Beards of Star Wars

‘Tis the season…

STAR WARS SEASON!

We’ve waited long enough, and it’s finally here (almost)! In honour of the long awaited release of Star Wars The Force Awakens, we bring to you the Top 5 Beards of Star Wars!

Beware, this list may contain spoilers!

5 – Qui-Gon Jinn

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It might not be the lengthiest, it might not be the thickest, but Qui-Gon certainly works it. We were sorry to see this one go as early on in the prequels as it did! The force unfortunately wasn’t strong enough with this one…

4 – Ki-Adi-Mundi

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This white and wispy wonder didn’t get nearly enough screen time for our liking! Ki-Adi’s wavy beard certainly brings out his piercing yellow eyes, don’t you think? Alas, we had to say another painful goodbye… 

3 – Obi-Wan Kenobi

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From bare to bearded, Obi-Wan came a long way from Episode One all the way up until Episode Four! The moment that beard appeared, we were captivated. They say beards are a sign of great wisdom, and Obi-Wan certainly brought it. Unfortunately, his role as a farther figure to Anakin proved to be his undoing. Bye-bye beardy…

2 – Jek Tono Porkins

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A personal favourite of mine; I love a burly beard. And who doesn’t love a beard in uniform? Porkins geared up and aided the Rebels in battle. Unfortunately, Porkins was yet another we had to say farewell to, too early. There’s a pattern we’re noticing here – perhaps George Lucas was afraid someone might outdo his own beard…

1 – Chewbacca

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The only surviving member of our list! Chewbacca hasn’t just stopped with a beard, oh no. Every inch is covered is bristles and we love it! This is a beard you can’t beat, George Lucas! You can even make out Chewbacca’s carefully styled moustache. Chewie’s beard oil budget must be out of this world… 

Do you agree with our list, or do you think Star Wars has more beardy goodness on offer? Let us know!

And may the force be with you…

A Quick Guide to Beard Baubles

Are you struggling to really get in to the Christmas spirit this year?

Is your beard lacking some holiday excitement?

Or do you just want to go that extra mile with the decorations?

We’ve got a solution to all of that. Beard baubles! We’ll be selling do it yourself beard bauble kits between now and Christmas, so your beard can be furry AND festive!

To help you out, we’ve made a little how-to guide on assembling your beard baubles.

Step oneGather your materials! You will need your baubles and your hair grips. 

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Step twoTake one beard bauble and one hair grip. 

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Step threeReady your hair grip for insertion in to your bauble. 

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Step four Push the hairgrip through this hole that would normally be used for a hook or string. 

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Step fivePut your beard bauble in your beard using the hair grip. Admire your bauble. 

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Step sixMake more beard baubles. Let yourself go wild. You may want to cut the string off your baubles before this…

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If you wish you can even make dangly beard baubles! Just use your pre-stringed bauble and put the hair grip through the string (just like step four). You are now the proud owner of a dangler!

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A good balance between danglers and baubles creates the best look in my opinion, but your beard is your business! If symmetry is your goal, you may need a spotter or someone to hang the beard baubles for you.

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Congratulations! You are now a human Christmas tree!

And remember, beard baubles are for anyone that enjoys the holiday season! No beard? No problem! Beard baubles can be used in any hair, anywhere on your body! Why not get creative this Christmas?

Beards and Masculinity

There’s a worrying trend and idea developing within the beard community. No, I’m not talking about our beards and sunglasses trend, let’s keep that one going. This is something much more toxic; the idea that beards are the ultimate symbol of masculinity, and that men without beards are lesser men or worse…women (heaven forbid!).

This. Needs. To. Stop.

Remember our #BareYourBeard competition? To enter our competition I asked people to send in a photo of themselves with a reason they loved Bristlr (it didn’t seem right to select entrants on a photo alone, after all). Now I won’t name and shame, but here’s a quote from one entrant that didn’t make it in to the competition;

“I love Bristlr because a dude without a beard may as well just be a woman.” – Unnamed Instagram User

Okay, so I wasn’t really sure why that was even a reason to love Bristlr for a start… But “may as well just be a woman?” Like being a woman is the lamest thing ever? Fortunately, during that competition this message was the only one of its kind, most people had lovely reasons for loving Bristlr and wanting to be part of our competition.

