If its an extensive and well thought out beard care range you are looking for then I suggest you take a look at the products available to you from the Aficionados of Facial hair, AJ’s Elixirs. I’ve been aware of the brand through instagram and have followed them for while and then after a few exchanges on Facebook with Aaron, the “A” from AJ’s he offered to send me something to review. What I received was an incredibly generous selection of products wrapped in bubble wrap inside a padded envelope which I have taken to wearing over the last 2 weeks in various combinations, there was also a nice handwritten note . It makes sense to start things off with the moustache wax and move on to the beard products but as I have a selection of products I’ll cover the scents first off.
Forest Mint – The Forest Mint essential blend comes at you with a thump of peppermint, that’s peppermint for you a bit of an attention seeker and so you’d be forgiven for thinking that was it, but given a bit of exposure you begin to notice some other scent elements biding their time waiting for the peppermint to lose its pep! The backing cast begin to come to the forefront to join the minty freshness and these bring a nice natural slightly woodsy and earthy vibe. I get hints of something like vetivert but can’t confirm if it’s in there as the essential blend is not detailed, I can confirm that is a beautiful clean and positive scent that is lovely first thing in the morning.
Tahoe Gold – I really like this scent, I find it has a very positive effect on me emotionally, it’s a slightly sweet floral and delicately spiced scent. It’s a gentle, subtle yet complex mix that changes as you wear it as it is composed of 9 essential oils, I get spearmint and spice at first then there is a pleasant and confident citrus lift, a very uplifting and happy scent that seems perfect at any time.
Mother Lode – A deep and warm aroma from this one, there’s an overall citrus tone to it but I love the depth of this scent which comes from a mix of 6 essentials. It’s a delightful oil to wear at the end of the day, its relaxing and comforting but also quite cleansing. At times I get hints of chocolate with a sweet orange hit, really nicely done.
Price when purchased: £6.50
Container type/size: 1oz push fit metal tin
Ingredients: (All Organic) Beeswax, pine rosin, jojoba, argan, sweet almond, avocado oil, vitamin E and essential oil blend
Aroma: Forest Mint- as above with no interference from the ingredients. The aroma has considerable punch to it which dies down to a nice subtle but long lasting minty wonder under your nose.
The wax is quite firm and stiff from the tin and I found its best to use a smaller amount and build it up rather than being all gung ho. Ideally its best to soften this wax by working it well on your fingers or speeding things along with the hairdryer into a softish useable putty. The resin and beeswax offer strength to the product and the oils cut it, the result is a little bit tacky when applying to the hairs so I felt it better to pinch the wax onto the hair rather than dab it on. Once on the hairs the hairdryer worked well to aid the combing through, once the wax was well spread I set to the styling. I found the wax to be a tiny bit sticky when styling which when trying to set the curls it would stick to my fingers. When I let go of the waxed extremities some of the hairs stuck to my fingers and as such it was a bit of a struggle to get the full curl. However in pinching out towards the tips as I let go I was able to overcome this, so I suggest this for your use. The wax sets well firming up nicely with the hairdryer on a cold blast.
On the first outing I didn’t apply enough on the curls and though the centre held well for me the curls did fall apart, I went a bit heavier on the following uses and the result were far better with things staying in fine order. Interestingly if applied very lightly and combed through the wax worked really well for a natural styling, so you either have to use a little or a lot to get the best out of it. Shape retention of the curls was actually pretty good for a medium hold wax and aside from the odd hair dropping the AJ’s wax gave a pretty confident hold which lasted all day
I have all three scent lines in the beard oil and they come in amber glass bottles with handy pipettes for ease of application, which makes for a rather simple affair. The oil contains Organic ingredients of Jojoba, Argan , sweet almond, avocado and vitamin E oils and the essential oil blend and this combination offers up a rather viscous golden liquid. The application is easy enough but there was a fair amount of greasy residue left on my fingers after application, it definitely went onto my hairs but it seemed to want to stay on my hands too, I think this is in part due to how thick the oil is you just have to work it through a bit longer. Once the beard and moustache are coated the oil allows for very simple snag free combing and the hairs feel silky and smooth. All three scents were lovely in their beard oil form and lasted long enough for me to enjoy the clever balance of essentials. I struggle to pick a favourite if I am honest, it might be Tahoe Gold but before the review is finished I’ll have probably changed my mind haha. In terms of softness the results were initially very pleasing with my beard feeling softer and the skin also felt very good too, however towards the end of the day I found that the tips of my moustache felt a little dryer than the rest. What that quite means I don’t know as its worth realising that the tips of those hairs are the oldest ones on my face, perhaps they are just feeling their age? The shine and healthy glow is pretty impressive too and I also noticed a tiny lift to the hairs as if the hair follicles ever so slightly stands to attention giving the impression of a larger thicker beard.
I was sent the unscented beard balm which is a nice light coloured product and is very easy to extract from the tin, the ingredients are a nice blend of shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba, argan, cocoa butter, avocado oil, sweet almond and vitamin E, its soft and almost instantly useable. The product is designed to offer more nourishment to the hairs and skin with the wax being on the light side and the butter making up the bulk of the content, these melt down rather quickly in your fingers to a thick oily product ready for your face. Initially I noticed a little bit of grainy feel to the balm as it melted down, it’s very short lived and I’m not sure the reason but I saw this on a few other products that contain shea butter, maybe that is the nature of that beast? Its also quite easy to over apply this product so I advise go light initially and add more of you need because the slick oiliness really will go a rather long way. As with the oil it takes a bit of work as the product left a greasiness on my fingers but you can work it down to your skin rather well and here you can actually feel it hydrating the surface. A quick comb through and what you are left with is a very natural lightly tamed face of fur. The shine is really good for a balm as I often find them to have a dull finish, I think the lower wax content and oil quota are the reason for this balm offering excellent results in the looks department. The effects are good for the whole day but I have to confess after a few days of wearing the balm and oils I could feel a little build-up on my skin, nothing some mild soap can’t fix though. I really like this balm as it made me feel very confident in the state of my face and this was backed up by the comments I received. If you don’t want the unscented then you can choose any of the scent lines in the range on the website.
The beard wax ingredients are; Beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, argan oil, sweet almond oil, avacodo oil, vitamin E oil, same as the beard balm then is it? Have another look, go on look up! Did you spot the difference? Granted its the same ingredients but the astute among you will notice that the Beeswax has shifted its position, it is in charge here, this my friend is a styling product. I simply love it for two distinct reasons, the first being that it works incredibly well at shaping and controlling a wayward beard but also the very fact that it exists. I understand that’s an odd thing to say, cupboards exist and I hate them, but the fact that the AJ’s range has a beard balm and a beard wax shows they have an understanding of what a bearded chap needs, also that not every bearded chap needs the same thing. I’ve seen a number of posts around the internet which highlight a misunderstanding of what a balm should do, is it styling is it deep conditioning? I’m not sure a single product can effectively do both and so back to my point then that this range has sorted this confusion. The beard wax is still on the soft side and resembles a heavy balm or a light moustache wax, the blend is ideal offering considerable yet a natural looking hold. For me it enabled me to push my neckbeard forward which as you can see from the pics below gave my beard a solid block style. This held all day too and yet I never felt as if I could feel my beard. The application is the same as the beard balm but as you would expect a little heavier but the end results were spectacular. If you need something to really tame your beard I suggest that you give the AJ’s Beard Wax a go and enjoy the positive comments, you’ll get loads I’m sure.