With the cooler months upon us, it's definitely beard balm season...admittedly, I am more of a beard butter kind of guy, but I certainly have appreciation for a good balm, and still keep a few in my regular rotation. Blackbeard Trading Co is a brand that recently popped up on my radar. Originally a woodworking company specializing in handmande furnishings, they have expanded over the years into an empire that not only offers their own proprietary line of beard-care products, but also a subscription service where they introduce beardsmen all over the globe to new and different brands of beardcare products. With a full range of interesting scents and unusual ingredients (we'll come back to this in a bit), their beard balms certainly jumped out and caught my eye. Let's see if this Captain's Quarters balm will be worthy of a spot in my winter rotation, or if it's just another cool name that just doesnt quite measure up...
Billed as a blend of vanilla, cherry, tobacco, and musk, this scent reads as extremely gourmand. Rich, creamy, vanilla ice cream lays the groundwork, as an ethereal mist of cherry that feels more like amaretto slowly rises and provides a ton of structure. A distinctive tobacco flower perfume announces itsself in the midnote while never becoming overpowering, just perfectly present. An unctuous "bakery" note (think fresh bear claws, or almond horns) mingles with bridle leather, and more a suggestion of musk than actual musk (just a pleasant hint of amber) in the topnote. There is a faint mineral quality that reminds me of chalk powder hanging out in the background, never really interfering with the overall bouquet, but still present. One complaint I have with this scent, is that it throws everything at you at once, and doesn't really seem to evolve throughout the course of the day, but since this is a great combination, in which each component works perfectly in concert with the others, this isn't the worst thing in the world. Strength is on the medium-to-medium-plus side...and staying power is just perfect, lasting all day long.
How does it work?
This is a soft, supple balm that melts easily, with very little effort (in this respect, it more closely resembles a butter than a balm). It works extremely easily into my beard, and combs through evenly, making styling a breese. Control is good, offering a medium amount of hold...but the thing I really like about this product is the amount of lustre and shine it adds to my beard I'm assuming that this is due to the inclusion of an ingredient that is almost never present in beard care products (and I have no idea why), that ingredient is mica. In fact, let's talk about mica for a second, shall we? Mica is a naturally ccuring element that has gained popularity in grooming products for both men and women lately, in its powdered form, it lends refractive properties which provide an incredible "glow" to skin and hair...now for those unfamilair, you might be thinking of something akin to that body glitter shit that your girlfriend in the early 2000's wore that got onto everything and was impossible to get rid of...this most definitley isn't that, it's a very neutral powder that's almost invisible on it's own, and washes out cleanly. It also is said to offer calming properties that can help keep that cold-weather beard itch in check. The absolute best part is the fact that it is naturally non comedogenic and shouldnt irritate even the most sensitive skin. Just an all around great addition that makes this one of the more unique beard balms you're going to find! Staying power is fantastic, lasting all day with no need for touchups, and zero itch or dryness cropping up.
The bottom line
As I said before, we've entered a season in which beard butter sometimes just doesnt cut it, if you're going to be out and about on cold, raw days, you need a good quality balm...but that doesn't mean that you need a stiff, heavyweight balm that adds an unnatural feel to your beard. This stuff offers a great level of hold and protection, while still maintaining a brilliant lightweight feel...and the shine? I mean that's a whole other conversation. If you're looking for a product that will have you looking your best for a night on the town, or any special occasion when you want your beard to have a radiance that borders on supernatural, look no furrther than this balm, right here.
Ingredients: Coconut oil, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Mica, and premium fragrances
$16 at blackbeardtrading.com