Tag Archive for beards

CPAP Mask Liners

There’s a new-ish product out there for us CPAP users to help masks seal against your face, and avoid those red marks and sores. I give you the mask liner:

remzzzsnasalcpapmaskliner

This past month I’ve been using RemZzzzs mask liners for my Comfort Gel Blue nasal cushion mask and love them. When I’m not feeling well, I’ll use my CPAP even when not sleeping just to get some breathing relief. As many of you know, the extra mask time can really irritate your face. Last summer I got some bad sores from using a mask too much and I’m not really sure what else I could have done about it. I regularly clean my cushions and mask, and was careful not to over-tighten the headgear. It’s the simple combination of time and pressure that can turn coal into diamonds. The mask liner will create a barrier between the cushion and your face, create a uniform surface to help create a seal, and soak up moisture or natural oils from your skin.

I’ve tried to do this on my own in the past. Liz gave me the idea to fold up a piece of toilet paper. It kind of works, but isn’t shaped correctly and I could only do this across the bridge of my nose. The mask liners are made to perfectly fit your mask.

I purchased a box of 30 mask liners on Amazon for about $25. These aren’t the cheapest of things, but if used only when needed, I’m sure you could make them last. I talked to my cpap supply company, National Sleep Therapy, a few days ago and they can sell me mask liners but insurance will not cover them at this time. If you’re not sure about spending the money, the RemZzzs website does have a link for a free trial.

One other trick I’ve done is to have two different masks. Along with the Comfort Gel Blue nasal cushion, I also have a Nuance Pro nasal pillow. I’ll either switch up the masks every other night, or just wear the one that feels best. If my sinuses are clogged up at all, the Nuance is going to be the toughest to handle. Then when I re-order supplies every 90 days, I alternate between the cushions and the pillows so I always have some for each mask type.

I have a full beard and was warned from the start I’ll have trouble finding masks with a good fit. I bet I could wear a full-face mask with a liner.

Beard scissor maintenance

Like many of you, I use scissors to trim my beard. Electric trimmers or clippers tend to snag hairs and give you split ends. It’s also really easy to make big mistakes, where with scissors you might have a misplaced snip or two that is more easily corrected.

dovo_scissors

I have a pair of Dovo 43456 scissors from Solingen, Germany. They were purchased for me as a gift at The Beard Baron’s web site. They’ve been great, but over the past year have become more and more loose. It’s one of those things that happened gradually, and then all of a sudden they barely worked. Fortunately there was an easy solution – tightening up the screw.

At first, I grabbed a random screwdriver from the garage but soon realized I was going to bugger it up if I weren’t careful. I have a nice set of hollow-ground, Grace screwdrivers that worked much, much better. When I first received the scissors, there was slight friction when opening and shutting them. They weren’t floppy like they had become. As luck would have it, I found a good video on YouTube to illustrate what I’m talking about.

The video also demonstrates oiling your scissors, which is a good idea for anything metal. From now on I’m going to pay more attention to when my trimming scissors need a little love and care.

One year of Lucky Scruff

I’ve been a Lucky Scruff customer for almost a year and a half now. I did an initial review last year, and have planned to do more reviews of their products, but just haven’t gotten around to it. So here’s a digest of sorts.

Beard Oil

I really dig their beard oil. I feel the quality is just as good as some of the more expensive brands, and I love their scents. My favorite are Holy Beard Oil, Dragon’s Blood, and Dragon Forged – which seems to be almost a mix of the two. The weight of the oil is a good medium between heavy and light, lasts all day, and takes care of any skin dryness of beard dandruff. It also makes my beard look great.

Beard Balm

I was really excited to learn Lucky Scruff was releasing balms last year and got in early by being a part of the $20 Beard Club. Holy Beard Oil was the first scent made into a balm, which was great because I was already using the accompanying beard oil. It does just what I was needing in the way of control. It keeps all the fly-aways down and shapes my beard without it turning into some odd, looking hairspray sculpture from the 80s. I also don’t have to apply it every day, it’s more like 2 or 3x a week. I also have the Dragon Forge beard balm which I love just as much as the Holy Beard Balm.

