Another Forest Altogether...
Beards, I'm afraid to say, are one of my least favourite "things". Some men will even notice a drastic change in attitude if they decide to grow one around me. To my defense, this prejudice is from early conditioning that made me associate bearded men with all things evil. Some of us are just lucky this way...
In the meantime, 75% of the dearest men in my life (read: brothers) have decided to let go of their civilized look and let those wild whiskers grow all over their face, concealing their otherwise very handsome features. Thankfully their eyes are still there shining ever so brightly with religious zeal, and you can sorta make out their smiles too. Phew.
So, making peace with my demons (and with my brothers' rapidly growing beards), developing a beard oil seems like a healthy course of action. It's amazing that my therapist hasn't thought about it earlier. And maybe it will also catch on to the increasingly bearded culture that's prominent on the West Coast.
If you're growing a beard, you might as well keep it healthy and shiny and soft. Plus, now that you put all the manufacturers of razors, shaving creams and aftershaves out of business - you must contribute to the economy with a modified form of consumerism!
Beard oils are designed to take care of both the beard and the skin underneath it. Avoiding phenomenons such as bristly coarse hair, red blotches, flaky skin, and ingrown hairs. That's where beard oil can be useful: hair conditioner won't do the job for softening the hair, plus skin of the face is much more delicate and thin than the scalp. Beard oils are an easy, all-natural solution for conditioning and softening the hair while moisturizing the skin and keeping both healthy.
Fast absorbing oils that are rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants and have emollient properties are the best: avocado oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, apricot kernel oil, sesame oil and the more expensive jojoba and argan oil.
Essential oils that are beneficial for beard care are those which promote healthy growth of hair, while keeping the skin clean and balanced (i.e.: not too greasy, not too dry) and also take care of potneital in grown hairs in the growing-out phase: rosemary, lavender, cypress, lemon, and thyme (ct. linalol), rose geranium and cedarwood.
With that list of beneficial oils, and with my recent obsession with the forest - is it at all surprising that my first attempt at a beard oil formulation is redolent of the woods? It is now already at the testing phases, with 10 samples shipped out to beard-growing test subjects representing equally the hipster persuation and the Jewish faith, with a couple of just plain old bear lovers thrown in for good measure. The first feedback just came in by means of a phone call from an excited lady whose partner has been wearing it over the weekend to much satisfaction of both parties. Both report that it doesn't only work well, but also smells good!
If you like (or grow) a beard, I'd love to hear your ideas of how you'd like it to smell. And if you don't like a beard, I'd still like to hear your opinions too. If you have a beard and would like to be my test bunny please send me a private message. The beard oil will be released sometime in June for Father's Day.