Not Your Standard Father’s Day Gift

If your family is anything like mine, it’s impossible to find a gift for the dads. My dad is retired and has downsized to a condo without a woodshop, and my father-in-law’s garage is like a smaller Rona minus the lumber yard. My husband can borrow anything he needs, and he doesn’t need to put any more stuff in our garage. So the typical gift of tools is not an option here. However, there is one thing that some dads might not already have, and is small enough to stash out of the way in a bathroom drawer: beard oil!

So often men think that pampering isn’t for them when, in fact, their morning routine could go smoother with a little whisker oil.  Dad could use this oil as a pre-shave oil to soften beard hairs, a shave oil to help his razor glide over his face, or a beard oil to condition his beard. Using a blend of skin- and hair-nourishing carrier oils can soften rough stubble; reduce nicks, razor burn and ingrown hairs; and add shine and softness to a beard. And the right blend of grounding essential oils will help Dad stay calm all day.

Some nourishing carrier oils, which are easy to find at the pharmacy or health-food store, include argan, jojoba and apricot. These cold-pressed oils are good for all skin types and won’t likely clog pores. They are also scent-free, which makes them perfect for blending with essential oils. Olive oil is also a beautiful oil for skincare formulations; however, it has a slightly stronger scent. If you decide to include it in your formulation, just use a smaller amount in your blend of carrier oils. Since the skin on the face is more delicate, it is recommended to use a 1% dilution of essential oils or less. Masculine scents are usually woody or earthy, and definitely calming. Some popular choices would be sandalwood, patchouli and Virginian cedarwood. These essential oils not only smell wonderful, they also support skin health. Another oil that is anti-inflammatory and soothing to mild abrasions is lavender. You might not think of lavender as a masculine scent, but it blends wonderfully with heavier base notes.

It is important to note that many species of sandalwood, including Indian (Santalum album) and Hawaiian (Santalum paniculatum), are vulnerable or endangered species due to years of over-harvesting. When buying sandalwood essential oil, look for Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum), as it will have been cultivated with sustainability in mind.

To make your beard oil, start with a clean 30 mL PET, HDPE or glass bottle, preferably with an eye-dropper, pump top, or any type of lid that will pour the oil out slowly. Fill with 30 mL of the carrier oil or oils that you have selected. Since we are making a 1% dilution, add up to six drops of essential oils. A good trick for getting an essential oil blend just right is to take a brandy snifter, which has a wide bottom and smaller opening, and add your essential oils drop by drop, swirling and sniffing after each drop. Add just one drop of any base notes first, then add the lighter notes. For example, taking the essential oils mentioned above, put one drop each of sandalwood, patchouli and cedarwood, swirl together, then a drop of lavender, then swirl again and sniff. That’s four of your six drops. Add more of what you like (or what Dad would like!), one drop at a time, swirling and sniffing after each drop. Don’t be afraid to stop short of the six drops if you feel the scent will be too strong. Make sure you write down your drops as you go so that you do not lose track, and so you can make the same formula again. After you have your blend right, you can add the same number of drops in this blend to your carrier oil. The blend in your snifter can be rinsed out into a diffuser, absorbed onto a tissue to tuck into a dresser drawer or pillow case, or made into a relaxing nasal inhaler. And don’t forget to label the bottle with all of the ingredients you used, and the date you made it. A good idea to avoid any irritation would be to advise Dad to test a drop or two on the inside of his wrist and wait a few hours before he spreads the oil over his face.

Tell Dad to use this oil after his shower, when his pores are open and beard hairs have softened. Have him rub a few drops between his hands then apply to his face or beard, applying more as needed. And reassure him that it is okay to have a little pampering and a soft face or beard, free of irritation!