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Oct 14, 2010

Beards -- yea or nay?


Friends, how do you feel about beards?

Facial hair is one of those things that go in and out of mainstream and alternative fashion regularly.  (When it's "out" in the former it's usually "in" in the latter. )

We seem to be witnessing a major beard resurgence where I live, especially among the hip and hirsute.


Through the decades I've tried all kinds of beard variations.  About fifteen years ago it seemed every man was sporting a goatee.  And being the fashion conformist I am, I jumped on the bandwagon.



I've tried all kinds of variations: just mustache, mustache with soul patch -- you name it.





Ever since I started shaving my head ten years ago, I've believed I look better with a few days' scruff.  Sometimes I even leave it for weeks.  After a while though, it usually feels heavy and looks a little "patchy" and I clip it back. 

Some people look strange without a beard.



Others look like they're trying just a little too hard to toughen up a pretty face.  I hope I don't fall into this category, folks.



And then there's Sean Connery.  Perfect, right?


It definitely flatters (and balances) a bald or shaven pate, no?


As I mentioned yesterday, I've gotten interested in old-fashioned shaving rituals of late --  the double-edged safety razor, the badger brush, the soap, the mug, etc.  We'll see how that works.  But until it gets under way, I'm looking like this...


Readers, what's your take?  Do you like the way beards look or are they simply too Grizzly Adams for the modern world?  Do you like any facial hair or do you prefer your men clean-shaven?  Can you live with a mustache and well-groomed soul patch?

Male readers, do you have a beard?  Have you ever had a beard?

How about on me?   I like it in theory but I'm not sure it truly flatters.  Cathy, on the other hand, says that as long as I have a beard, she's outta here. 

I want to hair from you!  (Any beard memories you wish to share?)

65 comments:

  1. I prefer my man shaved. Two days' scruff is okay but if he wants some serious kissing, he has to go shave.

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  2. Shaved, but only cause I'm selfish. Beards are too scratchy for my sensible skin when kissing. But if I don't have to kiss the feller (sounds like kissing would be a punishment- it really isn't), than I prefer the three day beard. Looks a little bit more badass.

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  3. I love beards, they show more commitment to a style than a mustache. Of course they are hip right now so in the future when I look back on pictures of them I'll probably roll my eyes. But I'm a gal who likes to live in the moment as well as in the testosterone.

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  4. I love facial hair in general. I have always preferred my husband with a full beard although he generally prefers a goatee. He alternates between them so we're both happy. Some guys certainly look funny when they try to grow a mustache or beard (my brother is almost 30 and still can't grow a 'stache to save his life)but others look fantastic with them. I grew up watching too much Magnum P.I. and my dad always had a mustache so I think I was doomed to prefer at least a little facial hair.

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  5. Would you believe I sometimes don't notice when my husband shaves his beard or doesn't? Sad. I think you were right about half-way through the blog--some people look good, some don't. Some can grow into it though. For instance, Zac's is growing on me, and I think in a few years it won't seem so weird to people and he'll wear it well. It looks good on his face. The problem is just he's so young.

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  6. I'm firmly on the side of - it depends. On how well the beard is kept, the person's face/hair, how well the person can grow facial hair, etc. If it's unkempt - YUCK! Some men can't grow a beard until they are well into their 20's, otherwise it comes in skimpy in areas, so no for them also. Some men just look better in a beard due to face shape. As far as scratchy when smoochin', if I recall correctly, it was only an issue for the first week or so (it's been a while since the DH grew a beard).

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  7. My husband has had a beard for the 22 years we have been together. He just lets it grow and when it gets too long or I nag him to near death, he shaves it...then starts the growing all over again. There are usually 2-3 clean shaven days out of 365. He is a very handsome man IMHO and I believe the beard does not do anything for him. I love the smell of aftershave...he does not use that either. I remember as a young girl fondly watching my father shave every day. I guess I miss the ritual of it all. So a big fat NAY for me on beards.

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  8. I have tried various styles-longer beard, very trimmed beard, goatee. My wife and daughter couldn't stand it so I just shaved it off. I am right on the fence myself too. I like both.

