Do you every have one of those days where your brain just feels like clam chowder (Manhattan or New England style, whichever you prefer...although everybody knows that New England style is better, but that's neither here nor there) sloshing around in your skull? You can't focus on anything, and even though you literally shotgunned a Monster immediately after drinking a pot of coffee, you just can't seem to wake up. Yeah, that's the kind of day I'm having right now, which is why I had to push back the product that I was originally planning on reviewing today (It's a pretty exciting product, and I'll definitely get to it in a day or so), in favor of something that, for whatever reason seemed like it might be a bit easier to break-down.
I picked this wash up the other day on a grocery run, it's actually something that I've used in the past, long before I had even thought of creating a site to share my thoughts on beard-care products. It happened to be on sale, and I thought "what the hell?" after all, I'm always looking for a good mix of products, not just small-batch stuff (as I've pointed out about a bajillion times now). For those unfamiliar, Bulldog is a men's grooming company from England. Founded by two buddies from London in 2006, they have grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade and a half, somewhere along the way being purchased by a company called Edgewell (one of those companies that you probably have never heard of, but owns a bunch of other companies that you are familiar with, some of the big ones being Schick, Jack Black, Hawaiian Tropic, Playtex, and Wet Ones, but there are many others under their umbrella). Boasting a full compliment of skincare, shaving, and most importantly, beard-care products, the Bulldog portfolio seems to be geared towards value-minded consumers who still prioritize quality. Even though I'm not the biggest fan of "two-in-one" type products (because they usually end up combining elements of two different things to create something not quite as good as either), this wash seems to sport a fairly impressive ingredients list for something you can buy at the grocery store (there's still some chemicals I'm not too jazzed about, but such is usually the case for these types of products), so I plan on approaching it objectively. How will it measure up? Only one way to find out...let's take it for a spin!
There's something there...but not much. A soft, subtle sweet grass aroma with hints of mint and something that vaguely resembles eucalyptus. It hangs around politely in the background, adding just enough to heighten the overall beard-washing experience, while still remaining so light that it doesn't leave any sort of impression. Those who are sensitive to scents but have gotten bored with unscented washes may want to check this out as it offers just enough of a smell, so as to be enjoyable, without becoming overbearing in any way. It rinses quickly and as soon as it swirls down the drain, it is no longer detectable in the slightest.
How does it work?
Performance is good enough that I don't even feel compelled to point out the fact that I regularly see this stuff on sale for $6-$7, as a qualifier (but I just did, so, whatever). A fairly thick wash that foams up into a very nice lather, perhaps not the finest, or most dense, but definitely still enough to get deep down into my beard and make me feel like it's doing something. This stuff is very mild, meaning that it could be used every day if you don't like to skip a day or two between washes. Of course, the flip side to this, is that if you don't wash your beard as often, or are looking for more of a strip-wash, this stuff might not really fit your needs. It rinses cleanly and easily, and leaves my beard feeling good and healthy after a quick towel dry. There is a little bit of conditioning going on (although you're definitely still going to want to hit your beard with a good quality conditioner a couple times a week), leaving a soft feel and keeping tangles at bay (in that respect, this stuff actually reminds me a of a "Diet Coke" version of the Hawaiian Lion wash from Beard Booze that I absolutely love and still use regularly), as such, I find this to be a particularly good wash for days when I plan on rocking a natural curl in my beard. The green tea extract in this product seems to do a top notch job of keeping my face feeling calm and free of any itch or dryness (this is probably due to the incredible regenerative properties of Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG for short...one of the key components of green tea extract, and something of a super-food for your skin). Unlike some other "multi-tasker" washes that promise to condition, I find this stuff leaves no buildup or residue on my beard, which as we all know, can lead to a dull, lifeless apperance...instead it leaves no trace and has my beard feeling like a primed canvas, ready to accept whatever products I plan on using afterwords.
The bottom line
I know that sometimes when it comes to more, shall we say, "commercial grade" products, it's very easy (and at times necessary) to approach them with tempered expectations...but I would still consider this a pretty good wash even if it were made by an indie brand. Are there better washes out there? Of course...but can you buy them at the grocery store? Maybe, maybe not. One word seems to come to mind when it comes to describing this product; pleasant...From the scent to the performance, this product is an all around pleasant experience, nothing earth shattering, but nothing to complain about either, it's simply a good product that can be had at a very good price. If you're extremely particular about your washes, this stuff might not perform at an elite enough level for you, but the average bearded guy looking for a wash that just plain works, could do a hell of a lot worse than this stuff.
Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, Sodium chloride, Acrylates copolymer, Stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, Sodium benzoate, Fragrance*, Potassium sorbate, Trisodium ethylenediamine disuccinate, Camelina sativa seed oil, Glycerin, Camellia sinensis (Green tea) leaf extract, Citric acid, Tocopherol. *A blend of natural ingredients.
$9.99 at bulldogskincare.com