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Unfortunately from what I’ve seen it looks like Bristlr may be the anomaly in beard fandoms. I’ve seen far too many pages that have jumped on the beard trend and posted many a beard “meme” along the lines of; beards leave women insatiable, men without beards aren’t men, beards ARE masculinity, etc. Then there’s the content that doesn’t even feature a beard, just an exploitative image of a woman with some beard related text pasted on top. That’s just plain old objectification of women, and there’s more than enough of that in advertising as it is.

This toxic trend reinforces the idea that gender boils down to just men and women – gender is fluid; you get to decide based on your own thoughts and feelings who you are. People have fought long and hard for the right to be respected as the gender they identify as – let’s not force ourselves back in to these restrictive gender norms. Whether or not you have facial hair certainly shouldn’t be a factor! And for the record, there are more women than you’d think that are perfectly capable of growing great beards.

There’s an implication that women are inferior due to their lacking masculinity. After all “beards are for men” and all that and “a dude without a beard may as well just be a woman.” There’s more than enough damaging and sexist advertising out there – don’t contribute to it, stop it!

Not all people that identify as male can, or even want to, grow a beard – we need to stop telling them that’s not okay. It doesn’t make them lesser men.

The list of reasons why the toxic air of masculinity surrounding the beard trend is damaging goes on and on. As a bearded man I don’t want people to think I look down on them for something as trivial as whether or not they can grow a beard, that’s just not the kind of person I am. I can certainly understand the pressure these ideals put on men that can’t grow a beard (even I’ve felt that pressure, resorting to dyeing and penciling to create a thicker looking beard), and it’s just simply not fair!

To get a better idea of how this damaging idea might affect other people, I got in touch with Harnaam Kaur to hear her thoughts on the matter. Oh, and notice how Harnaam rocks an awesome beard.

I am finally back home from Paris. I have met some amazing people on the streets. I have drank some amazing wine and champagne. I have eaten some fab food and deserts. I met some lovely lady street workers who loved my beard. I met some awesome people at Canal Plus and the interview went awesome. It is one of my favourite interviews ever. I can't believe just how big the show that i am in is, even the presenter (my interviewer) is a huge celeb out there. It was sooo much fun and i loved the audience. I hope to work more in Paris. I visited my modelling agency out in Paris, and everyone was just soo awesome; casting was fab too. Notre dame, moulin rouge, eiffel tower and other places that i saw made my heart flutter. I have always wanted to see the Eiffel tower ever since i was a child, it was a dream, so when i finally saw her, i cried. *Dreams do come true* The fabulous Daya toured with me everywhere and made my stay sooooo much fun. I Love Paris. Check out my interview with Antoine de Caunes on Canal Plus 12th November at 22.30pm! #harnaamkaur #harnaamkaurdoesfilm #beardedlady #beardedwoman #effyournorms #effyourstandards #effyourbeautystandards #effsocietiesnorms #bodyconfident #bodyconfidence #antibullyingshortfilm #antibullyingactivist #thequeenofhearts #thedame #plussizemodel #model #diversemodel #empoweringindianwomen #beardqueen #feminist #bigandblunt #paris #lutecehotelparis #lutecehotel #canalplus #thehair #antoinedecaunes #paristrip

A post shared by Harnaam Kaur (@harnaamkaur) on

Here’s what Harnaam had to say after I showed her one of the “memes” posted by an offending beard pages:

“Posts and meme’s just like the one you sent me is one of the reasons why women who do have facial hair feel down about themselves and their own image. Not only just that, men who cannot grow a beard due to genes for example also feel the pressure of not being ‘manly’ enough. I myself rather feel empowered to have a beard as a woman and set foot into a ‘man’s world,’ and because of my image I am able to break gender norms and stereotypes.”

Notice the bit Harnaam said about some men being unable to grow a beard due to genes? That’s something completely out of anyone’s control, and yet people are still being shamed for it.

I have to admire Harnaam’s bravery in keeping her beard and breaking those gender norms. Sadly not everyone can be quite so brave. Even sadder still, without the constant enforcement of gender norms, sexist advertising and various forms of shaming they wouldn’t have to be brave…

Bristlr’s founder, John Kershaw, also has some thoughts on the matter of the hyper-masculinity surrounding beard culture:

“It’s annoying. Beards are great things to have, but when they’re tied in to people promoting their view of masculinity, it often comes across as very blunt and patronising. It’s fine to have pride in your beard, and to have your personal identity tied to it. I’m all about being proud in how you look, and celebrating a good beard. But when it crosses into belittling others, it just makes you look like a bit of a cock. Nobody respects people who try to demand respect by mocking others, especially if they’re choosing to do it in such a sexist way.”

