Beard wax is a cosmetic grooming product used to treat the hair that makes up a beard and mustache. It's essentially identical to mustache wax, and using it can improve the health and appearance of facial hair. This wax is also very useful as a styling tool, and it has long been used to achieve more elegant and regular beards and mustaches. Waxing a beard is also necessary for more elaborate styles of facial hair.
The use of wax in facial hair dates back to classical antiquity, although the Victorian era was probably the pinnacle of beard waxing. Facial hair was very common throughout the Western world during the second half of the 19th century, and wax was widely used as a styling aid. The use of wax in beards is somewhat less common today, but the styling of facial hair remains popular in many circles.
Facial hair tends to become unruly if allowed to grow to more than a modest length. While this fact was of no concern to grizzled mountain men and prospectors, members of polite society have long preferred facial hair with a more carefully-sculpted appearance. Wax is the tool most commonly used to achieve this effect while growing a beard.
Beard wax comes in a number of different formulations but is traditionally based on soft, natural waxes, such as beeswax. Some modern varieties may have a petroleum base. Many waxes include mild scents of one variety or another, and most also include soaps and conditioners to improve the health and appearance of facial hair.
Using the wax is a simple process. A beard should be cleaned and brushed or combed, and then a small amount of wax is worked into the beard by hand. Too much wax will yield unsatisfactory results and a greasy appearance. Once the wax has been worked into the hair, the beard can then be shaped.
Facial hair that has been treated with beard wax can be sculpted gently into many different shapes. Traditional beard styles, such as goatees and mutton chops, can be formed and sculpted to have a more regular and defined appearance, which many find pleasing. Mustaches can be given a gentle twirl.
Longer hair allows for more outlandish or dramatic styling. A handlebar mustache can be grown that twirls impressively, and unusual shapes can be sculpted into larger beards. These styles may be unsuitable for daily wear, but enjoy a least a modest cult following. Such elaborately-styled beards require the application of a considerably larger quantity of wax than do more modest amounts of facial hair.