It really seems like beard washes can vary wildly in quality. Some are downright luxurious, while describing others as unpleasant is an understatement. I've started really bolstering my collection of washes, just so that I can find the ones that I really like. As somebody who washes his beard every day (yeah, I know, you're not supposed to do that, but I'm a messy eater and I sweat a lot, so I'm sure that whatever drawbacks come from daily washings aren't nearly as bad as having old sweat, potato chip crumbs, and dried hot sauce hanging around in my mane for days on end), it is extremely important to have a wash that does a good job but is gentle enough for regular use. The Beard Struggle is a company that I've been seeing advertised, for quite some time now. Proudly calling themselves a celebration of facial hair and robust masculinity, they offer an extensive line of beard-care products, in a broad range of scents with Viking themed names. The company slogan is "feast your face"...let's give this wash a try and see if it lives up to that.
Freya's Bliss is described on The Beard Struggle website as an oceanic citrus blend. I was expecting a more typical "aquatic" cologne type of scent, but this isn't quite that straightforward. I get a great stony mineral quality (think, sunbaked river rocks on a the sandy banks of your favorite mountain swimming hole), supported by a faint, but still present squeeze of lime juice mixed with a dash or two of orange oil, and a dry, chalky component that reminds me of a really good quality French Champagne. There is also an implacable "green" note that teeters on the edge of medicinal, eucalyptus? Laurel? I'm not quite sure, but whatever it is, it's brilliant, and really compliments the minerality of this product beautifully. It's a pretty strong smelling wash, but it appears that all scents in The Beard Struggle's lineup are created with natural essential oils, so even if you are bothered by stronger scents, this shouldn't give you any problems. I notice that it doesnt hang around much after being rinsed out, but that's okay, it serves its purpose as a pleasant experience while lathering up, and then steps aside to let thatever oil you're planning on using after your shower take center-stage.
How does it work?
So the first thing you'll notice about this product is how incredibly thick it is, almost to the point of being too thick (this may be due to the addition of soy protein). I find that if I pour some out in my palm, I like to mix just a splash of water into it before I work it into my beard, otherwise it just feels like it's hanging out on the surface and not foaming up properly. It cleans well, and definitely doesnt seem to strip a whole lot of oil from my beard of the skin underneath. It doesn't rinse out quite as cleanly as other washes I've tried, but I'd stop well short of saying that it leaves any quantifiable amount of buildup or residue (Just make sure you pay special attention to rinse deep down). This product really starts to work its magic upon stepping out of the shower, as it imparts a noticable amount of body to my beard after towel drying. It also helps keep tangles at bay, which makes blowdrying a snap!
The bottom line
I'm really glad that I finally decided to give The Beard Struggle a try, their wash is first rate. Free of parabens, petrochemicals, and synthetic fragrances, this is a top shelf product that sports a very reasonable price tag. If you're in the market for a new wash, that smells great, works like a champ, and doesnt take a bite out of your wallet, this stuff checks all the boxes...give it a try, you won't be disappointed!
Ingredients: Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxultaine, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, DL Pathenol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, PEG - 150 Pentaerythrityl, Tetrastearate, Phenoxyethanol, Polyquaternium-7, Rosemary Extract, Citric Acid, PEG-7-Glyceryl Cocoate, Essential Oil
$13.99 at thebeardstruggle.com