Round two! If you missed round one, head over and check out TitleBeard’s 2016 Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide – Everyday Carry, and see my rundown of some items that would make great additions to anyone’s EDC. Christmas is fast approaching and we have more ground to cover, so let’s jump right in (after a couple disclaimers) to the gift guide with the most obvious subject matter for this site – Beard Products.
Since starting TitleBeard, I have tried beard oils, balms, batters, butters, washes, soaps, gels, waxes, serums, maximizers, and more, from over one hundred companies. I’ve narrowed this number down significantly to show you a few of my favorites. At least one product (usually more than one) from each company is in my current beard care rotation. The order for this list is simple – it is the order in which I discovered the companies from the first time I tried a beard product.
Disclaimers – due to the “last minute” nature of the article, a number of these companies have already cut off orders that would be received by Christmas, so before ordering be sure to check with the specific company to confirm any relevant shipping deadlines. Also, while I am an employee of CanYouHandlebar (I wasn’t when I started TitleBeard), I did not receive any consideration for posting about any items from any company contained in this post, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Honest Amish Beard Balm ($12.87)
I’ve mentioned this approximately 137 times throughout the life of TitleBeard, but in case you’re new to the site, Honest Amish Beard Balm (just like that pictured above) is the first beard product I ever tried, and it’s the product that sent me beard first into caring for my facial hair. Honest Amish balm is great. It has a consistency that is unlike any of the other balms I’ve tried; slightly thicker, but it emulsifies quickly making it very easy to apply. The scent is light and natural and fades normally after application. It offers great conditioning with a light hold at a price that should fit just about anyone’s budget. Their two ounce tins (and four ounce tins) of beard balm are some of the most cost effective quality products on the market.
One of my favorite things about Honest Amish is their diverse range of products. Wolfgang and his crew, longtime supporters of TitleBeard, have put together an assortment of soaps, balms and oils, and beard waxes that I’ve repeatedly recommended since the first time I tried them. Not to mention, their beard wax is a true, and effective, beard wax. It’s not just an overly thick balm masquerading as a wax. Bonus buys: pick up a bar of the Slick Beard Soap and Slick Beard Wax.
CanYouHandlebar Wisdom Beard Oil ($20)
In case you missed it in my initial disclaimer, I am employed by CanYouHandlebar. However, I was using CanYouHandlebar products long before I was ever an employee, and I’m not receiving any pay or other consideration for including the products in this guide. I’m including them because they’re awesome and Wisdom is my favorite beard oil across the board. People often ask me what my favorite beard oil is. I had a hard time pinning that down until someone asked “Well, which one do you use the most?” and then it immediately clicked – Wisdom. Wisdom has a woodsy scent with citrus undertones. If you’ve not tried it before, I highly recommend it. “Woodsy” is probably the most common scent description you’ll hear in the world of beard products, but CanYouHandlebar has done it in a way unlike any other.
Both the oil and Dry Oil (beard balm) have great consistencies and are easy to apply throughout your entire beard. CanYouHandlebar also offers two other scents and an unscented/no scent added (for the beard balm) variety, along with a number of kit options. My personal recommendation – pick up a Wisdom beard oil or Dry Oil if that’s your preferred consistency, then grab a CanYouHandlebar Beard Oil Brush. The Beard Oil Brush is a great applicator brush for both the liquid oils and Dry Oils, and will last you a long time. I’ve been using the same one for over three years now.
The Mod Cabin Bonfire Beard Balm ($16*)
The Mod Cabin is another one of the companies I met fairly early in my beard journey, and they’ve been a great friend to TitleBeard and me personally. *Please note, the price listed above is the sale price at time of publication. The regular price is $23. The Mod Cabin’s beard balms and beard oils are both excellent products, and I’ve been a fan since I first tried them. This iteration, Bonfire, has a rich smoky smell reminiscent of their Birch Tar Soap (more on that below). This is a strong, but not overpowering, scent that probably smells exactly like you think it would, so if that’s not your thing, you might be better off trying one of their other scent offerings like Winter Frost or Tobacco & Leather.
