Perhaps no product in the Scotch Porter portfolio is as universally lauded as their conditioner, it's downright luxurious, and leaves any beard it comes in contact with feeling as soft as a cloud. I use it, myself, a couple of times a week (although, for what it's worth, I still cand decide if I like it better than the conditioner made by Detroit Grooming...but you can't go wrong either way). Perhaps a bit of an oddity, the leave-in permutation of Scotch Porter's beard conditioner has gained a loyal following from in-the-know beardsmen everywhere, but doesnt seem to enjoy the same univeral praise as it's non leave-in cousin. Having become an instant fan of their CBD beard wash and face cleanser (not being a beard product, I didn't post a formal review of their face cleanser, but suffice it to say, it's worth picking up), I couldn't pass up the opportunity to add another one of their CBD products to my collection, and since the leave-in conditioner had been on my radar, as far as products that I wanted to review, for some time now...I figured that it was compulsory to pick this stuff up. So expectations have been set pretty high, could this stuff really be better than the standard issue Scotch Porter conditioner? Only one way to find out...let's take it for a spin!
Scotch Porter makes some unusual scents, there's no other way to say it. The scent of their standard line just doesnt light my fire, but the CBD line, that's a whole different story. A completely untraditional blend, I can see where this might not be everybody's cup of tea. This is a wonderfully powerful scent that seems to brilliantly blend sophistication with a sort of hard-edged swagger that is easy to place mentally, but difficult to describe. Big, concentrated notes of rose water and ultra-silky suede meld brilliantly into one another, creating this amazingly heady aroma that conjures up mental images of crushing rose petals with a brand new pair Ferragamos, deliciously irreverant, yet still oozing a high-end sophistication. This seamlessly transitions to an a stoney, almost minerally smoke tempered by just the slightest hint of something green and vaguely menthol, which is all perfectly reigned in by a warm amber flourish that ties the entire scent profile together brilliantly. Not your typical beard-care scent, but honestly if Scotch Porter ever got into the cologne game, they would have an instant hit on their hands with this fragrance, by far the best smelling Scortch Porter product I've tried to date...it takes the awesome scent of the CBD beard wash and amplifies it to a seemingly endless level. Strength is on the higher side (so if scents aren't really your thing, this might be a bit much for you), and staying power...well...it depends on how you use it (and we'll get into that more in the "How does it work?" portion of the review), but suffice it to say, it hangs around a while.
How does it work?
So if you watch any of the great beard care channels on YouTube, you'll find there isnt really a consensus on how to use this stuff, so ultimately it'll be on you to try a couple of different things and see what fits your needs best. The instructions say to leave it in for 2 minutes and rinse it out...yeah, dont even bother picking this stuff up if you're going to do that, there is no noticable difference between doing it that way and just using the regular conditioner, so why spend the extra dough on two different products? I've seen instructional videos saying to leave it in for about an hour or so, and while I find that this does deliver better results than straight up conditioning, they're not that different that they create a necessity for going out and buying a separate product. A lot of guys online seem to be in favor of giving your beard a wash at bedtime and then leaving this stuff in all night. I've done it that way, and had fantastic results. Then, I saw this video posted by BeardTube (and if you don't subscribe to the BeardTube channel, what's wrong with you? Scuba is like one of the godfathers of this online beard-care review stuff...dude is full of helpful info, and he always comes through with the great discount codes too.), and he suggested only leaving it in for a few hours for maximum effectiveness, and truth be told, I find that this works just as well as leaving it in overnight (he also warned about the coarse feeling in his beard that he experienced after leaving this product in overnight, and in fairness, I have not experienced that...but everybody's beard is different, so your mileage may vary).
So now we know that this stuff seems to need around 4-8 hours to really work its magic, what results should we expect? Honestly this stuff delivers the closest thing to a transformative experience for your beard that you'll probably ever find. Soft isn't even the word for how my beard feels after using this treatment, it's like, my beard has turned into long luxurious strips of the most dense, sumptuous velvet (not velveteen, not crushed velvet, not stretch velvet, but honest-to-goodness $100-per-yard mohair velvet, like an expensive pair of opera pumps might be made out of). I honestly never knew that I could experience such a form of tactile pleasure just by feeling my own beard, and the most beautiful part of all is how long the results last, I find that once every seven to ten days is all I need with this product to keep my beard feeling like spun gold.
