Having grown up in a certain “perfect storm” snapshot of the 90’s when everybody was striving to be a “beautiful loser” type who was just “too cool” to be “cool” and built cache by adopting certain affectations, I can’t even pretend to be embarrassed by some of the weird things that have caught my attention over the years. Couple that with the fact that I can get a bit...um, shall we say, obsessed, with certain things, and the result is a shitload of weird collections I’ve compiled over the years. Yeah, I’ve been taken by all the normal things, books, wine, baseball cards, art...but I’ve also curated some really off the wall collections over the years too, pens, animal skulls (ones that I found/purchased already in skull form...I’m not a psycho), vintage ashtrays, corkscrews, and perhaps one of the strangest of all, veladoras. Call them what you want; prayer candles, divinity candles, those candles in a jar...no matter what name they go by, I’ve been collecting them since I was a kid (which is extra weird considering the fact that I’m not even slightly religious/spiritual...although I certainly don’t hold it against anybody who is), I’ve owned hundreds (if not thousands) over the years, as such, I’ve developed some favorites; Santa Barbara, Caridad Del Cobre, and Tapa Boca. You may have guessed from the long-winded setup and the topic of today’s review that Santa Muerte is another favorite of mine...well, she (and in some rare cases he) kinda isn't. So why waste the digital ink of the leadup if I’m not going to tie it up with a neat bow? Well...you try introducing multiple products every week...sometimes you just don’t have the energy to massage your anecdotes into easily digestible bites. All that being said, the name of this scent definitely reminded me of the veladora of the same name, and that totally was my main reason for picking it up (well that and the fact that I was super impressed by the Oaktown balm that I had previously tried from Voodoo Menscraft...another product which I picked up based on the name alone, and boy was I glad that I did).
Now the good folks over at Voodoo Menscraft, seem to know their stuff when it comes to cultural references, because the tie-in here is that to follow Santa Muerte (an unsanctioned saint with a widespread following in Mexico, and an incredibly interesting backstory that you can read all about here) one must pay her the proper reverence. They believe that they have created a product that pays a similar reverence to your beard. I just love bold statements like that, and it’s even better when a product can actually live up to them...so without any further preamble, let’s give this stuff a try and see if it does!
The first time I wore this scent, I couldn’t help but think that I had smelled something very similar before. It was during the brush-through that it hit me. Akoni! Yes, the insanely popular scent that served to introduce a great many of us to Husky Beard and Grooming, I dropped my brush mid stroke and turned around to dig through the linen closet where I keep my beard-care products until I found that old-school black and white pot of beard cream, twisted the top off, and took a deep inhale. Yeah, that’s the stuff...now these two scents aren't exactly dead ringers for each other, but they’re damn close...and I suppose it makes sense that they would be, as the return address on the package that this oil arrived in was the same PO Box in Elsinore, Utah that used to drop-ship Husky Beard products (back when they were Huskybeard), so I’m assuming that Voodoo Menscraft products are being made by the same lab that used to manufacture products for Huskybeard. As such, I’d imagine they’re sourcing their fragrance/essential oils from the same place. What does all this mean? Nothing really...I mean regardless of where it was manufactured, this is still a great scent. Residing in the same firmament of sweet, dry, spicy florientals that Akoni calls home, Santa Muerte is an irresistibly fresh, clean combination that sees an opening pop of fiery ginger tracing a deep vein of cracked black, white, and pink peppercorns. While basil and sage provide a fresh, sweet, green elegance that adds a lush contrast and leads seamlessly into a romantic, amber heart that feels almost floral without actually being “flowery” (if that makes any sense). Perfect proportions of cedar and sweet, sumptuous suede add a brilliant touch of gravitas and serve to heighten the overall elegant feel of this scent. Strength is a tick above medium, and staying power is very good, easily detectable a solid 6-8 hours after application every time I’ve worn it. Now if you’re looking for a good layering partner, why not try Akoni? I mean you certainly can’t go wrong...but if you’re looking for a more adventurous pairing, I find that the combination of this scent with Stone Mason by Beardbrand results in a deep, sophisticated redolence that is long on masculinity, and brimming with intrigue.
How does it work?
While not the thickest oil I’ve ever tried, by any means, there is a certain “weightiness” about this product that I absolutely love. I always try to coat my fingertips when rubbing oil in my hands, that way I can get deep down into the hardest-to-reach parts of my beard, and this stuff really seems to facilitate some deep follicle infiltration. With a carrier blend chock-full of beneficial ingredients, this stuff delivers a ton of great moisturization and protection to my beard and face. The supercharged blend of avocado, pumpkin seed, and hemp seed oils imparts a wonderful, healthy, strong (yet still incredibly lightweight) in-beard feel. Absorprion is outstanding leaving behind absolutely no trace of greasiness at all, just a silky softness that has me running my fingers through my beard all day long, because it just feels that great! Finishing properties are incredible (thanks in no small part to a generous amount of high quality virgin argan oil, I’m sure), leaving a brilliant, star-bright shimmer on my beard, making this an ideal oil to consider wearing on nights out, or any time you want to make your already awesome beard look like just that much more of a showstopper! Staying power is incredible, in fact as I sit here typing this, staring blankly at my notes, I can’t think of another oil that I’ve tried recently which is able to sustain that “freshly oiled” feeling to my beard and face all day long, the way that this stuff does. Those prone to irritation and beardruff may have found their magical golden ticket in this stuff!
The bottom line
In my review of their Oaktown beard balm, I called Voodoo Menscraft a company who is serious about their offerings. After trying this oil, I must double-down on that statement. I just love it when a new company is able to offer such incredible products right out of the gate. It’s clear that these products aren't the brainchild of a couple of enthusiasts that got together and decided that it would be “easy” or “fun” to start their own beard-care company, you can tell that a lot of thought and planning went into these offerings, which explains how even though they only just hit the scene in 2020, they are already able to rub elbows with a great many respected small-batch indie brands out there, from a performance standpoint. There’s a lot to get excited about when it comes to this oil, the scent is complex and the formulation is nothing short of magical. Factor in the price, and this oil instantly becomes a contender for one of the best overall values out there. In setting out to create something that will (in their own words) “revive your dying beard”, Voodoo Menscraft has formulated a legendary oil that will surely turn anybody who tries it into a devotee of their up-and-coming brand! Without question, a product that no well rounded beard-care arsenal is complete without!
95 See where this lands on The Big List
Ingredients: Virgin Argan Oil, Pure Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernal Oil, Avocado Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Hempseed Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Scented with Premium Grade Essential Oils.
$14.99 at voodoomenscraft.com