When it comes to beard care products, you’ve likely noticed that there is quite a range in terms of both price and perceived quality. Several different levels exist from products that can be purchased for just a few dollars at your local drug store all the way up to the super-premium brands available online from across the globe. How much better can these premium brands really be for you? Are they worth paying 7-8 times the cost? Let’s take a look.
At the low end (less than $10), you’ll find products that contain mineral oil, silicones, synthetics, and artificial fragrances. This snippet of a Q&A from a popular selling brand on Amazon, which doesn’t actually list the ingredients in it’s advertisement, sums it up nicely.
While these products promise to “soften” your beard and add a nice scent, the effects are short term. Unfortunately, the longer-term result is dry and damaged hair caused by repeated application of these unnatural chemicals to your body. The more you use these, the more frequently you have to use them - it’s a vicious cycle.
At the mid range, you’ll find products containing some combination of these synthetic chemicals along with a few natural ingredients - that way manufacturers can make claims like “contains Argan Oil for added conditioning.” While certainly a step in the right direction, these really aren’t much better than the cheaper alternatives. Any good the natural ingredients might be doing for you is being negated by all of the other synthetic crap added to the mix.
The Big Leagues
At the premium end of the spectrum ($25 and up), you’ll find quality products that actually are based on natural ingredients (all though we find the definition of that term to be debatable). These products are largely blends of different “carrier oils” originating from sources such as castor seed, jojoba seed, argan kernel, avocado, etc. These ingredients are typically blended to balance attributes such as absorption rate, viscosity, and feel, while also taking into account raw material cost. Essential oils (things like Tea Tree, Lavender, and Cedarwood) are sometimes added as well, both for fragrance and for function.
If It Ain’t Broke…
Stopping there, you’d actually have a pretty good product. Unfortunately most manufacturers go a few steps further, adding synthetics and preservatives. These unnecessary ingredients degrade the overall quality and add potential allergens/irritants into the mix.
In the final step, fragrances (often artificial) are added to define the different product lines. Since fragrance is usually less than 5% of the total formula, that means 95% or more of the product is identical from one line to the next. This is often even the case when manufacturers tier their product lines by price. The highest tier is usually just the fragrance that sells the best.
Despite the additives, the overall quality at this level is still fairly high. The functionality, however, from one product line to the next is nearly identical.
By functionality, we mean what the product is actually supposed to do for your beard (moisturize, soften, eliminate itch, promote growth, etc.).
When 95% of the product is the same, can it really serve the same purpose for everyone?
The All Star Game
People have different types of skin and hair, they live in different climates, they eat different foods, they suffer from different allergens. The truth is, you can’t have one universal formula that will deliver great results across the board, regardless of ingredient quality. That’s why we developed four unique blends of carrier oils that are actually intended to work for different situations. If you’re interested in the science behind our formulas, we cover that here.
Vladimeerkat is our basic blend designed for “normal” skin and hair types, and a large portion of individuals will fall into this category (at least for some of the calendar year). The blend consists of about 30% Essential Fatty Acids (just enough to keep inflammation in check) and about 70% other high quality fats that nourish and condition both skin and hair. Tall Bunyan has a nearly identical fatty acid profile, but is made entirely from seed oils to eliminate concerns about tree-nut allergies. When your beard is already rocking, either one of these products will keep you at the top of your game.
We all need a little extra nourishment from time to time, and that’s where our Santa Barbarossa blend comes in. It’s the go-to product when you’re suffering from drier than average skin or hair. We brought a little more power to this mix with an increased level of essential fatty acids and Vitamin E. Whether its seasonal dry skin or the need to moisturize more as you age, these additional nutrients will help to get you back on track.
Shark Twain, our therapeutic blend, brings some heavy artillery into the mix with over 50% of the formula being comprised of essential fatty acids. It also contains high levels of Vitamins A and E. This functional blend is your go-to when you need to reduce the appearance of cosmetic problems such as acne, dandruff, oily skin, and/or patchy growth. If you’re just starting out, this is also a great product to get you on the fast track to beard glory.
All four blends are made of 100% cold-pressed carrier oils. We never add synthetics or preservatives because we make our product in small batches by hand. We don’t have tons of inventory sitting around on the shelf, so these additives just aren’t necessary. And unlike other premium brands, each product line can be purchased unscented or customized by adding any of our incredible scents.