Now that you have inspected that beard oil before you handed over your money for it. Now what?
If you are lucky enough to be somewhere with samples to smell, sniff it. Open up the cap and wave the bottle under your nose. First, do YOU like how it smells? And in general, is it something that when you wear it will not overly offend others in the environment you will be when wearing it.
A little about scent (fragrance) in a beard oil
Today, more gents are shopping for these items online where there is no best way to wrap your brain around what it might smell like. Our means to overcome that is to provide a list of all our scents where we can dig into what is behind the scent. About half of what we make is a proprietary blend of essential oils; the other half are natural fragrance oils or blends of 2 or more fragrance oils with essential oils. This gives us a broader range of scents that are not going to be like everyone else. Yet, there are those traditional “manly” scents we offer; like woodsy pine in our FRONTIERSMAN scent, or HAVANA which is a warm tobacco lead scent. When shopping with us, when you select a scent from the option box a fair description of the scent will appear below the box. We have found that it is hard to pick just one scent. So, unless there are specific scents that disgust you, there is likely a good chance you will enjoy whatever you choose. Ultimately this is about you, but those who get close to you will wish to like how you smell.
It is a good idea to have more than one scent option at hand anyway. Having something for general every day wear, something lighter for at work, and an scent that is bolder or makes more of a statement when “going out”. If you are new to wearing anything with a fragrance, after some time of wearing any particular scent the smell tends to vanish to your senses. It does not mean that the fragrance is too weak, it only means your brain is adapting to how you smell.
Scents are tricky and each of our interpretations are highly subjective. Scents should not introduce you when you enter a room. They should be something that flips a switch within you when you put it on, and others may complement when they are close. We try to keep the strength down a little. While some brands kick it up to 11, we sit around 8. Too strong of a dose can make an amazing scent gross. Too light, why bother…
As you wear the scent it should change. Fragrances have layers and those layers have varying notes. Notes are those one word descriptions that may not fully capture the true scent, but helps your brain understand it. The layers are also referred to as top, middle and base. The top is what hits you first when you apply the scent and should fade the quickest. The middle notes are what shine next and dissipate more slowly. The base notes are those that sit there throughout and as the top and middle layers fade becomes more prominent. Base notes are most likely will be detected by those around you as they tend to be stronger and carry further.
Let’s say that again: The oil SHOULD be light. In Part 1 we called out a few of the oils used in beard oil and a few to avoid. There is one that can be really nasty and is often used because it is very inexpensive: Castor Oil. Castor oil is a great oil for skin and hair, but too much can make your beard oil too thick and even somewhat slimy. If your beard oil is too thick, it hangs heavily on your beard after your hair takes in what it can and is likely to always feel oily. The top complaint we hear from a gent that tried beard oil is that it was too oily, even when applying lightly. Part of this is because they bought a less expensive oil to lessen the blow if they did not like it. As if they unwittingly set themselves up for failure.
This also impacts our reasoning behind having 3 varying formulas in beard oil. Thinner hair needs a thinner oil – that’s where QUOTIDIAN comes in. It is also a great oil to use once you get your beard well conditioned. It’s like putting a little polish on your beard. Most men that are new to this conditioning thing for their beards think they have the driest tumbleweediest beard there is. Likely, they do not. Beards are tougher hairs to keep moisturized. The hair strands are thicker than most of the other hair on your body and it is right there getting all the sun, wind and heat. For a dried out beard, any beard oil is better than nothing. The idea is to get your beard to where it’s in good form on a daily basis and all you need to do is keep applying a new top coat. Now, if your beard hair is thick – not as in how much of it there is, but the diameter of each strand. The thicker the strand is, the thicker the oil may need to be at first. BULWARK is our tough and thick beard oil. Best for gray hair, those who insist upon washing it with soap every day and those of African decent. The average guy, like 60% or more of you really would find OIL FIVE to be the best oil for you. In regards to viscosity of the oil and the ingredients. This oil was specially created for those with those dense, bushy, curly or sometimes gnarly beards. It is thin enough to let you work it in, and thick enough to hang on to the hairs and do its job. Certain natural oils will naturally help relax the hair, and make it more manageable. When someone asks what formula they should get, I tell them OIL FIVE unless it is easy to see otherwise.
