American Crew are a bit of a household name, you’ll be hard pushed to find someone who hasn’t heard of them given they’ve been around for quarter of a century. The traditionally high end cosmetic brand have of course released a range of beard products to keep your beard smooth and moustache magnificent.
With mainstream brands it can be a bit hit or miss, they usually plough a load of effort, marketing and science to making market leading products or they just rush a product as a bolt on to the core range. There is no middle ground. There was a nervousness when the American Crew Beard Range landed at Beardsman HQ, would this be another multi-national bolt on?
The beard range from American Crew consists of a beard balm, beard serum (oil), 2-in-1 Moisturiser & Beard conditioner and a moustache wax. They’re all branded the same, with the metallic silver labelling on deep auburn packaging, unmistakably American Crew.
2-IN-1 BEARD MOISTURISER AND BEARD CONDITIONER
The 2-in-1 moisturiser is designed for shorter beards and obviously doubling up as an all over face moisturiser. Perfect for those of you with a beard less than 10mm or for those with stubble. The moisturiser is a slightly opaque lightweight product with a subtle smoked bay rum scent – stronger than the rest of the range on nose but it is a really nice fragrance.
As for conditioning, its definitely more moisturiser than your traditional beard balms or oils – no base oils or butters to see but it does leave your shorter hairs feeling soft and loosens the skin after washing. It does contain Cyclopentasiloxane and Dimethiconol however, both silicones used to improve softness and smoothness.
Beard balms have been one of the largest growth areas within the beard market niche, where beard oils led beard balms have followed. You’ll know if you follow me that beard balms can be quite a varied, they can be as different as Mini Cooper and NASCAR – both will get your round the circuit but they’re poles apart in performance.
AC have produced what I’d say is the every day driver balm, it’s an oil and butter mix but the sweet almond oil is the primary ingredient, followed by Shea Butter and then beeswax. So you get it all, the butter and almond oil conditioning combined with the beeswax hold. Given the order that beeswax isn’t primary, the wax is firm but emulsifies easily, it smells really appealing – that same sweet bay rum-esque barber scent.
It holds really well; that blend of oil base, butter and wax gives a medium hold but you’re getting all the conditioning benefits – it leaves a slight shine but a nice smooth touch. I’ve been really blown away by the balm, they’ve nailed that combination balm where you can use it to condition, hold but also style if you use a greater amount.
Now a Beard Serum rather than a beard oil, it’s not something I’ve come across before. For all intents and purposes, this is a beard oil; albeit it is much thicker than most oils. You’ll know you can get various viscosity with oils, from thin to thick and then we have the serum by American Crew. It’s a thick oil but it has that gel like consistency of a serum. Serums are traditionally used as pre-moisturising application and tend to be higher concentration of ingredients. The beard serum has a base of argan oil, obviously one of the best oils for hair care but it does contain the two silicons from the moisturiser in Cyclopentasiloxane and Dimethiconol. Using products with silicones is something I’d err on side of caution with – used sparingly is fine, but don’t overload on them, okay if you want that extra shine, softness, and smoothness, just be sure to wash them out throughly as non-water-soluble silicone can buildup easily.
Overall the range is steady setter, it doesn’t feel a bolt on to the rest of the range and it feels like more effort has gone in, specifically to the balm than other mainstream brands, no surprise given American Crew’s history with hair styling products.
The standout product is the beard balm and a notable mention to the moustache wax also which gives a good hold and isn’t sticky.