To Beard or Not To Beard?

By Alex Noble Wednesday 17th Oct, 2018

There are many important questions that we chaps ask ourselves on a regular basis…

What is the meaning of life?

When can I re-introduce the roll neck to my look?

To beard or not to beard?

The latter is an age-old conundrum that really has split the British demographic for centuries. History could tell us that eras such as the 1500’s and 1970s were certainly a popular time for radical facial hair (think Henry VIII and George Harrison), whilst the 1940s and early 2000s where more clean shaven focused (Frank Sinatra and Johnny Depp). I think what we can take from this is there’s never going to be a facial hair exodus whereby everyone adopt the same look – how boring that would be! 

At the end of the day, there are many individuals who have a personal preference and who are (rightfully) purposely ignorant towards trends, yet due to many of us being social media obsessed narcissists, we will often find ourselves taking on the role of the sheep, succumbing to a look that our idols are doing with their face at that time. 

My question to you is, are we experiencing a shift in approach to grooming and thus witnessing the death of the hipster beard, in favour of a more subtle, clean-shaven approach? And is it fair to say those who vote remain, in favour of the bushy beard simply aren’t perceptive to current trends?

The BIC Shave Club, the shaving subscription service, recently ran a poll, which resulted in over 2000 people believing that the beard craze was coming to an end. What’s more, it revealed that women apparently prefer guys who are clean shaven – perhaps a generalisation but no doubt some chaps have already reached for their razors (you dawgs).

Call me a traditionalist but as a quintessential Brit, I feel we should hark in our roots of always being the most overdressed at a party, immaculately presented, without a single hair out of place. This look is achievable whilst clean shaved, or when manning a short tameable beard/stubble…When you throw a long, bushy and wiry beard into the mix, a certain element of sheen is taken away from the appearance. One key point to add here; if you can’t grow a wholesome, non-patchy piece of facial hair, don’t force it. Nothing looks worse than a patch, adolescent looking beard. 

This rugged, rough and ready look has enjoyed a few successful years in the limelight but I feel it is a trend that will fall into the abyss of men’s style, at least for a few years. This isn’t to say that there won’t be those radicals who will go against the grooming status quo and rock seven inch beard in protest, but this trend’s follower count is likely to drop due to it being just that; a trend.

Tradition will always conquer trends, because one is a stalwart, whilst the other is a nomad.

What’s more, I’d argue history supports this argument because when you look at those from the past and present whom we describe as style icons: David Niven and David Gandy or Steve McQueen and Tom Ford from across the pond, never have they veered from their own interpretation of tradition; hence why we still speak about them.