Fun fact: Did you know the Rocky Mountains are home to a supervolcano? Not just a volcano, but a supervolcano? And did you know the Rocky Mountains include dry, hot desert? And that the range itself contains more than 100 separate mountain ranges?
It’s pretty fascinating, and in the post below, we’ll talk about literally none of that. Instead, we’ll be talking about Rocky Mountain Barber Company, and provide a Rocky Mountain Beard Balm review. We like it a lot and we think it’s a great and unique beard balm—although we have some minor gripes about it, and we’ll get into all that below.
You ready? Here’s the things we like:
Rocky Mountain Highs
Honestly—what we like is nothing too mind-blowing: it’s made from great ingredients and Rocky Mountain makes it in some scents we like. That’s it, really! Not too complicated. Those two things are all you can really ask from a beard balm, but you’d be amazed at how many beard balm companies mess that up.
So those are the “broad strokes”—we like it. If you’re a “details” guy, though, here’s a closer look at why we think it’s got good stuff, and why we think the scents are worthwhile:
Rocky Mountain Chocks a Lot of Good Stuff in the Ingredient List
We’ll talk about scent in a moment, as that is—far and away—our favorite aspect of beard products, but we should start with the most important feature first: the ingredient list.
Beard balms have one main purpose, and that’s the provide hydration and nutrients to your beard hair and the skin underneath it. That’s the main purpose. People often think that they’re real use is to provide stiffness or sculpting, but they don’t really do that—for any real sculpting, you need a wax (or a balm that has a lot of wax in it, which this one does not).
To provide all that hydration and all those nutrients, you need a lot of good stuff. Here’s the ingredient list from what is perhaps their most popular scent, the Rocky Mountain Barber Company Cedarwood Beard Balm (affiliate link):
“Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Cera Alba (yellow) Bees Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernal Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Oil, d-Alpha Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Oil, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Lime Oil.”
That may seem like just a bunch of words, but we run a website about beards and we read stuff like that literally all day long, so here’s an interpretation:
> That’s a lot of all-natural ingredients. Older beard companies in bygone eras made beard and shaving products tended to use a lot of strange, chemical-y sounding ingredients, but you don’t see that here—each ingredient is all-natural;
> It’s got a lot of hydrating potential. A beard balm is really three different types of ingredients: oils, butters, and waxes. Oils provide nutrients, hydration, and scent; butters provide nutrients, hydration, and make the product malleable; and wax provides some consistency and hold. That’s it, really, and if you look at the hydrating agents here—the oils (grapeseed oil, coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, cedarwood oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, and lime oil) and the butters (mostly shea butter)—that’s a loooooot of content to hydrate your beard; and finally
> There are some nutrient-rich inclusions. Many of the ingredients in Rocky Mountain Barber Beard Balm offer some solid benefits—for instance: coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are great for your skin; shea butter is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, also great for your skin; and jojoba oil hydrates beard hair but because of its similarity to the oil your skin produces (called sebum), it can help unclog pores and promote healthy skin. Good stuff!
If you take a really good look at that ingredient list, you’ll notice that it has a loooooot of oils, and that’s actually related to something we don’t care for, but we’ll talk about that later.
Also, each type of Rocky Mountain Beard Balm has a different ingredient list, so you’ll need to take a closer look at each one for the specific details on each, but they’re each jam-packed with some really good stuff.
It’s Got Four Scents—Well, Three and One More
Rocky Mountain makes their beard balm in the following scents:
Sandalwood: This is a super-popular scent in a wide range of beard and shaving products, because it has a nice, clean scent—people often describe this as a “barbershop” scent, and that’s pretty accurate, in our humble opinion;
Cedarwood: This is a fascinating scent, because it’s woodsy—think pine or fir or something like that—but it has a really mild citrus undertone to it. A lot of beard products get their cedarwood scent wrong, but this is nice and balanced;
Bamboo: This is a unique option, and it comes out differently depending on the company making it—here, it’s less woodsy, and more sweet, or floral, or fragrant. It’s not overpowering, which is always a plus; and finally, the unspoken hero of beard balms:
Unscented: The MVP! Nothing to smell here, folks. This can be great if you don’t like wearing a scent, or if you want to have another agent—a deodorant or a cologne or something like that—be your primary scent.
That scent range is pretty respectable, and we love that it can be available in a Rocky Mountain 4-Pack (affiliate link). Beard balms usually come in four scents, and it’s rare that a company makes many more than that. You tend to see companies make a wide range of scents in their beard oils, but that’s because beard oils are a lot easier to make, and a lot easier to imbue with scent.
None of the scents here are that exotic, but they cover all the basics: a “clean” scent (the sandalwood), a “woodsy” scent (the cedarwood), and… well, actually, that bamboo scent is pretty exotic! We can’t think of another beard balm with a bamboo scent, so if you’re looking for something unique, that might be your best bet!
