Don’t be fooled by his appearance: Jack Passion is a far cry from your run-of-the-mill urban woodsman. This guy has some serious facial hair-growing cred. The author of “The Facial Hair Handbook” and and star of IFC’s Whisker Wars won first prize for his beard at the 2007 and 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships. He’s also one of the most prominent subjects of Morgan Spurlock’s recent documentary, Mansome.
What we admire about Passion (in addition to “Big Red,” as he affectionately refers to his beard) is how he champions the beard as an earnest and natural expression of masculinity and health in an age when it seems facial hair is under constant siege by the forces of irony. In our hour-long conversation, the self-proclaimed “advocate for men finding and being themselves through something as simple as facial hair,” transitioned smoothly from abstract concepts to the brass tacks of cultivating a championship beard. Here’s how he frames the task: “You have to optimize both offense and defense,” he says. “You grow great facial hair and then you take care of it. The bad news is that for every man there exists a maximum genetic growth rate. The good news is that no one is at his potential.” Here are Passion’s tips for growing a healthy and lustrous beard in a hurry.
Focus on Health
“In cave man days, hair was a sign that you were nutritionally up to par, that you had shelter, were sleeping. If you were healthy on the inside, then you could grow nice hair. If you optimize your health, then you’ll grow great beard hair.”
For more expert tips on growing a healthy beard, watch this handy how-to video.
Take Your Vitamins
“I used to take B complex vitamins and a few others, but that was like six or seven vitamins a day. It was expensive and time consuming. Now I take two VitaBeard with breakfast. It is a wonder drug. There was a time in body building when they started taking steroids. And the sport was changed. I feel that VitaBeard has changed competitive facial hair growing.”
Put Your Beard on a Diet
“Hair, even though it’s dead, it’s basically protein wrapped in fat. It’s like little bacon-wrapped hot dogs. So lots of protein is very important. Lots of fat is very important. In terms of reaching your maximum potential, you need healthy testosterone levels, and those are aided by saturated fat. Eggs and animal fat are great, as long as they’re grass fed or organic. On other end, sugar, or anything that behaves like it, grows very weak hair.”
Exercise like a "Savage Beast"
“I like squats because they are a full body exercise. Squats basically make testosterone. It’s the savage beast exercise. Cardio is very important too. All of the vitamins you’re taking and food and protein—they get to your hair and skin and face through your blood, so you need good circulation. The times when I’ve been lifting weights and trail running are the times when I’ve basically been a beard-growing machine.”
Hit the Sack
“If you lift weights and you are trying to build muscle, that muscle is built while you’re asleep. Sleep is a time of regeneration and generation. When I was in college, my beard always grew faster during summer, and I think that’s because I was sleeping better, and sleeping more.”
Shampoo and Protect
"As for facial hair care—that’s the defensive part of this game. Your hair is naturally designed to protect itself with fat oil coating. If I’m going to be out in the wind on a sailboat or in a pool that is chlorinated, I’ll put in a lightweight oil like jojoba or grape seed oil, to supplement my natural oils. I shampoo most days with a small amount of very weak shampoo. I recommend Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap.”
For a more visual reference, watch Mr. Natty's beard washing tutorial.
Gear Up for Competition
“I want to arrive at a beard competition and walk around as if I’ve already won. Preparing for that psychology is what I do. And I do that by looking good and feeling good. I think that’s why we groom in the first place.”