The balm has a good consistency that is easy to apply and the beeswax present in the balm offers users a light hold as well. Their oils are equally well-suited for daily use, and I use them often. However, my favorite product from The Mod Cabin, hands down, is their Birch Tar Soap. Like Bonfire, the Birch Tar Soap has a rich, smoky smell. It lathers better than a lot of beard soaps and can be used not only to wash your entire body, but also to create a lather for a shave. I use it on a regular basis, not only for washing but also for shaving my head, and I can’t say enough good things about it.
Roughneck Beard Company Genesis ($21.99)
Genesis is one of the most unique beard products that I’ve seen since I started reviewing products. It is billed as a “Fortifying & Nourishing Beard Maximizer” and contains (among other things), aloe vera, biotin, MSM, and vitamin B12. Now, I’ve not done anything close to what I would call a “scientific” study of its effects, but I can anecdotally say that my beard appears to be healthier with daily applications of it. A few sprays before applying the beard oil or balm (or batter) of your choice and you’re good to go. I can say that Genesis actually improves the conditioning effects of some beard oils. If you’re familiar with any of my beard product reviews, you know that I measure how long the conditioning effects of beard products last. The quicker the product fades (or the quicker you see your beard start to become unchained after using it), the less of a conditioning effect that it has. However, even with those products, Genesis acts as a solid foundation to extend the time of conditioning.
The benefits of Biotin on hair health are something I’ve heard about since I started researching beard products, but I’d only taken it in pill form prior to using Genesis. I like Genesis – it has a light, pleasant scent that doesn’t clash with your oil or balm of choice, and I’ve also found that it acts as a detangling spray when applying it and brushing my beard before putting in an oil or balm. While you’re looking at Roughneck, pick up a tin of their Beard Batter. The Beard Batter smells like delicious sweet baked goods and is a perfect super-lightweight leave-in conditioner.
Wild Hare Jackalope Brand Rosemary/Spearmint Beard Soap ($10.00)
I first came across Wild Hare Jackalope Brand at a local beard competition, and was immediately blown away by their Rosemary/Spearmint beard oil. It is an exceptionally refreshing scent and while spearmint is the dominant note that I pick up, the Rosemary really rounds it out so it’s not just an in-your-face-minty scent. Then I got really excited when I found out that they had a soap with the same scent. It’s a great soap – lathers well, great for washing beard and body (I’ve also used it as a lather to shave my head), and the scent will absolutely wake you up in the morning.
WHJB offers a number of other scents in their oils, soaps, and balms, but you should start with this one – you won’t be disappointed. As a bonus, pic up a bottle of their Rosemary/Spearmint Beard Oil. DC, the company’s proprietor (and now a good friend of mine), has put together a great beard oil. Every time I use the oil I get compliments on how good my beard is looking that day. WHJB also has balm, if that’s your preference, and offers combos with beard combs, and branded steins with whisker guards.
The Fat Bottom Beard Company Grapefruit Mojito beard oil ($13)
Facebook: The Fat Bottom Beard Company
The Fat Bottom Beard Company is a newcomer to the beard product scene, but they’ve come out of the gate with a great inventory of diverse scents and product offerings. I initially met Alex, the company’s founder, through a mutual friend. We had a few conversations about beard products and it was easy to see that he’s taking a very thoughtful approach to designing his products and scent blends. My personal favorite is the Grapefruit Mojito beard oil, which is an excellent, crisp blend of fruit and mint notes.
Contact Alex via the company’s Instagram page, and if you’re lucky, you may get the opportunity to join the company’s VIP Facebook page to get the most up-to-date info on releases and availability. If you’re looking for a warm scent rather than a crisp one, I’d recommend the Barista Blend, a robust coffee scent with hints of caramel and espresso. Be sure to inquire about his other products as well. Only a few are shown in the photo, but FBBC also offers combs, shave butter, moustache waxes, and some pretty cool patches.
With that, the bell has sounded, and Round 2 is over! Stay tuned for Round 3, where we’ll cover some great options for handkerchiefs, and Round 4, where we’ll have a look at a number of different options available for the writer in your life. Happy Holidays everyone!