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Product Review: Big Red Beard Combs

July 15, 2015 | By | Add a Comment
Big Red Beard Combs beard balms, beard oils, and beard comb photo by Adam Swanson for TitleBeard

Photo by Adam Swanson

Big Red Beard Combs

If this is the first you’ve heard of Big Red Beard Combs then you need to get out more often. Back when I started to get into the world of being bearded I came across Big Red almost immediately and was smitten by their beautiful wooden combs. They stood out to me because of their packaging and attention to detail.

Big red offers a wide variety of combs in all shapes, sizes, and even grains! These guys are the kings of variety; they even offer multiple sizes and shapes of their beard care products. From sample sizes to full on beard kits, you have to check out their site to fully grasp the options they offer.  Here’s where you can find Big Red across the web:

Website: BigRedBeardCombs.com

Instagram: @BigRedBeardCombs

Facebook: Facebook.com/BigRedBeardCombs

Twitter: @BigRedBeardComb

I was given the opportunity to test one of their combs and a set of their oil/balm duos.  All of the products arrived from Canada Post via USPS in a cardboard box.  The comb (which was also separately boxed) and balms were wrapped in paper and the beard oil was also wrapped in bubble wrap.  Nothing experienced any issues in transit.

Big Red Beard Combs beard balms photo by Adam Swanson for TitleBeard

Photo by Adam Swanson

First up, let’s take a look at the Big Red Beard Combs beard balms.  Don’t have time to read the full review?  No problem, check out the Tales of the Tape:

Noble beard balm Tale of the Tape

Factory beard balm Tale of the Tape

Packaging

The beard balm comes in a metal slide top tin, similar to ones that I’ve gotten with toothpicks inside. This is the one-ounce version, but they also sell a two-ounce jar. This smaller tin fit perfectly in my pocket, although as the heat picks up here in the desert, I may not trust it to not melt and possibly leak, as there’s not a tight seal to it. The labels are high quality oil resistant labels that have a nice vintage look. As with all of the Big Red products, their packaging really shines, they go above and beyond in attention to detail. They’ve included scent descriptions, ingredients, and even application suggestions right on the label to eliminate confusion.

Consistency

With beard balms, there are multiple textures and firmness as well as multiple application techniques that go along with it. With this balm, I noticed it’s a bit firm in the tin, but once a bit of pressure is put on with your thumbnail, it comes out easily. It has a nice, creamy texture, smooth and appealing, no weird grain or add-ins that you’ll have to fish out of your beard hair after applying. As far as application, after scooped out of the tin this balm warms quickly between the palms, and applies evenly throughout the beard. I usually use a boar’s hair brush after applying to help distribute the balm as well, just for an even application, but, that’s all personal preference and according to how quick you need to get ready.

Conditioning/Styling

I felt that Big Red’s balm kept my hair feeling soft, easy to manage, and in place all through the day. This beard balm has a strong hold, perfect for this windy season. Throw some in and you won’t have beard hairs in your eye when walking to your car. The first time, I ended up putting too much into my beard causing it to be a bit too controlled, so, I threw a couple drops of beard oil in it and I was good to go. (There’s a little pro tip for ya – the oils in beard oil can break down the wax in balms and other wax products to loosen up the hold).  Big Red’s balms tackled my beard with ease, and would do well with the shorter beards to keep those pesky flyaway hairs tamed.

Scent

Big Red took two more popular scents in beard products and mastered them.

Noble – Noble has a great, mellow scent made up of grapefruit, tangerine, and bergamot. A crisp citrus scent that makes you want to scoop it out and eat it! The scent is sweet and appealing. If you like the sweeter scents this will definitely fill that void.

Factory – My personal favorite as I prefer the more woodsy, earthy scents, Factory is made up of cedar wood, frankincense and bergamot. Headed by the distinct scent of cedar, it then follows with the complexity of frankincense’s pine and lemon aromas that pair perfectly with the bergamot’s citrus tone. I would wear this scent everyday, as it’s a solid competitor to other wood scents on the market.

Comparative Cost

A one ounce tin of either beard balm sells for $11.17, a two ounce jar for $22.36, or a one ounce tin of each for $21.56 (plus shipping).  This does put the balm on the higher end of the comparative price spectrum, but only by a couple dollars, and for the conditioning and styling properties offered, it’s definitely worth your money.

Big Red Beard Combs beard oils photo by Adam Swanson for TitleBeard

Photo by Adam Swanson

Next up, let’s have a look at the Big Red Beard Combs beard oils.  If you don’t have time to read the full review, feel free to visit the Tales of the Tape:

Noble beard oil Tale of the Tape

Factory beard oil Tale of the Tape

Packaging

The samples that were sent to me are ½ ounce glass bottles with glass dropper tops. They offer all different sizes, from small sample vials that are good for 2 uses, to a one ounce bottle with a screw top. I like the size I received, and I prefer to have a dropper so I can apply the same amount each time. The dropper included is actually a bit large. I found that I didn’t need a whole dropper as usual, but only a quarter of it. The bottles have same high quality, oil resistant labels as on the balms and have tons of info including ingredients and application suggestions.

