So put yourself in this situation, you just recieved a veritable treasure chest of beard-care products in the mail from a luxury lifestyle brand...which one do you try first? I don't think many people would say the small bar of soap, and yet, being the weirdo that I am, that's exactly what I did. Let's back up for a moment shall we? First, for those who may be unfamiliar, the luxury lifestyle brand I'm speaking of is Baroque Royal. Based out of Beverly Hills, this brand was created by a team that boasts a collective résumé made up of some of the most prestigious and well known couture houses in the world. They offer a full line of high end products from skincare, to slippers, travel bags, humidors, even some really awesome looking flatware in their signature blue color scheme (that I'm going to need to pick up a few sets of, before the next time my wife and I have company over for dinner). Now I may be biased, but, to me, the most interesting thing they offer is a full suite of beardcare products, boasting first rate ingredients and ISO certification (meaning that all products have been tested by an independent, third party to ensure that they meet the most strict requirements when it comes to quality), there is no doubt that these are serious beardcare products designed for the expert beardsman with the most exacting of standards. Needless to say, I was absolutely floored when they sent me their full range of beard-care products to try and review, reading the ingredients list on every product, I knew I was in for a truly luxurious experience, but where to start? This of course leads us back to this little bar of soap. I normally don't care for my beard wash in bar form (I had a bad experience once with a product from another company that shall remain nameless), but I've been sampling a lot of great washes lately, so I figured "what the hell?" and decided to take this stuff into the shower with me a few mornings ago...let's see if I made the right choice.
The Ocean Blue scent is at first glance (sniff?) a fairly straightforward aquatic scent, reminiscent of a clean, fresh smelling "beach" scented hand soap or candle that your wife might put in the guest bathroom. But just like the mighty Pacific, there is a brilliant world of complexity just below the surface. A chalky, mineral base reminiscent of vintage champagne conjures up images of success and prosperity, while a warm, amber-meets-driftwood accord oozes masculinity and adds an edge of dark, intreague, wrapping this scent in a mysterious allure as deep and as dark as the Mariana Trench. Just above this is a fresh, effervescent note reminiscent of the citrus chords that give many aquatic colognes their "bite", perhaps a bright squeeze of sweet orange, expertly restrained so as not to insist upon itself. This is rounded out by a light ethereal note as crisp and clean as a breath of fresh ocean air, it's slightly green, slightly floral, but a bit difficult to describe; a hint of lavender, perhaps a bit of violet? it's calming, it's relaxing, it envelopes you in a comfortable embrace like a perfectly timed breeze that makes your saltwater drenched skin tingle as you emerge from the crystaline ocean and dig your toes into the warm sands of a prestine beach. Finally the faintest hint of clean cotton, like taking a deep inhale as you lay back on a plush beach towel and let the sun's glorious rays wash over you, swirls and dances in the topnote as if carried on a lazy summer wind, creating perhaps one of the best in-shower sensory experiences of any beard wash product I've ever tried. Strength is solidly medium, and staying power is very good (but not so strong as to interfere with whatever products you choose to follow up with).
How does it work?
Earlier, I had touched on the fact that I don't really care for my beard wash in bar form, the last product I had tried in this format didn't lather very well, and it left a shitty residue on my beard that was nearly impossible to rinse off. Of course, I'm not reviewing that product (I'm not even mentioning what it was), so let's shift focus to this particular bar. A couple swipes across my beard was all I needed as I could tell this was going to build up to a big foam. I know I use the word "luxurious" quite often to describe lather when it comes to many beard washes, but after working this amazing product into my beard with my fingers, and creating a lather so thick and rich that it literally felt like I was rubbing freshly whipped meringue into my mane, the new minimum for what constitutes a "luxurious" lather has been significantly raised. Millions of tiny fine buttles create a dense foam that more closely resembles shaving cream than any beard wash I've tried before, which imparts a deep down clean to my face as well as each individual follicle of my beard. The natural antibacterial properties of the lauric acid (one of the active compounds found in coconut oil which make it such a miracle product) in this bar make it an ideal cleanser for both beard and face as few cleaning products are as effective at removing Propionibacterium acnes (the scientific name for gross skin bacteria that causes zits and breakouts), it also reduces inflammation and improves circulation, making this bar a worthy substitue for your daily face wash as well...in fact, it has been argued that lauric acid is more effective than benzoyl peroxide at reducing acne in general, so if you're like the many adults out there who still deal with the occasional breakout, you might want to reach for this product the next time you feel a new blemish coming on. The other half of this bar's big "one-two punch" is stearic acid, a long-chain fatty acid that helps break down excess sebum, a nasty oily secretion that your skin naturally produces, which can clog pores and hinder beard growth. Considering the beneficial properties of both of these ingredients not just for your beard but for your skin in general, I would go so far as to say that this product can be used as an all-around utility bar, but due to the size, you might not get quite as much mileage out of it as you would if you reserved it strictly for beard use. As a beard wash, this bar is mild enough for every day use, of course if you don't wash your beard every day, I can imagine that this would still give you a satisfactory deep-down cleaning.
The Bottom Line
This product has completely changed my opinion on bar-form beard washes, delivering a clean that could compare to any of the best washes I've ever tried, with a scent that is nice enough to be bottled and sold as a summertime cologne. I'm still not entirely sure what compelled me to try this product first when I had my pick of everything that Baroque Royal makes for beards, but I honestly can't think of a time when I've experienced a more impactful introduction to a new company (I mean, just a few days ago, I hated the concept of soap bars for my beard, and now I've used one several days in a row). This little bar is a product that's easy to get excited about, and without question delivers on Baroque Royal's promise of offering a world class experience. In the world of beard-care there are a great many luxury brands who offer a first rate experience, Baroque Royal has come storming out of the gate with the intent of adding their name to the upper eschelon of those brands, and if every product they make delivers as impressive of an experience as this particular one, it won't be long before they do just that! I'm already excited to report my findings on their other beard-care products, so stay tuned...
Ingredients: Propylene glycol, glycerin, sugar, stearic acid, lauric acid, water, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, tocopheryl acetate.
$9.99 at baroqueroyal.com
~The soap sampled for this review was provided by Baroque Royal