Sometimes the number of various products marketed for hair care can get overwhelming, and even dubious. For example, does the average person really need different wax for their beard and for their hair? Can the difference really be that significant?
Beard wax can be used for head hair, but it would likely be a poor substitute. Beard waxes provide significant hold and can be used to tame unruly facial hair, but they lack the moisturizing and protective components of hairstyling wax. They also do not offer the same hold as traditional hairstyling products, including hair wax, gel, and pomade.
Keep reading to find out the differences between hair styling products and beard wax, as well as whether or not it would work in a pinch.
Why you shouldn’t use beard wax on your hair
The base of beard wax is usually either made from fatty substances that are solid at room temperature (e.g., coconut oil, shea butter), petroleum jelly, or beeswax. Finding a blend of these base ingredients is common, too.
While nothing disastrous will happen if you use beard wax on the hair atop your head, there are some cons to consider:
- Beard wax is less likely to keep your hairstyle set
- The texture of your hair will look off
- Your scalp health will suffer
- Beard wax will take longer to apply
Remember that purpose of beard wax is to act as a kind of sealant. Good beard wax is specifically designed to work with one of the more sensitive areas of your skin so it can simultaneously be overbearing or underpowered if you try to use it in other applications.
Less likely to maintain hairstyle
The plethora of waxes available for your hair range in the types of firmness and shine they can offer.
There is not so much diversity for beard and mustache waxes. Facial hair waxes are often weaker than pomade since most people don’t want their beards to look too stiff.
Hair styling products, on the other hand, are available in a variety of holds.
Bad for hair’s texture
This doesn’t apply to everybody, but for those who like their hair to have a windswept or dynamic look, beard wax is even less likely to be a good substitute for hair wax.
Unless you’re using a vaseline-based product or are willing to over-comb, traditional beard and mustache waxes will leave a more chunky look in your hair.
Guys looking for a less obvious hold should veer away from waxes of all varieties and consider a mousse or cream.
Bad for scalp health
The scalp and hair care products like shampoo and conditioner can create a very complicated microbiome. Preventing excessive dandruff or sebum buildup sometimes depends on using ingredients like zinc pyrithione to inhibit oxidation and other effects of the family of bacteria known as Malasezzia, which only lives on the scalp.
Using any product not designed for this microbiome, including beard wax, could cause unpredictable discomfort.
If you have a sensitive scalp or a complex haircare routine, it’s best to stick to specially designed hairstyling products.
Slower to apply
Some of the above cons can be smoothed over with time and attention.
You can make a beard wax work in your hair by brushing thoroughly and taking the time to work the product into it to achieve a looser hold. Still, this may not work for particularly fine or textured hair that doesn’t do well with excessive brushing.
Proper application of improper material will, of course, take longer to get right.
Can I use beard wax on my eyebrows?
According to modern science, eyebrows are made of the same sort of keratin and exist in the same sort of follicles as other hairs on the body. But eyebrow follicles exist in higher density, are extra sensitive, and have to deal with more moisture and sweat than other parts of the body.
Beard wax is not designed to be applied to a place on your body with the same level of sensitivity or sweat as your eyebrows. That being said, there is no lasting harm that will happen if you use beard wax on your eyebrows. Just don’t expect great results, and keep in mind that harder wax tends to be tougher to apply but better for your skin.
Of course, this is not the same as the wax used by professionals to remove hair. That is referred to as ‘strip waxing.’
What’s the difference between beard wax and balm?
Beards, especially long or bushy beards, are prime real estate for a variety of hair care products.
Beard balm refers to products that are like pomade, or beard oil mixed with a little wax substance, which are meant to benefit your beard and skin health. They are normally scented, as well. Beard wax, on the other hand, is composed mostly of waxy substances, is less likely to be scented, and is meant to style and structure your beard.
There is more in common between beard oil and beard balm than beard wax. Both balm and oil for your beard are softer and more nourishing for your skin than wax. In balm’s case, this is because it contains butters and/or waxes that increase its viscosity and absorption.
You can use both at once. If you choose to do so, then be sure to rub in the balm (or oil) before the wax. You should apply balm after you’ve washed and dried your facial hair, but it’s still damp. The wax is better for when your beard is even drier than that.
Can you use beard balm on your hair?
There is no good reason to use beard balm on your hair beyond sheer curiosity or desperation. That being said, it is unlikely you will cause any lasting harm by using beard balm on your hair.
Beard balm, like beard oil, is usually mostly composed of argan or jojoba oil plus moisturizing butter. These ingredients are normal to apply to your hair, but the ratios and other ingredients used in beard balm are meant to maximize hydration for your facial skin, which is not going to be the same as the hydration needed by your scalp.
Some people think of beard balm as a “leave-in conditioner.” That may sound like the perfect thing for your hair, but be mindful of what ingredients will or won’t work for you. The volume adders like mango or shea butter won’t harm you, but certain zinc-base active agents might.
Also, be aware of whether or not your beard balm is water-soluble or not (most aren’t). If it is not, then it will be difficult to rinse out of your hair in case it starts to build up or react negatively with your scalp.
Is beard wax harmful?
Beard wax is to beards as hairspray is to hair. Daily usage of either is not inherently damaging. But they will likely not help the health of your hair, instead being neutral for your skin and positive for your style.
While some companies can concoct waxes with harmful ingredients, most beard wax is not harmful. Proper use and monitoring for any allergic reactions are the keys to having a good relationship with your beard wax.
Of course, the usual caveat of everything in moderation applies to beard wax. When combined with beard balms and regular showers or baths, the application of wax can be a good addition to your personal hygiene routine.