To celebrate the release of “Nords: Heroes of the North,” Plarium has a special little gift for its employees – specifically those who sport a beard. Vladimir Dybchak, the man who concocted this special beard wax, sits down with us to talk about the advantages of having a beard, how to grow one, and who’s ultimately stronger – a Cossack or a Viking.

How did you start and develop your brand?

The MANLY Club has been grooming beards, waxing mustaches, and styling hair for more than a year and a half now. We started out as, and still remain, a team of two – myself, the bearded and mustachioed face of the brand, and my wife Alyona, the secret mastermind.

The “how it all started” story is really simple. I grew a beard and a mustache, and embarked on a quest looking for facial hair care products. The local market in Ukraine couldn’t offer any at the time, Russian-manufactured products didn’t cut it for me either. Then someone told me: “If you don’t like anything out there, go ahead and make your own!” So we did.

Who came up with the idea of collaborating with Plarium?

I know a lot of people who happen to work at Plarium, many of them are my good friends. At one point I considered getting a job at Plarium myself, so I wasn’t surprised at all when I heard a Plarium employee at one of the Kharkiv barbershop parties say: “Darn it, man! It’s like we have this “beard clan” thing going on. Our beards need something special!”

What are the ingredients for the Plarium beard wax?

The ingredients for the Plarium beard wax are: shea butter, coconut oil, white beeswax, jojoba oil, avocado oil, lemongrass, and cedar essential oils.

What makes it different from your other products?

This beard wax is a limited edition and has been specially designed for Plarium’s bearded employees. We will not make any more of this version. With this edition we wanted to make a universal product, suitable for beginners who have grown at least an inch of beard hair – “two-week stubble” if you like – as well as for those with epic beards. As a result, we have a product that is excellent for moisturizing and nourishing facial hair, and beeswax, shea butter and jojoba oil help to make it full and soft while bringing out the texture. It also has a wonderful subtle pine and citrus scent. Ladies who smell it on a guy can unmistakably tell that he’s from Plarium!

What was working on it like?

Amazing! We were really excited to start working on it. We enjoyed experimenting with ingredients and proportions – naturally, I was the guinea pig and tried all the samples on my beard one by one until we found the optimal combination. Then I brought the prototype to Plarium for their approval. And it took me one more day to produce the whole batch.

What are the perks of having a beard?

My wife has never seen my chin so she doesn’t know how many I really have.

What is the secret to growing an impressive beard?

Taking it easy. I’ve noticed lately that this whole beard trend is growing into a sort of cult. Guys start hoarding beard cosmetics in amounts that make their girlfriends feel underequipped in the beauty kit department. But they’re missing the point. When a guy just lets his beard grow naturally and takes care of his body, the beard grows better. A healthy lifestyle may not be the sole factor, but it’s definitely an important one. Alcohol, smoking, low physical activity, and stress all affect the growth and look of your beard. Not without exceptions, though – genetic background comes into play too.

In a fight between a Cossack and a Viking, who do you think would win?

That’s a good one. I guess they would beat the crap out of each other and have a couple of beers together after that. As long as they both have beards!