We already know that Fresh Beards is a brand that I hold in very high esteem, they may be one of the big guys, but they still approach quality as if they were a small-batch label. Their balms are great, their butters are nothing short of legendary, but I've always maintained that perhaps their best work is their oils. Offered in their full lineup of scents, their oils never fail to impress. If you read my review of their Recon butter, you might be familiar with the PTSD Foundation of America care package, available on the Fresh Beards website. Now, this is such a great deal because not only do you get the butter (which we already know is good) and the oil in the Recon scent, but a portion of the proceeds from every sale of this package also goes to a great cause that assists our country's veterans, who struggle with PTSD, as well as their families. What better way to add some quality products to your beard-care arsenal, while also lending a helping hand to the brave men and women who are suffering from the invisible scars of PTSD? So if Fresh Beards' track record is any indicator, this review will be a favorable one...but just for the hell of it, let's give this oil a try and see where it ranks...
My one major take away from the Recon butter was that it was a very simple, straightforward pine, not a whole hell of a lot of depth or dimensionality. The oil seems to still capture that straightforward essence with notes of freshly ripped pine planks and sawdust, but there's definitely a lot more going on here. A huge green camphoraceous note dripping with sappy, tarry, resinous funk comes barreling forward like a freight train on a mountain track, which conjures up mental images of pinching a few needles off of a snow dusted ponderosa pine branch and then smelling your hands, still sticky with pine tar. A wonderful earthiness tempers this, with a "clean dirt" quality reminiscent of fresh potting soil which adds layers of texture and character. A balanced, almost minty quality gracefully floats in and out of the high note. This is rounded out by a mossy green chord that is at once leathery and rugged, while still maintaining a very sophisticated, almost perfumed quality. Strength starts out solidly medium plus, but quickly settles down to medium. Staying power is good, making this a fantastic oil to layer with another wood based scent (of course this goes great with the matching butter, but I particularly love the combination of this product followed by the Rum Runner balm by The Bearded Bastard).
How does it work?
The conditioining propoerties of this stuff is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fresh Beards oil. Viscosity actually seems to feel slightly thicker than the other offerings I've tried from this company. Another hallmark of Fresh Beards oils is their "dryness", absorbing quickly and leaving behind absolutely no greasy residue. The liquid shea olean that makes up the base of this carrier blend is rich in both stearic and linoleic acids, which we've already discussed are extremely beneficial for just about all skin types. As such, it helps this product do a phenominal job of keeping my face not only moisturized and healthy, but also well protected during the chilly autumn months. This oil imparts a decent amount of shine, but still not quite as much as a product with argan in the carrier blend. As with all other Fresh Beards oils, staying power is phenominal, not requiring any reapplications at any point during the day.
The bottom line
In all my time reviewing Fresh Beards products, I've never once been let down by them, and this oil has kept that streak very much alive. A great pine scent that is perfect for the upcomming winter months, but would honestly work just as nicely in the summertime. Performance is outstangding, living up to the reputation set by previous offerings. It seems that you really can't go wrong with any Fresh Beards purchase, but the fact that you can support such a worthwhile cause by purchasing this particular scent makes Recon one that I cannot recommend highly enough.
Ingredients: Shea Olien, Golden Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil (MCT), Fragrance Oils
$14.99 at freshbeards.com