This is me around 6 years ago, I could never get past this patchy, itchy stubbly stage and would shave it off. I’d tried a few times before, but had always given up, like many, due to the itch becoming too much.
However, I decided to grow it again and this time I was determined!
I began to take it more seriously and did some research to see if there was anything out there that could help the beard growing process to get past the initial tricky stages.
1: Find a cure for the dreaded scratchy beard itch
I had to be able to keep growing it without being irritated or irritating my loved ones.
2: Stick with it!
Sure, it’ll go through an awkward looking patchy phase for a month or so, but if I just keep growing it out then eventually the gaps will begin to fill and a luscious beard will surely emerge!
So I came across a few things that can help with beard itch and the number one thing that kept coming up was oils.
I had never really used oils for anything except cooking before so I was pretty sceptical at first. I imagined it would just leave me greasy and shiny. Turns out you only really need a few tiny drops of the stuff, (it goes a long way!) and it soaks in quick enough. What I discovered almost over night was that my beard was not only softer but also the itchiness had gone. This allowed me to begin growing my beard out in earnest while I tried out different kinds of oils.
Every time I ran out of a bottle I wanted to try a different brand to see if there was any noticeable difference in quality. The beard market wasn’t what it is today, not many stores sold them and there were very few small businesses to trial either. This made it difficult to find many options, yet alone scented ones.
This gave me an idea. I had learned that beard oil was made up of all natural carrier and essential oils, something I could import in bulk from a supplier myself if I wanted to. I have always loved creating my own stuff. I work as a product and web designer by day and thought it’d be a fun side project to create my own branded beard oil. It would mean I could blend it as I wanted and create my own recipes for different scented oils.
I then started obsessively researching which carrier oils were the best for your skin and also which essential oils had the best scents and additional benefits.
At the end of my research I finally settled on my favourite carrier oils from organic suppliers as well as the percentages that would go into each bottle. Some oils are naturally thicker than others and need to be blended with lighter oils to unlock their full benefit. By finding the right balance of oils I could combine the benefits of all of them in an elixir that would be the best for not only my beard but also my skin. A lot of beard oil makers today only use a single carrier oil that often limits the benefit to only the beard, whilst ignoring the sensitive skin beneath it.
The next step was to start working on some recipes. I had sourced around 30 different essential oils, ranging from bergamot to pine needle to vanilla. I wanted to try blends that combined into more complex scents like you would get from a nice perfume or blended whisky.
Having trialled many many different recipes I had finally settled on a few that I wanted to try in a full on bottle that would last me a few months.
Having focused on digital design my whole career I now got to experiment with packaging design and figuring out what I wanted to house my oils in.
One thing I quickly settled on was that Amber coloured glass bottles were the way to go.
1: UV protection: Amber glass protects the contents within from UV rays. This protects the liquids within from losing their effectiveness or going mouldy. This is why bottled beer always comes in brown bottles so they don’t photo-oxidate and go bad.
2: Blue light protection: Amber glass can protect from blue light too. This prevents a photochemical effect which would harm the contents within, keeping everything fresher for longer.
3: Chemical Free: Given the natural quality of glass no harmful chemicals, like those found in plastic containers, can leech into your product. This is more of a problem for food contained in bottles more than the oil. But it still has its benefits here as I wanted to create an all natural product.
This choice also made sure I upheld a promise we made to a winemaker on a vineyard tour whilst on holiday in Greece. She also produced olive oil and made us promise never to buy olive oil that’s housed in plastic containers for the same above reasons.
So, I’d chosen glass over plastic and Amber over other colours of glass. Next, I needed to choose how I would access the oils from within.
I had previously tried beard oils that came either just with a screw cap lid, making it hard to not just pour the contents out all over yourself, or bottles that had tops with a tiny little hole that would drip when turned upside down. The trouble with the latter is that they were very picky on if they wanted to work or not. Plenty of oil would also be wasted as oil would get trapped in the bottle.
So I decided to find an alternative that would not only work every time, nice and quickly, but also allow complete control over the amount of oil I wanted to use. I settled on the pipette dropper since it ticked all my requirements.
Now I had my bottles and oils all sorted and I was able to create my very first beard oil. It worked perfectly, smelled great and kept my beard soft and itch free. The growing of the beard began!
I’ve now been exclusively using and making my own beard oil for 6 years.
Now that I had my own product that I was happy with, I was able to get going with the best part. I love designing and always like working on something that’s a bit different to what I do on a day-to-day basis.
6 years ago I came up with a brand and a label design that, at the time, I was happy with. It was called Wolf. I sold lots to friends (and still do), but I had grander plans of opening a store and selling it online!
At the start of 2020 I was talking to friends down the pub. I have a good friend who is starting up her own business and talking about it got me reminiscing of how I once had plans to sell my beard oil online. I thought, yeah, I’m gonna look into this again when I have some extra time! Then all of a sudden we all found ourselves stuck at home pretty much 24/7. You don’t get much more extra time than that!
So now that I had this new found time to fill on weeknights and weekends I decided to spend some of that extra time on kicking things off again.
I am a lover of the outdoors, I love travelling around the world and often plan trips with Landscape Photography in mind. My favourite word is Hinterlands. It means a remote area of nature, lying beyond what is visible or known. I even named my landscape photography account on Instagram The Hinterlander.
There’s something special about the natural and vastly different landscapes we have on offer across the world. Given my love for nature, I wanted to theme my beard oil business and the scents I create around it. Living in London I don’t get to enjoy the great outdoors as much as I’d like so these scents will remind me .
Some of my landscape shots from my photography account: @the_hinterlander
It’s quite common for designers to look back on work they might once have been super happy with, but later not really liking it at all any more. Well, after about 6 years I really wasn’t a fan of my original brand name and design. So I set about coming up with a new one.
With my favourite word in mind and my love for nature I created a brand centred around all of this.
The logo was designed to represent beards, oil and nature combined. I created scents that smell of the great outdoors to remind me of my travels, whilst also providing my beard with the benefits of natural oils.
For my labels I was still relatively happy with the description boxes from my original designs years ago, but I felt the font and colour needed an update.
I messed around with a few variants but eventually settled on letting the background photography wrap around the whole bottle instead of just in the centre like in my original design.
I launched my store with my three favourite recipes, so I came up with fitting names and label designs for each one, which all centred around the theme of nature and the hinterlands.
With my labels arriving hot off the press it was time for some finishing touches!
All that was left to do was bottle up the first batches, label them and finally take some product shots and put together a little promo video.
We are proud to have a partnership with One Tree Planted. For every Hinterlands Beard Oil bottle sold, a tree will be planted in an area affected by severe deforestation. Together we can revitalise ecosystems and empower local communities.learn more