Welcome back! It’s been a little while since the last entry in our Beard Advice series, and since we were long overdue for an entry I wanted to make sure we came back with a bang. I recently had the pleasure of competing at the Derby City Whisker Club’s “Whiskermania” beard competition, and I was proud to get second place in the Full Beard Natural / Styled Moustache category. I posted a picture of the products I used to get ready for the competition that day on the TitleBeard Instagram ( @TitleBeard ) because I often have people ask me what I like to use for a competition. Then I got to thinking about people that have asked me for tips at various competitions where I’ve served as a judge and I figured a Beard Advice article on the topic was appropriate. But despite the competitions that I’ve competed in or served as a judge I’m still a relative newcomer to the scene, so to make sure you get the best advice possible, I enlisted some help. How to style the beard.
Below you’ll find some advice from some of my favorite competitors (male and female alike), people who are no doubt at the top of their game, all of whom have been on both sides of the judging table. I could have included a lot more people in the article, but I wanted to keep the focus on a few. As you’ll see, these competitors cover a number of different categories and have a number of accolades to show for their competitive efforts. I only asked them one purposefully vague question – what advice would you give to somebody getting ready for a beard competition?
Without further ado, ladies (well, lady) first.
Alright Ladies, this section is just for you. As an avid supporter within the bearding community I took the plunge and started out competing in the craft category of Ladies competitive bearding in 2013. This category takes a lot of creativity and planning, but it doesn’t have to cost you a small fortune. I am always shopping around and looking for a bargain. Dollar stores, clearance bins and even yard sales can offer a variety of items and costumes to help you create your masterpiece. I always enjoy researching what other Whiskerinas have done in the past so that I can come up with original ideas. You can get inspiration in the least expected places. Be open minded with this category, you’d be surprised how unexpected and simple items can create a winning masterpiece.
Beginning in 2015, I switched gears and now compete in the ladies realistic category. There are a variety of mediums that can be used for a realistic look. Many women use crepe wool or store bought theatrical beard pieces but I personally prefer using human hair extensions. I created a beard that is reusable using fabric, hair extensions and liquid latex. I love creating freestyle designs with my beard since there are endless possibilities and design ideas. There’s a lot of trial and error when designing my beard and my husband, Jonathan, is always available to give me sound advice about the overall look of my beard and costume.
Regardless of which category you decide to compete in, there are a few key components you need to remember when bearding. Originality is vital in creating your beard, always keep that in mind. There are a handful of themes that are repeatedly used at competitions by ladies. Most of our judges are veterans in the bearding community and have been around for a while. They enjoy seeing new themes and creations and originality plays a huge role in accomplishing this. Also, presentation and personality go a long way. You don’t have to be the most outgoing person but have fun and enjoy your moment on stage. Don’t be afraid to show off your beard, it’s yours and you put countless hours and effort into creating your beard. Be proud of your accomplishment.
Most importantly, at the end of the night there are two questions to ask yourself. First, did you have fun? Second, how did you help impact a well deserved charity? The bearding community is a collection of unique and awesome individuals that come together to enjoy each other’s company and ultimately help out their charity and community. Trophies are cool, but for me, at the end of the night, it feels amazing to know that I contributed my time and efforts to help out a great cause and catch up with old friends. Keep bearding, Ladies, and know that you are affecting the community in a positive way.
Personally when I am preparing for a competition I like to allow my mustache hair an opportunity to rest before I style it up. I try to make sure I do not wax for at least a couple days beforehand. I think that this allows the hair to return to its natural state and then I have a blank canvas to work with. Allowing this will also gives me a consist starting point for my mustache when trying to accomplish a perfect English Style.
Besides preparing your mustache you should make sure that you prepare your entire look going into a competition. Get a hair cut, get your suit pressed, shine your shoes or whatever you need to do to get your entire look in order. No matter what people say judges are going to look at your entire look before they write down that all important score. It can’t help but to look your best when putting your facial hair on display.
I think the most important thing you can do before arriving at a competition is to eat a big meal or have plans on where you are going to secure food during the event. This is two fold; for you drinkers out there you are going to need something to soak up that alcohol so you can keep your head on straight for your category and for everyone, you don’t want to get light-headed or dizzy on the stage. It is important to keep your wits about you when it’s your turn to walk the catwalk that is a beard competition.
“Palms sweaty. Surrounded by talent. Bright lights. Big stage. Maybe you think you have something you organized ahead of time to say or do once you are called on stage but, you are going to forget all that once the rubber hits the road.
