Beard Balm

I experimented with beard balm years ago after my beard started getting longer than 5 or 6 inches. My beard oil was good at keeping it softer and conditioned, but didn’t have any hold. I hit on a commercial one really quickly, but years later, my favorite beard balm seems to have changed their formula. It smells bad and doesn’t have the same consistency. No worries, time to make my own.

I know from a lot of my other work that you can thin out wax with oils to get anywhere from paste wax to a fairly stiff mustache wax. I wanted to start with a base of my regular beard oil and try stiffening it with shea butter and beeswax. I went through a number of iterations over a few months to find something I liked.

I would call it a hit or miss process, but it was mostly miss. Almost everything was too stiff. I kept adding oil to the first batch till I almost completely filled the cup. The ingredients for the oil are kind of expensive. I should have started with a cheap oil at the right melting point instead of my beard oil. The shea butter was making it difficult, so I removed that ingredient. In the end I found a 4.5:1 ratio of oil to wax that was soft enough to spread, but hard enough to hold. My bathroom was looking like an odd place for a while.

Final Recipe: By weight
4.5 parts beard oil
1 part beeswax

With that ratio established and having been used for a few weeks I went about making a lot more of it. Instead of using the PET (which will hold up to gentle heating) cups I upgraded to glass jars. I mixed up a big batch of the beard oil and got to work at the double boiler.

Jars and cups make it hard to extract the beard balm by hand, so I went with finger friendly 2oz tins for easy use. I managed to pour all of them without making a huge mess too!

A new beard product requires a new logo. I sculpted the beard so it looks a bit more like my real one these days. Over a foot long deployed, but only 3 or 4 inches when wrapped up. This much balm ought to last me for a number of years, or make a lot of nice gifts for my bearded cohorts.

While I was making oily messes in the kitchen I mixed up a whole pint of my shave oil. I use this every time I hsave and wouldn’t be without it. It makes good gifts and is cheap/easy to make for yourself. A pint of this stuff should last me for years as well.

Pre-Shave Oil

A while back I made a few batches of pre-shave oil.  It went over well and has served my skin nicely since.  It is time to make more!  After having used both numerous times I think the menthol was not a great choice.  It has too much of a cooling effect which is not what you want in a warm shave.  This time will be sandalwood only.

Step 1: Gather up some brown bottles, measuring and mixing supplies, and the oils.


Step 2: Mix 2 parts castor oil, 1 part olive oil, and a generous dash of your favorite essential oils for aroma.  The two oils have quite a different shade of yellow at first.  They get almost cloudy when mixed until they mix completely, then it is all clear again.


Step 3: Bottle with a tiny funnel and put a zazzy logo on them.  I wanted to use the phrase “For a shine that is hard to beat… and look directly into”, but it didn’t fit on the label.


Pre-Shave Oil – Gift Ideas

Christmas is right around the corner, and I have lots of co-workers and friends.  I had planned earlier in the year to make pepper mills for everyone.  They take at least 4 hours and 30+ dollars to make.  So on second thought I will do something more attainable.  This is the first in a small series of easy gift ideas for friends and family.

I shave my head and at times my face.  This ends up being a lot of shaving.  Over the years I have honed my process and tried a lot of products.  One that I picked up recently was a pre-shave oil from a favorite company.  The oil goes on before you apply shaving cream, always with a hot wet badger brush, and helps keep the blade lubricated while soothing the skin.  It really enhances the shave and keeps my skin happy, buuuuuut it is expensive.  Time to DIY!

I made the first batch a month or two ago and have been really happy with the results.  Making it is easy!  Mix a 2:1 ratio of castor oil and olive oil, then add essential oils as desired.  I started by making 6 ounces of the oil base, and used about 20ml of sandalwood oil.  The true sandalwood oil is really pricey, but still way cheaper than buying the finished product.  

The second batch used another round of base, but instead of essential oils I used menthol crystals.  It turns out menthol is a derivative of peppermint oil, and in its pure form comes in little crystals.  You have to heat the oil to get them to mix.  A minute in the microwave at medium power did the trick.  I used 1 ounce of menthol for 9 ounces of shave oil.  Everything got transferred into 1 ounce glass bottles with droppers.  It only takes 4-5 drops to get a good coating on your face.

Recipe and Use:

  1. Mix 2 parts castor oil with 1 part olive oil
  2. Add essential oils till desired aroma level is reached
  3. If using menthol crystals heat mixture lightly to aid crystal incorporation

Very simple to make and use!

  1. Wash face with warm water
  2. Place 4-5 drops of oil in your hand
  3. Rub oil between hands and all over skin to be shaved
  4. Apply shaving cream and shave as normal