Founded in 2001, the Beard Community Bulletin Board was created to help facilitate the discussion of beards and other facial hair styles. Interestingly enough, the Beard Community also hosts the largest online collection of bearded images in the world.
Founder Russ McClay shares the story behind the Beard Community, popular topics in the forum - and even his best beard grooming tip.
What's the story behind the Beard Community? What motivated you to launch the community?
Russ: The story of the Beard Community is rather straightforward. Back in 2000 or so I had decided to grow a beard again. I had been bearded most of my adult life, but after coming to Taiwan in the 1980's, I had been clean-shaven.
My goal was to just let it grow, no trimming or shaving. Searching on the internet, I found a few bulletin boards that were for the discussion of growing beards and facial hair, one was the Beard and Moustache Oasis, another was beards.org.
Beards.org (the original site) was mostly a photo collection, whereas the Beard and Moustache Oasis was a discussion board. I started posting monthly progress reports of my beard growth on the Oasis, and before long, got to know the regulars there.
It was easy to create an account on Oasis and it was no surprise when there became a number of trouble-makers who were able to disrupt the previously supportive environment. The owner of Oasis did not do a good job of moderating, and before long, the site descended into unpleasant chaos.
Since I built websites for a living, I decided to start The Beard Community Bulletin Board as a refuge from Oasis and posted an open invite to everyone. There was a very positive response and many people joined up right away. Thus, the BCBB came into existence.
Beard Community Founder Russ McClay
What makes your community unique and stand out from the other beard forums out there?
Russ: The Beard Community is not so much different from other beard sites, although it certainly is one of the older ones. It does, however, host one of the - if not the - largest collection of photos of facial hair on the internet.
What are some of the most popular topics that are discussed in your forum?
Russ: The main topics on the board include progress reports, technical questions (such as about grooming, hair products), contest announcements and general advice. The main idea behind the board has always been to be [a] place for support and friendly discussion on the topic of male facial hair in all its forms.
Are there any members that you'd like to give a special shout-out to?
Russ: There is a core group of old-timers that have been on the board for years and have been consistent in their encouragement. They know who they are. I appreciate them so, and [they're] the reason I've continued to run the site.
For someone new to the community, what tips would you give them so that they can get the most out of their experience with you?
Russ: As for newcomers to the board - at least those who have requested membership - it's always a good thing to post a brief introduction. Also, things happen very slowly on the Beard Community... at the pace of growing facial hair. One might post something and not get an immediate reply - but maybe days later.
What's your best beard grooming tip?
Russ: My best beard tip is that if you've never grown a beard or moustache before, let it go without any interference (shaving, trimming, snipping) for at least 90 days, and then you can decide where you want to go from there. If that's as far as you want to go, then you'll have something substantial to work with.
Step Up Your Grooming Game
Thanks to Russ for the interview! And want to talk beards and other facial hair? Join in on the discussion at the Beard Community.
And if you have a beard already or are planning on growing one, we've got a variety of beard care products that you can use to keep your beard nice, including:
Brooklyn Grooming's Commando Beard Balm - which softens the feel of your whiskers, improves the look and feel of your facial hair, and can even act as a styling pomade for your facial hair...
Beardbrand's Tea Tree Beard Oil - which will help you keep your beard conditioned and shiny...
... and Stubble & 'Stache's Face & Beard Wash - which cleanses the face and beard without over-drying and helps eliminate odors trapped in your beard...