The fellowship of the beards, it’s about to get hairy

L-R, Nathan Whitlatch, Jason Peacher, Leonard Johnson, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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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Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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.

Jason Peacher, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
Jason Peacher, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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.”

Simeon Derrick, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
Simeon Derrick, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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.

L-R, Leonard Johnson, Andrea Straight, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
L-R, Leonard Johnson, Andrea Straight, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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.

L-R, Simeon Derrick, Kris Studer, and club secretary, Colton Campbell, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
L-R, Simeon Derrick, Kris Studer, and club secretary, Colton Campbell, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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

Nathan Whitlatch, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
Nathan Whitlatch, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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.
L-R, Nathan Whitlatch, Jason Peacher, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
L-R, Nathan Whitlatch, Jason Peacher, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

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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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

L-R, Nathan Whitlatch, Jason Peacher, Leonard Johnson, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News
L-R, Nathan Whitlatch, Jason Peacher, Leonard Johnson, Southern Utah Beard Coalition photo shoot, St. George, UT, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by John Teas, St. George News

 

 

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5 Comments

  • chupacabra February 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    It’s nice to see that manliness is making a return to our culture of feminized men. Right on Chris, I wish much success with the club. If I could grow facial hair in more than blotches, I would join the club.

    Chris Flaig at Liberty Barber Shop has been cutting my hair for 3 years and is without question the top barber in Southern Utah. So if your like me, and don’t have the genetics to grow a damn fine beard, Chris will keep the hairs on your head looking right nice.

  • Bender February 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Pffft. Redneck hipsters. I wonder if my lost car keys might be found in one of those epic face forests.

  • Mean momma February 24, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Women do love a good beard! Yay for beards! Grow em if ya can guys!

  • Jeffrey November 20, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    The fellowship of the beards, it’s about to get hairy , isa fantastically helpful gathering of grand information .
    I also hope that we beardsters are doing something that hopefully only men can do!

  • Jeffrey November 20, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    The fellowship of the beards, it’s about to get hairy , isa fantastically helpful gathering of grand information .
    I also hope that we beardsters’ are doing something that hopefully only men can orr will do!

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