When your beard’s length increases beyond 2″, it’s usually recommended that you start using beard oil.
There are sebaceous glands under your facial hair skin and attached to the beard follicles, which produce the natural sebum oil, but the amount of oil they’re able to produce is finite.
The longer your beard gets, the harder it will be for the glands to keep up with the oil production.
“The cut-off point at which beard oil becomes beneficial is around 1.5 to 2 inches in length.”
But beard oils are expensive, and what most people aren’t telling you is that there are many cheap alternatives to premade beard oils.
That’s right, you don’t really have to succumb into buying a 1 oz. dropper bottle of $40 “premium” beard oil every month.
Beard oil substitutes are not only cheaper but can also provide better moisturization qualities in many cases. And even though I love a well-crafted beard oil, even I have to say that they’re rarely worth the price they’re sold at.
Alternatively, you could go ahead and start making your own DIY beard oils at home. As explained in our earlier article DIY beard oil recipe article, it’s about 10x cheaper to make your own from bulk supplies than it is to buy the premade stuff (and stupidly easy as well).
Let’s take a look at seven of the best low-budget beard oil substitutes that work just as well as the real deal, and why beard oil really isn’t that special, to begin with. ↓
Premade Beard Oils are Just Not That Special
One of the main reasons you should choose a beard oil substitute instead of premade beard oils is the price.
Let me explain:
The average 1 oz (30ml) beard oil bottle costs around $20, which makes it one of the most expensive men’s grooming products you could possibly own.
And even though many beard oil manufacturers will hype up their oils and claim that they use “only the most premium exotic carrier oils and essential oils in their formulation”…
The real indisputable fact is that there is no such thing as a “premium oil” and the best possible carrier oil you could ever use as a base in your beard oil (organic golden jojoba oil) costs about $25 for a 16 oz canister.
And if you would want to add in some nice essential oils for scent – which are commonly used in amounts like 2-10 drops – it would not be that expensive either.
Let’s use peppermint essential oil (PEO) as an example here…
You could buy a 1 oz bottle of high-quality peppermint essential oil for around $8, which provides a whopping 600 drops (enough to scent at least 60 beard oil bottles with).
Even with a formulation that has a couple of different essential oils, the bottle costs included, and a few good carrier oils, you would be hard-pressed to end up paying more than $5 for a 1 oz. bottle.
Bottom line: Beard oil is one of the most expensive – yet cheapest to produce – of the men’s beard products. There is a clear need for cheaper beard oil alternatives.
Cheap Beard Oil Alternatives that Work
Jojoba oil is considered to be one of the best – if not the best – carrier oil bases for beard oils.
And you can use it as a stand-alone beard oil substitute just as well, without having to pay for the brand.
Of course, the bigger bottle the cheaper it gets, but if you go with Naissance’s 3.4 fl oz (100ml) bottle of organic golden jojoba oil, it’s going to cost you less than eight bucks and lasts for about 3-4 months on an average-sized beard.
Jojoba oil is extremely good beard moisturizer that is light and anti-comedogenic (a fancy way of saying that it absorbs quickly and won’t block your pores).
It has no scent to it, contains some natural vitamin E, and since it’s mostly made of natural wax esters instead of fatty acids, it’s also extremely stable and has a long shelf-life.
“But the best part, of course, is that it’s a great cheap beard oil alternative that just plain and simply works.”
If you want to grab a bottle and use as an unscented beard oil substitute, you can get it here from Amazon (should be available at least in the UK and US). If you’d like to spice it up with some scent, consider buying a bottle of essential oil of your liking to add into it.
We have a 6-month old baby in the house, and as any parent knows, plenty of baby oil to go with it.
Ever so often after I’m done using the baby oil on the kid, I end up wiping the excess into my beard as a beard oil substitute.
Does it work?
You bet. Baby oil is amazing as a light beard moisturizer, and easily beats many of the expensive premade beard oils I’ve tried. It’s the cheapest beard oil substitute currently available.
The brand I’m using is the Johnson’s Hypoallergenic Baby Oil Enriched with Shea & Coconut Butter, which can be bought from Amazon for less than 5 bucks per 20 fl oz. an absolute steal of a price.
The ingredients are short and simple:
- Mineral oil
- Shea Butter
- and Cacao Butter.
And as it’s designed to be mild and suitable for babies, you can be damn sure that it will be just fine for the rough beard of an adult man as well.
Beard balm is a great beard oil substitute, but the problem with most premade beard balms on the market is that they suffer from the same issue as premade beard oils do…
They’re ridiculously expensive.
