In the past, men's grooming products have been pretty limited to skincare and shaving, but what about the guys who want to let their beards grow into their full glory? Like the hair on your head, your beard also needs hydration, especially in the drying winter months, which is why beard oils are a must for any guy who wants to rock a Grizzly Adams-esque look. With his own in need of some TLC, InStyle.com Photo Editor Alex Reside took three different beard oils from Tom Ford, Beardbrand, and Prospector & Co. on a road test over the course of a week. Keep reading to find out what he thought!
My beard was born in 2008 while studying abroad in Paris. I came back to America, wore scarves, drank red wine, used French phrases, and annoyed my friends. Luckily, I kicked most of those habits but the beard stayed. It’s filled in a lot more now: still not really Jon Hamm or George Clooney thick, but more along the lines of Matthew McConaughey’s Golden Globe look though a little more under control.
You would think that by now I would have tried more grooming tools and products, but up until last week, I just went for whatever shampoo and shaving cream was in the cabinet. I can admit now the error in my foolish ways, but let me tell you the good news: Beard oil is a real game changer.
When I first started, I began to ask questions: Do I even want my beard to smell good? Will it look gross and greasy? Will the smell be overwhelming right under my nose all the time? What does my beard smell like now? (I think the safe bet is coffee and/or buffalo chicken).
With things like this, it’s best to just dive right in. So I dropped two drops, about dime size, of Beard Brand’s Spiced Citrus Beard Oil ($25; beardbrand.com) into the palm of my cupped hand. I then took my other hand and rubbed the oil onto my fingertips and began to massage it through my beard. Immediately, I could feel the bristles softening and absorbing the oil. The smell was really great too---earthy, but bright, orange, and citrusy without smelling like a fresh can of Orange Crush.
After two days and three applications, I began to really notice the difference. My beard was way softer to the touch and the light smell was really nice throughout my day. It wasn’t overpowering like a bad spritz of cologne. It was just a hint of fragrance. I also noticed with the texture was pretty light and didn’t feel heavy or greasy at all; by day 3, I was actually applying more than the recommended "dime-sized" portion.
Day three of my beard oil trial, I switched to a slightly heavier option made by Prospector Co. ($28; prospectorco.com). Smartly named after late 1800s nature essayist John Burroughs and his magnificent beard, the Prospector Co. Burroughs Beard Oil, would make its namesake proud, because this stuff is some outdoorsy, manly oil. I changed into a flannel shirt and used the dropper that comes with the bottle to place some drops into my hand and massage it into my beard. Immediately, I felt like I could chop down a tree and build a campfire if I wanted to. After just two days, I noticed that my beard was becoming softer and softer to the touch. Also, the skin around and under my beard was much less dry, which has often been a problem in New York City winters. I noticed one of the oils in Burroughs Beard Oil is organic argan oil, which is a moisturizer, and I was definitely noticing the effects.
Finally to end my week of oil, I got to try the Cadillac of Beard Oils, Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille Conditioning Beard Oil ($50; tomford.com). It retails for around $50 dollars a bottle, so if you want to feel like Jay Z and “rock Tom Ford,” this might actually be the cheapest way to do so. It’s the thickest oil of all the ones I tried, but it’s surprisingly light on the beard. What really makes Tom Ford’s beard oil special is the scent. It’s based off of Tom Ford’s cologne by the same name, “Tobacco Vanille.” The difference is that it’s blended with almond, jojoba, and grapeseed oils. There's a sweetness to the scent but it's masculine at the same time, and right now it’s 7:20pm and I am bragging to my friends on G-chat that I can still smell it from my 7 am oil application this morning.
I don’t want readers to get the wrong idea about me. I’m not the annoying hipster dude who waxes his mustache into an ironic curl, or like Johnny Depp from this movie Mortdecai. I’m a simple man from the Midwest who doesn’t like shaving daily, wants to smell decent, and takes care of myself. I found the quick 20-second application each morning incredibly easy, and it also made a huge difference in my beard health and smell. I am definitely not the type who wants to add things to my morning routine, but beard oils: you are here to stay. I’m just sorry you weren’t there from day one.