So...let's just get this out of the way...I decided to take a few days off after my entire department at work was handed pink-slips last friday...as some of you may know, I worked in the hospitality industry, aaaaaand thanks to COVID-19, people aren't traveling right now...so the company's executives decided that rather than taking paycuts that might see them earning under eight-figures each, it would be best to just shitcan all of us pesky salespeople instead (I mean, it's not like we did anything except bring money in for the whole company)...anyway, enough about that...just thought I'd give an explaination as to why V&T has been silent for the past couple of days. I just needed a few unstructured days where I didn't do anything in order to get my head straight. Of course that can get boring quickly and I missed my daily writing projects, so lets get down to it...
As part of my daily routine, I always take a biotin suppliment with my breakfast. It's a quick, easy habit that I recommend for everybody, as it helps keep your beard looking and feeling it's fullest and healthiest. Anyway, I was enjoying a cup of coffee and a Pop-Tart, or bagel, or something quick like that (I don't really remember exactly what it was), when I opened the kitchen cabinet above the coffee maker, reached for the green bottle of biotin I had been using for weeks, twisted off the top, and noticed that I was down to my last few capsules. I knew I needed to reup, and soon! Now, I had been taking a plain old biotin suppliment that I purchased at the grocery store, and it was fine...but considering the current state of affairs, it's actually easier to just order things and wait it out (when you can help it), rather than go to the store. Having tried the Grave Before Shave Beard suppliment before, I knew it was a quality product, with not only high amounts of biotin, but also many other great vitamins and minerals that are all beneficial to overall health and wellbeing. Plus, you can get a one month's supply for literally $10, how can you beat that? Of course putting in an order for a single $10 bottle of pills just isn't very exciting, so I decided I needed to grab some more great Grave Before Shave products just to make this order worth the while. That being said, I picked this conditioner up, because...why the hell not? I mean I've recently jumped on the co-wash bandwagon, and so it's probably a good idea to bulk up my collection of conditioners. How will this particular conditioner stack up? Only one way to find out...let's give it a try!
Described on the official Grave Before Shave website as a "barbershop" scent, it's definitely not like any of the other barbershop scented products in my collection (although, admittedly, I don't keep a lot of barbershop scents in rotation). It's a very fresh, destinctive scent, so I guess you could say that it's a barbershop fragrance in that respect...but, I get more of a sweet aloe-vera/cactus type of note, with a hint of crisp cucumber and green tea. There's also an extremely light touch of something warm, reminiscent of amber, but not quite exactly amber (if that makes any sense), and a saccharine, powdery, but not quite talcum powder (powdered sugar, maybe?) note. It's a pleasant scent, but not all that exciting, although that's perfectly fine for a conditioner. Strength is pleasantly medium, and it seems to be completely undetectable once rinsed out.
The distinctiveness of this scent is something of a double-edged sword. Considering the fact that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, they can easily become imprinted with the zietgiest in which they were introduced. I'm sure there are some of you out there who can't even smell tequila (or some other form or booze) without your stomach wanting to turn inside out. I already suspect that, having just been introduced to this scent, it will always remind me of the current weird times, even when all of the craziness is just a tiny speck in our rear-view mirrors...but that's just a personal thing.
How does it work?
A very lightweight conditioner, this stuff makes a passable co-wash, but if you're looking for something to use as your once-a-week deep, intensive, conditioning session, this isn't it. It leaves my beard feeling soft and managable enough, but the "wow factor" is missing. The ingredients list is good enough for a conditioner of this price point, containing a few multi-sylabic components that I had to Google, but it doesn't seem like there's anything too detrimental to a healthy beard in there. There is also a few super-beneficial ingredients that my beard just loves, not the least of which is organic argan, which as we all know is jam-packed with beneficial fatty acids and vitamin E, plus it adds a great shine which helps contribute to an excellent overall finished look. Lemon extract (yup, like the same stuff that you put on your calamari rings and in your tea), provides great antioxidant properties, and acts as a wonderful toner, which my skin responds wonderfully to. Upon stepping out of the shower, my comb glides through my beard easily after nothing more than a quick pat-dry. I've been using this conditioner for nearly a week now, and I can say with certainty that it does a decent job of keeping split-ends and breakage to a minimum.
The bottom line...
This is a difficult conditioner to nail down exactly. I suppose it was designed to "play it safe" as it seemingly tries to offer a little bit of something for everybody, but at the end of the day, I can't help but feel that it could be "better" all around. I mean, it's fine, especially if you plan on using it as a co-wash, but when I think of all the best conditioners I've used (Detroit Grooming, the OG version of Scotch Porter, etc), they all offer something of a transformative experience, I can run my hands through my beard after using them, and notice a discernable difference. This particular product doesn't really seem to impart any sort of "difference" like that, instead it seems to keep everything as it is (which is of course, better than making things worse). I guess that could be where the appeal of this product lies; it does no harm. If you're the kind of guy who keeps only one conditioner in rotation at a time, this wouldn't be the one I'd recommend...but if you're looking for something lightweight that you can plug into your co-wash lineup from time to time, then this is definitely worth consideration.
88 See where this lands on The Big List
Ingredients: Water, Ceteral Alcohol, Brassicomidopropyl Dimethylmine, Behentrimonium Chloride, Steramidopropyl Dimethylamine, Hydrolized Quinoa, Fragrance, Xylityl Sesquicalcapritate, Pro-Vitamin B5, Glyceril Steratate, Glycerin, Cytric Acid, Cetyl Esters, Sugar Cane Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Lemon Fruit Extract, Orange Fruit Extract, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil, Apple Fruit Extract, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Argan Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Black Tea Extract
$12 at gravebeforeshave.com