Men who have been given razors as gifts this Christmas are being urged to return them to the shop, exchanging them instead for a healthy supply of vitamins and fish oil, as Norse experts from JORVIK Viking Festival declare war on hair removal!

With only two months to go before the annual ‘Best Beard Contest’ – part of the JORVIK Viking Festival taking place in York from 14-22 February 2015 – organisers are suggesting that ‘real’ men should ditch the razor for the next couple of months if they are to pull off the ultimate Norse hipster look, with a luxurious facial hair.

“We know that many men will have received electric razors for Christmas, but in the middle of a cold winter, they would be far better to trade in their appliances for a hefty pile of vitamin pills and protein supplements – the best nutrition for anyone wanting to grow a healthy beard,” comments Festival director, Danielle Daglan.  “Viking-style bushy beards are absolutely on trend at the moment, adorning the faces of celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling and Hugh Jackman sporting them in recent months, but you don’t grow a great beard overnight – it takes some cultivating!”

Indeed, consultant trichologist, Iain Sallis, who runs the website www.hairmedic.co.uk, suggests that diet forms the most important part of beard growth.  “The Vikings ate a diet loaded with oily fish and meat, which contain the very important sulphur-rich amino acids that our modern diets are often lacking – and this could explain why they were able to cultivate huge bushy beards.  You need micronutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12 to encourage optimal hair growth, and facial hair has a very fast growth rate 0.4mm per day (compared with the paltry 0.35mm per day of scalp hair) making it the fastest growing hair on the body!”

Ian offers the following top tips for healthy full-beard growth:

  • Load up on iron-rich foods like oysters (a Viking favourite), liver, leafy green vegetables and brewers yeast, and the high quality proteins (meat, fish, cheese and lentils) and see how well your beard grows!
  • If you thought reaching for hair-growth solutions will help, forget it!  Medications licensed to help with head hair regrowth (if it is affected by genetics) often have no impact on beard growth.
  • Condition!  A great beard looks very healthy, so using normal conditioner for hair will do the job.  It will detangle the wiry hairs and give them a lovely gloss that is the envy of any Viking!
  • Give it a brush and a trim; simply because it will look better!  Contrary to old wives tales, cutting or shaving hair does not make it grow more quickly.

The JORVIK Viking Festival Best Beard Competition takes place on Saturday 21 February 2015 at 4.30pm in Parliament Street, York.  Whilst authentic beards are most welcome, artificially-formed entries made from wool, hair extensions, cotton wool or just about any other material will be accepted to try to win a coveted JORVIK Beard Trophy.

The Best Beard Competition is just one event on the final Saturday of the 2015 JORVIK Viking Festival, with the festival finale at the Eye of York – a dramatic live-action event featuring combat, theatre and fireworks, taking place from 6.00pm to 8.00pm.  Tickets for the finale should be prebooked at www.jorvik-viking-festival.co.uk, priced at £12 for adults, £9.50 for concessions, £36 for a family of four, or £45 for a family of five.

The full programme from the 2015 JORVIK Viking Festival is also available online at www.jorvik-viking-festival.co.uk


For further media information or photographs, please contact:

Jay Commins

Pyper York Limited

Tel:         01904 500698

Email:    jay@pyperyork.co.uk

Top 10 beard facts

  1. Facial and body hair was initially the primary way to distinguish the sexes in our prehistoric form, so a big beard would show to other humans that you were a man
  2. As hair is one of the natural signs of health, historically, the bigger the beard the healthier you were!
  3. Facial hair has a very fast growth rate 0.4mm per day, compared with the paltry 0.35mm per day of scalp hair
  4. Hair is the second fastest dividing cell in the body
  5. Smoking can harm your chances of growing the best possible beard, as nicotine reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients
  6. The longest beard in the world measures 2.37m, belonging to Sarwan Singh of Canada
  7. Beards can be handy storage devices, too.  In 2012, Ed Cahill managed to place 3107 toothpicks in his beard
  8. Beards grow best during the summer months, when there is more dihydrotestosterone floating about the average man’s body
  9. Before the days of “wash ‘n’ go” shampoos, Viking men would “go ‘n’ wash”, using urine (probably horse urine) to treat lice in head and beard hair
  10. Sven Forkbeard became king of England in 1013, but despite his unusual name, his father’s name is even more famous – Harald Bluetooth, whose surname inspired the wireless communication protocol widely used today!