$20 Beard Club

I joined the $20 Beard Club about a year ago and stayed subscribed for 8 months. The way it works is every month you want to participate you are charged $20 + shipping. Included in your package is a beard oil with something else. I received two or three oils some months, beard balms, combs, soaps, and other beard supplies. It’s much cheaper than buying the items individually, and Lucky Scruff posts the contents of the month’s package ahead of time so you can decide if you want it or not. I didn’t quit out of dissatisfaction, in fact, I unsubscribed because I realized one day I had amassed a collection of 15 beard oils. One ounce of beard oil lasts me about three months, and the shelf-life of beard oil doesn’t last forever. If I actually use up my stash some day, I’ll most likely re-enroll.

beardDrawer

Beard supplies

Customer Service

The guys at Lucky Scruff know how to take care of their customers. All their products come with a guarantee. If you don’t like what you’ve bought, within reason, they will replace or refund your purchase. They are also quick to respond on social media and by email if you have questions or concerns.

They also have great swag in the form of can coolers, stickers, and other items. You get a can cooler with every order, so I’ve given many of them away.

Can Cooler

Can Cooler

As you can probably tell, I really dig this company. If you’re looking to start taking more intentional care of your beard, check out their products. Also, feel free to ask me any questions. I’ll answer them the best I can, or will refer you to someone else.

Beard Oil Flyweight Sampler Pack

A little over a week ago I ordered Pugilist Brand’s Beard Oil Flyweight Sampler Pack. It contains:

  • Buccaneer Blend beard oil sample
  • Cedar Atlas Shrugged beard oil sample
  • Citrus Grove beard oil sample
  • Frontiersman beard oil sample
  • Zen Musk beard oil sample
  • $3 off coupon for your next purchase of a full-size, 1 ounce beard oil

This retails for $8 with a couple bucks for shipping. I’m not sure on the size of the sample bottles, but you should get at least a couple applications per bottle as long as your beard is less than 5-6″ long. My beard is a about 5 months old at the moment and 4″ long. I didn’t fall in love with any of the scents, but I still dig what Pugilist Brand is doing and here is why.

Customer Service

There was a slight hiccup with my order when it arrived, and like any social media user I contacted Pugilist Brand through Twitter. They responded immediately, most of my order was refunded, and for that reason I’m calling this a sponsored review. Too many times I’ve tried to contact a company for good or bad reasons and have been stonewalled or treated poorly. Pugilist Brand knows how to treat their customers, and welcomes feedback.

Sample Pack

I love that they offered a sample pack I could try to see if I liked their products. I’m picky about how things smell. I’m also not really into cologne/scents/fragrances, so I’d hate to spend $15-$30 on an entire ounce of beard oil to find out I really can’t use it. If you’re like me, be sure to check out return policies if you’re leery of spending the cash not really knowing what it’s going to be like. For $8 you can try all five of their beard oils and get at least 10-14 days use out of the samples.

Pugilist Brand also has many sets and combinations of their products for beard enthusiasts at discounted prices. If you want to buy multiple beard oils, or combine oil with soap, pomade, mustache wax, etc; their is most likely an option for you that coincides with your budget.

Quality Oils

If you look at how they make their beard oil, it contains the usual suspects: almond, jojoba, argan, and castor. I would have to say Pugilist Brand’s beard oil was probably the most lightweight I’ve used so far. I felt like I needed to use slightly more for an application than oils I’ve used from other companies, but that might be what you’re looking for in an oil. Comparatively, this beard oil goes for $19 an ounce while Beard Brand and Beard Baron sells for $25. So even if you’re using slightly more, it does cost less. I did not notice any real difference in the condition of my beard while trying out Pugilist Brand’s compared to other oils I’ve been using.

Here are a couple pictures. I always like to compare customer pictures to what companies post on their web sites.  For starters, they have an awesome rubber stamp they slap on their envelopes.

pugilist_envelope

Here are what the samples look like.  That is their business card for size reference.

pugilist_beardOil1pugilist_beardOill2

 As I mentioned above, I didn’t love any of the scents, but that doesn’t mean you won’t. I’d love to know what others think of Pugilist Brand, especially compared to other similar beard products.

