Ironically, cultivating a perfect three-day stubble actually requires meticulous grooming. Full, stylized beards and mustaches are even more difficult to create and maintain.
New, high-tech electric shavers are making beard- and mustache-grooming easier and more convenient, though. And now, shaver-makers are putting their money where your mouth is, so to speak, with inducements of fame and (small) fortune.
On Friday (May 4) Wahl Clipper Corp. kicked off its 2012 Wahl Man of the Year contest, a pun-laced "facial hair face-off" that runs through Oct. 28, when 15 finalists who "make the cut" will each receive $500 and a Wahl Lithium Ion + Stainless Steel trimmer (retailing at $70), a new stainless steel model that was launched in March. From these 15 finalists, one grand-prize winner will earn another $1,000 and the Wahl Man of the Year title. Wahl has even set up an online encyclopedia of styles to "help entrants gain an edge...that could put them a cut above the competition."
Coinciding with the current Stanley Cup playoffs, Philips Norelco’s "Go with A Real Pro Hockey Sweepstakes" on Facebook will award five winners with 2012-2013 season tickets to one of five teams' games: the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings or Nashville Predators (one winner per team). Though not a facial-hair beauty contest, the sweepstakes, which runs till June 30, is inspired by the professional hockey players' tradition, dating back to the 1970s, of not shaving until their team is eliminated from the League's competition for the Stanley Cup.
But the big daddy of such contests is The World Beard and Moustache Championships (WMBC), which organizers describe as "the premier event in the international sport of bearding." Held every two years, the contest chooses the best contestant “in a variety of categories ranging from the most delicate of moustaches to the elaborate anything-goes freestyle full beard."
The next WMBC will be in 2013, but U.S. hopefuls will first do battle this November at the 2012 Beard Team USA National Beard and Moustache Championships in Las Vegas.
Even if you don't aspire to capturing a championship title for your beard, however, shaver- and trimmer-makers are still aiming to capture your hairs.
Last November, Braun introduced its cruZer line of shaver-trimmers. It includes the cruZer face models ($70 to $80), which have an adjustable comb for trimming facial hair to any of four different lengths, as well as a "three-day beard comb" for maintaining fashionable stubble. In July, Philips Norelco will release the Styleshaver ($80) and Styleshaver Pro ($100), a pair of dual-end tools that trim facial hair to any of 12 different lengths or shave the face clean.