Is the Beard Trend Dead?
A Look Into Past & Current Trends
There's no doubt beards are 'in', you can see them everywhere.
In the past decades there were many 'beard trends' that came and went.
I've decided to look into the current beard trend, and check if we're at the pick or the current beard trend is slowly decaying.
I found some really interesting things about the current beard trends and wanted to share them.
Past Beard Trends
Throughout history, beards have been a way of asserting masculinity. Beard trends come and go and are often tied to a specific generation or counter-culture. These trends are also influenced by changes in shaving habits and products.
Beard trends can be traced all the way back to the Hellenistic period in Greece. Heroes like Alexander the Great embodied the image of the virile bearded man. However, the Roman Empire didn’t embrace beards until the 2nd century when Emperor Hadrian decided to grow one.
Men wore beards throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Medical beliefs of the time associated beards with bodily waste that was a direct result of sexuality. As a result, beards were seen as a sign of virility.
Beards went out of style during most of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Men wanted to look modern and were able to shave at home for the first time instead of having to visit a barber.
Beards made a comeback in the 1850s, as frontiersmen and explorers became symbols of masculinity. This beard trend lasted until the 1880s and beards were seen as something that old men would wear throughout the first half of the 20th century. It is worth noting that disposable razors became a thing in the 1920s, an essentially beardless decade.
Facial hair was linked to subcultures throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Young men would wear a beard as a way to show their independence and creativity. Beards and mustaches became more popular during the 1970s, as young men looked for ways to develop their own identity and break away from the clean-cut model set by their parents.
Beards were mostly out of style throughout the 1980s but made a bit of a comeback in the 1990s thanks to alternative artists. Teens and young men emulated the grunge look by growing a goatee, a soul patch or by simply wearing scruff.
Beards didn’t make a major comeback until 2007 with the ‘lumbersexual’ style and the hipster trend. Men seemed to lose interest in growing facial hair for a while until the current beard trend made its debut in 2012.
Here's a graph that shows the beard trend since 2004:
Is The Current Beard Trend Here To Stay?
The current beard trend is different from the previous ones. It isn’t tied to a specific generation or counter-culture, and there is an entire industry of beard grooming products that is quickly growing.
The current trend can be traced back to 2012 but didn’t come into full swing until 2013. Almost five years later, there is a real beard culture and men get a sense of pride from growing facial hair.
Corporate culture is still strongly set against facial hair, but a lot of newer companies take a different approach to structuring their workspace and don’t adopt a traditional dress code. Beards are present everywhere – including entertainment, professional sports, and of course, social media.
The end of the current beard trend has been predicted many times. People expect it to go out of style because this is what happened with bell-bottoms, oversized blazers, platform shoes and denim jackets. Why should beards be any different?
In April 2016, the Wall Street Journal wanted to know if the beard trend was over. The article concluded that the beard was still a popular style and that more men are opting for a look that requires maintenance rather than letting their facial hair grow wild.
The Independent expressed a similar concern in December of 2016. And yet here we are, at the start of 2018 and beards are still a thing. In fact, men are spending more time and money on grooming than ever before.
Christopher Oldstone-Moore, the author of ‘Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair’ offers an explanation as to why the current beard trend is not going anywhere. The reason behind the staying power of this trend could be the way beards are perceived.
Nowadays, people tend to see bearded men as ‘more mature, confident and reliable.’ These are traits that a woman would look for in a man, and also the qualities that a man would want to display in a social setting or even at work.
The Beard Styles That Are Hot Right Now
Men are getting increasingly creative with their facial hair as more grooming products become available. These are some of the most popular beard styles of the moment:
The Bandholz Beard
This is the style popularized by the owner of the company Bearbrand. The Bandholz style is basically a full beard that grows freely. The style is easily recognizable by the mustache connected to the beard.
The Garibaldi Beard
This style is somewhat similar to the Bandholz beard, but you will typically start trimming your beard once it reaches the 7” mark. More effort goes into trimming the mustache too.
The Uniform Beard
This style is ideal if you want a full beard but don’t want a lot of length. This is a style where the length is uniform and the mustache blends into the beard.
What if you can’t grow a long thick beard?
Stubble is no longer seen as a sign that you have been neglecting to shave. Many men wear their five o’clock shadow or even adopt longer stubble or wear stubble with a thicker mustache.
Short & Tapered
This is a style that works very well with haircuts with even defined lines.
You can achieve this look by shaving your sideburns close to the skin and having them blend with your haircut while keeping your beard and mustache at a uniform length.