Lucky Scruff’s Pine Tar Soap and Holy Beard Oil

A few weeks ago I happened to be on Facebook and noticed Lucky Scruff was looking for people to review some of their products.  I’m all about writing reviews for stuff I like, so I volunteered and a week or so later I received a box with:

lucky_scruff2

Lucky Scruff makes their own soaps and oils, and is based out of Antioch, Tennessee.  They seem to really care about helping people enjoy beards, and they do so with wit and humor.  They sell quality products that are modestly priced, and hold up to other beard care and maintenance products I’ve used.  Oh, and if you live in the state of Tennessee I think you’ll like their shipping perk.

Right from the start I have to comment on the packaging itself.  Both the soap and the oil came in white, cloth, drawstring bags.  It’s classy and gives more opportunity for branding.  I’ve never been great at gift giving or gift wrapping and Lucky Scruff does it for you.

lucky_scruff1

Beard Oil

I also thought the literature was great.  The first piece was post-card sized with beard care and maintenance tips, and a coupon code for my next order.  It also highlights the three most basic beard care items: a comb, soap, and oil.  The simple step-by-step instructions on how to properly use and apply beard oil are key as some customers may be first time users.  The brochure highlights their products, the company, and how to contact them on the web.

lucky_scruff3

I only started using beard oil this past year and have been using Beardbrand’s Blank Slate Oil, so Lucky Scruff’s Holy Beard Oil is my second.  Comparing the two it seems like the Holy Beard Oil is slightly lighter than the Blank Slate.  Neither leaves my beard feeling oily, greasy, or weighted down.  I’ve been using a slightly larger amount of the Holy Beard Oil on my beard, but I can’t quite say if that’s because it’s a lighter oil or my beard has grown in the 2-3 weeks I’ve been trying it out.  Either way, I think it’s a great product and it smells great.  I’ve never worn scents or colognes and this is just enough without being overpowering or too noticeable.

Beard Soap

Similar to beard oil, I also started using beard soap this year.  Hudson Made makes an excellent product, but it’s a little on the expensive side.  I’m not saying it’s not worth it, just not the right solution for someone on a tight budget.  Pine Tar soap has been around for decades and is a staple for many beardsmen.  Before I tried out Hudson Made’s soap, I read in many places on the internet that pine tar soap “smells like a wet campfire” and will stink up your house.  If you’ve read much else on my blog you’ll notice I have severe respiratory issues and anything connected to smoke is not a good thing.  I’ll be honest – I was a little worried when I saw Lucky Scruff had sent me pine tar soap, but I wanted to try it out to be fair.

I’m happy to report the soap is great, it lathers awesomely well, it cleans my beard, the scent is subtle, and it in no way smells like a wet camp fire.  The price is also right at $5 for a bar.  Lucky Scruff sent me a sample size and after heavily soaping my beard 6x in the past few weeks, the bar looks like it has hardly been used.

Results

Overall I am very satisfied with the soap and oil from Lucky Scruff.  Looking at their other products, I’d love to try out their Honey Oatmeal soap as well.  I’ll probably get a bar after I’ve used up more of the other two soaps I already have.  People have been loving the beard these past few weeks.  I think it’s fair to say if you use Lucky Scruff beard products, babies will love you.


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Dr Carver’s Magnamimous Post Shave

I’ve been writing enough about depressing lung disease stuff, it’s time to switch gears a bit.  For the past couple months I’ve been trying out Dollar Shave Club’s newest product – Dr Carver’s Magnamimous Post Shave.  I’m sometimes asked why I like the Dollar Shave Club so much when I have a full beard; I shave my head on a regular basis, not so much my face.  Along with it comes dry skin all winter and the need for daily sunscreen the rest of the year to keep the skin cancer away.

