Bearding: a colloquial term used by the people involved with the growth, maintenance, and competitive aspects of having (or making) a beard. About two years ago I became involved with a group of local “beardos” centered around a company that made beard care products ( www.madvikingbeard.com ). I had known one of the owners’ sisters since high school, and was added to their club’s Facebook page. The people on the page seemed so genuine towards the other members that I was instantly drawn in. What really planted the “Beard Bug”, though, was when I attended my first beard competition. The stage was set in a large conference room of a casino in Pittsburgh. The moment you step foot into a room full of beards, the atmosphere crackles with personality. If you’ve never been to a beard competition, it’s difficult to describe the kind of people that attend. Imagine the most outgoing, warm, energetic person you know; now multiply them by 100+, and fill a room with them. These are performers of the utmost degree, though most of them hold day jobs having nothing to do with the entertainment industry.

It isn’t just men who compete with their genetically bestowed facial fuzz. Competitions include women, and children, who craft fake beards out everything imaginable. Whiskerinas, and whiskertots (the correct terminology for competitors that make fake beards) spend anywhere from hours to months making their competitive pieces. These beards are amazing wearable works of art. Not only do the competitors have to fashion something shock-worthy, but they also have to figure out how to attach them to their faces. This is no small feat, as some of these pieces weigh upwards of 20+ pounds. After competing for the first time, it was blatantly clear why these women spend so much time and effort to compete. It’s fun. Not only is it an exceptionally good feeling hearing rounds of applause for something you’ve created, but you’re also contributing to good causes. I’ve noticed in life that usually when you have a big group of people with giant personalities there’s always some kind of contention. I believe the reason this doesn’t happen in the bearding community is that everyone has a common goal. Every beard competition that I’ve been to has benefited a charity of that club’s choice. The charities range from children’s hospitals, to animal rescues, and everything in between. The camaraderie between competitors is truly astounding. Competitors travel long distances to attend some of these competitions, some even flying in from overseas.  People look forward to seeing each other, and there’s always a depressing realization afterwards that you may not see these wonderful people until the next competition (or even the following bearding “season”). This world of bearding is growing exponentially every day. This is becoming a counterculture that isn’t just about people growing facial hair; it’s the beginning of a movement. Bringing people together, giving them a chance to make a real contribution to their local communities, and having an incredible amount of fun is the bottom line.

  • Monica Paige is the Secretary of The Mad Viking PA Beard Club and avid Whiskerina.

Beard Comps


Beard Comps
Luke Sumpter

Hello Horde,

It seems at just about every competition I get asked about beard care/comp prep.  I thought that with the fall competition season coming up that I would share with everyone my strategy for getting ready.  Now mind you, this is just how I prepare for a comp and not necessarily the best or only way.  I have, however, been fortunate enough to have had a good amount of success. 

 


 Thursday:

It is 2 full days away from the comp but some work needs to be done.  The “Imperial Goat” requires a bit more shaving than a normal beard.  If you have to shave at all (Whaler Nation), it is a good idea to do a shave on Thursday.  This gives your skin a chance to recover and heal any bumps or cuts you get.  If you are like me, you may not have shaved that area since the last comp so be careful and use a good razor.  I also usually run the clippers through my hair this day, but that’s not as important.

Friday:

This is usually my travel day if the comp is a few hours away and I want to get to the meet and greet.  The key for this day is letting your beard be natural.  As your beard gets longer, you may find that most days you keep it banded up or in a braid.  I keep mine in at least 1 band almost every day for work.  While this keeps your beard out of the way, it also creates kinks in your beard (especially braiding).  You can spend a lot of time trying to brush these out or you can let your beard hang for the day and this will get rid of most of it.  Take a shower, wash and condition (with MV products) and lightly oil, no balm.  I like my beard to have a break from any product.   It can be a little annoying having your beard all over the place while driving but just watch the seat belt.  I always take my seat belt off before backing up since turning your head often results in hairs getting caught.  

