Beards are like any other hairstyle: it’s not enough just to be able to grow a beard; you have to style it as well. And it’s in the styling of the beard that a man’s creativity can come through. Elsewhere on the blog, we’ve covered basic beard grooming etiquette as well as how to grow an Amish beard. While this tutorial will focus on a Viking beard style, we will start by quickly covering some of the basics again. We’ll also highlight a couple areas that are extra necessary for Viking beards.
What You Will Need for Your Viking Beard
As with any styling endeavor, there are certain things you need to succeed:
- Patience: If there’s one vital ingredient for an epic Viking beard, it’s a Viking-sized amount of patience. Your Viking beard won’t grow instantly–it could be months or even years before it truly reaches the length you need.
- Protein: To really help nourish your Viking beard, you’ll need lots of lean protein. Red meat, fish, nuts–these and other protein sources are vital in helping your beard get the proper length and conditioning for the Viking style.
- A Comb: Combs, typically made of bone, were an essential part of the Viking’s daily life. So essential, in fact, that Viking warriors were often buried with their combs. (See this site for a fascinating article on a Viking burial discovered in the Orkney Islands.)
- Beard Oil/Beard Balm: For a beard as long as a Viking beard, a good beard oil is a must-have. It’s the best way to keep the full length of your beard properly hydrated and looking clean without being greasy. For longer or unruly hair, consider a beard balm; it’s heavier than an oil and allows for a bit more control.
- Ornaments (OPTIONAL): Now, I am typically NOT a fan of any sort of extra beard decorations. Shiny little bits and bobs in your otherwise-epic beard just seem to be distracting to me. I mean, your beard should speak for itself! It doesn’t need those extra trinkets. But having said that, if there is one beard style where some beard jewelry or decorations can be incorporated, it is the Viking style. If your beard is impressive enough, having rings or ties in your beard can actually be a style point and add to the unusual spectacle of your beard.
Style Points for Your Viking Beard
Because the Viking beard style is so unusual, there is no exact “how-to” process. Instead, consider the following style points, and build your own Viking beard from them. By following these general considerations, you’ll have your own twist on an ancient style.
A Viking beard needs the nourishment of a Viking. What? Does this mean that any Scandinavians can grow a Viking beard? No! I just mean that a Viking beard requires the right building blocks. This means eating the right foods to support a massive amount of facial hair, and that means protein. Lean meats, nuts, berries, and fish all contain the proteins and other nutrients necessary to produce a Viking beard. Stock your diet with them, and you’ll have laid the perfect foundation for your Viking beard. And as a bonus, more and more articles are emerging, supporting the benefits of a Viking-inspired diet not just for your beard but for your overall health as well!
A Viking beard is a clean beard. There are good Viking beards and there are bad ones. The bad Viking beards share certain things in common with bad Amish beards, bad French beards, etc.; they tend to be long, dirty, unkempt, and greasy. There’s no excuse for a poorly-kept Viking beard when the Vikings themselves were apparently very keen on good beard hygiene. As the Viking Answer Lady reports, by all accounts the Vikings combed their hair daily and bathed weekly. In addition, they washed their faces and beards every morning–something virtually unheard-of among the more “civilized” nations. So if you’re looking to grow a truly authentic Viking beard, you’ll need to take a page from the Viking playbook and follow some basic beard cleanliness tips:
- Wash your face daily. With a full beard, you may not feel like you have much face left, but be sure to thoroughly wash your face every morning. Not only will it wake you up (just imagine doing it over the side of a Viking longship), but you’ll be helping to take care of any exposed skin on your face. You can even invest in a good facial scrub, like this one, to use a couple times a week. As for the skin under your beard, see the next point.
