I knew it had to happen sooner or later. I just needed to face the facts. As fantastic as a set of fierce Chops are, they don’t always fit into a Sideburn category especially when they are loaded with hairspray and pointing up to the heavens!! Now normally this situation puts me into a Partial Beard category for facial hair competitions. However, the recent NYC competition in Irving Plaza on Dec 7th did not allow for Partial beards to use styling aides either. So, I was faced with the dilemma of having to participate in the freestyle (a generally full beard) category with approx 50% less face hair than my competitors.
What is a beardo to do????
Well… What I did was to create the ‘Beard in the Hat’. To pull this off I needed to imagine what a bearded Cat in the Hat could be and how a guy with Chops could really pull off a good creative look all while trying to beat out other folks with more fuzz on their faces.
I settled on a mental image in my head and immediately knew I was going to need help. I did what every self-respecting beardo does… ask his wife for help styling his beard!! Luckily she agreed and was even excited about the design.
Next, I talked to a fellow beardo, Misled Cincinnati, about the best way to color hair without bleaching. As I always say, when in doubt private message a beardo with right experience. He recommended a relatively cheap and water soluble hair paint that is carried at party stores nationwide.
So I have the design, I have the help, I have the paint… apart from finding some costume accessories (red bow and a real goldfish) it was time to execute!
Firstly, let me just tell you that the bathroom at our room was not ventilated. Furthermore, between the fumes and the actual paint, I recommend applying the paint outside. In order to get a rich red color from my dark brown hair, we needed to first coat my chops entirely in the white spray. Now, if I was Jim Daly all I would have needed was the red paint!! So, if you are getting into a venture like this, you’ll need to test it out on your beard initially. Otherwise, to successfully go from dark hair to light/white, is to take small bunches of hair and spray them until all your hair is evenly colored. Simply spraying the outside doesn’t penetrate within the beard deep enough to produce a rich color. Also, holding your breath and using pieces of cardboard are key to minimize huffing and accidental coloration. My Chops used up 4 cans of white (3 oz at $3 per can locally) between 2 coats and some touch up work.
We let this dry, for about 15 mins, and then sprayed in the red. We already knew the design so we had the hair bunched and clipped appropriately. Here is where the cardboard is come into play; if you are doing more than one color you will need something firm to hold in order to block overspray. In fact, we even found some card board with angles and that really helped to follow the hair line on my cheeks and across my moustache.
Here’s where things got interesting. When this particular “paint” dried, it was kind of powdery and tweaking the hair caused the powder to blow off and effectively fade the color. The white began looking more grey, with my dark hair underneath, and the red began looking pink. So, at this point, it is a must to use hairspray. However, you only need a light coat to lock in the paint. Also hold off on using the blow dryer just yet. The blow dryer will firm up the hair spray and make your beard difficult to style.
If you’ve made it this far, the world is your oyster, you have a beard, it is colored, and you’re ready to style… make it kick ass! For the Beard in the Hat, we took an actual large stick candy cane and wrapped my Chops around it, so that we had a proper and reasonable looking diameter. We tried very hard to keep the colors separate and minimize any gaps between the white and red in order to maintain the appearance of a solid volume in the stripping. It took about 4 hours of “painting” and about an hours’ worth of styling to finalize the look. I didn’t place at the competition, but based on a request for pictures I’m fairly certain I was the crowd favorite. It was a great time, with great people, for a good cause… and that is what really matters. Beard on!
- Think about your face, your face hair, and how you can accentuate with you chose style
- Get someone else excited about the design and the process, ask them for help even if you think you don’t need it. Hey they might end up giving you a different take or an idea for the next time!
- Contact a fellow beardo and get advice before spending time and money
- Spray in color, lock in color, and style!
- Start early, having a fantastical beard and going to random places throughout the day will get you noticed and, with any luck, you’ll probably makes some friends
- Relax, you have a beard, it is awesome, you are awesome… good things are going to happen!
- Enjoy… Oh yeah and promptly shower BEFORE going to bed, trust me!!
Article by: Anthony “TheStash” Fontes