What's The Best Beard Oil For Your Money?

I compared beard oil from Tom Ford, Bulldog, Gruum Leif and The Bearded Man Co.

In Spenny vs Penny we compare the products we love, with those following in their (sometimes pricey) footsteps. Here we compare beard oils from Tom Ford, Bulldog, Gruum Leif and The Bearded Man Co to find out whether you really need to spend lots on skincare to get results.

The fantasy of a beard doesn’t quite live up to the reality of having one. In my head I look resplendent, like Game Of Thrones’ giants’-milk-swilling Tormund Giantsbane, but all too often I more resemble a man who has slipped through a few cracks in life.

There are beards that make men look like sexy lumberjacks, and beards that make them look like they’ve only ever made bad decisions – not in a ‘bad boy’ kind of way, in a ‘rubbish man’ kind of way. I am very much in the second camp.

Me vs Tormund Giantsbane
Me vs Tormund Giantsbane

But, God, there are some beautiful beards out there. Perfectly symmetrical, flawless examples of facial topiary that somehow manage to look just as good worn above a suit and tie as they do dangling off a mountain or axe-fighting a shark.

The men who sport these glorious chinlocks always make it look effortless, but there’s obviously a lot going on behind-the-scenes, with a huge selection of beard shampoos, grooming kits, waxes and oils out there.

Beard oil seems to be key in creating that alpha male look. Well known enough to be used as a bit of an anti-hipster punchline, yet clearly pretty great if the vibrantly glistening jaws of glorious hairy men are anything to go by. Which to go for, though?

The idea of voluntarily making my beard smell like tobacco seemed odd – why would I want to honk like I was on forty a day? – but it turns out, rather than smelling like a chain-smoker’s knuckle, this stuff smells incredible. There’s a lovely light creamy fragrance to it, like my face is enveloped in a creme caramel, but with an earthy aroma going on underneath it.

With its fancy bottle and how smooth it makes my beard feel, I only have two complaints: firstly, for me it is unjustifiably expensive, and secondly, I keep trying to stick my moustache up my nose to smell it – and that is not a good look.

This made my beard look fuller and bushier than it is, which was great, and was the best one I tried in terms of my unruly beard staying vaguely in the shape.

The Earth option – spearmint, thyme and rosemary – smells fantastic, although quite, er, for want of a better word, dental. Pleasant minty wafts kept drifting into my nose for ages after applying it, which made the world seem a little fresher than usual.

It’s also the most environmentally-friendly of the bunch, featuring no plastic at all. So that gets extra brownie points.

There’s a tendency in men’s cosmetics to have the most needlessly masculine name imaginable – there’ll be stuff that smells like pot-pourri but is inexplicably named Iron Bicep. Bulldog (tagline: “Man’s Best Friend”) is part of this tradition, and sports some impressively laissez-faire instructions: “Drop desired amount of oil into palm”. If you’re a bit of a beard oil novice you might not know what a desired amount is, and end up dripping in the stuff, looking like you’ve dipped your beard in a fryer.

Find the right amount, though, and it’s really pleasant. It has a pleasingly non-specific smell I can only really describe as “after-shavey”, and renders my beard less coarse while not making it look, well, like it’s got oil in it. If Jason Statham ever makes a Santa film, this is the stuff he’ll use.

The Sicilian Lemon flavour of this smells really fresh, but has more than a hint of kitchen cleaner to it – probably the fault of the kitchen cleaner industry more than the Bearded Man Company, to be fair, but it’s enough to give me pause. I feel like anything I gain from the lovely texture this stuff gives my beard – smooth without being greasy – is potentially lost if people think I’ve been cleaning the kitchen with my face.

This jumbo bottle holds ten times as much as some of the others tested, which is great from a value perspective, but it also feels a bit less classy. The bottle is more akin to something you’d expect to get aftersun out of, which probably shouldn’t matter but somehow does.

We all work hard to earn our money – so it shouldn’t feel like hard work to spend it well. At HuffPost Finds we’ll help you find the best stuff that deserves your cash, from the ultimate lipstick to a durable iron to replace the one that broke (RIP). All our choices are completely independent but we may earn a small commission if you click a link and make a purchase.