The bottom line
Is this a product that you need? No, if you wash and condition occasionally in conjunction with a good routine of oil, balm and butter, that's more than fine, but if youre looking for something that serves insanely hedonistic purposes, this stuff is a must own. If you're having one of those days where you just feel like giving your beard a little extra love, maybe you're planning on going out later, maybe your beard has been feeling a little dry lately, shit, baybe you're just sitting around bored and want to do something to help improve your mood...whatever your reason, this is the product to achieve that "next level" sort of feeling within your beard. Not only is it in a class all its own as far as conditioners go, this stuff may very well be one of my new favorite beard products all around. While I know that some will disagree with me on the scent, I find it downright intoxicating, and performance is absolutely second-to-none...which is why I can't help but give this product the third perfect score ever handed out in V&T history. A truly legendary product!
Ingredients: Olive Squalane (Derived from Natural Plant Sugars), Anhydrous Hemp Oil, Silica (Natural Mineral / Not Crystalline Silica), Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Canola Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui Nut) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer (and) Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Fragrance
$20 at scotchporter.com
If you have a beard (and I'm pretty sure that you do, because why else would you be here?), chances are that you've heard of Scotch Porter. Started as line of proprietary beard and hair-care products sold out of a barbershop in New Jersey, this brand has grown to become one of the most well known marques in the luxury beard-care game. Regularly garnering praise from bloggers, YouTubers, fashion magazines, and pretty much anybody who has tried their products, this industry juggernaut enjoys a reputation that speaks for itself. Perhaps the most highly touted product in their entire lineup is their beard conditioner, which is widely regarded as one of the best beard conditioners on the market. So since it's recieved almost universal acclaim from day one, I guess I don't really need to review it, right??? Okay...soooooo...here's a baby Yoda video instead of today's review...
...nah, just kidding, of course I'm going to review it (but seriously, if you arent watching The Mandalorian, you need to check it out). The way I see it, if nothing else I find that writing about products that have already been reviewed ad nauseum allows my readers to guage how closesly their tastes align with mine...so let's give this stuff a try and see what we think, hmmmm?
So, all of Scotch Porter's products come in one scent (although they are rolling out some new scents very soon according to the promotional email I recieved a few days ago)...While the Scotch porter website states that it's a blend of carnation, sandalwood, and musk, I've heard this scent described as "herbal", or as "root beer"...it's generally accepted that it's pretty sweet...I get a funky incense type of note that I don't quite know how I feel about. The scent is pleasant enough, but I'd stop short of saying it's "nice"...If you are of a certain age, and grew up as something of a stoner kid, you may remember the strange melange of incense, and candy, and tobacco, and just random plastic that you would always smell when you walked into those out of the way "cigarette stores" to pick up flavored rolling papers and sodapop on your way to go hang out with your friends, or whatever, and honestly, that's the closest thing I can compare the scent of this product to; a mid 2000's seedy corner store. The scent is pretty strong while showering, but, it doesn't seem to hang around too long after you step out of the shower, which is just fine by me.
How does it work?
So this is where this products reputation is truly earned. With a list of ingredients more commonly found in high end conditioners used in expensive salons, this stuff isn't playing around. marshmallow root and slippery elm bark extracts help to strengthen hair, calm skin, and provide a tremendous amount of tactile slip which helps your comb glide through your beard with a buttery smoothness. Scoop out the same amount of this stuff as you would any other conditioner (I'm not crazy about the fact that it comes in a jar, as every time I use it I notice that I'm diluting it with a drop or two of water...I'm sure there's some reason why they didn't put it into a regular bottle, but I suppose that has no bearing on performance either way, so let's move on)...work it into your beard, and then give it a few minutes to work its magic. I usually throw back a shower beer and wash the rest of my body using one of the amazing oud/lavender/rose soap bars that Barn Brand Beards made custom for me, and by then, enough time has passed. As far as conditioners go, the texture of this stuff is a bit on the heavier side, so it doesn't rinse out as easily as some, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I do recommend not completely rinsing your conditioner out. After stepping out of the shower, the results are instantly evident, with the exception of the absolutely amazing conditioner by Detroit Grooming, I don't think I've ever experienced a product that leaves my beard as touchably soft after just the slightest towel drying. The unbelievable healthy feel that this product imparts after every conditioning is truly the stuff of legends, I'm absolutely blown away by how great my beard feels all day long after using this stuff, no matter what oils and balm I choose to follow up with afterwords. The benefits seem to extend beyond just conditioning too, as this product brilliantly repairs the overall "blah" feeling that my beard is left with after some of my more hectic days.