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  9. My Dad went quite Amish for a while there and shocked my friends when he shaved it off! For you I think Lamb Chops.

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  10. Normally, I prefer some sort of beard, but its shape and length should depend on the wearer's facial bone structure.

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  11. Nessa, do you mean "mutton chops"? ;)

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  12. I think the answer is a firm 'it depends'. My father had an awkward chin and it looked better covered in hair. My boyfriend can only really grow a goatee (the rest of his facial hair never gets thick) and it looks really good on him.
    You Peter have a nice jawline and a strong chin... You don't NEED a beard. But Maybe a handle bar mustache?


    Although I do like the way dudes look with a little stubble. Yum. :)

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  13. I have my goatee literally by accident. I fell off a ladder 15 years ago and ended up with 8 stitches under my chin. Shaving was out. Now I can't imagine myself without facial hair, and the whiter it gets the more I love it! Oh, and Sean Connery...WOOF!

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  14. The guys in the first pic look Amish to me! (I grew up around an Amish community.) It's not a look that I like.

    I can't believe you had a patch for a time. Oh, Peter.

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  15. Generally, I don't care for facial hair. But for some men (like Abe and Johnny in the pictures above) it can enhance their face shape.

    Gray beards can be aging on an otherwise youthful face. That's not a problem but if you want to appear youthful, it's something to be mindful of.

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  16. My boyfriend has a fairly short beard and moustache. And long hair, by the way. Even if he wanted to shave off his beard (which he doesn't), I wouldn't let him. It works wonders for hiding a weak chin.
    My younger brother grew his (rather unkempt) beard to battle his baby-face and for him, it works. Although he should really keep it a bit neater.

    Generally, I think lots of men look better with some form of facial hair but, like hairstyles, it's all about finding out which look works for you.

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  17. I'm not a fan of truly big beards unless they're on the members of ZZ Top. But I adore goatees. They can make just about any male face seem mysterious and mischievous!

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  18. Love the soul patch and mustache on you! I like goatees; large beards freak me out a little.

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  19. I fall into the "it depends" camp. Depends on the man and the beard/'stache. But I definitely do not like full beards w/o a mustache, a la Honest Abe. Nor eccentric mustaches.

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  20. I applaud your plunge into old-school shaving! I switched the husband about a year and a half ago and he loves it. He finds it much more pleasant and get a far better result. Best of all -- the whole kit costs about what 1 months worth of modern blades cost. After that, it's practically free.

    #1 tip - get yourself a blade sampler and try them all -- blades are quite personal. Don't just keep buying whatever comes with your razor. (Probaby shark, which are fine but not the best imho.)

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  21. For you? Yes. Something in the style of Jean Reno, for example :-)

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  22. I like facial hair on a guy.
    However, I do work with a guy who sports a ZZ Top beard and I think it's hideous.
    I am an avid follower of Andrew Sullivan's blog and have noticed that beards are discussed a lot on his blog lately. Not sure I like Andrew's beard, though. Might be a tad bushy.
    I prefer the scruffy, 3 day stubble, but whatever floats your boat.
    Mermie

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  23. I love the big curly beard in the bottom illustration. Do that one! Invest heavily in mustache wax!

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  24. My fiance swears by the mug, soap and brush method. He likes that the soap is a little waxy and says that he can get a closer shave. Shaving soap is also a lot lot cheaper than cream. One bar of shaving soap will last him a year.

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  25. I have a mustache. Well, sometimes, when I haven't been paying close attention, I do.

    I used to think older women with facial hair just didn't care how they looked - now I realize they probably just couldn't SEE it (you know, like me).

    On men, I love it all - beards, goatees, mutton chops (well, not so much that one, but it's the look my son occasionally sports, so I guess I need to try and like it). But, yeah, no, not on Zac Ephron. Now that you mention it, that guy is way too pretty for hair there.

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  26. Sorry, that should have read Zac *Efron*. Wish I knew who he was...

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  27. A short, neatly trimmed beard is the sexiest thing in the world, and I'd be hard pressed to date a man without facial hair.

    For you, I like the stubbly look you've been sporting.

