What? Baby oil for facial hair… That’s nuts?

Or is it really?

Baby oil is most commonly just purified mineral oil. It’s light and emollient, which is why it can be used as beard oil straight from the bottle. If you want you can mix some essential oils like peppermint oil into it to make a cheap and easy homemade beard oil.

Baby Oil Can Be Used on Facial Hair

baby oil bottle top view

There are three types of baby oils on the market, and they’re all decent substitutes for premade beard oil.

  • The common kind (Johnson’s baby oil, etc) which are completely clear and most often mineral oil (petroleum) or lanolin based.
  • The plant-oil/vegetable oil kind which often contains jojoba oil or sunflower oil as their main ingredient and is free of mineral oils or lanolin.
  • The mixtures which are often sold as creams or lotions, that tend to have both the mineral oil and some plant oils inside the bottle.

If you’re going to use baby oil for your beard, I highly recommend you to only use the plant oil-based and not the popular mineral oil-laden ones or the mixtures.

Sure, the clear mineral oil-based baby oils can’t oxidize and are purified and refined to be completely free of allergens and impurities, but they’re also greasy, clog the pores, and their structure doesn’t allow them to penetrate deep into the skin and inside the facial hair fibers.

Jojoba oil or coconut oil-based baby oils (but not sunflower oil), are of such low molecular weight and have just the right type of carbon-carbon bonds in their structure that they can penetrate the beard hair fibers, as well as penetrate deep into the skin tissue without clogging the pores.

Because of this reason, baby oil makes a great beard oil substitute, but only the kind that is mineral oil and lanolin-free and uses jojoba oil or coconut oil as the main ingredient.

Another reason to use baby oil for beard instead of the normal premade “beard oils” is the price.

An average beard oil sells for around $20 for a measly 1 oz. bottle, whereas a bottle of high-quality mineral oil and lanolin-free baby oil sells for about 7$ for a bottle six times bigger than your average beard oil dropper bottle.

If you compare them, it’s actually a no-brainer to get baby oil over beard oil.

– Beard oil – 1 oz bottle for ~$20 – usually chock-full of poor quality vegetable oils like sunflower or rapeseed oil, which is prone to lipid peroxidation and oxidative damage. Most recipes contain oils that can’t penetrate the beard fibers.

– Baby oil (mineral oil-free) – 6 oz bottle for ~$7 – commonly uses jojoba oil as the carrier oil which is a liquid wax ester and therefore doesn’t oxidize and cause free-radical damage. It’s also able to penetrate facial hair fibers and non-comedogenic.

Based off of my math and reasoning, baby oil wins beard oil any day of the week. It just has to be the right kind of baby oil.

The Best Type of Baby Oil for Beard Use

jojoba oil and coconut two panel

Since I live in Finland, my selection of baby oils is far different from the US (which is where most of you, our readers are from).

But the baby oil I use for my son and apply to my beard had just these ingredients:

“Jojoba oil (Simmondsia Chinensis), Purified Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera), Marigold Extract (source of vitamin E)”.

That’s amazing for beard use. Three ingredients that won’t suppress the androgenic beard hormones, and the only oils that can effectively penetrate the hair follicle structure.

So I tried looking for the US Amazon to see whether it had any baby oils with similar ingredients – and without mineral oil, lanolin, or poor quality vegetable oils like sunflower oil – I was quick to note that there weren’t any.

That doesn’t stop us, you can make your own.

The only things we need are…

  • Container or a dropper bottle.
  • Organic pure jojoba oil.
  • Virgin coconut oil.

Then just take the virgin coconut oil container and warm it up under a hot faucet so it turns liquid. Once it does, add about 1/10th of your container with coconut oil.

Then whip out your bottle of organic jojoba oil, and fill the rest 9/10ths of the container with that. Close the cap and give it a shake.

Congratulations, you now have your very own DIY baby oil beard oil. With the same amazing beard nourishing ingredients that the premade baby oil had which I found in Finland.


So should you use baby oil with mineral oil (petroleum) for the beard?

Absolutely not. Mineral oil is only good for holding on to moisture, but also blocks the pores and is too greasy to pass through the fibers of the facial hair.

Should you use plant-based baby oil for the beard?

Yes, if the main ingredients are jojoba oil, coconut oil, or olive oil. Both jojoba and coconut oil are quick to absorb deep into the skin without clogging the pores, while they can also permeate the beard hair fibers and moisturize the beard from within.

I wouldn’t use sunflower seed oil or rapeseed oil-based baby oil (or beard oil for that matter) on the facial hair. Both are unable to enter the hair fibers and are also primarily polyunsaturated fatty acids which means that they quickly go rancid when exposed to oxygen, heat, or light.

To recap:

  • Baby oil with mineral oil or lanolin = not good for the beard.
  • baby oil with jojoba oil or coconut oil  = amazing for the beard.
  • Plant oil-based baby oils with sunflower oil or rapeseed oil = bad for the beard.

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Ali is a published author and a beard grooming expert. To this date, his articles have been read more than 15-million times on various sites, and he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and grow thicker. His work has been featured and cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.


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