Whether you’re a daily shaver, the posterchild for today’s modern beardsman or something in between, there are no shortage of companies online and off attempting to target and sell male grooming products to every possible niche across this wide and lucrative spectrum.
And while the cacophony of product assortments presents a world of choice in nearly every category, it also produces a world of overlapping, redundancies, decreasing the overall benefit to consumers–not the other way around.
For instance, can you justify a shampoo dedicated to your beard or will simple head shampoo suffice?
Or do you need a dedicated safety razor to shave and manscape your man parts (yes, they do exist) when simply swapping a out a blade would suffice?
Similarly, there are so many soaps, creams, balms, oils and lubes for everything from growing a beard to shaving one that the areas of potential overlap are everywhere.
Male grooming products in the oil category are one such niche with a high amount of redundancy, particularly those targeting pre-shave accouterments and beard oil.
Beard Oil vs. Pre-Shave Oil
The similarities between beard oil and pre-shave oil formulas are uncanny. Both use some type of carrier oil as the “base.” The carrier oil (more often jojoba or coconut-based) provides most of the beard/pre-shave oil by volume and does most of the heavy active work of moisturization and protection.
Other essential oils are added to the mix. These are provided to help:
- Liven up the scent. Jojoba or coconut on their own—while they make a great moisturizing oil—fail to provide anything more than a protective barrier (in the case of a pre-shave oil) or a moisturizing agent (in the case of the beard oil). Essential oils are the secret sauce that give both beard oils and pre-shave oils the robust flavor many expect. There are quite literally no shortage of flavor combinations between varying essential oils. The sky is truly the limit.
- Provide a anti-microbial properties. Some essential oils, in the right concentration, can provide beneficial antimicrobial properties, causing the oil itself to hold a longer shelf life and protect your face and beard from potential infection.
In any case, essential oils can be very potent. If not used in the right concentration (or, in most cases, dilution), they can irritate and even burn the skin. This is one of the reasons many would-be DIY beard and pre-shave oil creators are advised to act with extreme care when mixing home-brewed oil recipes.
The Multipurpose “Man” Oil
One of the biggest benefits of these types of oils is that they can easily be used interchangeably.
Here’s a perfect example of a real world application.
Rob is a quasi-regular shaver who shaves with pre-shave oil, shaving soap and his favorite safety razor two to three times per week. Movember rolls around and Rob wants to show his support for the cause by sporting his manly mane. In doing so, he starts to experience the gnarly, but natural, itch that accompanies the grow-out of a quality hedge. Luckily though, Rob had some great smelling pre-shave oil on hand. Rob starts a regular beard oil routine using his great smelling pre-shave oil.
Because both oils include the same nourishing carrier oil base with a skin-comfortable amount of pre-shave oil, it’s easy to use them interchangeably, depending on your seasonal needs or personal preferences. For the rustic man that uses classic shaving equipment, including a shaving brush, pre-shave oil, shaving soap and safety razor during the summer, but sports his mane in the winter, the same bottle of pre-shave/beard oil is likely to comfortably work for him in any scenario he needs.
We might rightly refer to it as multi-purpose man oil, rather than just “beard” or “pre-shave” oil.
As an interchangeable tool across seasons, Rob will not have to worry about the shelf life of his “man” oil outlasting his beard routine when it starts shaving again, because he can simply use the oil as preparation for his shaving lather application.
Marketers have done a great job peddling the need for nearly every type of accessory required to have a great beard (or shave) experience, depending on the circumstance. However, in many cases, we can overcome and eliminate redundancies, thus saving money and being more effective in our overall grooming habits. The use of multipurpose man oil is a true win-win in creative grooming conservation.
What other ways have you found to use your beard oil?