Site regulars will notice that I’ve definitely shied away from my writing projects lately. No excuses, its not a matter of not having the time or whatever, I guess maybe you could just call it a combination of selective “creative burnout” while at the same time, wanting to spend more time honing my video editing skills, or something…but anyway, I’ve definitely been kicking around some new ideas for writing projects recently. There's one in particular, that I keep coming back to…Now, as many of my regular readers (or anybody who has seen any of my collaboration videos with Greenbird 555 on YouTube) know, I’m something of a casual skincare enthusiast, so I was thinking it would be really cool to, from time to time, fold some skincare into the V&T mix. The idea is simple; any time I try a product that I really like, I want to do a deep dive into what about the product I find so exciting…the catch? I have to use the entire product, hence the name; The Empty Jar Chronicles. Today we are going to be taking a look at a product that I have really enjoyed using, pretty faithfully over the past couple of months, I’ve compiled a shitload of notes on this stuff since I’ve started using it, but I haven’t quite been able to craft those notes into a worthy write-up just yet…but today, I’ll sit down at my laptop, my notebook off to one side, and a martini off to the other, and I’m not going to get up until I have something for you.
You already know that I dig the hell out of Barn Brand products, I’ve yet to try anything that Tex has cooked up that wasn’t super impressive, the top notch beard care products, and the outstanding hand-made soaps, every single example serves to further cement Barn Brand’s reputation as one of the best kept secrets in personal grooming. This Anti-Aging cream is far from Barn Brand’s first foray into skin care specific products, but it is my first time trying an offering from this branch of the Alabama based company…and holy smokes! This stuff is great! Now, let me back up a little bit here...my skin is temperamental as hell, as such, I’ve spent a small fortune over the years on everything from mass produced skincare products from the drugstore, to pricey high-end department store products, to professional quality stuff that you probably have never heard of unless you know an esthetician personally, and everything in between (I won't even get into some of the weird homebrew stuff I’ve tried based on random suggestions over the years). Suffice it to say that at 36 years of age, I still haven’t found that one “magic potion” that just plain works, but that being said, I’ve also somewhat accidentally developed the uncanny ability to recognize a quality skincare product fairly effortlessly. So, let’s take a look at this particular product and what makes it so awesome.
The very first thing I noticed about this product was that the texture was unlike most skin creams I use. It’s dense, it’s thick, it actually kind of reminds me of a lighter weight beard butter. This heavyweight texture means that the tiniest bit goes a very long way, I find that a scoop about the size of half of my index fingernail is more than enough to offer incredible coverage and moisturization to my entire face and neck. It spreads evenly in a layer that is thin enough to barely be noticeable, while still offering big time beneficial properties. All of the usual suspects show up to lend a hand (shea, tamanu, jojoba, hemp seed oil), and being a Barn Brand product, you can rest assured that every ingredient is of the absolute highest quality, this is further evidenced by the fact that even though this stuff is technically unscented, it smells amazing! That is because high quality natural ingredients that haven’t been manipulated too much usually have a bit of a scent to them (don’t believe me? Order a bit of plain shea butter, if it’s high quality, you’ll be amazed by how fragrant it is)…but anyway, scents aside, the performance of this product is outstanding. If your skin is like mine, and lands somewhere between dry and combination, you’ll immediately notice how calming, this stuff is. It soothes while delivering brilliant moisturization, this comes in especially handy on dryer days when your acid mantle isn’t its healthiest, and your face feels tight and itchy. Clearly every ingredient in this product is incredibly well thought out for what it brings to the table, but there’s one ingredient in particular that really seems to take the effectiveness of this cream to an otherworldly level; agarwood.
Of course those familiar with this site already know the fanboy-ish levels of excitement I have for all things agarwood scented…but let’s talk about what this stuff is, and why it’s so beneficial for your skin. More commonly known as oud, agarwood is the heartwood of the agarwood tree, native to southern parts of Asia, this tree is susceptible to infection by a very specific strain of fungus…now, we can get really geeky about this, but to keep it simple, let’s just say that when this tree gets infected, it produces an antibody which causes its heartwood to become very dark and resinous. This infected heartwood, is one of the most valuable substances on the face of the earth (with prime examples of oud wood actually costing considerably more than gold and other precious metals). Of course we already know that oud smells AMAZING, but beyond that, it has been prized for centuries for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. Barn Brand has been able to incorporate some of those therapeutic properties into this anti-aging cream. Agarwood enhances overall skin health in a couple of ways, not the least of which is the fact that it’s incredibly anti-bacterial, this is extremely beneficial for those with acne prone skin, but beyond that, it helps eliminate free radicals, which as we all know can contribute to premature aging. In addition, agarwood is also a powerful anti-inflammatory which helps keep redness and irritation far away from that handsome mug of yours, and its natural antiseptic properties help it work as an incredible toner. All in all, an absolute star quality ingredient that is tragically underutilized in skincare.
Clearly this product offers all around big-league performance that should be not only suitable, but flat out beneficial for all skin types. More than that however, is the company ethos of Barn Brand, which seems to be absolutely maximizing quality while keeping prices as low as possible, this translates to the customers (you and me), paying drugstore prices for a product that could easily be called a steal if one of the department store “big boys” (Kiehl’s, La Mer, Clarins…take your pick) slapped their label on it and sold it for ten times what Barn Brand is selling it for. Honestly, very few companies in the beard care game are able to consistently knock one out of the park the way that Barn Brand does, but never one to rest on their laurels, they have taken this same flex to skincare products...teeing up yet another home run with this incredible anti-aging cream, which is, of course a truly wonderful thing for those of us who are just as particular about our face as we are about our beard!