Saturday (comp day):

This is the day. Everyone is showing up, hanging out and you want to start drinking.  My prep time for a competition varies but usually I give myself about 90 minutes.  Showering early in the day or right before prep is a personal preference.  Usually I go out visiting breweries and have lunch before getting ready so I shower right before incase I had BBQ for lunch.  I start by doing a quick shave and getting rid of any stubble that grew since Thursday.  After showering is where the prep work really starts.  I am a believer in not brushing/combing your beard while it is wet unless you need to.  If you think about shaving, most people shave when they get out of the shower.  This is because the hair is softened by the water and the pores in your skin open up making it easier to get hairs out.  In my opinion, this means that you will lose more hairs brushing while it is wet.  The only hair I comb while wet is areas I think have to be.  My chops and my mustache.  You need to comb your stache right out of the shower in order to have it lay right.  I prefer air drying to using a hair dryer. However, this adds time to your prep.  Once your hair is dry, it is time to oil.  Put a healthy dose on because you are going to be really combing it out and you want that comb to glide through.  Apply the oil and then let it rest for 5-10 minutes.  Give your hair time to soak that in before you start combing it out.  I have 2 different combs that I use for a comp.  I start with a wide tooth, pick style comb in order to get some of the tangles out.  Start at the bottom of your beard and work up.  Use one hand to hold the beard higher up to reduce pulling when you are getting the tangles out.  Also, try to jiggle the comb through a tangle. DO NOT YANK.  Once the big tangles are out I move to a wet brush that has a lot more bristles but has a soft back.  This adds some extra fullness to your beard as it separates more hairs.  The last step, if it is allowed at that comp, is to add a little balm to the outside to protect all the work you just did.

With all that done it is time to go enjoy yourself and hang out with some of the best people around.  Have fun, be respectful and remember that it is all for charity and friendship in the end.  I hope that this little guide helps people out.  But like I said, this is just my way, not necessarily the best way.

 Mad Love

Luke “Imperial Goat” Sumpter

Mad Viking Beard Company Balm Ingredients

“I needed something to tame my unruly mane and my friend told me your balms would do the trick! It definitely worked! What do you put in this stuff?”

– G Simpson, Dallas TX

We get questions almost daily as to what we put into our beard balms and oils. While we will not get into the proper percentages and other detailed info on our recipe in this article, we will give you a quick breakdown on what goes in and how it benefits your beard and the skin underneath. So thank you for taking the time to research our ingredients.  All of our balms use that same base carrier recipe as listed below, with a brief explanation as to their usefulness.  We only use the finest ingredients available because we want your beard to be clean, happy, healthy, growing, dandruff and irritation free!

Shea Butter (Vitellaria paradoxa)

Shea butter is triglyceride fat composed mostly from stearic and oleic acid which helps coat and soften the skin and hair, it also makes Shea good for eczema, and dry, irritated skin and hair.  Shea contains robust amounts of Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.  The main purposes of Shea butter in our balms are softening of the hair and skin, removal of free radicals in the skin and follicles, delivery of nutrients and adding a great shine to the hair.

Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cocoa)

Cocoa butter is the fat that is obtained from the seeds of the Theobroma Cocoa.  It is known to temporarily protect the skin form exposure and irritation, bringing relief to the skin.  It also protects from moisture loss by forming a barrier on the skin and hair.  It has a high percentage of fatty acids which aid in deep moisturization.  The different antioxidants it contains fight against damage from free radicals.  It is a fantastic ingredient used to strengthen the hair, reduce hair loss, repair damaged or dry hair, and repair chemically damaged hair.

Beeswax

More than just an ingredient used to lock in moisture and tame flyaways.  Beeswax is used in our recipes because of its healing properties.  Beeswax is anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory which means it actually helps soothe irritated skin and follicles.  It aides in moisture retention and softening of the skin and hair.  It contains anti-germicidal properties which have been shown in studies to help heal minor skin cuts, abrasions and wounds.  Beeswax is also known to promote hair growth.

Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Dulcis)

Sweet Almond Oil is the oil that is extracted from Sweet Almonds.  Although it’s primary function is to act as a “hair protector” and sealant, It is rich in Vitamin A which is good for maintaining healthy cell membranes.  It also contains a large number of Vitamins B1 and B6 which have been shown to promote hair growth, Vitamin E, which in essence, means that it is rich in antioxidants, and increases blood circulation to the applied area, which helps with nutrient delivery.  Sweet Almond oil is also loaded with saturated and Monounsaturated fatty acids so it does a good job penetrating the shaft of the hair and moisturizing from the inside.  Along with the above benefits (which are pretty awesome), it also does a fantastic job of making your beard shiny, silky, and vibrant.

Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca)

The Apricot tree is a part of the rose family.  It originates from Central and East Asia.  The oil itself is derived from the dried seeds of the fruit and is composed mostly of oleic and linoleic acid, both of which are unsaturated fats and help your skin maintain it natural moisture balance.  The oil also contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, it’s rich in Vitamin E, Potassium, and dietary Fibers.  The oil itself is a very light oil which does NOT leave a greasy feeling on the skin or hair.  It absorbs quickly into the hair and skin and helps it moisturize internally.  AKO is also shown to relieve the itch and irritation of eczema, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  While Mad Viking makes no claims regarding speeding up hair growth, we do recognize the fact that AKO improves hair texture and provides a better environment for hair growth.