Dr Carver's Post Shave

Dr Carver’s Post Shave

Moisturizing your scalp can be difficult because many standard moisturizers have the potential to clog your pores and trust me dude, you do not want ingrown hairs and acne on your chrome dome.  I usually buy non comedogenic moisturizer which is generally for your face.  The stuff is a bit more expensive, but it works.  I had been wishing Dollar Shave Club had something I could just add to my order, similar to their Dr Carver’s Shave Butter.  Lo and behold, a month or so after my pining I received notification of their new item for sale.

The post shave comes in a 3.4 oz bottle and can be added to any order for $9.  As usual, shipping and handling is included.  The moisturizer is a semi-thick, white, paste that is easily absorbed into your skin and doesn’t leave you feeling greasy.  I haven’t done any scientific experiments, but I feel like it pairs really well with the shave butter.

Dr Carver's Magnanimous Post Shave

Dr Carver’s Magnanimous Post Shave

At first I was a little concerned about the price and bottle size, but it’s going to last me a very long time with the amount I use on a daily basis.  At the moment I’m only on my 2nd bottle of shave butter with the first one lasting me about six months.  As usual, I am more than satisfied with the Dollar Shave Club and whole-heartedly endorse their shaving products…and if you’re interested in using my referral link I can get a little kickback on my next order.

Hudson Made: Beard and Shave

The hair on your face needs to be washed just like the hair on your head.  I’ve used shampoo from time to time, but that usually results in dry skin, “beard dandruff,” split ends, and annoyance.  Often I can skirt this problem by just thoroughly rinsing it out in the shower, but eventually that doesn’t cut it either.  On top of this all, I live in an area with hard water and this can add to the flakiness as well.

For the past month or so I’ve been cleaning my beard on Saturdays with Hudson Made: Citron Neroli Beard & Shave Soap.  I was hesitant at first to try this seeing one bar of soap costs just over $20 for 3.5oz.  The reviews were amazing though, and I decided to give it a whirl.  I am also leaving the soap in a container by the sink so as not to lose any by attrition in the shower.

Hudson Made: Citron Beard Soap

The first time I tried the soap I ran a little water through my beard, lathered up a little bit of soap on my hands, and then applied it to my face.  The soap didn’t really lather up much at all, which was surprising because the most common comment about this soap was the insane amount of lather it generated.

The following week I thoroughly soaked my beard at the sink and made sure to use warm water.  This time instead of trying to lather soap on my hands, I dipped the soap under the water and then immediately rubbed it across my beard.  The amount of lather generated was impressive.  This soap can double as shaving soap, you know – the kind you mix up in a little mug with a brush.  After making sure my entire beard is soaped up and massaged a bit, I can either rinse it out at the sink or take a shower.

Another type of soap many people suggest trying is pine tar soap.  I’m quite hesitant to use it because I’ve heard it smells like a wet campfire.  Call me cautious, but that would probably irritate my eyes, sinuses, airways, or just make the bathroom reek.  This soap is made with cedar and citrus essential oils, and isn’t overly strong.  Another concern I had was the scent of whatever soap I started using could be an overpowering scent on my face all day.  That hasn’t even remotely been a problem.  If I cup my hand over my mouth and nose, and breathe in, I can kind of smell the soap for a day – and that’s it.

One other benefit to soaping up my beard once a week is it helps with CPAP beard.  Some people exhibit a bad case of “bed head” upon awaking.  I tend to get CPAP beard from the straps of my mask pressing against my face all night.  Rinsing my beard out in the shower, applying a little beard oil and combing it in the morning mostly keeps it in shape.  It just looks slightly more disheveled day after day by the end of the week though and the deep cleaning gets it back to normal.

After one-two months of use I can hardly tell the soap has even been used.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this lasts me a year.  I’d like to try out some other soaps because I have found some in the $10 or less range, but I’ll probably wait until this current bar is much more used before purchasing something else.

Beard oil

I’ve been growing beards since I was 18, but now that I’m in my 30s I’m more interested in easy management tools so I’m not finding myself in the situation where I’m sick and tired of something I could have fixed weeks ago, but now just want to cut it off.  I really dislike shaving and am one of those guys who can have a nice looking full-beard in 3 weeks.  If I’m too lazy I soon have something I have to deal with for better or worse.