Not ArtNaturals though, their balm is currently selling for little over 6 dollars per 2oz tin, which is far less than the ~$20 average for most other beard balms.
It’s not the best beard balm on the market, but not that far off to be honest, and definitely the greatest low-budget choice.
The ingredient list is pretty good too, consisting of argan oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, mango butter, beeswax, and some orange essential oil for scent.
What’s the difference between beard oil and beard balm you ask?
The balm is formulated with mostly the same types of carrier oils and essential oils, it just has some beeswax in it as well which gives it a harder and waxier consistency. That’s all.
Bottom line: beard balm makes a good substitute for beard oil. They’re nearly identical in terms of ingredients, with the difference-maker being the beeswax in the balm.
Castor oil is commonly used as a beard thickening oil – although the evidence on it doing that is not too strong.
Though, it’s quite thick inconsistency, which can help you create a thicker looking beard visually speaking.
You can use it as a stand-alone budget alternative to beard oil or make some DIY formulations with castor oil, jojoba oil, and maybe some essential oils for scent.
What makes it a good beard oil replacement is the fact that the natural ricinoleic acids in are great for moisturizing and softening the beard, and that a 3.4 oz bottle will set you back just about five bucks.
Bottom line: Castor oil makes for a great beard oil alternative. Personally, I don’t like to use it alone as it’s so thick, but it goes really well in a blend of other oils.
Meadowfoam seed oil (Limnanthes Alba) is rarely used in beard oils, even though it’s one of the best carrier oils you could formulate into one.
It’s structurally very close to jojoba oil, as it’s also mostly natural wax esters, which are light, stable, and very shelf-stable.
There’s not much scent to it, and it is anti-comedogenic (doesn’t block pores, absorbs super fast).
“As a stand-alone beard oil alternative or ingredient to use in your homemade beard oils; it’s the bees-knees.”
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that it’s quite cheap – much more so than premade beard oils of course.
You can literally get a quart (32 oz) of the stuff in a canister for the same price that 1 oz. of some of the premium beard oils sell for (and in many cases, it works better than those).
Coconut oil is a great oil that you can consume orally, but not many know that it also offers great benefits for beard care.
There’s actually a study where coconut oil was tested against mineral oil and sunflower oil, for its skin and hair moisturizing benefits, and the results showed that out of those three; only coconut oil was able to permeate the hair fibers and moisturize the strands from deep within.
This is due to the low molecular weight of the oil.
Other beard-related benefits of coconut oil include the fact that it’s antibacterial, extremely shelf-stable and will never go rancid on your beard (due to the high amount of saturated oils), and it can also prevent protein-loss related damage of the hair follicles.
It just so happens to work really well as a cheap beard oil substitute as well, with a 200g (7 oz.) jar currently costing just little over $14 on Amazon. It may be a bit greasier than jojoba oil or the meadowfoam seed oil, so I would personally use it just as a night-time beard oil.
Could basic food-grade olive oil be used as a beard oil substitute?
Yeah, why not. In fact, I have previously written a full article about using olive oil as a beard oil here.
It’s very similar in consistency and fatty-acid ratios to argan oil – and argan is considered one of the top carrier oils.
“Olive oil does have a bit of a pungent scent due to the natural bitter glycoside; oleuropein, so I wouldn’t personally use it as a stand-alone beard oil alternative…”
But when mixed into a blend that has some light non-comedogenic oils like jojoba or meadowfoam seed, it works great.
High-quality olive oil is dirt-cheap, and way cheaper than premade beard oils, as a 33 oz bottle will set you back just about 25 bucks.
It also doesn’t matter if some of the olive oil gets into your mouth as well, since there’s a study showing that when Moroccan men switched their main fat source to olive oil for 2-weeks, their testosterone levels jumped by 17.4%…
Considering that testosterone is one of the most important hormones for beard growth, using olive oil not only topically for the beard but also as part of a beard boosting diet, would not be a bad idea.
Beard oil is ridiculously expensive if you buy it premade and from a “premium” manufacturer.
I have nothing against capitalism or any business making money, but considering the 10x or more margins in the industry, it’s time for the consumer to wake up and think if it would be better to just switch to beard oil substitutes or DIY beard oils.
I hope this article opened your eyes and you’re willing to give a shot to the alternatives of beard oils. You’d be surprised how effective some of them are, especially the jojoba oil and meadowfoam seed oil.
That’s all I have for you today. Thanks for reading and keep on beardin’.