Open it up and put it on
But how? Here is where many beard oil makers show off in their videos. They will present a VERY dapper gentleman who daintily drops a few drops in his hand before rubbing his hands together then stroking his beard with just the fingers. Um…. OK… How is that supposed to work? Our general rule is that if your hands aren’t a little oily afterwards you didn’t do it right. That is often said in jest, but there is logic behind it.
Healthy hair starts at the follicle, which are in the skin. To nourish that beard well, you need to nourish the roots just as much as the ends. Shake some oil into your hands and rough up your beard a little. Massage it down to the skin and rub your hands all around. When you think you have it all covered, comb your beard with your fingers to start getting it back into top form. Still have oil on your hands? Rub your hands on your chest, or any skin. The oil should be light and absorb quickly into your skin.
Now… not all beard oils are created the same. Some are essentially scented coconut oil, others are a list of the latest coolest oils used in cosmetics. We fall in between with using a wider variety of oils that create the right balance for continued hydration when paired appropriately for your beard type.
The measure of success
Let’s be honest, guys will like a product if it is easy to use and has a minimal level of effect. Those that try a beard oil and don’t get a rash, their hair doesn’t fall out, it doesn’t stink and they get any compliment from somebody about their beard it will be the BEST beard oil there is.
Sorry guys, that is not true. As we noted already, not all beard oils are created equal. It is true that applying any level of care to your beard will improve it and you should receive compliments. But, why stop there. Overall you want your beard to be mindlessly easy to keep it conditioned and manageable. Outside of trimming, there should be little work involved in upkeep. Too weak or strong of an oil can be more harmful than helpful. Too weak, you won’t get that effortless management and it may not work as hard to nourish your follicles. You may find you need to apply more than once a day. Too strong and you find your shirt collars discoloring and oily hands when you stroke your beard. Such an oil is more likely to lead to irritation and clogging of pores. If you have a straighter beard, you may notice it start to curl. Well hydrated straight hair can curl when very well conditioned – and it is even more noticeable with softer water.
What to expect
Your expectations need to be realistic. One dose of beard oil is not going to cure your beard issues and give you that lush soft beard right away. A couple weeks of regular use, and better care put into cleaning it so to not reverse the work you are doing with the oil, you will have it well on its way to looking great. Yes, you will notice some changes after a day. Likely, your beard was very thirsty. Now that it no longer feels lost in a desert, you need to keep at it. For those with shorter beards that are trimmed regularly will notice some big changes after a week. The longer your beard, the longer it will take. Hair is not alive, you can’t really feed it once it is outside the body. All you can do is stop it from being damaged more. If you have beard that is quite long… like, 8 inches or longer… the ends are likely very damaged and may never come back. All you can do is stop your beard from drying out any more. When I first started to really take care of my beard, it took about 2 years to get it to where it is soft and in top form. To get it there I had to keep trimming off the ends and kept it growing. The steps I mention here are what I learned to do, and what worked best for me.
Don’t expect to find just one oil to live with the rest of your life. There are options in formulas and 100s of scents. Currently we offer 3 Beard Oil formulas in 10 scents each – that’s 30 to choose from. And that is not all the scents we can make. I currently have 6 beard oil bottles in rotation. A couple are scents that I am testing, but they are still options. QUOTIDIAN is my normal formula but will do OIL FIVE if it needs a little extra TLC. Come summer, there will be a bottle or 2 of BULWARK on hand to prevent damage from all the sun and heat.
Now that you have some experience, you have likely created a regimen that works best for you. If you put some thought into your approach based upon what is offered as part of this series, then you are leaps ahead of most gents out there. Our focus is to give you a variety of tips to tweak your routine that best suits your needs and your lifestyle. But this is not all there is to beard care…
In our final part we will cover the other tools and products that are available for beard care: Brushes, combs, flattening irons and all the other available products that condition your beard. Look for it to arrive in a couple weeks.