Towards the end of the calendar winter, cause we all know winter has just been lasting and lasting, I had a solid, four-inch beard all around.  Mine ends up being curly so combing it out makes it seem actually longer, and I also have one spot that grows a little faster than everything else.  My problem is trying to manage the sideburns so I don’t look like Bozo the clown.  Every once in a while I try to trim down the sides but usually end up messing it up and having to cut the whole thing off.

Earlier this month I got myself a new beard trimmer, my old and crappy one had surpassed 10 years, and some beard combs by Kent.  I also started looking around on the internets for tips and advice on what to do which led me to Beardbrand and The Beard Baron.  They both sell similar products, have decent marketing and web presence, and both create great videos for information and tutorial purposes.  The Beard Baron just happened to have a video specifically for managing your sideburns.

So I’ve been combing out my beard every day for a while now and it’s been making a huge difference for me.  In the past I’ve noticed when trimming down my beard there can be an odd abundance of oil on my face.  That was basically coming from the cut hairs.  Combing my beard out helps to evenly disperse some of that, it gets rid of tangles, and has been helping the cowlick in my beard to really chill out.  I basically have hair growing in two directions which meet in one part of my face creating an inverted part or mini-fauxhawk.

This week I started using some beard oil I purchased from Beardbrand.  I went with the unscented stuff because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about my face smelling minty, spicy, or like a forest.  There can also be issues with allergies and some of my respiratory stuff breathing in certain scents.  The stuff is really easy to use and there is a stopper/restricting piece in the top of the bottle so the oil cannot pour out.  I dab a couple drops on my fingers, run them through my beard, and comb it in.  Afterwards I can’t even tell oil had been on my hands.

My first observation was the color of my beard really popped the other morning.  I have an almost tri-colored beard depending on the day, sunlight, and length.  Throughout the day the color became less vibrant, but I think part of that is because this is oil, not water, so it oxidized.  The texture of my beard seems softer and more manageable.  It’s hard to really have a good opinion after only a few days, but I’d say I’m enjoying this easy way to hep manage my face hair.

Beard combs

I’m one of those lucky, but sometimes unfortunate, guys who can grow facial hair.  I have horrible allergies and have a hard time breathing most days, but the beard thing is not a struggle.  I’m a low maintenance kind of person, and don’t like having to do things like mess with my hair in the morning, so in the past I’ve rarely done anything to ensure my beard looks good.  I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf.

Last week I got myself some decent combs to help with my beard.  The standard, cheap combs can actually mess up your hair and often generate a lot of static for me.  I went with Kent and so far have been loving them.

The first is one of their smaller combs labeled as a “beard comb.”  I didn’t realize how small it was until I actually got it.  I’d call it a mustache comb because unless your beard stays around 1/4″ or so, I’m not sure how this works for your beard.

 

Their medium-size, pocket comb is pretty solid.  It’s about 4.5″ long with half of it for fine hair and the other half for coarse hair.

Like most people I have a weird spot in my beard that is kind of like a cowlick on my face.  The direction of my beard goes in opposite directions and this is where it comes together, kind of like an inverted part.  If I just trim it down, I have an obvious short spot when it gets longer.  If I leave it as-is, there’s this weird, long section.  For now I’m coming it every day to get the tangles out and to try and encourage my weird spot to chill out.  We’ll see how that goes.  I’ve also ordered some beard oil to give a try.

Walter and Me

I’m re-watching the last bit of Breaking Bad and remembering some of the similarities between Walter White and myself

  • Bald
  • Facial hair
  • Glasses
  • Health problems
  • Two kids
  • Married to a strong, independent woman
  • Drive a similar car
  • Made money washing cars back in the day
  • Have a degree in science
  • Work in education
  • Have lived in the desert
  • Briefly lived in NE
  • Have had to come up with creative ways to pay medical bills
  • Like to cook
  • Cough a lot
  • Sometimes cough up blood
  • Threw pizza onto a roof once
  • Known by many by a pseudonym
  • I like eating bacon on my birthday