Hobo Head Version 2.0
Updated: Nov 25, 2021
Hobo head are back again for another review however a slightly tweaked formula and a new scent has been brought to to table. Ironically Hobo Head version 2.0 couldn't arrive at a better time as society pulls itself away from its homeworking environment where individuals stay within a mouldy dressing gown for days upon end. Instead it's time to start combing the hair follicles, removing the whatsits which are hidden within your beard and start making yourself look presentable for the return of the office environment. Will the tweaked carrier blend formula mixed with the new scent called Abhorrent Stranger be enough to encourage you out of hibernation?
Has the Upgrade Worked?
A burning question which is at the heart of the review. Version 1 Oils (Review Here) was a really good attempt for a brand new company stepping into a highly competitive market however inexperience brought flaws which left an opening for progression. Version 2.0 Oils have taken these flaws, thrown them away to create a product which feels almost unrecognisable in parts. As expected when formulas are tweaked pros and cons arise which become adaptive to the new blend however don't be fooled in thinking Hobo Head haven't learnt from their mistakes to which I detail below.
I love a company with a branding theme which is consistent an meaningful to the owner. Organic marketing comes from being able to produce content and design which you are truly passionate about. That passion flows through Hobo Head like a beating heart, like oil through a machine or like cheese whiz through the veins of an American. Every product name is has some form of meaning which leans towards an isolating, desperate or degrading phrase to which you would fully expect a homeless individual to go through. A deeply touching moment if you ever decide to piece together the pieces of the puzzle Brian leaves when connecting his brand to homelessness.
Simplistic brown UV bottles with a silver screw cap lid keeps the product from screaming for attention under the bling of gold or silver yet it's oddly eye catching with its bottle style which is slightly taller than most that gives it a slight edge in a sea of beard products within my draw. Labels are 100% perfect and I couldn't find any obvious faults which is outstanding for a small batch brand as only a few can come out of my reviews without labelling criticism. If you have any concerns around labelling or CPSR then check out my blog HERE.
Let's start with the most obvious thing to jump on and that's the carrier blend. Originally it consisted of Sweet Almond, Argan, Jojoba, Apricot Kernel and Coconut Oil. This blend was good but it wasn't great due to its inability to truly absorb into the skin, also the blend was slightly unadventurous which ultimately meant that in order for it to stand out from a crowd then it needed to "shine bright like a diamond" (you can re-read and sing back in your Rhianna voice). The new carrier blend is more than just a tweak in my opinion and looks almost like a complete overhaul which now consists of Sweet Almond, Macadamia, Jojoba, Camellia and Argan. New and more adventurous carrier ingredients mixed with proven carriers bring a mixture which is exciting to see and begins attention to a company refusing to sit on a product which is just "good".
Also new is the scent blend which is labelled as Abhorrent Stranger which means a stranger who inspires disgust, loathing or repugnant behaviour however the product name doesn't reflect the balance, beauty and dedication which is translucified into an oil. A mixture of Patchouli, Lime, Juniper berry and peppermint brings to mind powerful, punchy aromas which pulls at your nasal hairs to create freshness suitable for an early morning wake up call. Juniper berry is a scent which is rarely used in a men's beard oil and quite frankly smells amazing however it's often linked back to high end women's perfumes like L'Homme or Lauder Estee which has created a slight tunnel vision behind its usage.
How Does It Perform?
Despite the new formula the carrier blend still has a medium to thick consistency aimed for longer lasting nourishment throughout the day. Using a free pour method to dispense causes a slight bit of aggravation only because it can be a little inconsistent plus a pipette applicator allows you to hit the skin a little easier. It's not a big deal in my opinion however I just prefer a pipette applicator so I normally end up using a spare left in my draw. The oil works into your beard really well, and glides from your hands into your lush mane after a few run throughs leaving no more than the traditional tarnish which is expected. The addition of Camellia and Macadamia has brought this oil to a whole new level, creating a softness and bounce in my beard which very few oils provide. Whilst you would normally expect a butter to provide a softness, there are oils which with the right balance can also do this and it's by stepping away from the norm which is where brands can begin to bring in perhaps a new style of beard product. The oil is not super absorbent which is to be expected from a slightly thicker oil and it does leave a thin layer on your beard which is easily transferred if you're a person who has a nasty habit of stroking their beard. A fair trade off in my opinion as it's something we shouldn't be doing. On average I was starting work at 6am and by 6pm my beard still felt comfortable. The oil had reached its peak around 1pm (6 hours) with a slow decline after this point.
A new focus area which I'm introducing is the wear and tear around the neckline. Whilst we tend to focus on the overall beard I find that the neckline is an area which suffers the most especially if you have a medium to long length beard. General head moving and rubbing against your clothes means the oils lose their effectiveness a lot quicker than on the front of your beard. Hobo Head has been another key brand which has brought this to my attention as the neck area retention for the oil has been fantastic. If you're like me who suffers from a tangled under beard then you will know how frustrating it is to get through a days work with a red raw neckline. Due to the viscosity of the oil and the minimal transfer the oil manages to cling on to the neckline a lot better than faster absorbing products which in my opinion creates a better all day experience. The neckline did suffer slightly and I found that it waived in comparison to the rest of the beard with a peak around 5 hours however a faster decline and dryness kicking in around the 10 hour mark.
The scent profile Patchouli, Lime, Juniper berry and Peppermint smells exactly as you would expect. A nostril blowing experience which kicks harder than Prince Andrew being dragged to The United States (too soon?) A powerful aromatherapy infused stew of scents which feels like its only aim is to offer your sinuses a release from the mundane, sombre and dulcet aromas which putrefy the air surrounding us or it could just be my mouldy dressing gown again. A dominant peppermint stands at the front of the scent concoction leaving very little to play with however this boisterous front aroma quickly dies down after around 40min which I'm rather thankful for as this ensures the scent doesn't become to overbearing. As the peppermint fades the 3 back notes begin to emerge and entwinned as one creating a sweeter floral balance. The earthy sweetness mixed with fresh, sharper Lime and Juniper berry work better than I could of imagined to create a mellow but fresh undertone. The scent profile overall lasts around 3 to 4 hours which for me is just about acceptable but doesn't push the boundaries on scent longevity at all however considering the mixture is top note heavy I wouldn't expect it to set the world on fire either.
If there's ever a brand who epitomises the whole reason why I review then Hobo Head is the finest example. An average/ good review from their first set of products made them rethink what they could do better. Brian went away, worked on a new carrier base and came back with a product I love. I'm not saying they still haven't got room to improve as I feel the scent profiles do need more work to extend scent longevity and create more unique aromas however to see a company grow from strength to strength by taking on feedback makes me feel that what I do reviewing has actually helped and I'm not just a vain, egotistical, know-it-all which is put out on Instagram.
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