The Beard: Fact or Fiction

Benjamin Peck

Let’s face it; fads come and go, styles come and go, opinions sway this way and that. One constant, throughout human history, however, is the beard. Now, while facial-fuzz has had varied levels of popularity throughout the ages, a good beard has always remained an impressive status on our faces, and no matter how long they stay “Out” in terms of fashion, they always manage to grow back in.

Currently, facial hair is making a striking comeback. So much so, in fact, that the hygiene industry has exploded with new products to keep our fuzz from being too frizzy. Between shampoos, oils, and much more, the Beard Grooming industry is expected to grow up to a 1-billion-dollar industry by 2023.

Even with the exploding market, however, there are some stereotypes of our fuzzy-fibers that can give them a bad rep. So, let’s explore those myths and see how they hold up.

Myth #1: It’s just the latest fad.

Hipster with beard

This one is pretty easy to take apart. While it’s true beards have become exceptionally popular in the past few years, beards have been fashionable throughout history. Many conquerors and historical figures sported beards; the significant figures in many major religions are depicted with wild whiskers; since the earliest days of fantasy some of our favorite characters in magical fiction has been the people of the Dwarven race, often seen sporting luxurious, braided, and enviously long beards; and no matter what era you’re from, a good beard just looks good and we can’t help but admire them!

Myth #2:  Beards grow back THICKER after shaving.

Thick beard blue eyes

As nice as it would be to just shave and wait patiently for a glorious, thick, full mane to sprout from your face, it doesn’t quite work that way. In fact, regular shaving can make the hairs that grow back dull and course, leading to that sandpapery feel that nobody really wants. The good news is, even if you’ve been shaving most of your life, the growing Beard Grooming industry offers a variety of affordable products to shop around that can help your bristles become a beard.

Myth #3: Beards make the summers even hotter.

Summer heat beard

It’s not a very large jump to assume that having a bunch of fuzz on your face could make your head hotter, thus making the summers even more unbearable. Fortunately, a beard can actually help keep your face cool! By providing a natural barrier between your skin and the sun, your face is less prone to sunburn. Your beard provides natural shade at all times. 

Myth #4: Beards collect germs, but a shaven face is clean.

Beard germs man

In 2015 several media sources cited a study that swabbed random, bearded men and compared the amount of bacteria found to be “equivalent to what you find on a public toilet.” Naturally, many people rushed to the shower and grabbed a razor, but before YOU do here are some other facts that can put this myth to bed, where it belongs.

First of all, they did not cite swabbing any “clean-shaven” faces, thus having nothing to compare their findings with. The bacteria found was considered “Normal”, as in it wasn’t anything different than the bacteria you’d find on a clean-shaven face. In fact, another study done in 2014 that swabbed BOTH shaven and bearded faces found little to no difference in the amount, or kind, of bacteria.

Secondly, bacteria finds its way in all sorts of places, and while we don’t want to have an abundance of it, a little bacteria helps strengthen our immune system. So it seems that unless you just rolled around in a pile of mud in the middle of a farm, your manly mane is no more clean, or unclean, than a smoothly shaven face.

Myth #5: You need to shave for a job interview.

Beard job interview

I won’t lie, this is a rule I lived by for about eight years. I’d shave any time I needed to apply for a new job or promotion, and then let it grow to a certain extent. In the last few years, however, I decided I would simply trim the particularly stubborn hairs, bath just before my interview, and applied some balm to give myself a nice, clean-gentlemen look. My success spoke for itself!

In fact, most places you go for work these days will likely have several employees working on their beards! You may even be interviewed by a bearded gentleman. There are exceptions, of course, such as the military, police force, some government positions as well. Food establishments may have requirements such as a beard net, same principle as a hair net, too. But for the most part, companies choose the phrase “a well-groomed appearance” in their dress code. So as long as you don’t look like a caveman fresh out of the ice, you’re more than hire-able!

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