There is no shortage of value-priced products in the beard care game...quality value-priced products, well, that's a different story. Don't get me wrong, there is some great stuff out there for budget conscious beardsmen (the balm and oil by Vintage grooming, are two that immediately come to mind), but there's also a lot of junk to sift through in this price bracket. Recently a newcomer to the value segment has thrown their hat into the ring, promising quality while boasting ingredients that seem more suited to brands that actually brag about their hefty price tags, and scents said to mimic some of the finest colognes on the market. At first glance, it all seems too good to be true, I mean come on, high end ingredients like marula, boabab, and emu...all for a single digit price tag? really? But sporting such a low cost, this stuff represents an extremely low risk, so I figured "what the hell?" and decided to give it a try...let's see if this new kid on the block is really poised to corner the value segment, or if this ends up being another low-cost product that just isn't worth it...
As readers of this page know all-too-well, I'm a huge Bond No. 9 fan, so when I saw that Scent #12 by BrokeAss was inspired by Bond No. 9's Dubai Gold, I already knew I woud be ordering it as my introduction to this oil. While the three Bond scents I currently have in rotation are Brooklyn, Cooper Square, and H.O.T Always, I did pick Dubai Gold up when it was first released and proceded to wear it so often that I killed the bottle in a matter of months, so I am quite familiar with this amazing scent. While this product isn't exactly a faithful reproduction of the scent, it's still a pretty darn good approximation of it (What do you expect? you could literally buy 55 bottles of this oil for less than the cost of one bottle of Dubai Gold at retail). Rub a rew drops together in the palms of your hands, and you'll instantly be greeted by heady aromas of warm, boozy spice floating ethereally around towering slabs of aromatic lumber dripping with an exotic essence that rides the line between resinous and floral. A faint yet distinct tower of crystaline candied ginger and citrus rises in the midnote from a pool of heavy, honeyed sweetness, that may be too much for some, while a powdery high note seems to circle back into the spicy sweet wood accords that become the most dominant part of this blend as time wears on. Strength is just slightly north of medium-plus, and I find it actually projects incredibly well for a beard oil, so much so that you probably don't need to wear cologne with this, and if you do, make sure it's something complimentary, otherwise, you run the risk of your fragrances cashing (In fact this is such a complex scent that you'll definitely want to stick to more conservatively scented balms and butters in order to be sure that you dont have too much going on)...I find staying power is fantastic, lasting all day long, and continuing to evolve brilliantly well into the evening.
How does it work?
So clearly the good folks over at BrokeAss know how to formulate a scent, but at the end of the day, scent can only take a product so far. Here's were the rubber really meets the road, as the viscosity of this stuff is wonderful, thicker than a good percentage of oils out there, this stuff just "feels" high quality to the touch (if that makes any sense). It works into my beard easily, getting right down to the roots and skin below, and the results are shockingly noticable. Of course, I regularly go on and on about how much I enjoy castor in my beard oils, and I've discussed how amazing marula makes my skin feel, but this stuff is on a completely different level. The addition of baobab oil, with it's brilliant regenerative properties, really has my face feeling extra nourished, loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, this is a very high end oil that does miracles for the skin, it also helps impart an other-worldly lustre to my beard, and does a fantastic job of protecting both beard and face from the chilly autumn air that seems to be extra drying lately. Then there's the emu oil...an ingredient that is almost always reserved for the most expensive of beard care products, this stuff is another one of those work-horse type of carrier oils, packed with essential fatty acids, which are said to penetrate deeply into the skin and promote healthy hair growth, and prized for its occlusive properties, the addition of this oil really cranks up the beneficial properties of this product. There are very few products on the market, at any price that leave my beard feeling as healthy, nourished, and strong as this stuff does. There is absolutely no greasy feel after application (in fact this is one of the "driest" beard oils I've tried in a while, right up there with some of the Fresh Beards offerings in terms of "dryness"). The ultra-light in-beard feel belies the ridiculous staying power of this product, requiring absolutely no touch ups at any point throughout the course of a day.
The Bottom Line
This is definitely one of those cases in which it would be wrong to judge a book by its cover; The name "BrokeAss" along with the packaging that seems to scream "cost cutting", may at first glance have you thinking that this is not a serious product, but brother you would be so wrong. If you're operating on a tight budget, or just looking for a great deal, this stuff easily represents one of the best values in the entire beard-care game. Performance is on par with products costing several hundred times more. From a scent standpoint, this stuff could seriously work as a cologne by itself...invariably, you will get asked what scent you have on when you wear this, and if you told most people that you were wearing some super-pricey high end fragrance, they'd be inclined to believe you...but that's dishonest, so don't...instead, just let them know that you're wearing this awesome beard oil that smells great, so that word of this company's great products can continue to spread!
Ingredients: Fractionated Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Aloe Extract, Marula Oil, Emu Oil, Baobab Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Fragrance
$9 at brokeassbeards.com