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Risu gets to the root of beard grooming

Risu has embraced a slogan to ‘Finnish your style’, suggesting that its beard oil is merely the first of many offerings to come.Risu

Finland’s first premium beard oil specialists seek to change the global manscape for the better.

Beards are seemingly everywhere these days. Whilst this sea of hairy faces is nothing new in the stylish scheme of things (see ZZ Top, Chuck Norris and even Santa Claus), the rise of the hipster has nonetheless seen men worldwide embracing their facial follicles in a rapidly growing fashion.

Here in Finland, wearing a beard is as much about the look as it is practical, with a layer of fur providing protection from the often-bracing elements. Nonetheless, regardless of one’s motivation for cultivation, even the most wild and carefree growth needs a little maintenance sometimes.

“I always had a beard since it started to grow: it’s an essential part of me,” explains Linus Weckström, CEO of Risu. “I used to order beard oil from Amazon UK. Then one day I thought, why am I doing it like this – why is it not easier?”

The simple reason was that there was nothing suitable on shelves from local producers. So, teaming up with his sister, Linda, the siblings set out to become Finland’s pioneering premium beard oil producers.

The Finnish finish

Drawing on his background in finance and IT and his sister’s expertise in product development, the fruit of their labour arrived in the Risu webstore and Finnish barbershops earlier this year. Currently, three varieties of oil are on offer – two with fragrance and one without – along with a seasonal option, depending on what’s available at any given time.

“The main ingredient for all is argan oil from Morocco,” Weckström explains. “The Finnish touch comes from sea buckthorn oil. Other essential oils are there too to make the beard soft, shiny, groom easily, and also treat the skin underneath.”

Risu beard oil’s Finnish touch comes from sea buckthorn oil. Image: Risu

Yes, bearded types out there rejoice – it’s time to bid farewell to embarrassing rashes and flakes of ‘beardruff’. And it’s not just Finns with a smile on their well-groomed faces. Risu is currently targeting the EU market, in anticipation of going global.

So, in lieu of prospective customers’ lack of Finnish language skills, what does the name mean, exactly?

“A risu is a small stick, and also refers to your beard when it’s messy,” Weckström offers. “It’s a double meaning, reflecting how we value things: Finnish nature and quality.”

The company has also embraced a slogan to ‘Finnish your style’, suggesting that its beard oil is merely the first of many offerings to come.

Soften the approach

Sitting under the summer sun in southern Helsinki, Weckström is affable company, talking enthusiastically about the business of beards and Risu’s worldly potential. Yet, there is one topic that makes his smile temporarily dip below the horizon: shampoo.

More specifically, when it emerges that this writer’s own beard maintenance consists of using what should only be applied to the top of the head, without further ado, I am sent home with a bottle of Risu.

The next morning I wash my beard with water, using the bottle’s Pasteur pipette to squeeze a couple of drops onto my hands. Rubbing them together to warm up the oil, the pleasant resin fragrance is in welcome contrast to the aggressive hyper-masculinity of many products.

After spending a moment applying the oil and massaging the skin, I stand back to admire my handiwork. The effect is pretty much instantaneous: my beard is softer to the touch, replete with a healthy sheen.

Needless to say, with Risu subsequently becoming a prominent part of my daily routine, my risu has yet to be seen since.

Linus Weckström (right) teamed up with his sister Linda (left) to become Finland’s pioneering premium beard oil producers. Image: Risu
By: James O’Sullivan