Before You Buy: Understand The Difference Between A Mustache Wax, Oil, and Balm
First and foremost its important to understand the purpose of a mustache wax. Men who are just starting out on growing their beard often get tripped up on the actual purpose of a mustache wax.
Often times when looking for the absolute best mustache wax, you come across other beard conditioners such as beard balms and oils.
At first they seem like they would be one of the same, after all they share many of the same ingredients (I will touch on this in a minute).
But in actuality the three most popular beard products (oil, balm, and wax) are completely different products for completely different use cases.
A Beard Oil Is Strictly For Conditioning
Of all three of the products being compared, beard oil is by and far the most popular. Being made primarily of two core ingredients, carrier and essential oils, beard oils main purpose is to make your skin and beard well nourished and soft.
If you are not familiar with beard oil, here are a few things to remember:
When first growing out your beard, your skin beneath your beard will start to dry out. When it becomes incredibly dry, you start to experience some flaking (commonly referred to as beardruff).
Therefore the carrier oils within a beard oil solution act as a key supplement to your natural sebum oil.
Beeswax, or any holding agent, is noticeably absent within this product. This means that as soon as you apply the product and if you step out into a windy day or just simply run your hand through your beard, the style that it was left when you combed or brushed it has been changed.
In short, beard oil will give you an unkempt look given that it has no holding or styling agents but delivers key moisture and nutrients to your skin and beard.
Beard Balm Is a Hybrid Between Beard Oil and Mustache Wax
While also containing both carrier and essential oils just like a beard oil, balms also contain a hint of wax along with butter (typically of the shea or cocoa variety).
Therefore a beardsman that uses a beard balm, will receive the conditioning benefits just like an oil with a soft hold through the addition of beeswax.
Typically combing or brushing your beard after applying beard balm, you can expect your beard to stay in place for only a few hours.
Therefore if you are trying to make sure that beard hairs aren’t curling up into your mouth and you haven’t fully trained your beard with a beard brush, the addition of beeswax in beard balm isn’t enough to make a significant difference in preventing unruly hairs from occurring.
Generally beard balm helps with the overall shape of your beard, but not the tiny little hairs in small specific areas.
For optimal control, products like a mustache wax will serve you much better:
The Best Mustache Wax Will Keep Every Follicle In Check!
So now that we covered both oils and balms, how does a mustache wax weigh into the equation?
If you look at the label of mustache waxes you will see many of the same ingredients contained within both oil and balms, however, the ratios in a mustache wax are completely different when compared to the other products.
First and foremost, mustache wax is not a conditioner and its not really going to give you that many benefits for your actual skin or follicle at all.
While indeed it does contain carrier oil, the primary ingredient in most mustache waxes, is well, beeswax.
Mustache wax in of itself will allow you to make your beard go in pretty much any direction that you choose. Its an all natural and safe alternative to other holding products that are filled with nasty chemicals.
So whether you have mustache hairs that are curling up into your mouth, or you simply want to have a killer handlebar mustache, mustache wax will help you style your facial hair in any way shape or form.
Now there are a few things to note when actually trying to pick out a mustache wax:
First and foremost you want to think about the hold that you are looking to achieve. Most mustache wax companies will classify their product as giving a soft, medium, or hard/firm/strong hold. So if you are looking to have your mustache or any part of your beard stay in place throughout the day then you may want to pick up a wax that delivers a stronger hold.
In addition to hold, another key component to selecting a mustache wax is the actual color of the wax itself.
Typically when selecting a wax to use, you will want to get one that resembles your natural hair color. Therefore if you have lighter facial hair, then you will want to pick up a wax that is lighter in color, and the opposite holds true for waxes that are a bit darker in color as well.
There are indeed several mustache waxes out there that are white in color, with the final application intended to be clear when applied to your beard and/or mustache.
What Is Mustache Wax Made Out Of?
As eluded to above, mustache wax is primarily made up of beeswax. Beeswax in of itself is a styling agent as well as a protectant for your beard follicles.
The majority of any mustache wax is going to contain mostly beeswax, this is especially true for the mustache waxes that provide a much stronger of a hold.
In addition to beeswax, there may be other styling agents added to a mustache wax such as pine sap, which will further strengthen the hold throughout the day, thus requiring less touch-up applications to keep your beard or mustache in check.
Styling agents aside, mustache wax does actually also contain carrier and essential oils.
Carrier oils are an incredible ingredient for providing a rich amount of nourishment and moisture for both your skin and your hair follicles.
Carrier oils are the base ingredients in both balms and oils for good reason. As your beard follicles get longer, they require more moisture from your skin. This moisture is primarily given off by the sebeaceous glands at the root of your hair follicle, as they produce an oil called sebum oil.
When your beard or mustache gets a bit longer, the skin will start to dry out and feel quite itchy. The introduction of carrier oils through beard oils and balms help relieve this discomfort and stop the eventual occurrence of beardruff (dandruff in your beard). In addition, carrier oils will also make your beard feel a whole lot softer and lessen your chance of the follicles developing split ends from being too dried out.