Pumpkin Seed Oil (Cucurbita Pepo)

The biggest skin benefits of pumpkin seed oil are that it possesses very high levels of the natural antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Pumpkin seed oil is especially high in the gamma-tocopherol form of Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. Aside from the high levels of Vitamin E found in pumpkin, there is also a high level of oil content (as high as 50%).

The four fatty acids which comprise 98% of pumpkin seed oil are palmitic, stearic, linoleic, and oleic acids.

Palmitic acid works to promote natural oil regeneration. Oil is an important component for the skin to retain its protective barrier. With too little oil, the skin will crack and bleed; opening it to a greater risk of infection and disease.

Stearic acid acts primarily as a lubricant. It allows the skin to retain the proper moisture balance vital for good health (and good looks).

Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, which means our bodies don’t manufacture it, and so we must ingest it in our diets. Linoleic acid is one step for the manufacture of prostaglandins, which decrease inflammation in the body. Linoleic acid helps maintain smooth skin, and will help repair flaky, itchy, or rough skin.

Oleic acid is the final fatty acid found in pumpkin seed oil. It works to replenish and maintain skin’s moisture and lubrication. It is an Omega 9 acid and has similar health benefits (both general and to the skin) as the more well-known Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids.

Therefore, it’s clear that pumpkin seed oil has significant benefits for skin health and skin care. With powerful antioxidants, and essential fatty acids, it appears that adding pumpkin seed oil to your skin care regimen will help you retain moisture, maintain normal cell structure, and keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.

Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)

Jojoba oil is the oil that is produced from the seed of the Jojoba plant which is native to Northwestern Mexico, Southern Arizona and Southern California.  Jojoba oil is actually a “wax” or mobile oil.  Jojoba oil is used as a replacement for whale oil since the ban on whale oils in the U.S. in 1971.  It is composed almost entirely of mono-esters of long chain fatty acids and alcohols.  Which basically means it has an extreme shelf life and super resistance to high temperatures.  It is very useful in sealing in moisture in the hair and on the face and helps create a barrier between the elements and the hair.  The Vitamin E and Vitamin B-complex properties of Jojoba help with skin repair, keeping your face healthy.  It controls hair loss and helps your follicles grow new hair, by seeping into your follicles and helping to dissolve any blockages and providing nutrients to the follicle.

Avacado Oil (Persea Americana)

We use Avocado oil because it absorbs into the skin and hair very rapidly and has a high absorption rate which means that it doesn’t leave a residue behind.  It is a nutrient rich oil containing the omega-9, monounsaturated oleic acid which controls water loss and makes your hair softer and more pliable.  Avocado is also an anti-inflammatory and is a very good source of Vitamin E, which is known to improve skin health, and boost the immune system.  Avocado oil also helps generate healthier skin cells, and is easily absorbed.

Hempseed Oil (Cannabis sativa)

Hemp seed oil is known to dramatically decrease skin dryness which in turn, alleviates itching and irritation.  It has the perfect 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which matches the required balance by the human body.  It hydrates, improves skin elasticity, soothes rashes, includes robust amounts of Vitamin D, which assists with the absorption of calcium, which in turn provides smoother and softer skin, Vitamins A and E, and contains small amounts of magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.

Grapeseed Oil (Vitis vinifera)

Grapeseed oil is quite simply oil that is pressed from the seeds of grapes.  The oil is very light and thin.  When applied it leaves a very light gloss on the skin and hair which helps with shine.  It is high in Linoleic Acid.  It is a very effective moisturizer and conditioner.  It also has the ability to strengthen hair, stop hair loss, and correct dandruff.

Vitamin E

That’s right, good old fashioned Vitamin E.  Why?  Because it is that important.  Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant.  It repairs damaged tissue.  It helps build new tissue.  It repairs damage to hair follicles, which makes healthy hair follicles, which encourages hair growth.  It fights inflammation.  It is quite simply, awesome.

Mad Viking Beard Company Oil Ingredients

What Ingredients do you put into your beard oil? My beard has never looked or felt so great!”

– S. Adams, Tulsa OK

We get questions almost daily as to what we put into our beard oils. While we will not get into the proper percentages and other detailed info on our recipe in this article, we will give you a quick breakdown on what goes in and how it benefits your beard and the skin underneath. So thank you for taking the time to research our ingredients.  All of our oils use that same base carrier recipe as listed below, with a brief explanation as to their usefulness.  We only use the finest ingredients available because we want your beard to be clean, happy, healthy, growing, dandruff and irritation free!

Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Dulcis)

Sweet Almond Oil is the oil that is extracted from Sweet Almonds.  Although it’s primary function is to act as a “hair protector” and sealant, It is rich in Vitamin A which is good for maintaining healthy cell membranes.  It also contains a large number of Vitamins B1 and B6 which have been shown to promote hair growth, Vitamin E, which in essence, means that it is rich in antioxidants, and increases blood circulation to the applied area, which helps with nutrient delivery.  Sweet Almond oil is also loaded with saturated and Monounsaturated fatty acids so it does a good job penetrating the shaft of the hair and moisturizing from the inside.  Along with the above benefits (which are pretty awesome), it also does a fantastic job of making your beard shiny, silky, and vibrant.

Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca)

The Apricot tree is a part of the rose family.  It originates from Central and East Asia.  The oil itself is derived from the dried seeds of the fruit and is composed mostly of oleic and linoleic acid, both of which are unsaturated fats and help your skin maintain it natural moisture balance.  The oil also contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, it’s rich in Vitamin E, Potassium, and dietary Fibers.  The oil itself is a very light oil which does NOT leave a greasy feeling on the skin or hair.  It absorbs quickly into the hair and skin and helps it moisturize internally.  AKO is also shown to relieve the itch and irritation of eczema, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.  While Mad Viking makes no claims regarding speeding up hair growth, we do recognize the fact that AKO improves hair texture and provides a better environment for hair growth.

Virgin Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa)

Argan Oil is derived from the fruit kernel of the Argan tree, which is native to Morocco and a few other places of the world.  It is a fantastic addition to our beard oil because it is high in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Omega 6 and 9, and unsaturated fatty acids, and plenty of antioxidants.  Argan oil is excellent in the use of adding moisture to hair, taming frizz, doing away with split ends, adding moisture to coarse hair, and adding shine, relieving dry and itchy skin.

Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)

Jojoba oil is the oil that is produced from the seed of the Jojoba plant which is native to Northwestern Mexico, Southern Arizona and Southern California.  Jojoba oil is actually a “wax” or mobile oil.  Jojoba oil is used as a replacement for whale oil since the ban on whale oils in the U.S. in 1971.  It is composed almost entirely of mono-esters of long chain fatty acids and alcohols.  Which basically means it has an extreme shelf life and super resistance to high temperatures.  It is very useful in sealing in moisture in the hair and on the face and helps create a barrier between the elements and the hair.  The Vitamin E and Vitamin B-complex properties of Jojoba help with skin repair, keeping your face healthy.  It controls hair loss and helps your follicles grow new hair, by seeping into your follicles and helping to dissolve any blockages and providing nutrients to the follicle.

Avacado Oil (Persea Americana)

We use Avocado oil because it absorbs into the skin and hair very rapidly and has a high absorption rate which means that it doesn’t leave a residue behind.  It is a nutrient rich oil containing the omega-9, monounsaturated oleic acid which controls water loss and makes your hair softer and more pliable.  Avocado is also an anti-inflammatory and is a very good source of Vitamin E, which is known to improve skin health, and boost the immune system.  Avocado oil also helps generate healthier skin cells, and is easily absorbed.

Hempseed Oil (Cannabis sativa)

Hemp seed oil is known to dramatically decrease skin dryness which in turn, alleviates itching and irritation.  It has the perfect 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which matches the required balance by the human body.  It hydrates, improves skin elasticity, soothes rashes, includes robust amounts of Vitamin D, which assists with the absorption of calcium, which in turn provides smoother and softer skin, Vitamins A and E, and contains small amounts of magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.

Grapeseed Oil (Vitis vinifera)

Grapeseed oil is quite simply oil that is pressed from the seeds of grapes.  The oil is very light and thin.  When applied it leaves a very light gloss on the skin and hair which helps with shine.  It is high in Linoleic Acid.  It is a very effective moisturizer and conditioner.  It also has the ability to strengthen hair, stop hair loss, and correct dandruff.

Vitamin E

That’s right, good old fashioned Vitamin E.  Why?  Because it is that important.  Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant.  It repairs damaged tissue.  It helps build new tissue.  It repairs damage to hair follicles, which makes healthy hair follicles, which encourages hair growth.  It fights inflammation.  It is quite simply, awesome.

We all know that beards are pretty damn awesome. They help set you apart from the crowd, your face deserves it and they help you look the way you were intended to. Not everyone’s job or lifestyle can permit a big beard, but for those fortunate ones who can, here are some Beard Growing Milestones I recall from my journey so far. Your mileage may vary.

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