John expands upon why this macho obsessed beard culture of memes and social media posts/comments is damaging to everyone:

“Men often get told to be more masculine; don’t cry, be strong, be macho, etc. And it’s harmful to us. These kinds of sexist comments hurt everyone; they put down women and men without beards, and they make people with beards feel like they have to uphold this unhealthy front. Individually, these memes, posts, comments and whatnot are just harmless jokes. But taken together, as a constant stream of comments that men read, they suck.”

So beard fans it’s time we put this to an end. In fact, it’s been long overdue. Beards are pretty great, I certainly love them, but I know that they’re just facial hair and I think it’s about time a lot of people came to terms with that. Beards don’t determine gender; you can be bearded or beardless regardless of the gender you identify as.

Next time you see one of those beard memes that shames men without beards, objectifies women, or is just plain old offensive, don’t share it about. Let’s keep beards classy.

Bristlr Wins at UK Dating Awards & Northern Stars Competition

Sometimes it’s an honour just to be nominated. But this past month we’ve had the tremendous honour of winning not just one, but two awards!

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Having been a dating site for a good year now, we were just brimming with excitement at being nominated for the UK Dating Awards 2015. We were shortlisted for three categories; Best New Dating Site, Best New Dating App and Best Niche Dating Site.

Despite being up against some pretty stiff competition, we walked away with the award for Best New Dating Site! What a wonderful belated birthday present that was.

On top of that we were in the runnings for Tech North’s Northern Stars Competition. The prizes include great opportunities to pitch to investors and even an invitation to the tech celebration event SXSW in Austin, Texas. The greatest honour is being made one of just ten Northern Stars. And guess what? Bristlr is now one of those ten Northern Stars!

We want to thank everyone that’s helped achieve these awards! Thanks to everyone that’s been involved with Bristlr since we started up and helped us get to where we are today. And a huge thank you to UK Dating Awards and Tech North!

And of course thanks to you, the fans! We wouldn’t be a dating site without you!

John awkwardly holding his award at Tech North's Northern Stars event.
John awkwardly holding his award at Tech North’s Northern Stars event.

Beards and sunglasses

You won’t believe what the latest beard trend is…

Ever since we asked for your help with our Instagram feed we’ve barely had chance to come up to breathe for the sea of submission requests. This is a good thing – you’ve all got wonderful beards and we’re more than delighted to have them featured on our page.

However, there’s one trend that’s really stood out for us – beards and sunglasses.

‘Tis the season.

We really think this could be the next big thing.

See?

We even made an Unofficial International Beards and Sunglasses Day.

But we need your help…

We need to make IBASD an official day.

So if you want to see International Beards and Sunglasses Day in your 2016 calendar…

You know what to do (and in case you don’t, that means keep sending in your beards and sunglasses pictures).

The Shaving of Oli Wood

We don’t often promote shaving – as beard fans it really goes against what we’re all about. But we can always make an exception, especially when it’s for a great cause. So, when Oliver Wood got in touch to inform us he’d de-hairing we had to find out what his reasons were…


 

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Looking ever so happy about the idea of shaving off that beard!

So Oli, tell us why have you decided to de-hair?

Every few years I try to raise money for a good cause by doing something stupid.  My last challenge was swimming across Ullswater (longest lake in the UK) in my pants.  What I didn’t realise was quite at the time was how dangerous it was and thus how stressful for my family it turned out to be.  So this time I’ve doing something safe, but equally as tough (I think).  St Mary’s is a the hospice where my father in law was treated so well in the last few weeks of his life.  It costs almost £6k a day to run St Marys, so if I can help keep them open for even one more day thats got to be a good thing.

Wonderful cause, you can certainly count on Bristlr’s support! Was the decision to shave a tough one?

Yes, pretty tough, it’s a big part of my identity.  To be honest removing the rest of the body hair is more challenging  I think a lot of men have their imagine of masculinity tied up in their hair (Samson et al) and I’m no different.  It’ll be painful and humiliating on the night but waking up the next morning will be scarier.

How long have you been growing that beard?

I think I’ve had a beard continuously for about 2 years now.  I normally keep it trimmed and tidy but since I set myself the challenge I’ve been letting it and my mustache grown out.  On and off I’ve been trying to grow a beard for nearly ten years (so many false starts) so it’s going to be pretty tough to go back to being completely clean shaven.

Are you a slow grower or will your beard be back with us again soon?

