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.

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).

A Year and a Day

This is going to be a very self indulgent post, and I make no apologies for that. When you have a job like this (Hi, I’m John, founder and technical lead of BristlrM14) it’s very easy to sail past milestones without flinching, continuing to run as fast as you can away from trouble.

I’m sat in bed, on a rainy Manchester day, about to carry a hastily decorated store-brand cake through the damp to a small gathering of friends to celebrate a year-and-a-day since Bristlr launched. And I’m taking the opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of the last 12 months through the power of statistics. This is a blend of vanity and therapy.

Year 1, by the numbers

  • Members: 115,000
  • Matches: 500,000
  • Beard ratings: 1,300,000
  • Messages : 1,000,000
  • Pageviews: 39,500,000
  • Unique visitors: 500,000
  • Countries: 187
  • Top 5 countries: USA (32%), UK (22%), Brazil (13%), Netherlands (10%), Canada (6%)
  • Top 5 cities: London, Sao Paulo, New York, Amsterdam, Chicago
  • Desktop users: 22%
  • iPhone users: 37%
  • Largest traffic spike: December 26th, 3am GMT
  • Funds raised (excluding director’s loans): £28,000
  • Verticals: 1 (and a half?)
  • Full-time staff: 1
  • Freelance staff: 9
  • Git repositories: 16
  • Git commits: 2,600
  • Individual services (Heroku apps): 25
  • Database nodes: 2
  • Primary database file size: 8GB
  • User-facing errors generated: 7,400
  • Cumulative downtime: 1 hour, 57 minutes (99.98% uptime)
  • Cups of coffee drunk: 900
  • Miles driven: 10,000
  • Car parts replaced: Tire, spare tire & hub, clutch, coolant header tank, exhaust shield, windscreen wipers x 4
Our birthday cake
Our birthday cake

These numbers are good at showing where we’ve been and how much we’ve achieved. But they’re basically useless for predicting our future. We’ve been busier than people realise, and we have big plans and expectations for the next 12 months. My goal is to improve on all of these metrics at least ten fold.

The past year has been littered with happenstance, luck, chance encounters, and supportive friends and family. Whilst I can’t thank everyone individually, I do want to say thank you to everyone who has helped put us where we are today, and everyone who’s taken a chance on us.

Happy birthday.

Bristlr’s going speed dating in London this Movember

We’re off speed dating! We’re teaming up with SpeedDater for a special evening of speed dating, with all money going to charity.

If you can make it to London on NMovember 27th, get yourself a ticket! 100% of the ticket price is going to the Movember Foundation.

The event will see you paired with various potential partners, all with a love of the beard. On arrival you’ll be greeted by a SpeedDater and/or Bristlr host and given a badge that’ll match you with your table. Every time the bells rings those with beards will rotate around, and you’ll have a card to mark on who takes your fancy. After the event you simply log on to SpeedDater’s website and you’ll be able to see all your matches from the evening. Fun, right!?

All we ask is that you make sure to get permission before commencing any beard fondling.

Tickets are £10 each and available here. Get them quick as there’s only a limited number of places available.

If you’re not familiar with them, SpeedDater launched in London in September 2002 and has grown into Europe’s largest organiser of singles nights, specifically speed dating events. They hold regular events in over 40 UK cities.

See you in London!

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!

Home Made Beard Oil!

Fresh from his #BareYourBeard photo shoot, Dougie here has passed on a few tips for us, and to all of you! Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to make your own beard oil. Before you ask, it won’t turn your beard blue and purple… That’s just a cool picture.

Before we get in to the beard oil, credit where it’s due! This handy tip comes from Dougie, you can find him and his lovely beard on Instagram @dougie_archer and Twitter @Dougie_LRKs.

Okay, before you get started you’ll need:

  • Pure Coconut Oil, we’d recommend this, but feel free to experiment!
  • A bottle or two of scented essential oils.
  • A big-ish bowl and a little bowl (that can stand boiling water!). Make sure the little bowl floats.
  • A selection of small pots/jars.

With all that in place, you’re ready to start making your own beard oil!

Step 1 – Fill the big bowl with boiling water.

Step 2 – Put some of the solid coconut oil into the smaller bowl and place that bowl inside the boiling water bowl. Watch as the coconut oil melts! Magic.

Step 3 – Put a few drops of your scented essential oil in to melted coconut oil. Want a potent smell? Put more in!

Step 4 – Carefully remove the bowl of oil from the big boiling water bowl and pour the oil in to one of your small pots/jars then wait for it to set.

BOOM! You’ve got yourself some beard oil made with your own two hands with a scent you love! What’s to stop you from making more? NOTHING! Use up the rest of that coconut oil making beard oils with other scents, or maybe mix scents. When you’ve got some coconut oil, a big bowl, a little bowl, a selection of scented essential oils and a few pots/jars to put your beard oils in the possibilities are endless!!

When you want to use it, just scoop some out and rub it in your hands and then spread evenly through your beard. What’s that smell? Success. Beardy Success. And whatever oil you put in there. And we bet it smells amazing.

Go. Share your beard smells and tales of home made oils with the world.