When you stop and think about it, social media is really a hell of a thing...in addition to being a place where you can share ridiculous cat videos that make you laugh way more than they should, or argue politics with that one hard-headed cousin, or pretend that you aren't trying to make your co-workers jealous with those pictures of that amazing dinner that you just had to share, it's also an awesome place to network with awesome people. I was able to connect recently on Instagram (and if you arent following V&T on IG yet...why not??? Here, click right here, and do it now...I'll wait for you to come back.) with the proprietor of Steele Magnolia Beard Company. Here's a guy who is doing his thing, building a beard care company the right way, crafting quality product by hand, right here in the USA (Mississippi, to be exact), this is the very definition of a small-batch label. These oils are made with an efficient list of ingredients that promise quality above all. Let's give this stuff a try and see how it measures up.
There's a great balance at work here, a very typical balsamic, camphoraceous note of red cedar races to the forefront carried on a strong headwind of something soft and almost fruity but still quite restrained. This evolves into a dry, minerally "pencil shaving" note that holds the door open for an extremely authoritative (but never aggressive) Spanish Cordovan leather that reads as unctuous and sweet while still maintaining a distinct masculinity. Theres a curious dusty, almost smoky aldehyde note that comes across as a bit soapy in the distant background, but this only serves to add wonderfully unique freshness which brilliantly accentuates the initial notes of warm, rugged cedar, and elegant leather. At no point does any one component of this blend become "too much", all notes seem to work in concert with one another perfectly, all doing their job to create something greater than the sum of the individual parts. Initial strength is a bit high, but this quickly calms down to a wonderful medium that works nicely with any number of balms and butters. Staying power is decent, but could be a bit better (this scent hangs around for a while, but does seem to lack strength as the day wears on).
How does it work?
Sporting an average viscosity, this product works into my beard nicely. Penetrating deeply to the skin below, it does a wonderful job of keeping my face moisturized and feeling extra healthy. After using this oil for a few days, I find that it works best as a sealing oil; perfect for use on days when I've deep conditioned my beard. The coconut oil in this product does wonders to increase strength and serves as a serious work-horse, as it is armed to the teeth with beneficial vitamins and minerals, making this stuff a great choice for all beard types. Like all truly high-quality oils, there is no greasy feel left behind in my beard. My only minor quibble with the performance of this product is that it does seem to have a bit of a mattifying effect, which is really no big deal if youre going for a more casual look, but with the amount of greys popping up in my beard on a daily basis, I generally prefer a bit more shine. Staying power is good, requiring no touch ups (although I haven't spent any time outdoors while wearing this stuff, I havent seen anything from it that would indicate to me that it can't handle more extreme tempratures).
The Bottom Line
In the world of beard care, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a small-batch producer to set themselves apart from the pack. The name of the game these days is quality, a brand must be even more high quality than the vast sea of top-shelf products that makes up the boutique beard care market these days. To really make their mark, a brand must put quality above anything else, and if they do that, they will continue to stick around and grow...that being said, it won't surprise me in the slightest to see Steele Magnolia grow by leaps and bounds in the future. Offering a truly first-rate product at an extremely reasonable price, this is definitely a company to be on the lookout for. If you enjoy versatile scents that can go from the workday to drinks and dinner without missing a beat, you'll definitely want to check this particular offering out.
Ingredients: Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Essential Oils
$15 at Steele Magnolia Beard Co
~The oil sampled for this review was provided by Steele Magnolia Beard Company~