As the fashion of rugged refinement grips the menswear scene, grooming products have had to accommodate a curious new cosmetic—beard oil. Part cologne, part conditioner, the oil has become steadily more common as an alternative to cream-based beard conditioners. These lightly-scented oils add just the right amount of shine and musky fragrance to manly mugs.
Dude No. 1
Dude No. 1 ($65) by MCMC Fragrances was one of the early beard oils to hit the market with its launch in late 2010. The refined scent includes spicy notes of Virginia cedarwood, green coriander and pink peppercorn. Applied through a convenient roller ball tip, the liquid itself is composed of hempseed, American jojoba and essential oils. Classically trained perfumer Anne McClain developed Dude No. 1 in her Brooklyn studio with the purpose of tricking her bearded beau into wearing a scent.
Portland General Store has been a major player in heritage men's grooming movement, creating everything from shave jelly to cleansing mud. Their "Tobacco" beard oil ($68) offers a hearty dose of earthy fresh tobacco scent balanced by sophisticated floral tope notes. Billed as a "cologne for the beard," the blend is made from jojoba, hempseed and marula oil.
Inspired by naturalist John Burroughs, the pristinely packaged Burroughs Beard Oil ($28) from Prospector Co. is a well-balanced, woodsy scent for men of any age. The blend of argan, grapeseed, cedarwood, sandlewood and essential oils functions as both moisturizer and oil-base cologne. Slightly sweet with notable traces of leather, the scent hits a nice balance between rugged masculinity and citrusy appeal to wake up the face in the morning.
Softening whiskers with skin-friendly almond oil, Wild Man Beard Conditioner ($14) is an all-natural grooming solution from Phoenix-based Wild Rose Herbs. The concoction is scented with rosemary, lavender, cedar and lime, and is fortified with vitamin E. Bushy beards will benefit from Wild Man's viscosity, which helps to tame unruly hair. The affordable price point and strong cedar scent sets this apart from the pack as a nice introduction to conditioners.