It’s grow big or go home for the beardsmen from around the globe who have kept themselves meticulously groomed for years in preparation for the World Beard and Moustache Championships held last month in Austria, all with the hopes of bringing home the title of best beard on the planet.

Contestants choose to be judged in one of three categories: moustaches, partial beards, and full beards. In order to enter a category, a beardsman or moustachio must shape his facial hair into one of the seventeen official beard or moustache styles that range from Dali moustache to full beard freestyle.

Madison Rowley: An American Champion


Madison Rowley and his winning Garibaldi beard

Madison Rowley was always known for his rapid beard growth, but never thought it would amount to anything. If he did have beard aspirations, it certainly wasn’t to win the national championship last year in Portland, Oregon, a prize that included a free trip to the 2015 world championship held last month in Leogang, Austria.

Rowley took just over a year to grow his epic beard, which he entered in the highly competative Garibaldi category.

Despite the drawbacks of such a majestic beard (which mostly involve peanut butter and/or kissing), Rowley chooses to look on the bright side. “It is awesome that this is keeping my chest dry from the rain,” he points out. A convenient outlook, since he lives in rainly Portland, Oregon.

After his decisive 2014 victory, he returned to Leogang last month to successfully defend his title. His beard is literally perfect, having earned the highest possible score.

The Perfect Moustache

 

If you ever dreamed of beholding the perfect moustache, look no further than Jackie Lynn Ellison’s face.  He entered in the Imperial Moustache category (small and bushy with the tips curled upward,” according to worldbeardchampionships.com) and came out with a unanimously perfect score.


Jackie Lynn Ellison

Daniel Lawlor from Los Angeles also earned several perfect scores from the judges for his freeform moustache, which was styled into diamonds inside circles. Using his moustache hair. No big deal. The similarly shaped shades aren’t considered during judging, but you gotta admit, they really do pull the look together. Save this pic to show people when they tell you that facial hair styling isn’t an art form.


Daniel Lawlor

 

Freestyle Full Beards

Even though a freestyle full beard entrant didn’t win top prize, typically this category is the most jaw-dropping. Impressive styles range from traditional loops to wacky and whimsical shapes, all of which seem to effortlessly defy gravity.

From curling irons to beeswax, beard stylists use a strange and wonderful litany of tools to keep their beards looking sharp (or round, as the case may be), but all seasoned beardsmen tend to agree that a non-plastic beard comb is a necessity.