Not fast enough!  I’m being shaved and waxed on a Thursday night so that going into work the next day is challenging.  I’ve also gaot a big family gathering that weekend too.  I’m hoping I’ll be back to having a reasonable beard by the New Year.

How did you find us?

I’d heard of you on Twitter and then met John at a tech meet up in Newcastle (and got a bit over excited). I’ve a huge amount of time for Bristlr because of the amount of thought that they’ve just into gender, sexuality and relationship status.  In 2015 your shouldn’t be asked “Are you male or female” when you sign up to a service.  I’ve got a Bristlr profile primarily for making new friends.

We’re delighted you came to us, and you’ve got our support all the way! Anything else you’d like to add?

I promise to grow back my beard and body hair as fast as is humanly possible.  The world shouldn’t be without another beard.


There you have it; Bristlr is, just this once, very much in support of shaving! Please, please show your support for Oli and this fantastic course by visiting his funding page and giving what you can.

Good luck to you Oli and St Mary’s Hospice! Bristlr wishes you all the best!

 

PS. For those of you wanting to use your Bristlr mugs creatively, try out Oli’ recipe for strawberry jam with chilli and lime.

A Bristlr Success Story – Clint & Jennifer

Not one week after our last success story, we’ve had another wonderful couple come forward to thank us after they met on Bristlr. Say hello to Clint and Jennifer!

unnamed“Jennifer and I have a bit of a unique story. Jennifer’s friend had told her about Brisltr, so she decided to join up. I was already a member at the time, looking for that special beard lover. I spotted her on the site and got in touch.

Nearly a year later we’re still together, thanks to Bristlr! We’ve even started a business together in the beard industry! We’ve formed an LLC called Templar Beard Company selling beard oils and other beard products. 

Bristlr, we thank you for the love we found – without you our paths would have never crossed.” 

Awwwww! That last bit has just made our week, thank you Clint and Jennifer! We wish you nothing but success with your relationship and Templar Beard Company!

And whilst we’re on the subject, are you looking for quality beard care products? Why not visit Templar Beard Company? We’ll be sampling their products soon!

All the best to your, Clint and Jennifer!

A Bristlr Success Story – Pieter & Rianne

We’ve had another one of those lovely e-mails. That’s right, another success story to make your feel all warm and bristly inside! This story comes from Pieter and Rianne. Pieter was also kind enough to help us translate our GooglePlay description in to Dutch – now that’s gratitude! So for our Dutch fans, you know who to thank!

Here’s Pieter’s story:

“I was at the gym with a good friend and he told me about this app called Bristlr – an app for bearded people to find others the liked beards. That sounded pretty cool to me, so a few weeks later I decided to download it (after a lot of persuasion from my friend!).

Bristlr’s kind of like Tinder, but the people on there are much more fun! I chatted to a few people and made some connections. It’s cool to be able to talk to so many like minded people! Awesome stuff!

After some time I met a girl. We kept talking for a while and she seemed really interested – you know how dating apps can be, usually the guy shows interest first. We eventually swapped numbers and eventually we went on our fist date. Now, she’s my girlfriend!”

Rianne has her own side to the story:

“I’d used a few dating apps and been on a few dates, but none of that seemed right for me. Then on Facebook I saw something; an app that had lots of men with beards!

So, I joined Bristlr. I could tell instantly it was different; I had actual conversations! With bearded guys! And they weren’t all just obsessed with one thing …

After a while of browsing and chatting someone new popped up. It had been a while so I was starting to give up hope on a nice date, but we talked and talked. I thought, ‘heck, let’s try it!’

Now you can see for yourself, we’re happy!”

How sweet is that? Everyone at Bristlr wishes you both all of the happiness!

Bristlr, bringing people together.

Celebrating Bristlr!

Did you know that the idea that grew into the Bristlr you know and love happened exactly a year ago today? Now you do!

Just a few weeks after the idea was born, Bristlr officially launched. Since then with the help of you beard lovers out there we’ve grown in to much more than just an idea.

Just for fun, here’s a list of the names that were thrown in to the hat before Bristlr became Bristlr:

  • BeardWithFriends
  • BeardTouchingExchange
  • BeardX
  • XBeard
  • StrokeBeardToUnlock
  • ToBeard
  • NiceBeard
  • StrokeMyBeard
  • EveningBeard
  • ToBeardOrNotToBeard.com

Aren’t you glad we went with “Bristlr”?

