In the beginning, there were beard oils...I mean, I suppose you could go back to ancient times and find people adding beneficial oils to their beard and hair...then somewhere along the way, it seems like beard balms were the next logical step, I mean, you'd need some sort of styling product to keep your beard looking amazing, right? More recently, it seems beard butters emerged (I could be way off on this, but they feel like a fairly recent innovation, like within the last 20 years or so), and up until recently with the most recent wave of premium beard care products popping up, it seems like beard butters, well, they all kind of sucked (Again, I may be way off, but it seems like Maestro's is one of the first that I remember seeing widely marketed and...well...yeeeaaaaaah...). Now-a-days, it seems like beard butters have really evolved into the amazing products we have come to know and love, you have denser poured butters, as well as whipped butters that are so light it feels like they might float away when you unscrew the cap...but there seems to be a new type of butters that is so unitque that they are slowly but surely becoming their own all-new category in the beard care market, they even have their own name; beard creams. Now, for the purpose of this site, I still classify beard creams as butters, but there is definitely something different about them. Perhaps one of the most famous is the offering from Husky Beard which is just an all around delight, but other companies have thrown their hat into the beard cream ring, some great, some meh...but all declaring themselves as a wholly different experience from the butters that we have come to know and love. One of the latest brands to put their own spin on the concept of a beard cream is Anointed AK. Known for their amazing catalogue of innovative fragrances (including one of the best library scents I've ever smelled), and all around commitment to quality, this is a brand that has never been afraid to innovate. This cream promises to be an all-around restorative experience (which I think we could all use from time to time when split ends, and frizz start to get us down). Will this new offering prove to be their next big thing? Only one way to find out...let's give it a go...
Part of Anointed AK's "elements" series (hence the name "Water"), this is one of those scents that is deceptively simple, when asked to describe it, most people would just say something along the lines of "it's nice" but have a hard time elaborating. Somewhat gourmand, somewhat aquatic, it reminds me a bit of the Ocean Blue offerings from Baroque Royal, but a bit more laid back. It's zesty, it's chill, it's hours marked by glasses of wine spent by the pool...but not Riedel crystal flutes of Veuve Clicquot by the pool at an upscale coastal resort on some lazy afternoon, instead, it's Ikea glasses of some $20 a bottle Chardonnay from the grocery store, standing around by the pool in your friends back yard as the kids splash each other with pool noodles, and the sounds of the grill mix with somebody's Spotify playlist being pumped through a bluetooth speaker perched in the middle of the outdoor dining table from Costco. This is the scent of lazy summertime backyard parties, completely devoid of pretense, just a casual, great time with some of your favorite people as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon. A vibrant, sweet opening of ripe cantaloupe and honeydew bring an almost effervescent vibrancy that bubbles over with color and life. This is wrapped loosely by a focused salinity that reminds me more of that first sip of a margarita than a whiff of ocean air, a salty note so deliberate that you can almost taste it on your tongue. A gentle candy sweetness gracefully wafts over the entire accord, not really making much of an impact either way, just accentuating what is already there, making you want to close your eyes and breathe deeply, just to take everything in. While not the most complex scent in the world, this stuff makes the most of each individual component, and is truly a delight. Strength is perfectly medium (although fades to just below medium after a few hours). Staying power is good, like a good party guest, hanging around for a polite 5 or 6 hours before receeding into the night.
How does it work?
The first thing you'll notice about this stuff is the texture. You know how if you ever get a beard butter that separates during shipment due to temprature change or something, it gets sort of gritty? Well, this is kind of like that, but I get the sense it was done deliberately (the Anointed AK website even makes a quick mention of this), there are these little buttery "chips" (for lack of a better term) that make the consistency of this stuff something like chocolate chip cookie dough, but once you rub it in your hands, it melts quickly into a silky smooth consistency that spreads easily in my beard and gets deep down to the root of every single hair. As far as practical daily performance, this stuff is top notch, conditioning like a dream, leaving my face feeling refreshed and hydrated, protecting both skin and beard, and even offering a little bit of hold...but what I really want to talk about are the claims that Anointed AK makes about the repairative properties of this cream. Now, let me start off by saying that this is a company I respect and a product that I enjoy...but any time a company tells you that an offering of theirs can "repair" split ends, they aren't being 100% truthful. If you take a piece of wood and jam something into the grain in order to split it (you dont really need to do this, in fact, just take my word for it, I don't need you to risk injuring yourself just to prove my point), there is no way you're going to get that grain back together again exactly as it was, I mean, you can glue it, or tape it back together, but once it's split, it's always going to be split...your hairs are the same, the only way to actually fix a split end is to cut it off (you may have found some info on google about candling, split ends, which is one of the stupidest things I've ever seen, and could potentially cause way more damage than just leaving a split end alone). So that being said, I'm not crazy about this product's claim to repair split ends (although in fairness, it says "helps to repair split ends" on the website, so there may be some semantic wiggle room in that claim, but we all know what the implication is. Now I suppose a product of this quality can actually help prevent split ends, not on its own of course, but as part of an overall dilligent beard-care routine, so when used in conjunction with smart washing and conditioning practices and regular doses of good quality oil, you should find that over time split ends become less and less of a thing you'll need to contend with when you use this stuff. That aside, this product does do a great job of making my beard feel very healthy. With a laundry list of high quality ingredients, not the least of which is avocado oil and the litany of benefical properties it possesses, this stuff definitely leaves my beard feeling strong, and looking amazing. I'm actually very tempted to just smear a really hefty dose of this product into my beard, before bed one night, and see how it works as a leave in conditioner. Staying power is good, I haven't worn it while performing any sort of high impact activities or spending much time outdoors, but if you're planning on spending the day behind the desk or just relaxing around the house, and you're looking for a product that is going to offer great in-beard feel and keep itch and irritation at bay, long after it's been fully absorbed, this stuff can't be beat!
The bottom line
Aside from the dubious claims about helping to repair split ends (which I will admit is more of a personal trip on my part), I think this stuff does everything that it sets out to do, and in a lot of ways, sort of helps to rewrite the definition of the fledgling product category known as beard cream. The scent is wonderful, a total mood that can transport you to stress-free summer days even on a chilly January afternoon spent hunched over on the couch, staring into the computer screen. Overall I really dig what Anointed AK is doing here, in an industry that is increasingly becomming saturated with a lot of very similar looking/feeling/performing products, they have created something that is unabashedly different, and it works well. From a value standpoint, this stuff sports a price tag a bit higher than similar butters/creams, but again, the uniqueness of this product, is definitely something that should be factored in if you are considering purchasing it. I understand that the sticker shock may be a bit too much for some, but with that in mind, if you're on the fence about trying this stuff, and that's the only thing stopping you, I highly doubt you'll experience any buyers remorse when you get to experience the amazing scent and exceptional performance of this stuff for yourself!
Ingredients: Refined African Shea Butter, Unrefined Jojoba Butter, Aloe Vera Juice, Avocado Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Shea Nut Oil, Therapeutic Grade Essential & Fragrance Oils.
$22 at anointedak.com