Perhaps the most difficult segment of the beard care market to continually find quality products is the value priced category, don't get me wrong, there's definitely good stuff out there that doesn't sport an astronomical price tag, but there's a bit more junk to sift through as well. I accidentally stumbled across Vintage Grooming a few weeks ago when I was looking for a value-priced beard balm to review. Their Night Owl Balm was nothing short of amazing, easily shattering expectations for a $7 balm, and performing in the same weight class of products that cost $20 more. At the time I reviewed Night Owl, it looked like the Vintage Grooming website no longer existed, but I'm happy to say that their site is back up and running with their full suite of products available. There are a couple of different oils for sale on their site, they all seem to be made with an emphasis on quality, boasting short, effective ingredients lists. The unscented example seemed to represent the best value (strictly from a price standpoint), but all of their oils seem to be made with budget conscious beardsmen in mind, most clock in at under $15, and none cost more than $19. So let's chack this oil out and see if it really does represent a good bang-for-buck value, or if the price is just too good to be true...
Unscented...so...yeah...of course there is the faint smell of a carrier blend, but nothing funky or overpowering, as close to neutral as any unscented product I've ever tried. This is great when you have a balm or butter that you're having trouble layering, or just really enjoy the smell of on its own.
How does it work?
There are just three oils in this blend, so right out of the gate, you know you're going to be getting a very no frills product. Viscosity is about medium, could be thicker, but by no means runny or watery. I find that my beard drinks up quite a bit of this stuff...on average I use a dropper full of oil a day, but I needed about a driopper and a half of this stuff before I could really feel it penetrating all the way down to my skin, this of course would lead to running out sooner if this were the only oil in your arsenal, but that being said, the fact that it clocks in at under $10 a bottle, this is less of a concern. Conditioning properties are very good, leaving my beard feeling brilliantly soft. I am assuming that there must be a fair amount of apricot oil in this stuff as it really makes my skin feel great, so much so that in a pinch I could see this being used as a skin serum/moisturizer. Staying power isn't bad, you probably wont need a touch-up on your more low-impact days, but if you plan on spending any length of time outdoors, or doing any sort of sweating, you may find yourself reaching for the dropper once or twice as the day wears on (I find that pairing it with a waxier balm really helps seal it in nicely). Like any quality oil, this product leaves no greasy feel, and imparts a good bit of luster, lending a great finished look to any beard.
The bottom line
For a brand that I only seem to be slowly learning bits and pieces about, Vintage Grooming is becoming my go-to recommendation when people ask me to suggest value priced products. While not quite as impressive as their Night Owl offering (that's just an untouchably good product for the price, quite possibly the best overall value in the beard care game), this is still a really good oil, and when you factor in the cost (literally half of what I've come to expect as the average price for an ounce of good quality beard oil), it's really a no-brainer. Every dedicated beardsman deserves access to good quality products, in order to keep his beard looking and feeling its best...being on a budget shouldn't stop you from taking care of your self, and with products like this readily available, there is really no excuse. No matter if money is tight, or you're saving for something else and don't want to splurge on grooming, or you just really enjoy finding a good value, this is definitely a product worth checking out!
Ingredients: Grapeseed Oil, Apricot Oil, and Jojoba Oil
$7.77 at vintagegrooming.com