Acceptable Styling Methods
These categories show off the facial hair as it is naturally, in its most essential form.
For the Natural categories, where the facial hair is presented without the use of styling product, take into consideration:
Density – How full the features of the facial hair are. Denser is considered better than sparse.
Size – Length is a consideration as long as it complements the overall look. A long, ratty beard shouldn’t score higher than a well-kept shorter beard.
Healthiness – The facial hair should look well-cared for, maintained, and robust.
Personal Fit – How well their facial hair suits his face, and compliments him.
Acceptable styling methods to be used with natural categories include brushing, combing, conditioning (including the use of beard oils and light balms), and shampooing. Any styling method should be used to only accentuate, and must not be used in excess, resulting in an unnatural look.
For the Styled/Freestyle categories, where the facial hair is presented with the use of product, take into consideration:
Craftsmanship – Quality in execution matters. Look for clean, smooth forms.
Creativity – What about their work makes them stand out?
Legal aids in the Styled/Freestyle categories include only wax, hair spray, and other hair cosmetics. The use of hair extensions, fake hair, detached hair, or any form of hair pins, bands, or supporting elements is prohibited. Dreadlocked facial hair, due to the constricted state and product-dependent style, will be placed in the relevant Styled category.
Part of the challenge of these categories is the ability to implement a design yourself, working in 3-dimensions using a 2-dimensional mirror. Self-styling is enthusiastically encouraged. As such, it is at each judge’s discretion to score based on whether the competitor styled his beard himself, or it was styled instead by someone else. If so, you must be consistent in awarding your points.
If there’s some uncertainty about which category a fake beard should go into, take into account the materials used and theme or presentation:
Are the materials visually similar to natural hair? Regardless of the category style recreated, is it styled or presented in a way that if it was made of actual hair it wouldn’t look out of place on a man’s face? → Realistic
Are there clearly re-purposed materials used to represent facial hair? Are there unusual elements or objects involved not commonly found in facial hair? → Creative
For these categories, take into consideration:
Craftsmanship – Quality in execution matters.
Creativity – What about their work or concept makes them stand out? What was their inspiration?
Complexity/Difficulty – When applicable to the concept, a more involved or detailed work is desirable.
Fit – If there’s a theme, how true to the inspiration is it