Throughout history, men from all cultures have sported beards as the ultimate symbol of power, strength and virility. While the popularity of facial hair ebbs and flows, one style that never seems to go out of fashion is the mighty Viking beard. How to style a beard.
Pioneered by the fierce Scandinavian warriors of the late 8th – 11th centuries, Viking beard styles are the biggest, burliest beards of them all. Originally, this was more about function than fashion – a way for seafaring Norsemen to keep their faces warm in bitterly cold weather. Today though, many men adopt this powerful Viking style statement for its strong, rugged appearance.
Once you’ve followed our guide describing how to grow a beard, here you’ll find tips to get the unequivocal Viking style beard look.
The first step to growing a Viking beard means letting your facial hair grow to its maximum potential. Just as the Vikings did, you’ll need to let your beard do its own thing for a while.
It generally takes up to six months to go grow a Viking beard, with hair growing an average of ½ inch per month. During this time, you should avoid shaving and trimming, but do take care of any ingrown hairs and be sure to use beard shampoo and moisturise regularly.
Three things will influence the rate of your Viking beard growth: genetics, testosterone levels and lifestyle choices. While the first two are somewhat out of your control, it’s possible to encourage healthy hair growth by taking good care of yourself.
Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, minimise stress, get plenty of sleep and increase your exposure to sunlight (while protecting your skin). This will help you grow a strong, long and healthy beard as quickly as possible.
Although shaving and trimming is off the cards when growing your Viking beard, you’ll want to keep your face tidy and presentable.
After a few months of beard growth, scraggly, unruly hairs can become an issue. To keep a soft beard at this unpredictable phase, use a beard comb.
The Vikings knew this – Scandinavian archaeologists have found evidence that beard combs were a hugely important grooming tool to these fierce warriors.
Today’s best beard combs tend to be made of hard, dense wood, which distribute your natural beard oils more evenly than a plastic or metal one. They minimise static build up, helping deliver a full, healthy beard.
Using your beard brush every day to work your way through knots helps train your facial hair to grow the right way, ensuring smoothness and preventing hairs from growing under the skin.
There will come a point when you can stand the straggly hairs no more. Once you’ve acquired a decent amount of fullness and length and are well on your way to the Viking beard of your dreams, it’s time to begin pruning once again. Skilful trimming of stray hairs with specialised beard scissors is key to keeping a healthy beard.
First, wash your beard with a beard shampoo, rather than regular soap. These cleansers tend to be milder, and won’t strip your beard of its natural oils.
Next, pat it dry and comb your beard down then out before snipping off the tips in light, quick clips. Using your beard comb as your guide, run it through your Viking beard at an angle, removing any hair that protrudes from the comb.
Once you reach your personal terminal beard point (the point at which your beard stops growing), you’ll need to learn how to shape your long beard for that striking Viking look.
To begin beard shaping, examine your beard in a mirror for split ends or breakage – more likely in a longer beard. It’s much easier to take off one unruly inch than have to sacrifice three inches later down the line, so carefully trim the ends of your beard regularly.
To achieve your perfect Viking beard shape, first wash your beard with a beard shampoo and gently pat it dry. Ensuring your beard is dry is important as it sits differently when wet, and you may end up with an uneven line.
Begin by combing your beard to separate the hairs. This will let you clearly see where you need to cut. To get the perfect look, keep the circumference of hair around the throat clean and uniform to achieve the most striking beard shape possible.
If you are wondering how to keep your beard soft, beard oil is an essential product – especially for longer styles such as the Viking beard. Big, burly beards are more prone to ingrown hairs, dryness and irritation – and no one wants a dusty, flaky beard!
After washing with a specialised beard shampoo, massage beard balm or beard oil into your face, working outwards to cover the lengths of the hair. Doing this at least three times per week will encourage your hair to grow in the right direction.
With all dedicated beard products on the market today, it is easy to soften and tame any unruly beard hairs, ensuring your Viking beard stays shiny and well groomed.
Viking warriors often wore beard braids under their helmets in battle to keep the hair off their face. This plaited beard style requires commitment, but the look really pays off.
To achieve this Viking plait, first separate the section of beard that you want to braid into three smaller pieces. Lift each section onto the far left, then place over the middle section, nestling it into the centre positon of your beard plait. Repeat this process, alternating from left to right until your Viking braid pattern has formed.
You may wish to tie the end with a small hair band to keep your Viking plait in place. It might seem tricky at first, but with a bit of practice, Viking beard braid styles will soon be second nature.
As mentioned above, Vikings took beard care seriously. As well as washing and combing their beards, they styled their beards beautifully before going into battle.
Viking beard jewellery was considered a symbol of pride and masculinity. Those with long Viking beards would embellish them with beard beads and beard rings, and today’s Viking beard styles regularly show off these beard decorations.
Beard beads are easy to try, as long as your beard is long enough. Simply thread a length of hair through the centre of the beard ring and slide it up to the desired place in your beard. Make sure to have enough hair inside your beard bead to prevent it from sliding down. Once you have learned how to put beard beads on, you can wear them in style – just as the Vikings did.