The real winner here, though, is the “unscented” option. That may sound a little surprising, especially when you consider that scent is what most people love about their beard balms and oils, but there’s a LOT of people out there who don’t like whiffing something all day long. If you find scent distracting, that unscented option can be a solid pick.
If there’s one scent we would like to see, it’s a Bay Rum. That’s a pretty popular beard balm scent—it’s sweet and punchy and enticing—and we’re kind of surprised they didn’t include it. One of our other favorite beard balm 4-packs—the Viking Revolution Variety Pack (affiliate link)—features it, along with Sandalwood, Cedar and Pine, and Clary Sage. Viking Revolution is actually very similar in texture and hold to Rocky Mountain, so if you’re looking for an alternative, they may be a good option.
Rocky Mountain Lows
Alas! Nothing is perfect, and we’ve got some complaints about Rocky Mountain Beard Balm. They include:
It Doesn’t Provide a Lot of Hold, Even for a Beard Balm
One of the weird misconceptions about beard balms is that they help you sculpt your beard. They do—a little bit—but not much, because that’s not their main purpose. Their main purpose is to provide hydration for whiskers and nutrients for your skin. That’s it, really—any sculpting a beard balm imbues is secondary, and most balms never really seems to do much, really, and in our experience, Rocky Mountain Beard Balm falls into that category—it’s not really a great tool for sculpting your beard. It can provide body, most definitely, and we’ve found it makes our beard look fuller and healthier—but it doesn’t seem to help with flyaways or keeping things in place.
And that makes sense, if you think about it. Remember above, where we kept talking about how amazing the ingredient list is? Well, it is—we weren’t wrong about that. The ingredient list is top-shelf, BUT it has a lot of oils in it. More than many other brands, in fact. What’s more, is that it doesn’t have a lot of wax in it—it’s only got a single type of beeswax in it (Cera Alba Bees Wax), and that’s not a lot. Other beard balms have multiple waxes, and Smooth Viking has three—bees wax, candelilla wax, and carnauba wax.
So if you’re looking for hold, we’d suggest the Smooth Viking Beard Balm, and if you’re looking for something to really hold your beard in place, we’d suggest kicking things up a notch, and going for a beard wax, like Honest Amish Beard Wax. That’s got a much high wax content than many other formulations, and it’s made specifically for hold.
Be Careful About Storing It in a Hot Place
It’s fantastic that so many beard balms are made from all-natural ingredients, but a surprising side-effect of that decision to go all-natural is that it can lead to storage issues—and in particular, melting issues. Beard companies that use all-natural ingredients DON’T include many of the synthetic ingredients that keep cosmetics from melting, or separating, or doing other weird things, and when you open the tin/container, you sometimes get an unfortunate surprise. Consistency issues are actually a pretty common problem across all types of beard products, and especially those that are “small batch” products.
So if you live in a very hot climate, or if you store your beard products in a very hot place, make sure you keep them fully sealed and keep them as cool as possible. It’s a bummer when you reach for a beard balm or butter and find that it’s a watery, oily, mess.
That’s not too difficult to do in your home, but it can be a real and true pain if you’re traveling. Be mindful if you’re going to a hot place, or if you’re leaving your balm in a satchel or something like that. It can melt onto your clothes and gear and electronics and that stiiiiiiiiiiiiinks. Always put stuff like this in a sealable plastic bag, and make sure it’s sealed tight before you put it in there.
And, listen: we don’t want to laser-focus on Rocky Mountain for having this problem—a lot of the beard balms we’ve used over the years have consistency problems, and either melt (Rocky Mountain), or bead up (Honest Amish), or congeal (Clubman Pinaud), so it’s more of a problem with the product, than the companies making it. But it’s definitely something that can happen, so be aware.
Small Batch Can Mean Slight Variations
Again, this isn’t a complaint about Rocky Mountain—it’s more of a “gentle reminder” about all small batch companies: small batch usually means that extensive care was taken to create the product, and you’re getting something unique, but it sometimes comes with subtle variations from batch to batch. Sometimes that’s a very small difference in scent, sometimes it’s a very small difference in consistency, and we usually see that as one of the charms of small-batch products (although, we must say—for a small-batch company, Rocky Mountain seems to be on the bigger side of things).
If you experience an issue, you can contact Rocky Mountain directly. They promise a reply within 24 hours, and from what we’re heard of them, customer service is really important to them.
Now, as you’d imagine, we’ll end in song to wrap up our Rocky Mountain Beard Balm review:
“The Shadow from the Starlight is Softer Than a Lullaby…”
There you have it! All our thoughts and feelings about Rocky Mountain Barber Company Beard Balm. All in all, we like the product and we like the company. Hopefully there’s something here that helps you—be good, have fun, and happy beard!
Michael Morris is the head writer here at Rough and Tumble Gentleman. He's got a ducktail beard and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's married to the woman of his dreams and lives in Brooklyn, NY.