Hi. My name is MJ Johnson. I like beard clubs and beard competitions. The above is a scenario you might find yourself in if you want to compete in a beard contest… which you totally should. Like as soon as you can. It can be high pressure due to the ever growing beard-talent level but, that is something to see as a positive. For example you might find yourself standing next to the stage in line surrounded by Jackie Ellison, Jeffrey Moustache, Devon Holcombe, Sean Raiger, Patrick Fette, and 5 more awesome competitors in a moustache battle where only 3 guys will place and you are about to go one-on-one with the M.C. in front of a huge crowd. Tough sledding? Yes, but, THE most important thing to remember is that there are A LOT OF WAYS TO WIN at a beard competition. Those things are worth your time finding out on your own by competing in one then many contests. So, there we are. You have agreed to enter many contests. Now, we get to the point of this particular article…How to prepare for a beard competition.
Be ready to meet a lot of people. Be ready to drink beer and party (if that’s your bag). As far as things you can do to increase your chances of doing well here is a little list.
-Think about what went well at your last contest and try to emphasize those things. Eliminate things that you think didn’t go quite as well.
– Ask yourself some questions..
Did your outfit go over well? Did you have a good stage presence? If your beard is styled was that your best effort? Did you learn anything recently while styling that upped your game? When you see photos of your finished beard is there something you can improve on?
– You should always take care of your beard. If you are a self-styler (like me) you should practice. Somebody else is practicing right now. Oddly, when I know I am getting close to a big contest I actually STOP styling for a few weeks ahead of time. “Why? Didn’t you just say to practice?” Yes, but you can over-style a beard and if you stop a few weeks ahead of time you can avoid breakage/wear and tear AND keep the gains you have made in growth so, the day of the contest you might have a subtle size advantage. And with the competition as thick as it is your beard should be thick, too. So, practicing year-round gives you the flexibility to stop styling right before a show so, you can put your best foot forward that night while keeping your skill at a high level.
2011 Moustache Monday International 1st Place
2011 Minnesota Beard-off Moustache Division 1st Place
2011 City Pages Best Moustache 3rd Place
2012 “Whisker Wars” Online National Contest 2nd Place
2012 CAKE (the music group) National “Mustache Man” contest 1st Place
2012 Minnesota WILD Best Moustache Finalist
2012 Wisconsin Beard-off Partial Beard 1st Place
Hairstyle for men with beard
2012 Minnesota Beard-off Best in Show
2012 Minnesota Beard-off Partial Beard 1st Place
2012 National Beard and Moustache Championships Bronze Medal Sideburns
2012 City Pages Best Mo 2nd Place
2013 Minnesota Beard-off Partial Beard 1st Place
2013 Wisconsin Beard-off Partial Beard 1st Place
2013 Wisconsin Beard-off Best in Show
2013 National Beard and Moustache Championships Gold Medal Imperial Partial Beard
2013 Just For Men National Growin’ to New Orleans Contest 3rd Place
2013 City Pages Best Moustache 1st Place
Best Moustache National contest 2nd Place
2013 World Beard and Moustache Championships 2nd Place Imperial Partial Beard
2014 Austin Facial Hair Club 3rd Place Sideburns
2014 Austin Facial Hair Club 1st Place ‘Pompous Partial’
2014 MN Beard-off 1st place Freestyle
2014 MN Beard-off Best in Show
2014 Midwest Beard an Moustache Wearer’s Championships 1st Place Partial Beard
2014 JFM World Championships 1st Place Imperial Partial Beard
2015 Austin FHC “Come and Shave It 9″ 1st Place Best Groomed
2015 Austin FHC “Come and Shave It 9″ 2nd Placed Freestyle
Founder of The Minneapolis Beard and Moustache Club (2011)
@RazorHater on Instagram covering contests from around the world.
When getting ready for an upcoming beard contest where I am going to be styling a beard, I do a few things to prep for it. I will see who the other freestylers are who will be competing, I will do a practice styling of my beard, and I will make sure that I have plenty of time to style of the day of the event.
I like to see who I will be competing against at different events so I will check the Facebook event page and see who the other competitors will be at the event. It is always nice to know who you will be up against in a competition. You can also check out their previous styles, through FB pics, and use this info when designing what you will be doing next.
About a week before the event I will do a practice run of the style I want to do for the upcoming contest. This way you can hopefully eliminate some problems that would arise if you did not practice. Very rarely have I ever managed to style a design exactly how I had it envisioned. The practice run lets you know of trouble spots in your design, and gives you practice.
Lastly, on the day of the event I try to make sure that I have enough time to style my beard without having to rush. Rushing through styling will give you a sloppy style. I try to always have about three hours. I don’t always need all of it, but when you have extra time you can go back a work on fixing areas that did not work as well you would have liked. Also, having plenty of time will really help when you need to do a redesign in the middle of styling. This happens to me a lot. I will have to change up elements of the design in the middle because things are just not working out. Having plenty of time allows me to relax and figure out what can be done to salvage my design.
Next, you go to the event and have fun. That is actually the most important thing to do.