Here’s the kicker though:
Mustache wax is NOT a beard conditioner, therefore you should never use mustache wax in place of a beard balm or oil.
There just simply isn’t enough carrier oil within a mustache wax to provide an adequate coverage and moisture.
Therefore, if your mustache is getting rather long and feels a bit brittle or straw-like, you will also want to consider adding in a beard oil or balm to your daily routine in order to ensure an adequate nourishment and moisture.
The other primary oil within mustache wax is going to be the essential oils. Essential oils within mustache wax really doesn’t provide any benefits regarding the actual hold and performance of the wax.
So you might be wondering why essential oils are even a part of the mixture in the first place?
An essential oil main role within mustache wax is going to be to provide scents. Being that this product is going to be literally resting just beneath your nose, you want to make sure it smells pretty good right?
Essential oils can really take on several different types of scents as there are literally hundreds of them to choose from.
Typically the most popular essential oils that men tend to gravitate towards are the oils that smell a bit more earthy. Therefore you will typically see products with sandalwood, pine, cedarwood oils heavily used.
But of course, there is nothing wrong with going to other scents as well! Therefore don’t be surprised if you see some mustache waxes with lavender, citrus, cinnamon, etc also available. Its largely a personal preference on what fragrances you like.
Tips On Applying A Mustache Wax
Applying a mustache wax is actually pretty easy.
But first a quick note:
As stressed earlier, mustache wax is not a beard conditioner, therefore if you are looking to further condition a mustache or beard, you will want to first apply a beard balm or oil before applying any mustache wax.
To get started, you simply want to scrape out with your thumbnail about a pea sized amount (a little goes a long way). Once scraped out you will want to then take that bit of mustache wax and then gently massage it between both your thumb and index finger.
You will want to continue doing this until the wax has been fully melted.
After its melted then you will want to work it in to the areas of your face, be it beard or mustache, until you achieve the desired results.
To make application easier, some men do like to place their wax into hot water in order to effectively thaw it out before scraping out with their thumbnail. Another thawing method would be to use a blow dryer and directly point it towards the wax tin.
A good routine to try is before you hop in the shower, fill up your sink with hot water, make sure that your tin is fully closed (or perhaps even seal it in a zip lock bag if necessary), and then place the mustache wax tin in the water.
Once you jump out of the shower, you can take out the wax tin and have a product that is much more pliable and ultimately easy to work with.
Looking at All Mustache Waxes on Amazon
While we are only checking out a handful of products in this review, we didn’t want to leave any other companies in the dark or feel excluded from the process.
Therefore we went ahead and used Amazon’s API and queried it to build a list of all the products that are classified as a mustache wax, therefore products that were advertised as a beard wax & balm, or conditioner were excluded from this process.
In addition we did have a one other requirement:
- Must have at least 30 reviews
The reasoning behind this requirement were as follows:
When it comes to Amazon reviews, its commonly believed that some manufacturers buy positive reviews for themselves while also buying negative reviews for their competitor. Therefore to try and account for this rating manipulation, we wanted to at least make sure that a product has a handful of reviews.
In addition you will see in the chart below that the size of the circle is actually determined by the number of reviews that were given, therefore a larger circle = more reviews.
Last but not least, folks may wonder why we just picked Amazon and not other online retailers or directly from the mustache wax manufacturers. The reasoning behind this is that Amazon has a queryable API where it makes things a bit easier, it has a standardized and simple rating and review process, and lastly, its an insanely popular online merchant with more data points than any others out there.
You see if we were to go to each mustache wax manufacturers site, there could be censorship with the reviews effectively making even the most subpar mustache wax look incredibly good. Lastly, there is no standardization for all the vendors, they may use different scales and metrics to make up the final rating of a mustache wax.
With all that being said, here is an objective look at all the mustache waxes available on Amazon (current as of April 2016):
How The Final Rating Determined to Figure Out The 2017 Best Mustache Wax
Styling Ability: As we covered above, there are several different components that make up a mustache wax, but by and far the most important facet was the actual hold. Therefore we put the most weight on this category for all the products reviewed.
Value: To determine value, we look at how a particular mustache wax is compared to others on the market and simply ask “is there better alternatives out there for the same price?”. Therefore those that are priced higher should simply be a better product and deliver better styling hold along with a better scent.
Scent: This category is by and far one of the most subjective categories given that every person has a difference preference. What may smell epic to us may not smell so great for you. The amount of weight assigned to this category is very little. However if a product just simply smells rancid, we will score accordingly.
Peer Reviews: Taking what we learned from the market data above with other mustache wax manufacturers, we weigh in what folks have thought about this product through several different forms of qualitative and quantitative research.
Final Rating: When everything is added up across each one of the rating metrics above, we will assign a final score to the mustache wax and ultimately deciding which one will carry the crown of being the best mustache wax of 2017!