From carefully sculpted goatees and handlebar moustaches, to soul patches and mutton-chops, it’s fair to say that facial hair is firmly back in fashion – but what’s driving the trend?
As millions of men across the UK start growing their charity moustaches in aid of Movember, we look at why well-groomed facial hair has become so popular.
THE CYCLE OF FASHION
Perhaps the biggest reason for the recent resurgence in the popularity of facial hair was that after decades in the fashion wilderness, it was due a comeback!
As with clothes, baby names and hairstyles, facial hair fashion goes in cycles – young people want to set themselves apart from their parents’ style, and given enough time, old ideas, styles and fashions seem new again.
BEARDS THROUGHOUT HISTORY
This latest trend for well-kept facial hair is nothing new – a quick look through history shows that carefully styled beards, moustaches and sideburns have been going in and out of fashion forever.
It was probably the Romans that brought the fashion for a clean-shaven face or close trimmed to Britain, which was later replaced the Saxon and Viking fashions for a fuller beard.
Following the conquest in 1066, the Norman fashion for a clean-shaven face became popular, but by Tudor times, beards had become so popular that both Henry VIII, and Elizabeth I introduced beard taxes to capitalise on the trend for facial fuzz!
The iconic pointy ‘Vandyke’ beard found seen in so many 17th century portraits was a mainstay in the Civil War, but by the 18th century, beards were firmly out, replaced by a new fashion for shorter hair a clean shaven face.
The Victorian Period saw facial hair come to the fore again, with long side-whiskers, full moustaches and bushy mutton-chops all in vogue.
Throughout the second half of the 20th century, facial hair gradually fell out of fashion – and after a brief resurgence by the moustache in the 1980s, facial hair virtually disappeared until its recent revival.
OTHER DRIVING FORCES
Apart from fashion cycles, could Movember (and spinoff events like Decembeard) be a driving force behind the popularity of facial hair?
Too many young men, Movember marks their first foray into facial hair, and plenty of them get so attached to their moustaches that they decide to keep them long after the end of the month, or begin experimenting with other styles.
There are a lot of positives to having a well-kept beard, less time spent shaving, a feeling of masculinity, and even extra warmth during the colder months – and once they’ve tried it once, many men simply don’t want to go back!
So are we set for a furry future, or has the beard backlash begun, and is facial hair doomed to follow the mullet (which is definitely due a comeback!) into the annals of fashion history?
Earlier in the year, some fashion pundits began to declare the trend over, and scientists debated over whether or not we had reached ‘Peak Beard’.
Looking around, we reckon any predictions of the demise of facial hair were a little premature – whilst big, bushy beards may be on the way out, the latest trend has proven that there’s definitely a place for well-groomed facial hair.
THE RIGHT BATHROOM CARPET FOR A BEARD
Whether you like a well-manicured beard, or a cleanly-shaven face, maintaining the look can be a messy job, leaving your bathroom surfaces and floor littered with hairs.
Whether you’re a big fan of the beard or prefer the look of a cleanly shaven lip, November is the time to put your preferences to one side, and get behind those growing moustaches for Movember to change the face of Men’s health.
Visit http://uk.movember.com/ for more information on how you can help.