Sometimes the most difficult part of putting together a review of a beard-care product is just the simple act of getting started. This balm by Bearded Mane, is one of those products that I, for whatever reason, just couldn't find the feet to build a solid review on. If you remember a few weeks back, I loved their Nile Blue oil when I tried it, so why then should it be difficult to express my thoughts on their balm? I mean, clearly this is a company that is dedicated to creating quality products for bearded men, and they know a thing or two about blending great scents...but for whatever reason, every time I sat down with that little black plastic jar in front of me, the minty aromas rising up to delight my senses as I stared deep into the surface, marred by mark after mark left by the led zeppelin guitar pick I use to scoop my balms, and tried to turn my hand scribbled notes regarding performance and scent into a coherant thought...I just couldnt come up with something that I was satisfied with. I have no answer as to why this product in particular left me with a temporary case of writers block, but fueled by a couple of 805's (have you seen the new limited edition cans? They're bad ass!) and some great background music courtesy of the inimatable Charlie Parker (I find that jazz really helps get the words flowing when I need an extra boost), I decided to sit down, and give this product a review that I can put my seal of approal on...will I be putting that same seal on this balm as well? Only one way to find out, let's take it for a spin!
A quick whiff of this product tells you that you're in for an experience, this is no average mint, instead this stuff reads like a fresh, crisply-cool cologne. Big green notes of mint so fresh you'd swear it was just picked from somebody's garden are propped up by a bold, almost floral, soapy component that I just can't quite put my finger on (think of that "clean air" smell you get when you first walk into the lobby of a fine hotel). This is capped off by a sharp buzz of eucalyptus that adds a ton of character and brilliant depth with its sweet, green presence just dripping with relaxing energy. This is so much more than I was originally expecting, rather than a typical, "nice enough" spearmint to layer over a more complex oil, this balm takes center stage. It's a freshly clapped mint leaf being supported by the surface tension of some expertly crafted gin cocktail, served in an upscale lounge on a carefree afternoon. A scent that is so incredibly easy to wear in any situation, yet still maintains a decidedly upscale feel, with enough raw appeal to shine through in distressed denim and Italian cashmere alike. Strength is medium initially, but does seem to fade to a medium minus after a short while, which means that you don't want to pair this with something too terribly strong, or you do run the risk of it being overpowered, I really dig the combination of this and Aiteall by Anointed AK or The 18th Mack by The Bearded Mack. Staying power is good, detectable a full 6-8 hours after application.
How does it work?
A soft, pliable balm, this stuff behaves more like a dense butter than your typical beard balms. The melting point is super low, which helps this product get deep down into my beard, and comb through with incredible ease. The list of ingredients is impressive, as some of my favorite carriers are represented, and judging by in-beard feel, these are quality carriers, indeed. Hemp seed and rice bran oils add moisture and boost strength, while avocado oil works its magic on every folicle from the inside out, providing a thicker fuller apperance, and an overall healthier feel. Hold is good, not the strongest level I've ever experienced, but sufficient to keep everything in place with minimal re-combing throughout the day (you do know that you want avoid combing your beard when you don't need to, as it can lead to breakage, right?). Finishing properties are decent, providing a sufficient amount of shine, and staying power is also great, keeping my beard and face feeling great well into the evening on just a single morning application.
The bottom line
So, why did I have such a difficult time expressing how much I enjoy this product? I'm honestly not quite sure, but this stuff is great! It seems like just about every time I review a balm these days, I point out how balms in general seem to be losing market share to butters, then I proceed to point out the reasons you still need to keep a few good balms in your beard care arsenal...so I'll spare you all that same monologue again, and just say that when you factor in the price, alongside the fact that this stuff smells amazing, and works like something of a balm/butter hybrid, this is definitely a product that you need to pick up. Fans of mint scents will love this distinct, head-turning take on that old classic, and fans of top-quality beard-care will love the awesome results that this stuff helps them acchieve! Truly a product to get excited about!
Ingredients: Hemp Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Sunflower Oil, Avocado Oil, Bees Wax, Shea Butter, Ricebran Oil with Vitamin E, Eucalyptus and Spearmint Fragrance
$16 at beardedmane.com
~The balm sampled for this review was provided by Bearded Mane