ST. GEORGE — Not long ago, some of the most elegant beards in Southern Utah assembled for the first meeting of the Beard Coalition of Southern Utah – a fellowship for facial haired friends. Shortly thereafter, St. George News arranged a photo shoot – see below – for all those shapely, head-turning beards and their respective beard-wearers.
The beard coalition founder and facial hair specialist, Chris Flaig, introduced the club and discussed a slew of beardsman issues such as sex appeal, beard care, beard acceptance in the workplace, and even offered support, encouragement and tips for growing facial hair.
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What’s the club about?
Meeting at Jazzy Java, 285 N. Bluff Street, on the last Monday of every month at 7 p.m. – this month’s meeting is tonight, Feb. 23 – this fellowship is for all men who have an appreciation and enthusiasm for facial hair. The club welcomes not just those with stoutly, majestic beards but baby beardsman, yeardsman – a yearlong beard – and all mustached men.
The club is in its infancy and therefore members are encouraged to help create the structure as it grows. However, Flaig does have a vision. He said he hopes it will not only be a fun fellowship of camaraderie for men, but also a serious club that serves the community by creating events like fundraisers and facial hair competitions.
As a barber at a traditional barbershop, Flaig has always had an enthusiasm for hair. His specialties include facial hair shapings and trimmings, straight razor shaves, and of course all sorts of traditional haircuts.
Flaig is the owner of Liberty Barbershop, 511 E. St. George Boulevard and said that his passion for beards stems in part from his dad’s beard. “I’ve never seen my dad without a beard and I always thought my dad’s beard was awesome.”
Most of his adult life, while not only helping others care for their facial hair, Flaig has had his own beard – on a few different occasions he’s grown his beard out for close to a year, he said.
Cultures view on Beards
In the past facial hair was more of an intimidating thing. Now, as more men are growing beards again, that’s changed a lot, Flaig said.
“It’s … a return back to being a man, and doing something that hopefully only men can do,” Flaig said, “grow facial hair, keep it trimmed, make it look nice, and show it off.” Show it off like the founders of this area, who, as Flaig put it “had some pretty rad beards.”
Still, discretion has to be used when showing off facial hair, and Flaig acknowledged it. Some men can grow it out without consequence, but, in a more conservative state, Flaig said, there might be some employee discrimination against facial hair.
“I wish it wasn’t like that. I love Southern Utah. I was born and raised here.”
There are guys in the club who work in professional settings who are committed to growing beards, and Flaig’s interested to see how their employers react. “I think it’s going to end up turning into an issue for some of their employers. I will be interested to see how that goes and see where they’re accepted and where they’re not.”
Beard acceptance in the workplace – as Flaig called it – will surely be one of the issues brought up in the Beard Coalition meetings.
Are beards attractive?
“More and more women now do like facial hair,” Flaig said.
His wife loves his beard and most of the club members’ partners feel the same way, he said. There seems to be a paradigm shift in our culture’s perception on the attractiveness of beards. However, a lot of men still say their wives absolutely hate facial hair, Flaig said.
Flaig’s advice to these women: give it a few months. Let your man’s beard grow past that pesky infant stage. Don’t cut or trim it during this time.
For a beard, 3-4 months is the magic number. Although different for every man, on average, after three to four months of solid beard growth, the beard starts to take its natural shape and lose its scratchiness, Flaig said. He has witnessed and heard stories of wives who despised facial hair on their husbands, he said, but after four months of growth, completely fell in love with their man’s facial hair.
Getting past beard-infancy
This three to four month growth period is a great goal for beardsmen themselves who might be discouraged about past attempts to grow facial hair.
Until allowing the beard a decent growth period, many men complain that they don’t like how their beard sits on their face, and how itchy it is. In Flaig’s experience, you will never know your potential to grow a really nice beard until you’ve let it grow for that long, he said.
“The first three months are the hardest for me … when you get past that, you’re going to be happier with it over all.”
Support and encouragement for beard hopefuls
Growing a beard takes loads of patience, Flaig said. Thankfully, part of the purpose of the club is to give support and encouragement to those attempting to grow facial hair.
“There are some mornings when you wake up and your beard is all matted to one side and you look at it and you just kind of want to get rid of it.” Don’t give up, Flaig said. “That’s where you have to just buckle down and comb it out and make it look nice and go on with your day.”
Beard growing tips
Growing a beard is not just about not shaving, Flaig said. For a better beard growing experience, he added some
practical suggestions for beard growers:
- Stay hydrated, drink lost of water. This will help soften your beard so it’s not so itchy.
- Use natural beard oils. Work them into your beard consistently. This softens and moistens your beard and helps with beard dandruff – dry skin underneath the beard, a common problem.
- Don’t use regular shampoos on your beard – these strip the natural oils from your hair resulting in dry, course beards. Use shampoos – like vegetable based shampoos – that don’t have sulfates in them. Find nonsulfate-based shampoos at natural grocery type stores. This rule holds true for your head hair as well.
- Trim your beard, at least on occasion. Split ends form on facial hair just like head hair. Flaig suggests at the least, trim your beard once every six months.
- Comb your beard regularly, especially as it’s growing longer. Otherwise the hair will knot up and get matted. “You get bed-beard, just the same as you get bed-head in the morning,” Flaig said. When combing your beard, this is a good time to input oils, and comb them through.
- Set beard goals. How long do you want to grow it? Do you want it to take its own natural shape, which many men do, or do you want to trim it? You can still have a full beard that’s trimmed and neat, Flaig said.
The longest beard in the club so far is Jason Peacher’s beard. Peacher hasn’t trimmed a single hair on his beard for over a year. Flaig calls Peacher’s beard “majestic.”
If you want to be an actual full member of the club, membership involves yearly dues of $30. Flaig also suggests attending meetings and getting involved.
The dues money goes back in the club, and will be used for a variety of things such as setting up a local beard and mustache competition, and club T-shirts.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
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