A man's maximum attainable beard or moustache length depends on a number of factors, according to the consensus of knowledge in the "beard and moustache community". The main influence is genetic, which is probably what we least want to hear! The average man's growth rate for the beard is about 1/2" (12.7mm) a month, so after a year's untrimmed beard growth, one might expect to a sport a beard about 6 inches (152.4mm) long. You may aspire to a much more modest length, and that's absolutely fine too because ultimate beard or moustache length is not always the deciding factor in competition category judging.
Apart from genetics, it's generally advised that regular washing and conditioning of the beard and moustache with gentle shampoo and conditioner - preferably "paraben-free" products - helps to provide a healthy environment for maximum growth. Some exponents eschew these products altogether, and rinse only with plain water, or even with a 10-to-1 dilution of Apple Cider Vinegar. The other important growth influence is to keep to a healthy and balanced diet.
Several of the beard and moustache categories in the Championships allow styling aids such as waxes, glues and hair sprays to be used to create interesting and extravagant shapes, whorls and spikes.
This is a delicate and creative process achieved by using hairspay and hot air to get every hair in its place. One of these sessions has been documented by Mo Saville as two contestants prepare for the 2011 World Beard and Moustache Championships in Trondheim, Norway.
In this fascinating photo sequence, Frazer Coppin, World Championship Musketeer category-winner and stylist extraordinaire, creates Charlie Saville's unique Beard Freestyle.