- Shower frequently–and shampoo your beard! The benefits of a shower are obvious, but don’t overlook the need to shampoo your beard. This serves two purposes: First, it cleans and nourishes your beard. Second, a good wash will reach the skin underneath your facial hair, cleaning and moisturizing it as well. You’ll need a good beard shampoo, of course; one that I personally prefer is Billy Jealousy Beard Wash (https://www.billyjealousy.com/products/beard-wash). Get a good lather, work the shampoo in gently, and then let it sit for a minute or two, giving the moisturizers time to penetrate through to your skin. Rinse thoroughly because any residue might give your beard odd clumps or a funny sheen as well as make styling it more difficult.
- Comb religiously. After you’ve let your beard dry, it’s time to give that comb a workout. Comb your beard COMPLETELY. Work from top to bottom and occasionally from bottom to top for the thicker portions of your beard underneath your chin. Check out this video for a more detailed look. Remember, there’s a reason all those Vikings were buried with their combs–those things probably got a workout! Give your beard a good combing daily. If you don’t, it’ll pick up knots and tangles, and styling it later will be a nightmare; trust me, I know this from painful experience.
- A Viking beard isn’t always a long beard. Most people probably picture something like this when they hear the words “Viking Beard”:
Not all beards, even Viking ones, are quite that long, however. Pop culture and fashion have given us several modern variations on the Viking beard, some of which are much shorter than the picture above. Check out these examples:
Both of those examples are of much shorter beards. As with any facial hair style, consider the shape of your face and what fits you the best as well as what you know you’re capable of growing. Then work with what you have!!!
Another important point: Remember that trimming your beard can make a world of difference style-wise. It may seem sacrilegious to trim a Viking beard, but by trimming it, you can give your beard a subtle sense of refinement, help it to look tidy, and really set yourself apart. When trimming your Viking beard, keep in mind these tips:
- Don’t trim your beard while it’s wet–dry hair is shorter than wet hair, so if you trim your beard while it’s damp, you may wind up with an uneven trim.
- Comb your beard first–you want to separate the hairs and be able to see clearly what needs to be trimmed and where.
- Don’t forget your neckline–even if it’ll be mostly hidden under a mass of beautiful facial hair, make sure to leave a clean, even neckline. Less itchiness and much sharper-looking.
- A Viking beard has flair. Here’s the style point that can really set your beard apart as a Viking beard. Your beard can be epic without either one of these options, but if you’re looking for that extra something, consider styling your Viking beard in one of these ways.
The Braided Beard
A well-styled, well-braided Viking beard is a true thing of beauty. Probably the more common image of a Viking beard, braids in a beard can be very large and heavy (like the picture above), or smaller and more like threads than ropes. Here’s a double braid, smaller than the one above:
And next, an even smaller one:
The braids in the picture above are so small, they’re basically ornamental. They don’t incorporate the beard so much as accentuate it. If you do decide to braid your beard, which ones will work best for you? Well, you may to experiment and find out. But here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- How will the hair on the top of your head fit in with your Viking beard?
- Do you want to braid your entire beard, or just part of it? Braiding your beard can take any number of forms. Again, feel free to experiment! Braid your full beard, braid just the hair on your chin, or even braid your mustache. Not sure how to braid your beard? Check out a handy video here.
But wait, there’s another distinctive element of Viking beards!
The Beaded or Ringed Beard
It’s difficult to tell how many of the ancient Vikings wore rings or beads in their hair, but both are certainly very strong elements of the modern reinterpretation of Viking beards. And both are often used in conjunction with braids to hold the braids in place. They can also be used on their own to add some subtle flair to an impressive beard.
Viking beard rings also allow some cool personalization. You can find Viking beard rings with a variety of traditional designs. Use them by themselves, or pair them with a braid; link several beard rings in a row, or insert one as an accent. The possibilities are endless and allow you to make a unique statement with your Viking beard.
The Viking beard is a distinct style, easily recognizable by all who see it. But a Viking beard is also easily customizable. Don’t be afraid to style your Viking beard with a braid, a beard ring, or nothing at all. Wear it long or short, keep it bushy or trim it close; any way you choose, just be sure to keep your Viking beard clean–the berserkers would approve!
Find this tutorial helpful? Comment below, and be sure to leave any tips and hints of your own in the comments as well!