88 ...see where this ranks on The Big List
Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Fragrance, Bht, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil
$14.99 at Target stores and target.com
93 ...see where this ranks on The Big List
Ingredients: Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Organic Beeswax, Vitamin E, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Organic Essential Oils
$20.50 at bomabeards.com
94 ...see where this ranks on The Big List
Ingredients: MCT Oil, Organic Castor Oil, Organic Moringa Oil, Marula Oil, Organic Hemp Oil, Essential Oils.
$24.99 at sphinxbeard.com
~The oil sampled for this review was provided by Sphinx
If you're a regular reader of this site, you already know that V&T is taking a little vacation from posting...regular content will resume very soon! But in the meantime, I'm super honored to share this awesome video YouTube skincare guru Greenbird555 (if you don't follow his channel, you need to do so right here), in which he gives V&T a huge shout out! This dude is an expert when it comes to all things skincare, and I'm absolutely humbled that he chose to include some of my suggestions in his latest video. Head on over and give this video a watch, you won't regret it!
So I'm hoping to have one of the big draws of my Patreon page (which you can sign up for here) will be exclusive video content....but I figure that my now there are enough middle aged bearded dudes recording videos of their thoughts on any given product on YouTube, and I don't really have anything more interesting to say than they do...so what can I do that's different? Well, unboxing videos are popular, right? Personally, I don't really understand why, but if people dig watching videos of other people opening their mail, then who am I to judge?
That being said, I figure before I add this to my paid content, I should probably get a little practice in. So I've uploaded my first unboxing video to YouTube (you can subscribe to my channel here if you want...I'm not going to promise that there will be a ton of content landing there, but hey, it can't hurt to "hit that subscribe button", as all the cool kids say)...I'll be posting my full thoughts on this stuff after I use it a few times...but in the mean time...what do you think of the video? What works, what doesn't? Feedback is always appreciated...
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
Regular readers of this site might remember the glowing reviews I left for both the oil and butter versions of The 18th Mack by industry-disrupting upstart, The Bearded Mack. I mean, this is quite possibly the best whiskey based beard-care scent ever...but, to steal a line from countless 80's kids who appeared on Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it. That's because right now, The Bearded Mack is offering a deal so good on their 18th Mack products, that you'd be a fool to pass them up. Simply head on over to thebeardedmackgroomingco.com enter code THE18TH at checkout, and enjoy 35% off of any of the amazingly high quality products in their 18th Mack lineup...we're talking oil loaded to the gills with exotic and beneficial ingredients, a whipped butter so light and airy it feels like it might float away when you scoop it out, and a balm that...well...I haven't tried the balm yet...but I'm sure it's awesome. A deal this good isn't going to stick around for long, so head on over and add some amazing 18th Mack scented products to your collection today! You can thank me later...
It all started with a cup of coffee...okay, so I'm doing some weird artsy intro here, but stick with me, because this story is going somewhere. So, this morning, I got up, and started my normal routine; fed the dogs, put some music on, checked my emails, and went to brew the coffee. It was at this point that I noticed the hopper on the coffee grinder was completely empty. Now, I know what you're thinking (if you're a coffee snob anyway), but I'm just not "cool" enough to bust out the scale like some sort of mid 2000's dope dealer who is trying to show off how "accurate" their quarters are, and measure my coffee every morning...so I just dump a whole bag of coffee in the grinder and let the chips fall where they may with every pot. Reaching into the cabinet, I pulled down a freshly roasted bag of honey process Honduran from Just Coffee Co-Op (at the risk of sounding like a card-carrying douche canoe, I can't do shitty grocery-store coffee), ground some up and put the coffee on as usual. While cooking breakfast (black pepper bacon, with potatoes and eggs fried in the same grease), I poured up a cup, and holy smokes! What a great cup of mud! So good in fact, that by the time breakfast was over, I had flushed a whole pot (minus the one cup that I had poured for my wife) down my gullet. Now, I have a pretty high tolerance for caffeine...I mean, I usually drink a pot of coffee and an energy drink throughout the course of a day, but it's rare that I ingest so much so quickly. What does any of this have to do with beard wash? Well, I'm getting to that...you see, after breakfast, and thouroghly jacked up on caffiene I headed to the master bathroom to get ready for the day. With top quality coffee coursing through my veins so quickly that it made my hands tremble, I decided that a nice shave would be just what the doctor ordered (because, of course, why not?). After whipping up a luxurious mug of Chokecherry scented shave soap from Sphinx, and thouroghly lubricating the stubble at the edges of my beard and on my throat with the surprisingly very good multi-tasker from Rebel's Refinery, I grabbed my straight razor. What happened next...well, lets just say I learned my lesson about waiting for the caffeine tremors to subside before ever attempting wet shaving again. Long story short, I took a huge bite out of both cheeklines of my beard (Not a huge deal, as I'll have enough of a 5:00 o'clock shadow by this evening that I'll be able to fake a crisp line again in no time)...my neck line however, yikes, it looks like I took a weed-whacker to it...good thing nobody really sees it, but holy-hell, it's bad...anyway, as you can imagine, there were more knicks on my face than on the floor of Madison Square Garden by the time everything was done, which led to a little bit of blood getting into my beard. This is of course where beard wash comes in...