The bottom line
This product could smell a little better, and the jar is a super strange choice for a product designed to use in the shower...but those are literally the only drawbacks of this awesome product! It's one thing to take the word of reviewers everywhere, but it's quite another to actually experience this stuff for yourself. This product is like a spa day for your beard, performing as good as any other conditioner you'll ever find...but beyond that, there's something so pleasurable, almost downright hedonistic about running my fingers through my ridiculously luxurious beard after using this wonderful stuff. Sporting a higher price tag than many other conditioners, this may be considered something of an extravangant purchase for some, but factoring in the large 8 ounce size, this product actually represents one of the best bargains out there. Without question, this is a product that every man with a beard needs to own!
Ingredients: Botanical Infusion of (Marshmallow Root, Slippery Elm Bark, Burdock Root, Nettle Leaf, Neem Leaf, and Chamomile Flowers in Deionized Water), Aloe Vera Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Derived from Natural Colza Oil), Organic Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Organic Coconut Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame Oil), Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui Nut) Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Agave Nectar, Castor Oil, Emulsifying Wax, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Sea Kelp, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance
$20 at scotchporter.com
Conditioner is the one part of the beardcare arsenal that gets used the least. Not because it isn't important, but because you really dont want to over condition. I condition my beard every other day (which may be too much for some, but my beard gets wild if I don't keep it on a regular conditioning schedule), as such I just don't buy as many conditioners as I do other products (this, of course translates to me not reviewing as many either). When I saw an ad for this new beard conditioner by Detroit Grooming, I figured if nothing else it would make for a good review on this site. After all, Detroit Grooming Co makes one of my absolute favorite beard butters of all time, and they are definitely one of the more trusted names in the premium beard-care game. Will the combination of a quality pedigree and innovative ingredients result in me having a new favorite conditioner? Let's give it a try and find out...
The Detroit Grooming Co. website describes the scent of this product as "toasted vanilla and amber". I get a sweet toastiness that rides the line between gourmand and vegetal...think coconut macaroons, or amaretto. The scent is definitely on the milder side, but there is a ton of complexity, flashes of vanillin streak across an unctuous, almost nutty base, while a soft warm component that approaches musky but stops just short, hovers elegantly in the background. It's an extemely pleasant couple of minutes while you let this product work its magic on your beard, unfortunately, it's pretty much undetectable after rinsing, I even make it a point to not entirely rinse out my conditioners, and I still can't really smell even a trace of this product when I step out of the shower.
How does it work?
I never thought I'd be "wowed" by a conditioner...but WOW! So this formulation has all the usual suspects that you'd expect from a beard conditioner (aloe, argan oil, shea butter, etc...) but the addition of biotin really seems to boost the performance of this product. Work it into your beard, be patient, take a few minutes to sing along with your music, or wash the rest of your body, or enjoy a shower beer...whatever you do in the shower to kill a few minutes, you'll be glad that you did, because immediately upon rinsing (and remember, try to only rinse like 90% of this product out of your beard, leave juuuuuust a little bit in there) you'll notice that this stuff is different. Even when it's still wet, you'll be impressed by how your beard feels instantly healthier. Upon stepping out of the shower you'll be blown away at how your comb glides through your mane like a swan across the pristine surface of a crystal clear lake, and after blow-drying, you'll be shocked at how luxuriously full your beard looks. Before you put any other products in your beard, do yourself a favor and just run your hand through...soft as butter. There are conditioners, and then there is this stuff, in a class all its own!
The bottom line
I have a very small rotation of conditioners that I use, I enjoy them all, but as of right now, this one is my favorite by a good margin. Considering the generous eight ounce size will last you a good long while, the higher price tag isn't that much of an issue. The performance of this product really sets a new mark, and definitely leaves me tempted to condition every...but I dont.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua),Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Shea Butter Ethyl Ethers, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Unrefined Sea Butter, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Pyrus Maius (Apple) Pectin Extract, Wheat Germ Oil, Borago Officinalis (Borsage) Extract, Phenoxethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Biotin B7, Citric Acid Extract, Essential Oils, and Fragrance
$24.95 at detroitgrooming.com
Kingsmen Beard Club is a brand that has earned a cult following with its Holy Grail beard oil (a product that really does live up to the hype). When visiting the Kingsmen webiste, it's easy to overlook some of the other offerings and go straight for their awesome Holy Grail scent, I mean it's been reviewed by countless YouTube channels and blogs (even this one), to almost universal acclaim...but if you take amoment to check out some of the other scent creations the good folks at Kingsmen have come up with, you'll see some really intreaguing options. I was in the market for a new beard conditioner the other day, and decided that I could use this as the perfect opportunity to try another Kingsmen scent that caught my attention. Will this be another home run on the level of their Holy Grail oil? or am I just putting unrealistic expectations on Kingsmen to capture lightning in a conveniently sized 4 oz. bottle again? Let's give it a try and see...
