8 Features

The Pioneer Log, February 4, 2011

Physics Professor and wife challenged fellow west coast beard aficionados

All About Beards, Mustaches and Chops
Faces with hair:
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Facial Hair Tips and Tricks
Trim wayward hairs around the edges; keep the beard looking contoured. Use clippers or an electric razor to keep facial hair neat and trimmed. Stay away from scissors; they are unreliable and dangerous. An electric razor is most effective to keep sideburns trimmed as well but the shaping side of a manual works too. As fun as it is to touch a beard, the oil on hands will cause acne; hands off as much as possible. Make sure to wipe your face and facial hair after a meal to remove all food remnants. Shampoo and condition your beard just like you would the hair on your head.

Shaving the hair off:
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PHOTO COURTESY OF ETHAN SIEGEL

Ethan Siegel and his wife Jamie Cummings sport fabulous real and freestyle facial hair at the West Coast Beard and Mustache Championship. Cummings won third place in the the Freestyle Beard Category.

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BY MARISSA FENLEY
Staff Writer

Coming across a bearded Portlander is far from a rare experience. However, a more distinguished and titivated group of beard and mustache growers in our community gathered on Jan. 23 at the Crystal Ballroom to display and enter their facial masterpieces into the West Coast Beard and Mustache Championship. As competitor and Lewis & Clark Professor Ethan Siegel said, “There is a big difference between growing a beard and being too lazy to shave.” For those who would rather be part of the former, Siegel gives a piece of valuable advice: “Grow everything for six weeks.” After this preliminary step, a potential beard grower can “see where [his] hair grows well and how [he] can shape this to fit with the image and sense of style [he] wants to project.” The atmosphere of the Crystal Ballroom, a classic Portland venue, catered perfectly to the unique nature of the competition. The grey light from Portland’s skies filtered through the windows, casting a hazy gleam to the room that was reminiscent of an Old West saloon. Women and men alike proudly donned their wooly facial creations while sipping on an afternoon beer. The competition featured a diverse selection of beard and mustache combinations: natural or styled, full or partial, real or fake. Each merited its own category, totaling in six altogether. Some distinguished, bristly competitors included Jack Passion, a full, red bearded gentleman, and a Texan with a beard styled into his state’s symbol of long horns.

Professor Siegel describes his own beard as an “Astronomy Beard,” as his Astronomy class inspired it. Last Thanksgiving he offered a reward for the best research paper: the power to choose which form his facial hair would take. After 14 months, Siegel has grown an impressive beard and mustache, and his wife has hopped on the bandwagon as well. She was a competitor in this year’s competition, placing 3rd in her category with her fabricated beard, becoming the first woman to ever place in a national or international beard competition. The prideful sensation of beard growing is a fantastic trait of Portland culture, as well as a worldwide phenomenon. Siegel, among so many others, has certainly tapped into this facet of self-expression.

The best time to shave is after a shower; hot water opens up and softens pores, preventing nicks and cuts as well as softening the hairs. Using face wash before a shave will buff away dirt, oil and dead skin cells that mat hair down getting in the path of the razor and preventing a close shave. Apply preferred shaving cream or gel in small circles to area to be shaved; this locks-in moisture and softens the hair. Use light, gentle strokes with a sharp razor; pull the skin taut for a consistent shaving surface. Leave chin and lip for last in the shave routine; letting the shave cream or gel soak in longer will make these tricky areas easier. At the end rinse with cool water and pat dry.

Cream vs. gel vs. foam:
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If your main concern is economical, gel is your best bet; you only need a small amount of gel versus a large amount of shaving cream. Gel loses when it comes to razor maintanence; shaving cream is thinner in texture and as such, your razor remains unclogged. Indecisive? Save yourself some money and just use shampoo or conditioner, it does the job.

1st Annual Bon Beards, Mustaches and Chops Competition:
Categories: Best Facial Hair

Coming in April on Americana Night is the Bon’s 1st Annual Beards, Mustaches and Chops Competition. There will be prizes! Worst Facial Hair Best Fabricated Facial Hair Best in Show

“There is a big difference between growing a beard and being too lazy to shave,” said Siegel.
He said, “I feel about my beard how anyone would feel about how they present themselves to the world. [It’s] saying something about how you want the world to see you. A beard and mustache is a way of expressing that.” Some may continue to wonder, why is creatively grooming a beard or mustache a favorite among people? According to Siegel, it’s as simple as being “fun and amusing and… look[ing] in the mirror and lik[ing] what you see.”

Facial hair can take many forms for men and women, in the case of fabricated facial hair. Each look depends on the style the facial hair is meant to portray and where on the face the hair grows best.

ILLUSTRATION BY KYLA COVEY

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