I had picked up this all new Scent from Skully's CTZ when it first dropped at the end of last month. Released to a good amount of fanfare among Skully's fans, Nemesis represents the latest scent in their Beards Never Die collection (I still havent figured out what exactly makes this collection different from their core lineup...even their website states that this collection is the same natural formulation as their standard line with "new unique fragrances"...soooo, yeah), but I mean, the labels are pretty cool, so rock on, right? This wash had been hanging out in my shower, mostly getting used as a shampoo over the past couple of weeks, but when I needed something to scrub the sickly iron smell of blood from my beard, I decided it was time to really put this stuff through its paces. How does this compare to some of the other beard washes in my collection. Let's take it for a spin and find out!
Skully's scents all have a certain powdery, fresh, sweetness about them...it's safe, it's unoffensive, but at the same time, it kind of robs them of any personality. Nemesis is no exception, taking a universally known and loved beard-care note, leather, and running it through two equally overused chords, cedar and amber, and then mixing in that same weird powder note that all Skully's scents are required to have, Nemesis is about as exciting as you'd expect. Conjuring up mental images of middle-of-the-road deodorants and soaps designed to smell "manly" according to a committee sitting around in a flourescent light bathed R&D department somewhere, it reads as a lightly better version of something you might expect from Old Spice or Axe. I mean, it's fine, there's absolutely nothing offensive about it, but to call it boring would be an understatement. If you really concentrate, there's a sort of chemical, aerosol scent on the back end that doesn't take this scent in any particular direction. It's sweet, it's fresh, it's just okay. For those who don't like a ton of complexity, this is definitely worth considering...but I can't help but wonder, why did they even bother rolling out a new scent if they were going to make it so absolutely unremarkable? I mean, not everything has to be completely challenging and nuanced, but damn, give me something here. Strength is a breath below medium, which is fine...and it's completely undetectable after rinsing out, also fine...come to think of it, "fine" is the word that I would use to describe every single aspect of this scent...just fine...
How does it work?
Ive tried two Skully's washes previously, Rum Dumb (also part of this nebulously defined Beards Never Die collection) was actually pretty good. Pale Rider on the other hand, well, not so much. Just like those two, this stuff is sold as a multi-tasker, pulling duty as a body wash and shampoo in addition to being a beard wash. As I mentioned earlier, I've been using this stuff as a shampoo, and it's not bad at all, of course for the purposes of this review, we're just going to focus on how well it works as a beard wash. It's lightweight, foams up easily, and thankfully doesn't have that weird sticky/slimy feeling that made me dislike the Pale Rider version so much. As far as actual cleansing properties, this does a very good job, getting deep into my beard and also rinsing cleanly, taking any buildup (and incidental, shaving accident induced blood drops) with it, right down the drain. That being said, there's also a noticable gentleness about this product, not enough to use on a daily basis mind you, but it's definitely kinder to my beard than some of the other washes out there, while still doing a remarkable job as a strip-wash. Upon stepping out of the shower, my beard felt incredibly healthy, no tangles, no knots, just an all around awesome feeling, ready to accept a dose of oil.
The bottom line
So today I learned that I'm not skilled enough with a straight razor to attempt any clean-up jobs while jacked up on caffeine. I also learned that Skully's new scent is less than exciting...but their beard wash does a great job from a functional standpoint. I hate to harp on the middle-of-the-road nature of this scent, but for all the buzz that Skully's has tried to create via paid social media ads, the scent is admittedly a let-down, but I suppose that it's still better than being flat out offensive (which it definitely isn't). Is this a product that I recommend? I mean...from a performance standpoint, it's a no-brainer...but again, the scent...the scent...
Anyway, Skully's has a huge following, and it's understandable as to why. As one of the big guys, I suppose they can't really afford to take too many risks when it comes to avant-garde scents...Looking at it that way, I can't necessarily fault them for Nemesis being such a "meh" fragrance. Of course, the funniest part of all of this is that in creating a scent that is seemingly for everybody, they've created a scent that definitely isnt for me.
89 See where this lands on The Big List
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Betaine, Xantham Gum, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice Powder, Citric Acid, Phenonxyethanol, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, fragrance.
$13 at skullysbeardoil.com
After a breif hiatus, the deal of the day is back! Not a minute too soon either, as today's deal is an exceptional one. Can you believe that it's been thirty years since the world was first introduced to Twin Peaks? To celebrate the anniversary of the first time any of us ever drank a cup of damn fine coffee that was "black as midnight on a moonless night" Last Looks Grooming is offering a 30% discount on their Twin Peaks inspired Black Lodge collection. This is, without question the best coffee based scent in my rotation today, and I cannot recommend taking advantage of this deal highly enough! There are no codes to remember, just head on over to lastlooksgrooming.com, and enjoy the great savings. This deal is only good until this sunday, so make sure you grab some awesome Black Lodge products today...
...and just because we are celebrating the 30th birthday of one of the most iconic shows ever...
Today marks the launch of the official V&T Patreon Page. Patrons will have exclusive access to a regular newsletter, an exclusive weekly patron-only post, and will be given full credit as a Patron right here on the V&T home page!
Monthly subscriptions start as low as $3, so head on over to the official V&T Patreon site, and consider joining today!