For decades, a clean-shaven face has been a mark of status, proving you’ve made it beyond the hard-working world of sea captains and lumberjacks who required a significant amount of facial hair to keep their faces warm in bad weather. No beard used to mean you had risen successfully in the ranks and could afford to keep your cheeks smooth and soft, or at the very least shaped into a manageable goatee, but all of that has changed recently as facial hair trends have moved definitively toward the heavily-bearded and substantially whiskered.
This trend might trace its roots to the rise in popular medieval fantasy epics and shows featuring Vikings on television, but in truth the bearded scene has been on the rise for some time amongst the hipster crowd, possibly as a new way to embrace more blue-collar elements. In the 1960s, beards were wild and free-flowing and represented a rebellion against the more conservatively shaven professionals of the 50s. In the 1970s and 80s, facial hair trends tended to be more close cut and minimal, keeping the full beard but at a very short length, and during the 1990s the goatee gained in popularity, particularly with dot-commers who wanted to express ingenuity and creativity in a business environment.
Today, beards have gained an almost cult-like status, inspiring web-blogs and even making their way onto the pages of high-fashion magazines. Although the five-o’clock shadow and carefully manicured scruff of the early 2000s is still popular, full beards and meticulously-groomed mustaches a la early turn-of-the-century pugilists and barkeeps are on the cutting-edge of facial hair fashion. Mustache wax and scented beard oils are just a few of the products now available to help you achieve the perfect bear or mustache, and the internet is flooded with charts and graphs showing the latest trends and designs. Although mustaches tend to be on the decline, trucker style full mustaches seem to be showing a significant rise in popularity, probably due in large part to the 1960s period television shows currently in rotation.
Whatever your facial hair preference might be, now is the time to embrace it and let that beard or mustache grow! The possibilities for grooming and maintenance are endless, and any modern barber worth his salt will be more than happy to help you grow something spectacular before it’s too late and this trend has moved on.
This article was written by Sam Beale. Sam enjoys off-road cycling, architecture, Lebanese food and writing articles for essaypro.com. He’s sported a beard since before it was cool.