Beards have made a massive comeback lately and whether you have full-on facial fur or just simple stubble, all gents need to be treating their beard with the same tender care as they do the hair on their dome. Generally, guys don’t realize this, which leads to the main reasons why they give up on their beard-to-be: Dry and flaky skin, itching, scratchiness and the underlying skin breaking out.

But, beards are their own beasts. They require special handling and special products. Any gent desiring to grow one needs to know how to properly take care of it to avoid beardruff.

Enter one of the greatest inventions since NFL Red Zone: The Beard Balm.

What is a beard balm and how do you use it?

A beard balm works to tackle the two main struggles with growing a beard. First, it hydrates the coarse facial hair and underlying skin for a softer beard with less itching and flakiness. Additionally, it’s essentially a “pomade” or scented lotion that allows you to shape and style your beard for a more well-kempt look.

To properly apply a beard balm, rub it between your fingers and then gently massage it into your beard. After application, comb your beard so that it is evenly distributed.

What’s the difference between beard balm and beard oil?

Beard balms and beard oils are commonly confused. Although they’re similar, they are definitely not one in the same.

Beard balms are butter-based (not like the butter you spread on your toast) and are usually mixed with a Beeswax for maximum holding and styling capabilities. Beard oils on the other hand are, probably not surprisingly, oil-based and used to moisturize the skin underneath your beard, soften your facial hair, reduce itching and promote healthy beard growth.

While both beard balms and beard oils are essential weapons in any legitimate beard-caring arsenal, since we’re focusing on balms right now, let’s take a look at our favorite, top-selling beard balms and what makes them a beard’s best friend.