It's always exciting to see a new brand launch. The beard-care game is currently stronger than ever, and there's plenty of room at this ever expanding table for everybody. So when I saw an announcement for the rollout of Rad Beard, a few weeks ago, I was already extra excited to give them a try, and welcome them on to the scene with open arms. Offering a full suite of beard care and grooming products in a variety of scents, Rad Beard's plan is simple; offer a quality product at a reasonable price, and make it as convenient as possible for beardsmen everywhere to get their hands on it. This beard cream jumped out at me not only because the scent seemed too good to pass up based on their description, but also because this product was drop-shipped from a return address in Elsinore, Utah...curiously the same address as a lot of other high-quality beard care companies (check your return address labels, you might be surprised as to who is actually manufacturing their stuff on site and who isn't...and that's all I'll say about that). Anyway, enough talk, let's give this stuff a try and see what Rad Beard is all about...
Described on the Rad Beard website as "Vanilla bean, mandarin oranges, labdanum, rose, opopanax, tobacco, clary sage, and bourbon" this scent sounded like something right up my highway...Unfortunately, in execution this doesnt read as the masculine, exotic fragrance I was picturing, but instead a very disjointed hodge-podge of scents that have no clue what they want to be. A waxy, fatty blend of citrus and vanilla with some weird, artificial air-freshener notes, this scent comes across, in my mind, as orange-creamsicle-meets-public-bathroom. A hint of labdanum pokes through with a musky, old man smell that really only serves to make matters worse, just an all around unappealing fragrance. Strength is a tick over medium plus, which may read as "too much" even with a pleasant fragrance, but is downright cloying in this case. Staying power is great (in the worst possible way), lasting all day long, and even into the next day, this would be awesome for a product that smelled better, but unfortunately only serves to make this experience that much more unpleasant.
How does it work?
So, my only other experience with beard cream is the awesome stuff that Huskybeard makes, so I have a very small sample size to compare this stuff to, but it's pretty different from that. From a performance standpoint I find this stuff feels more like a dense butter than the light, whipped cream I had tried before. Now, the texture of this product is super light (very similar to the Huskybeard cream from a tactile standpoint), but this belies the much heavier in-beard feel that I get from this product, which is actually really helpful as far as hold is concerned, offering a bit more control than the Huskybeard cream and many other light butters on the market today. The inclusion of some very beneficial oils (avocado, pumpkin seed, and hempseed, to be exact) really do boost the conditioning properties of this product, and have my beard feeling much better than it smells when I wear this product. Shine is great, leaving a brilliant finished look. I do notice that this product leaves behind just the slightest greasy residue, which never seems to go away, this of course, translates to a film left on my phone and anything else that may touch my beard throughout the course of a day, and an unpleasant greasiness on my skin that negates any soothing properties that this product may impart.
The bottom line
When a new product line hits the scene, it's always exciting to be one of the first to give it a try, but then when that product doesn't measure up, it's such a let down. I think Rad Beard as a company has potential, but this particular product feels like something that was put to market with very little time dedicated to R&D. From a performance standpoint, a few minor tweaks could take this product from something that's "just okay" to something very good. I don't know if there is really any saving this scent, but I suppose it's possible. Either way, not the best first effort I've ever seen a company put forth, but if Rad Beard sticks with it, and continues to perfect their formulations, they could easily set themselves up as a formidable contender in the beard-care game for years to come.
Ingredients: Shea Butter, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Hempseed Oil, Essential Oils
$17.99 at radbeard.com