In less than a year we’ve had countless success stories, in total making half a million matches, our big #BareYourBeard competition which made some beard owners very happy (and popular!), we’ve had international press coverage and recognition, been through Europe’s best pre-seed start-up accelerator, and we even had a party to celebrate 100,000 Bristlr users. We’ve come a long way, and are continuing to grow from strength to strength.

So, with our birthday coming up this month we’ve certainly got a lot to celebrate! That’s right, if we’ve learned one thing this past year, it’s knowing when to party.

But what kind of party would it be without guests? If it weren’t for our beard fans, we wouldn’t be here today. So we want to invite you to our year-and-a-day party to say thanks. Free up your Saturday 24th this month and come on down to Manchester’s SpaceportX, we’re throwing a party!

To get in, just mark yourself as attending on our Facebook event. See you there!

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From an idea to an app, competitions to parties and plenty of Instagram loving! We’ve come a long way!

#BareYourBeard Winner

We’ve come a long way, but finally we can announce the winner of our #BareYourBeard competition on what will be someone’s most magical #WorldBeardDay yet!

But before that, let’s take a quick look back to all the entrants that showed off their bristles. With a few honourable mentions to our dedicated overseas fans that unfortunately couldn’t take part and many entries from beardy guys up and down the country, we were truly overwhelmed with the responses!

And now, one month since #BareYourBeard began, we can finally make someone’s day!

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Sophie from Photograph Art Studio 25 and Samuel from the Bristlr team!

Now before we jump right in we have one big thank you to add – We couldn’t have done our photo shoots if not for our friend Photograph Art Studio 25! With her amazing photographic skills, our buddy Sophie captured all of our finalists, and their beards, in their best light. Couldn’t resist a quick selfie opportunity to commemorate the day. We look forward to working with you again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s take a look at our finalists:

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Joseph brought fierce moustache game, with curls to make any facial hair fanatic jealous. He told us he loved Brisltr because it united him with his current boyfriend. A sweet story, a handsome face and a truly enviable set of face furniture.

(Twitter: @joey_seph Instagram: @joey_seph)

 

 

 

 

 

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Chris was a last minute entrant that really caught our eye, not just with the beard but those sassy eyebrows. With a punk look, and a finely shaped beard you might not expect to find a heart of gold. However, Chris was approachable, fun and really got in to the photo shoot. His line “#BareYourBeard before your beard bares you,” still keeps us entertained.

(Twitter: @RorschachBeard  Instagram: @RorschachBeard)

 

 

 

 

 

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Dougie was one of our few Instagram entrants based in the UK! The length of beautiful beard came all the way from Norwich. With him he brought a friendly demeanor, and shared a touching story of how much the chance at being a beard model meant to him. To top it all off, he’s even provided us with a beard oil recipe!

(Twitter: @Dougie_LRKs  Instagram: @dougie_archer)

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a tough choice we’ve got to make. All of our finalists took the time to show us their stuff, and they all worked the camera, serving fierce beard game in their photo shoots. But there can be only one winner! We’ve kept an eye on Twitter, and we’ve seen you all make some noise for your favourites.

Our choice isn’t made on beard game alone – we evaluated our finalists before, during and after their photo shoots. Nothing too scary, but of course we’re not going to choose our winner based on looks alone! We’re not a superficial bunch.

So. Drum roll please. Without further ado, our winner is…

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Dougie! 

With a story of a supporting mother that really wanted him to go on to become a beard model, our competition helped Dougie on that journey as his first modelling gig! Not only that, Dougie came loaded with tips and tricks. We were most impressed with his beard oil recipe, not to mention his own method of temporary beard colouring! This won’t be the last you hear of Dougie either – we’ve talked about getting him back to do guest entries for our blog, so who knows what his next beard tip will be?

Our lucky winner will be receiving – a beard pampering set from Beard Lab, a beard pampering session from a nearby barbers, a selection of prints from the #BareYourBeard photo shoot and a whole lot of publicity from us! We wish you all the success in your modelling pursuits, Dougie!

Now we can’t forget about our runners up, Joe and Chris – your time with us was not wasted! In addition to your own publicity from us, you’ll also receive a digital selection of the prints from your #BareYourBeard photo shoot, and some scented beard oil from Beard Lab! We hope you’ll both keep in touch!

Until then, thank you so much to ALL of our entrants for getting involved, our fans keeping the hype up and our finalists for taking the time out of your schedules to get involved with our photo shoots. We hope you’ve enjoyed the experience as much as we have! And of course, we couldn’t have done it without Sophie from Photograph Art Studio 25!

Thank you! Keep an eye out, our next competition could be just around the corner!