With a pedigree in the fields of pharmacy and engineering, the founders of Bearded Mane have set out to create a beard-care brand that is anything but "just another beard oil company". Now, I've talked a lot in the past about the proliferation of new beard-care brands, and how until we reach the point that the market becomes saturated, it should be a very welcome thing...but, of course the other side to this, is that any new-to-the-scene brand is going to need to work that much harder to differentiate themselves from all of the other new blood out there. At first glance, it appears Bearded Mane is doing just that, boasting a collection of natural, hand-made oils and balms, as well as a carefully curated collection of combs and brushes, this company is clearly working hard to create the ideal foundation upon which an enduring beard-care empire can be built. They sent a few different products my way to try, each with an impressive list of ingredients and a sleek modern look that just seemed to insist that they belong on the beard-care shelf of even the most discerning among us. Now I wish I had a more interesting story about (or at least a better excuse for) why I chose this Nile Blue oil as the first product of theirs that I wanted to try, but the truth is that blue is my favorite color, so I just liked the name. Did I make the right choice? Only one way to find out...let's give this stuff a try and see what we think.
At once familiar, and entirely unique, this fragrance took me back to being seven years old and picking out my very first cologne; Cool Water by Davidoff. Now, I'd like to launch into some poetic monologue about how in the decades since then I've owned hundreds, if not thousands, of different colognes, yet the way that stuff smelled the first time I tried it is indelibly branded onto some special part of my memory...but the fact of the matter is, while it should most likely get credit for being the scent that turned me into an incurable fragrance collector...I haven't smelled it in literal decades, and don't really remember it beyond the abstract any longer...so if you're looking for an exact approximation of Cool Water, please don't assume that this will be it...rather, it just kind of "feels" like it (if that makes any sense), woody and aquatic, with a timeless, dynamic sophistication that speaks for itself. A rich, dry, almost peppery Spanish cedar lumber chord stands strong and angular at the center of this scent, concentrated and focused it pushes beyond the outer limits of a typical run-of-the-mill cedar scent, and borders on animalistic, almost leathery, like an expensive humidor wrapped in fine calf skin. A sappy, green camphoraceous note twirls in loose circles around it, adding a fresh "outdoorsy feel" that takes some of the edge off of the deep cedar. This is quickly jolted by a lively vibrant presence, as a deluge of sweet florals cascade forward, full of wonderful energy, as if supercharged by an unknown power source. Delicate and nuanced, while still maintaining a confident air of masculinity, hyacinth and waterlilly provide a bright, almost summery punch, imbued with an invigorating oceanic salinity that dissapates as soon as it's detected. There is a heady almost amber-like presence on the back end that adds a comforting embrace of warmth, like slipping into a buttery soft cashmere sweater, it makes this product read more like a fine cologne than your typical beard oil. A true multi-purpose scent, this fragrance would be just as appropriate to wear on a big night out, as it would be relaxing at home watching television on a week night. Strength sits perfectly between medium and medium-plus (although at times, it seems to skew closer to medium plus), and staying power is very good, still detectable for a solid 6-8 hours after application.
How does it work?
While exceptional scents help to make a good first impression, for a new brand to really help reel in clientele, performance must be top notch...and this product was clearly designed with performance in mind. Thick and viscous, this stuff feels downright luxurious as I work it deep into my beard before combing through. With a list of ingredients that was clearly compiled by somebody who has done their homework and put a great amount of consideration into every single component, this product features some of my all time favorites, including avocado oil, and hemp seed oil, two carriers which I've extolled the virtues of ad-nauseam in previous reviews...however, another ingredient in this product really stood out to me even more, a carrier that is packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and beneficial fatty acids, but for some reason just doesn't find its way into nearly enough beard-care products, I'm talking, of course about rosehip oil. Long prized for its ability to make hair feel healthy and look radiant, rosehip oil is a powerful moisturizer with the ability to nourish hair from root-to-tip, but it doesnt stop there, as the high concentration of vitamin E and vitamin A help to keep the skin under your beard hydrated and free of irritation, which, in turn may actually help promote healthy beard growth. Overall conditioning and in-beard feel are outstanding, leaving my beard touchably soft. I find that this product works exceptionally well on days that I skip the blow-dryer and rock a natural curl in my beard, as it keeps everything nice and manageable, without leaving behind any sort of greasy residue. Finishing properties are outstanding too as this oils leaves a brilliant shimmer to my beard that has it looking it photo-ready all day long! Staying power is incredible, lasting all day on a single application, even as I enjoy a cigar sitting on my back porch while typing this review on a dry, chilly February afternoon, hours after first applying this product, my face and beard are still feeling hydrated and relaxed.
The bottom line
With new companies popping up every week, it can be difficult to gauge expectations...I mean, I suppose we should expect anything new to be remarkable enough to immediately set it apart from the pack, but in actuality, sometimes it takes new guys a minute to find their stride. In the case of Bearded Mane, I don't know that they're going to require many adjustments (if any at all) before they become the next brand that in-the-know bearded guys insist on having on the top shelf of their beard-care arsenal. With an outstanding scent to match an upper echelon level of performance, this Nile Blue oil represents one of the more ideal introductions that a person could have to a new company, as it surely will have anybody who tries it only that much more excited to try other products from Bearded Mane. Any new company that really wants to succeed the the 2020 version of the beard-care game needs to show the consumer that they have done done their homework and they are committed to quality, and if those are the main building blocks of an enduring label, then I can say without a doubt that the minds behind Bearded Mane are most definitely building something meant to last.
Ingredients: Hemp Seed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosehips Oil, Avocado Oil, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, d’Alpha Tocopherol (Pure Vitamin E) Oil, Fragrance Infused
$16 at beardedmane.com
~The oil sampled for this review was provided by Bearded Mane