They came in all shapes and sizes -- from artful twirls to thick sumptuous creations. But one thing they all had in common was that their proud owners had spent hours preening in front of mirrors to get their facial hear looking its best. At stake was -- no less -- the honour of being named the owner of the best beard or moustache.
A hundred and twenty seven men from six countries battled it out at the International German Beard Championships, which were held in Bavaria last Saturday.
After -- in some cases -- spending hours transforming their facial hair into works of art, the contestants paraded their hairy creations in front of a panel of judges, made up of experienced hairdressers. Just as in a beauty competition, the judges then awarded points to each entrant, some of whom donned extravagant costumes to match their bushy creations. Although the competitors were drawn from an international field, all the top prizes -- apart from one -- went to the Germans.
A veteran of these competitions, Gerhard Knapp, from the German town of Pforzheim, told German news agency DPA about the rigorous preparation that went into the competition. He said: "For this kind of championship, I have to prepare for at least four to five hours." Outside of competitions he spends less time grooming his facial hair, but still likes to get creative. He said: "I do my beard different every day."
Last weekend's competition, which was organized by the East Bavarian Beard and Moustache Club, was divided into 17 categories, ranging from natural full beards to Dali-like moustaches. According to Thomas Zauner, one of the judges, each category was judged differently. He said: "With natural beards you cannot apply anything and the jury is allowed to dig their fingers inside. Whereas with styled beards the only thing that really counts is appearance: symmetry and cleanliness."
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