Consistency

The dropper makes for easy application of Big Red Beard oil. There’s no, “oh crap” situations like when you use an open bottle and accidentally pour it all into your hand. I also like that you kind of get used to just how much you need to fill up the dropper. After putting a bit into my palm, and evenly spreading it on my fingers and palms, I work over and under the beard, occasionally massaging the skin underneath. Then I grab the ole boars hair brush, and work it in even more. Big Red oil worked in nice, and evenly. The consistency of Big Red Beard Oil is average to others oils I’ve tried, and by average, I mean not watery, but not sludge.

Conditioning/Styling

Big Red beard oil is great conditioning oil. After application, my beard has more control, looks and feels more soft. The beard oil has a little sheen to it as well, so it really looks healthier after application as well. Big Red sticks around throughout the day as well, no need for reapplying throughout the day like some products I’ve used.

Scent

Big Red did a great job matching these scents up to the scents of the beard balms. Like I’ve said before, I like to apply both at times for hold, and sheen. Or, I’ll apply balm, then do a touch up with oil before dinner or something. So, matching scents is important to me.

Noble – Noble is a mellow, crisp citrus scent made up of grapefruit, tangerine, and bergamot. The grapefruit really stands out at first, and then you notice the sweetness of the tangerine as it settles in. Perfect for right out of the shower, first thing in the morning beard care.

Factory – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I love the woodsy scents. Every time I think I like something more, I put on a woodsy scent and immediately remember why I love them. Factory by Big Red is no different. It is made up from the smoky scent of cedar wood, paired with frankincense and bergamot. The cedar is the dominant scent, but the frankincense comes in and works well with both the cedar’s wood tones, and bergamot’s citrus. I really can’t get enough of this scent!

Comparative Cost

Like with the beard balm, Big Red offers a few different sizes for purchasers to choose from.  The 1/2 ounce bottles like I received sell for $8.78 per bottle, $15.97 for one of each scent, and $15.97 for one ounce bottles (plus shipping).  This puts the Big Red oils firmly in the middle range of the comparative price spectrum, making them a great purchase for the money.

Big Red Beard Combs No. 99W beard comb photo by Adam Swanson for TitleBeard

Photo by Adam Swanson

Finally, let’s have a look at one of the namesake products, the Big Red Beard Combs No. 99W beard comb.  Don’t have time to read the full review?  No problem, check out the Tale of the Tape.

Packaging

Ok, so Big Red really hit the nostalgia bone on the head. Using brass fasteners to close the paper on the comb packaging is such a great, vintage touch. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Big Red’s combs come in a protective, resealable, 100% recyclable case. The comb sits recessed inside a block of MDF and then is wrapped in card stock, and finally fastened with brass fasteners. The look of the package is enough to intrigue anyone and induce a purchase!

Construction

The Big Red NO. 99W is made of a 5 ply laminate like Big red’s other combs. What sets this one apart is the added solid walnut spine. The ply is flexible, so the teeth move a little as you comb to keep from snagging hairs, but the spine adds rigidity to keep it from breaking. The comb is insanely lightweight, which is ideal for keeping in your pocket.

Appearance

This comb is beautiful, simple as that. It’s gorgeous. The contrast from the ply to walnut adds to the richness of this comb. The walnut has a “Big Red the original” engraving with the model number just underneath on the ply. They also offer (for an additional 4.99) custom engraving for up to thirty characters! So, ladies, if your man is bearded, think about this for a customized gift. Men, if you’re in need of a groomsman’s gift, for example, this would be perfect.

Functionality

Well thought out packaging, solid, unique construction, and gorgeous to look at. All that being said, what it really comes down to is does it comb your beard?  Short answer; Yes, it combs just fine, and being that it’s wood it keeps the static to a minimum. This W version has wider spacing in the teeth that helps comb through my longer beard.

Long answer: Having used a lot of combs and brushes, I have developed a regimen that is necessary in order to get the most out of each of them. Real quick, I’ll explain. After the shower, I towel dry, use a detangler brush, apply oil/balm, use boar’s hair brush, THEN, finally, I finish with a comb for shape. Only after doing these other steps can I actually comb through a beard and not have a single snag. Once I’ve done this, if needed, throughout the day I can comb again to tidy up. I know it’s quite the list of to-dos before I can even think to use a comb. That being said, this comb worked very well. I did experience a couple tugs, but it’s because I lacked on pre-game prep. Also, wood combs make for less static, so, your beard maintains its shape instead of getting wiry and puffy.  If you’re not familiar with using a comb as part of your grooming regimen, make sure to check out the video below (skip to the 1:50 mark to see Big Red’s instructions on how to use their combs).

Comparative Cost

At around 40 bucks (plus shipping), this is at the high end of combs. But, it’s because it is a high end comb. A lot of work goes into creating each one, and that’s just the comb itself, not the amazing packaging. Sure, you can spend a few bucks on a plastic comb, but you’ll just be replacing it once the teeth wear out and bend. This comb, if taken care of, will last a great deal of time. I look forward to wearing it out.

This is just one of the many combs that Big Red Beard Combs offers – they have a wide variety of styles available along with a number of different combo kits that offer some savings when purchasing multiple products, so be sure to check them out!

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Category: Adam Swanson, Featured, Product Review

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