My skin is itchy, I’m breaking out in pimples, the beard itself might be described as tortoiseshell but in reality is a dirty mix of blond, white, black and ginger. Perhaps I look more manly, definitely I look older, older but not necessarily wiser. So at this point I’m finding life with a beard, hard to love.
I have started the experimentation with beard oils, having purchased a few of the more popular ones from around the world. I have been applying these at different times and in differing amounts to gauge what they do.
Some are called tonics others oils but the ingredients are basically natural ‘therapeutic’ oils with added fragrances that promote a ‘healthier, softer beard. Most also claim some sort of healing effect on the skin beneath.
The consensus on recommended dose seems to be; ‘apply just a few drops’, I guess this is because any more than this amount turns you into a dripping mess of bergamot and tea tree sap.
When applied to the letter I have to say these tonics are not as greasy as I imagined they might be, and they all smell quite nice, which is the obvious bonus of applying them.
Beyond this though it is hard to see any real benefit at this stage of my growth. Because of this I want to keep applying the oil to at least get it to my skin, or to cover the beard but as soon as I do this I become the oily mess I feared.
All in all too early to tell if there is any advantage to skin or hair, so I will push on with the experiment.
What I do know is that the best feeling of the day is using our T&D peppermint cleanser to clean up and tone my skin - it really is the only thing that gives my skin any relief underneath the tortoiseshell.
"I’m 87 years old…I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive.. The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.
The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.
Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call….. Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
- Harry Dean Stanton
Captains log - 1 April 2014
No April Fools for T&D, but today officially marks the fourth year that T&D has been a reality (the actual day in April we have forgotten but April 1 works for us). It’s the start of the third full year of trading and perhaps the first year we enter feeling like we have a plan – we are yet to see how that concept works out for us, but it’s nice to have goals!
It’s been a roller coaster for sure, lots of tiny triumphs mixed with non life threatening disasters and along the way the team has grown and changed – its been exciting and fun, it still is exciting and fun.
I started penning these ‘Captains logs’ (in some vague shout out to Captain Kirk) on a weekly basis, that quickly became monthly and now I cannot recall the last time I used the title – things got busy, quickly.
At times I have, perhaps a little flippantly, told people ‘Be careful what you wish for’ when quizzed as to how things are going. I guess this is meant to portray that ‘things are going well, but I did not realize how much work it would be’. Whatever it says it does not adequately express how rich an experience building T&D has been. A heady mix of learning harsh realities of cash flow and bad debts, working with brilliant, creative, eager, keen, sharp minds. Building a team of good people to work beside, working late and long, laughing, doubting, running. Then waking up and doing it all again – I would not trade it for the world.
So I say as much to myself as to the team, time to dust off those overcoats because here comes FY14.
Although I have long admired this notion, only recently has the statement come to carry any real meaning for me, because finally I’m growing a beard and in deed I can tell you, it is not something that happens quickly, after only two weeks I am already resigned to the fact that I’ve entered a marathon, not a sprint.
A small disclaimer; I have an ulterior motive to this little flight of fancy, in that for many months people have been asking the Triumph & Disaster team about a beard oil; why don’t we have one? When will we do one? My answers have always been vague.
The reason for this is that I do not understand beard oils. Moisturizers I get, cleansers and scrubs I get. I even get toners, but beard oil has always felt, well, a bit gimmicky. And we don’t want to make gimmicks. However after months of watching the proliferation of branded beard oils, I thought the very least I should do is grow a beard and try to understand this phenomenon before disregarding it entirely. After all maybe I’m wrong; maybe beard oil is an essential piece of kit for those bearded grizzlies that walk amongst us.
So over the next few weeks or perhaps months, I will grow the best beard I can muster, it will no doubt be sprinkled with grey, which at least will serve to hide the ginger. I do not expect it to be a keeper.
Before I start let me outline the two main questions I have about beard oils;
Firstly, skin is a multifaceted organ, at Triumph & Disaster we have through study, expertise, personal experience and trial and error worked out an ethos and routine that is founded on science and drives the way we design our products. We know that the hair follicle is an easy access point for toxins to enter the body, as the base of a hair follicle penetrates deep into the subcutaneous layer of the skin and can act like a highway into our blood stream. So what we put on our hair (perhaps even more so than our skin) needs to be treated with care, this is the same reason I strongly believe in using gentle, natural shampoos. So when we apply a beard oil what is it we are setting out to do? Are we trying to treat the skin, the beard, or both and can this be achieved effectively and safely?
Secondly when I look at the ingredients of many beard oils, I feel like they are exactly that, oils, so won’t they not make my skin oily? I imagine given the extra levels of naturally occurring keratin due to the growth of the beard itself that adding even more oil would be like tipping petrol on a fire. On this point I could be wrong and I will provide feedback as we go on this very issue, perhaps the skin acts differently when covered with hair, perhaps the oil adds something unexpected. But to me the concept of adding oil to hair makes little sense, I do not add oil to what hair I have on my head, why put it on my face?
The fact is many people use and believe in the benefits of beard oil, so it must do something, what I’m setting out to do is learn what. I hope that in answering my own questions and documenting the process it will give some insight into the best way to treat a beard and the skin beneath it. So here we go, let the cards fall where they may and let the growing begin.
“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
Jack Kerouac - On the Road
Happy B’Day Jack and thanks.