"Exile" The Hobo
Hobo Head is a brand new company emerging within the UK beard industry. A company which despite its new beginnings has set off ticking all the right boxes to ensure its legal, compliant and safe for its consumers, unlike many others who feel CPSR testing is a luxury rather than a legal requirement. Obvious long term goals are to be successful however an idea which will be introduced is the charity aspect of the company where a slice of profits will go to homeless shelters which only seems fitting with the theme.
Hobo Head enters the mix with a set of oils and balms in order to compete against a recent rise in bench mark companies who have raised the standard with the UK sector. I have decided to put under my microscope the Exile beard oil however will this oil be up to the current high standards of the market or does Hobo Head need to be exiled and never be returned?
Outside The Bottle
Hobo Head have decided to go slightly against the grain with their bottle style, instead of going for a typical bottle with a pipette style applicator their bottle is slightly narrower and taller with a silver screw top lid. The pipette does not come standard with the bottle however as a collation a single pipette was provided. Whilst a dropper style applicator is by far superior than anything else around, I do feel that a dropper is not ALWAYS needed and realistically should be considered more of a luxury than a necessary simply to try and reduce a little amount of waste. The taller bottles and silver screw top is a quirky twist on a traditional bottle and which goes with the hobo theme which is reminiscent of a single measure bottle of alcohol.
In order for bottles to stand out from each other they all have a simplistic and widely used colour scheme where lavender is purple, woody scents are green. I think this is another nice touch which allows the bottles to be easily differentiate from each other and they haven't done anything drastic like Golden Wonder crisps who deliberately went against the grain and caused an uproar (who remembers this?)
The labels are clear and easy to read, with all ingredients printed in a decent size font which should cause much issue but like most labels restricted by UK /EU regulations there is a lot to get printed in such a small space.
Inside The Bottle
Being a new company into the industry we normally see safe concoctions of carrier oils which are widely used throughout many brands. These mixes are fine and used for a reason to which Hobo Head has decided that safety is better rather than doing anything drastic at this early stage.
Sweet Almond Oil - An all-round oil for enhancing skin and beard hair qualities. Can help acting as a beard growth stimulant but it's main properties are for eliminating dandruff and itchy inflammation.
Argan Oil - Another widely used oil which is used to reduce dandruff, itching, dryness with an additional natural Vitamin E bonus.
Jojoba Oil - The current BIG CHEESE of beard carrier oils. A natural replicant of sebum which gives deep nourishment and a protective coating to your beard.
Coconut Oil - Used to help decrease split ends and gives a protective barrier to your hair whilst nourishing your skin. Widely recognised as a stunning carrier oil with some amazing benefits however low quality variants can cause havoc to scent profiles and completely ruining batches resulting in this oil being rather temperamental.
Apricot Kernel Oil - An overall wonder oil which is great for all hair and skin types. Great at retaining moisture and deeply penetrates into the skin / beard.
As mentioned the carrier oil selection is nothing special however it has the base to provide a quality product if the ratios can be mixed correctly.
Moving into the Essential oil blend and its fantastic to see actual essential oils being used. A recent debate within the Instagram beard community provided a bit of fun jousting between fragrance oils over essential oils (check it out here). While I believe there is a place for both I don't want to see imitations of essential oils which Hobo Head have thankfully decided to follow suit, which gives their products a few smaller benefits through the aroma.
Patchouli - Helps with depression and headaches.
Peppermint - Helps with concentration, alertness and mental clarity.
Lavender - Helps with anxiety, stress and insomnia.
Lemon Tea Tree - Helps with anxiety and stress.
This simplistic blend of carrier and essential oils has the potential to give you a softer beard with a soothing effect to calm and ease any currant worries in a society filled with fear mongering. Its admittingly not the most adventurous selection but I have seen many companies fall flat trying to run before they can walk.
Exile beard oil seeps from the bottles producing a medium to slightly thicker viscosity oil. They subtle lingering of essential oil creeps through however warming the oil between your hands lets the aromas explode from your hand like a massage room in a spa resort. Surprising the lavender scent is not the powerhouse like most others however a mix of the peppermint and lemon tea tree rises into the nostrils which provides a menthol freshness not too distant from a Turkish Hamman spa room. The power fades and the lavender comes into play which mixes with the patchouli. This grinds the aromas to an earthy halt where the lavender drops the whole tone into a more relaxing environment and the patchouli provides a small sense of musk where the peppermint used to be.
The scent aroma is really nice and uplifting, creating a enjoyable experience suitable for day or night however the aroma feels something of a rush job and ultimately leaves you slightly frustrated. It turns up, hits you and drags you trough a fantastic process of pleasure but then drops you at the drop of a hat like its got a better offer, with the total aroma lasting around 3 hours.
The oil itself feels really nice in the beard however as its on the slightly thicker side I tend to find oil remnants attached to my hand if I ever rubbed my beard. Its a bit of a catchy 22 situation because the oil is not seeping through enough to fully nourish my skin however its keeping the beard feeling good. I know I shouldn't touch my beard but sometimes you just cant help it which leaves you with oily hands which can be extremely hard considering the oil lasts 6+ hours.
Overall I think Hobo Head have done a real nice job entering into the UK beard industry. The branding is unique and quirky with an injection of the owners personality and personal history pumped into the brand which makes it feel more organic. The scent profile leaves you wanting a little more which I don't feel is too much to ask and the oil does a real nice job keeping the beard nourished however this does feel at a slight sacrifice to the skin. If you can look past scent duration then this is 100% worth a purchase at £11.99 for an oil or a fantastic beanie for £11 and supporting another true small batch brand. Perhaps a few more long nights in the beard kitchen to fine tune a few things. This juvenile company is not quite ready to set the world on fire and there is loads for them to learn but its a fantastic start and definitely a company I will be keeping an eye out for.