Get ready for the Best Beard Competition at the Jorvik Viking Festival

Who knew the Vikings were so fashion-forward?

Who knew the Vikings were so fashion-forward? - Credit: Archant

The Vikings return to York and they’re offering style tips

Who would have thought that Viking-style bushy beards would make such a comeback? But walk down any fashionable high street this month and you’ll bump into any number of stylish young men sporting enormous facial fuzz.

And York is no exception. In fact, it looks set to be the absolute epicentre of all things beardy as it hosts its annual Jorvik Viking Festival from February 14th to 22nd, which includes a hard-fought Best Beard Contest.

‘We know many men 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,’ said 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, but you don’t grow a great beard overnight – it takes some cultivating.’

Consultant trichologist Iain Sallis ( argues that every great Nordic hipster beard starts with a hearty diet: ‘The Vikings ate a diet loaded with oily fish and meat, which contain 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.’

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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, brewers’ yeast and quality proteins like meat, fish, cheese and lentils.

• Stay away from the medicine cabinet. Medications licensed to help with head hair regrowth (if it is affected by genetics) often have no impact on beard growth.

• Use hair conditioner on your beard to detangle wiry bits and give a lovely glossy finish.

• Give it a brush and a trim. Cutting or shaving hair makes it grow quicker.

The Best Beard Competition takes place on Saturday February 21st at 4.30pm in Parliament Street, York. Whilst authentic beards are most welcome, artificially-formed entries made from wool, hair extensions, cotton wool or any other bits and bobs that happen to be lying around will be accepted. For full details, visit