This article was originally written on Beard Profile, which is merging with the Beard Wiki. It is written by the same author and founder of both websites, but uses a different voice from what the Beard Wiki traditionally uses. Some of these transferred articles may or may not have sources included.
While growing out your beard — particularly if you’re one of the guys on the Minoxidil Journey — you may ask the question “what beard oil should I use?“
Beard oils are specific products marketed toward us bearded gentlemen that contain a number of common ingredients; from carrier oils such as coconut, argan and jojoba, to essential oils like rosemary, sandalwood and cedarwood. Beard oils are made up of a mixture of these carrier and essential oils, and sometimes more. (Note that some of these ingredients are DHT blockers, which is bad for our beards).
Castor oil is one of these carrier oils, the cold-pressed version of Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
Oh yeah, that’s what Jamaican Black Castor Oil is regularly abbreviated as. Known to help treat a number of ailments including Alopecia areata (a type of hair loss), JBCO is a castor oil that’s handmade in Jamaica by roasting the seeds of the castor oil plant. Being high in triglycerides, the fatty acids in found castor oil are also what make up most of the body fat in humans. Good to put on your skin? Definitely.
Most of the benefits, however, are anecdotal and there aren’t really any clinical trials I can point you to. But with thousands of people seeing growth on their eyelashes, eyebrows and elsewhere, it’s hard not to recommend castor as a potential beard asset. If anything, it’s at least a very good moisturizer.
Unlike pressing the castor beans without heat when making yellow castor oil, in Jamaica they roast the bean first, which is what gives it its ashy smell. This results in a less pure product with ash content, raising its pH levels. These higher pH levels are what’s said to give JBCO an edge over cold-pressed castor oil, with more ash content being better. Scientifically, this hasn’t been proven. Also, the bean is actually a seed.
JBCO will have a thick consistency, fairly similar to honey. It should be dark in color, though it can also look fairly golden-brown if there’s not a lot of ash in it. There is an extra dark version of the oil as well.
It’s hard to use this stuff wrong, but it’s good to give a basic guideline on how it can be done.
- Wash or rinse face prior to use
- Pat dry with a towel or cloth — leaving your beard damp is best when applying just about any product, and be gentle with using towels on your beard. Again, pat it dry, don’t scrub or wipe your beard hair.
- Pour some of the JBCO into the palm of your hand. A size of about a US quarter dollar should be sufficient for your entire beard area (skin and hair of the beard area).
- Using your other hand, dip your fingers into the oil and then start applying to the beard area, in a downward stroking motion. Use gentle pressure, but not too much. You’ll want the oil to be on your skin as a priority, not the beard itself.
- Get everything: sideburns, ‘stache, chin, under-lip area, neck and so on.
- With what’s left over in your hands, rub them together and then spread downward across the beard hair to seal in extra moisture. If you’re using it on a bare face, you don’t need to do this, simply wash the oil from your hands.
- Leave in anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours.
You can leave it in overnight or throughout the whole day, but if you’re using this oil generously, remember that products can clog your pores. This is why we recommend washing after some time, but it’s not always necessary. Use less oil if you’d like to leave it in for longer. Since many oils like JBCO are comedogenic (clog pores), you’ll want to be careful not to have that happen. The rating for JBCO is very low, however, and is much less likely to cause clogged pores compared to the oils with higher ratings.
There are also specific beard oils that you can use that have JBCO as a primary ingredient, should you want something that smells nicer and if you definitely want to leave it in and not smell like an ashy, roasted seed.
For quicker reference back to the products we’ve listed in this article, you can find them easily below.