Black Dunes By London Beard Company.
London Beard Company are an established brand working out of London, England. A company which is trying to establish a community for all beard growers with a growing movement behind them. London Beard Company have had their fair share in the limelight already with previous mentions within the British GQ magazine.
As this movement evolves London Beard Company have brought out a new oil and balm which have crossed my hands and entered into my beard. This review will focus on the Black Dunes beard oil.
Outside the bottle?
Using a 30ml brown UV bottle with a dropper style application, London Beard Company are using a tried, tested and approved bottles to keep their oils safe. A clean, simplistic yellow label stands out from a black background with ingredients, batch numbers and the rest of the general technical jargon clearly labelled with white writing. The branding is clean, simple but ultimately slightly bland. It won't catch your eye or be a centre show piece amongst an array of other oils which priced at £19.99 for a bottle I expect something special from the start to end of the journey.
Inside The Bottle?
London Beard Company have taken their simplistic branding and shaped that into the ingredients, where they believe less is more. Creating a mixture of just 2 carrier oils to nourish your beard.
Refined Olive Oil - Packed full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties it's has properties which can match some of the best. Refined Olive Oil is not the highest grade version which is packed with further bonuses however nourishing none the less. A thick oil which is slow absorbing into the skin and beard which in principle will last throughout the day.
Argan Oil - Used to coat the hair shaft and help prevent environmental damage. Rich in vitamin E which is fantastic both skin and hair.
The double carrier oil blend leaves nothing to the imagination. Olive oil is not widely used in the industry but that doesn't mean its bad. On a whole the sector has moved away from olive oil as "better" (subjective) oils have been identified. Ideally I prefer for companies to push the boundaries more with their blends rather than just sticking with 2 mixes and this feels far from ground breaking at first glance.
This is where London Beard Company abandoned their simplistic theme and started to splash their creative flair with an essential oil blend of 7 ingredients.
Top notes of Orange, Bergamot should be bursting through upon opening with middle notes of Rose, Clove and Cardamom blending in behind and held up with base notes of Sandalwood and Patchouli.
An adventurous combination and this is exactly the type of areas companies should be striving to ensure quality pours though and providing aromas which are unique rather than misty copies which are similar to other brands. Black Dunes by name however I'm not sure how this ties into the scent profile unless I'm openly missing the obvious.
Black Dunes has been thrown into the mix in an extremely competitive market and have decided to enter the market in a pricing bracket I deem as "elite" within the small batch beard industry.
The carrier blend seeps from the dropper applicator as a medium / thick oil with full intentions of maximum nourishment. Burning from the bottle is a power punch and spice provided by the clove and cardamom flurry backed up by a sweet floral from the rose, orange and patchouli. It's a really interesting mix and you can pick out the sweet, floral scents pretty clearly but also they have a carefully blended essence back in with the more punchier aromas which form the base. Virtually every time you smell the oil the first aroma seems to change proving the actual blend bounce off each other correctly when being created. The power quickly fades and it becomes softer as it rushes through its aging process however the patchouli morphs in to replace the sweeter orange and floral rose but still leaving the heat remnants of the clove and cardamom with an overall scent duration of around 3 hours. Rubbing the oil into your beard and it's automatically hugs to your beard like a child away from its mother where it sits a grips however this attention seeking oil never feels like it wants to let go. The oil sits on your beard and never felt like it wanted to penetrate into the hair follicles which resulted in a beard itch through most of the usage. The beard looked shiny, and healthy however when I touched my beard it always felt dry, crispy and that typical crunch as the beard hairs rustle despite having an oily residue sitting in top. As the day progressed then the oil would provide minimal nourishment and penetrative properties until the point where suddenly the full dry beard would take over after around 8 hours. The only way to slightly battle this was to use the oil straight after washing and this would help a little tie in some moisture as the oils sit on top of your beard however then that restricts the option of blow-dry or straightening your beard, and even these benefits was meniscal to the point it still was not worth it. Advisory notes of 3-4 drops for long beards seemed shockingly inaccurate and quickly got abandoned to a more reasonable standard after several failures.
The product doesn't feel designed to be used as a continual day use or long lasting however considering the position of the company being a barbers, I feel this is more designed for a short period of looking and smelling great after a treatment for people with smaller beards. 3 or 4 uses throughout the day seems more appropriate rather than a single dose in the morning and then one before bed.
The scent profile is a great mixture which entwines fantastically with itself creating a dance of aromas with a fierce front initially and ages gracefully as it mellows however the process is over way too quickly that's its barely noticed. Using 7 essential oils is a fantastic idea, creating this metamorphic aroma however as the scent is barely lasting after a morning break then it falls way short of being reliant for any lengthy indulgence. The carrier blend is by far the most disappointing aspect of the whole experience. A non adventurous blend which has flawed rudimentary principles in daily basic nourishment. Olive oil is known to be a thicker oil which doesn't penetrate massively well, which is possibly why the industry has moved away from using this ingredient as a whole. Refined olive oil is not even the highest quality variant which could indicate as to why it struggled to penetrate deep into my beard in a timely fashion however considering the price tag you would expect the best. Unfortunately the carrier blend ruined the overall experience, distracting you from any type of enjoyment which the scent provides in its its nominal presence. Personally it has ended up being a product which doesn't stand anywhere near the mark of £19.99 and in my opinion flawed to its core with a very brief redeeming quality of its scent aroma.