Billed as a blend of lavender, citrus, mixed berries, sandalwood, and rum spice, the Black Knight scent is advertised on the Kingsmen website as a "cologne type" scent, and I wouldn't argue with this description. Once again, Kingsmen has managed to create a scent that smells more like a pricey cologne than your typical beard care product. I pick up a lot of woodsy sweetness, laced with a floral (not perfumey, but real honest-to goodness-flowering plants) component, and rounded out by a warm, almost amber-like spice. It makes for a really pleasant experience to just close your eyes and inhale deeply in the shower while you wait for this stuff to work its magic. Longevity is about what you'd expect for a conditioner (If you want the scent to hang around, you'd need to buy their entire suite of Black Knight products and layer them). Definitely another winner as far as scent is concerned.
How does it work?
I condition my beard every other day, so it never really gets to the point that it urgently needs deep conditioning, that being said, I dont know that this is a product that you would want to reach for if you were in need of really intensive conditioning...but as an "every day" (or almost every day) conditioner, you can't ask for much more. It seems to be thinner than some other conditioners (but in no means runny/watery), and as such, works into your beard really well, the one drawback to its consistency is that it seems to rinse out really quickly. As I've mentioned before, I try to rinse almost all of the conditioner out of my beard, just leave juuuuuust a little bit in for deeper conditioning throughout the day...the benefits of this practice are somewhat open to debate...but what isn't up for debate is how awesome your mane will feel after you step out of the shower. Your beard will feel soft and managable, and your comb will meet virtually zero resistance as you blowdry. It also imparts a really healthy shine to your beard that only intensifies when you add your favorite oil.
The bottom line
The amazing Holy Grail offerings from Kingsmen throw a long shadow that may cause you to overlook some of their other scents, but if that awesome "church-y" oud isn't your thing, or you're just looking for a conditioner that works as great as it smells, this is definitely one not to be missed. The fact that this stuff can easily compete with conditioners that sell for twice as much, makes it all the more stellar of an product from a brand that clearly knows something about stellar products!
Ingredients: Purified Water, Polawax, Glycerin, Glycerol Monostearate, PVP K30, Cetrimonium Chloride, Safflower Oil, Propylparaben, Crotein SPA, Stearyl Konium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Methylparaben
$12.49 at Kingsmenbeardclub.com
You've spent months growing an epic beard...youve perfected your routine, you meticulously wash, dry, comb, and oil. You have a different balm for every day of the week, you can even identify the individual components of any random beard oil you work into your beard...you're just that good...but what if I told you that your routine is just a little bit lacking??? Well if you aren't using a quality beard conditioner a couple of times a week, it totally is. We already know that Beardbrand is one of the top names in the premium beard care game, constantly taking standard issue beard care concepts and elevating them to another level. With their beard softener, they've taken the concept of a beard conditioner and made it a uniquely luxurious experience. Is it that one final piece that is missing from your routine? Or is it just another plain old conditioner? Lets find out...
As we discussed in our review of Beardbrand Old Money Styling Balm, the scent isnt exactly accurate to the description. Its nice, just not quite the oak, amber, and pepper blend that I was expecting when I ordered this scent online. That weird "healthfood store" note I found present in their balm is a bit more prominent in their beard softener. Staying power is fine, nothing remarkable, but you can still smell it on your beard after use.
How does it work?
After working a small dab into your beard (pay special attention to the ends), you'll immediately feel this stuff starting to work. There is an ingredient in this that creates just the slightest pleasant tingling sensation on your skin. I find I get best results if I leave this in for at least 2 minutes, after a light rinse (you actually want to leave just a bit of it in), you'll find the results are a beard that is smooth as silk. Your comb will glide through like a hot knife through butter...tangles? nope, knots, nada, split ends? puh-lease...nothing but a healthy, amazingly soft beard that is ready for whatever awesome products you like to finish up with.
The bottom line.
Okay, this is a product that I cannot recommend enough. This is hardcore therapy for even the thickest, crunchiest beards. Now the fact that this product is part of Beardbrand's gold line does mean that it carries a bit more premium of a price tag, so it's up to you as an individual consumer to decide if this is something that you want to make room for in your budget (especially considering that both the white and silver lines offer beard softeners at a more down-to-earth price). The scent, while not unpleasant, is not quite what one might expect when reading the description on the beardbrand site...but that aside, this is by-far one of the more awesome products that you can treat your beard to.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Fragrance, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Pentaclethra Macroloba (Pracaxi Fruit) Seed Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Coconut Glucosides, Coconut Alcohol, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Panthenol, Glycolic Acid, Soybean Oil, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, and Sodium Hydroxide
$23 at beardbrand.com