1st Epic Beard- 1st Annual Beard Pageant Hurricane WV 2013
9th Full Groomed- 2nd Annual Mid-Atlantic Beard and Stache Competition, Richmond VA 2013
1st Full Beard- 2nd Annual Bluegrass Beard-On, Richmond KY 2013
3rd Full Beard- Mardi Grass Casino Beard Contest, Cross Lane WV 2013
1st Full Groomed- Love for the Beard, Fredericksburg VA 2013
1st Full Groomed- Beards for Beasts, Pittsburg PA 2013
2nd Freestyle- Battle of the Beards, Stache for Cash, Bellefontaine OH 2013
1st Freestyle/Best in Show- Fuzzy Face–Off for Food, Mount Sterling KY 2013
3rd Freestyle- Whiskers, Whiskey, and Women- Lexington KY 2014
1st Freestyle- Buckshot Beard Bonanza- Cleveland OH 2014
8th Full Groomed- 3rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Beard and Stache Competition, Richmond VA 2014
1st Freestyle- 2nd Annual Beard Pageant Hurricane WV 2014
1st Freestyle- 3rd Annual Bluegrass Beard-On, Richmond KY 2014
1st Freestyle/ Best in Show- Mardi Grass Casino Beard Contest, Cross Lane WV 2014
1st Freestyle- The Big Whisker Revival- Newport KY 2014
2nd Freestyle- Battle of the Beards, Stache for Cash, Bellefontaine OH 2014
Judge- Second Annual Beards for Beasts 1/10 K and Beard and Mustache Competition, Pittsburgh PA 2014
1st Full Groomed- Beard Battle on the Bluegrass, Mt. Sterling KY 2014
1st Freestyle- Beards, Bourbon, Bands, and Burlesques, Lexington KY 2015
Perfect beard style
1st Freestyle- (Day contest)- Come and Shave it 9, Austin Texas 2015
1st Freestyle- St Louis Beard Competition, St. Louis MO 2015
Judge- Titlebeard Battle for the Belt- Lexington KY 2015
1st Full Natural 12+- 4rd Annual Bluegrass Beard-On, Richmond KY 2015
1st Freestyle- Whiskermania, Louisville KY 2015
There are plenty of beardsmen with much better facial hair than I, who probably have an excellent pre-competition beard regimen that you should follow. Instead of giving you facial hair tips, I would like to give you some tips on how to prepare yourself for having fun at a beard event.
The most important thing about beard events is having fun. If you have never competed before, you shouldn’t be afraid to enter no matter how long your facial hair is. For the most part, these events are about celebrating facial hair of all shapes and sizes and it’s almost guaranteed that there is a specific category for your style. I have known of many people who placed or even took first who didn’t even want to compete because they were nervous or felt inadequate. I will tell you this, there is nothing like going up on stage and having hundreds of people cheering for you, especially when it’s for something that just happens on your face.
So, now that I’ve covered why you should attend and compete here are a few tips to make your experience a great one.
Number one, make sure to always bring cash! From the bar, to cool merchandise, to beard and mustache products, you will definitely want to spend some money once you are inside. Not having cash on hand can make buying drinks a nightmare (big beards tend to love beer) not to mention it can limit you from participating in some excellent raffles or silent auctions that raise money for a good cause. I don’t think I’ve ever attended a competition and spent less than $40 dollars on merch, products, or fundraisers so be sure to have some bills on you.
Another tip would be to go ahead and talk to people. Before I get to know somebody I can be pretty shy, but at beard events I’m constantly saying hello to new people and complimenting people on their facial hair. In the few years that I’ve competed I’ve made friends all over the states and beyond. Most started with a “hey man, nice beard” or “wow your stache/beard looks great, how do you do that”. If you see something impressive compliment the person and feel free to ask them for tips. More than likely they will be flattered and then you can strike up a conversation and become friends.
Lastly, have a good attitude and be humble. Too many times have I seen guys go up on stage thinking they were gonna win and then they end up pissed off for the whole night when they don’t happen to place. You might very well have one of the best beards in your neck of the woods, but people from around the world travel to these things to test their might. Be gracious to the judges and winners no matter what place you come in, be sure to congratulate everybody who placed, thank the judges and hosts for their efforts, and feel free to tell your favorite beards who didn’t make it that you expected them to be up there. I hope these few tips will help make your bearding experiences some memorable ones.
1st Groomed Beard NYC 2013
1st Full Beard Groomed Mid-Atlantic Beard and Stache Championships (RVA) 2013
1st Full Beard Under 12 Buckshot Beard Bonanza 2013
2nd Full Beard Natural Under 12 Love for the Beard Competition
2nd Full Beard Natural Whiskers Whiskey and Women 2
2nd Full Beard Natural Under 12 Thunderbeard
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed hearing some advice from these great competitors. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to head over and tell them thanks for contributing. Beard competitions are held all over the United States (and the world), and if you haven’t had a chance to attend one yet, be sure to ask a bearded or moustached friend if they know of one coming up, or check out any one of a number of beard groups on Facebook for more information. If you happen to run into one of these fine competitors at a competition, be sure to introduce yourself and buy them a drink.