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  28. I like to look at a good beard. I don't like to live with them... urk. I have two hairy old hippie brothers. They have recently become silverbacks, and I have lost the love for their beards. Their sons have taken up the cause. They all wear beards because they are extremely hairy and have delicate skin, so there is no patchy skin showing through. Even though shaving is a dangerous activity for them, their beards are groomed and styled. When they do shave, they use a variety of clippers, and electric razors. Blades are a last resort.

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  29. I like my husband's beard. It's "short and neatly trimmed" (as a previous commenter wrote.) He grew it twenty years ago because he's the sort that has five o'clock shadow an hour after he's shaved. Every week he trims it and shaves the edges.

    Good luck with that razor you showed yesterday. I remember shaving my legs with one of those --best shave I've ever had but also the worst cuts from shaving.

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  30. A beard that is "short and neatly trimmed" can look great. No Grisly Adams, please! Also, keep it following the natural hairline, no strange experiments that scream "student" or "unsuccessful artist."

    A full beard that is kept short and neat often sets off a man's cheekbones and eyes. A good look, I think. You look just right in your final picture.

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  31. Agreed with Mainely Dad about Sean Connery. He looks better today with his salt-and-pepper beard than he did when he was younger. Well-groomed is the key for facial hair, and yes, it does balance a shaved head. Crop rotation!

    Don't think I'd recognize my husband without his moustache. He's had one since college (long before I knew him), so he might not recognize himself, either! lol

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  32. I can totally go on a spill about beards. My daddy had/has one. His dad didn't. Most guys I dated didn't but the man I have now does. Not every man can grow a beard and not every man should. I've even known seen a man that looks best with a beard. That man looked friendly with a beard and creepy without it. If the man can grow a "proper" beard, then it needs some shape to it to accent his face. My man looks good with or without a beard, but I have terms. If he's going to have it, then it needs to be no longer than a certain length (2-3") and follow (parallel to) his jawline. I did not like his long, cartoonym unshaped beard. It is like women wearing makeup, not everything looks good on everyone. In the first picture you have on this post, the guy on the left is doing it right. The guy on the right/red-beard is doing it wrong. Johnny Depp should give up trying to grow facial hair. Your mustache makes you look French. However, you look very handsome with your full beard. It may need some shaping by your cheek, but whatever. Stay away from the soul-patch/flavor-saver, please. Other than that, shake things up and try out whatever you darn well please. Have fun!

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  33. I like a close cut beard on the right guy. You look great with a moustache, btw! (The absolute most tricky facial hair to pull off. Like 1 in 50 can get away with it.)

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  34. Beards; beauuuutiful. But, the don't look good on everyone. It depens on the shape of the face. You have a very nice shape, I think you look better without it.
    The tree-days-beard is nice on you, though.
    Isabel

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  35. For Cathy's sake maybe just a few days growth? She may be opinionated but it wouldn't be the same without her.

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  36. I am pro-mustache, pro-mutton chops, pro-beard.

    I am anti-soul patches and anti-goatee

    (of course, it all depends on the face of course.)

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  37. I like a shaved fella, but I've got sensitive skin and stubble literally hurts me when I'm smoochin'.

    You, however, rock at facial hair! Mysterious and bad-boy in a mustache + soul patch, dapper in two day's scruff. I like the way this is going! Keep growing. You can always shave later.

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  38. Since most, if not all of your readers are women, I assume this question is geared toward what women like on their men. Since that is all she can control.

    My vote with my man is a scruffily shaven with that Ike Turner thing right under the lower lip. But just on my current king. I have had other preferences with other kings.

    I'm Black and I tend to only date Black men. Black men, to me, look better with facial hair. There is something very "sell out" about a Black man with NO facial hair. And 'sell out' is not cool.


    Peace

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  39. I like beards. My husband has a beard, most of the men I've dated have beards... my friends call it "Jessica's lumberjack fetish." I do agree that beards look strange on a man who otherwise has a baby face, but otherwise I say yay!

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  40. One more vote for "it depends". Appearance-wise, it depends on the style and how it complements the face, the quality of the facial hair, and the attention spent on grooming.

    It also depends on the impression a man would like to make - conservative and well-groomed facial hair can work in most environments, but "statement" hair makes a statement, which is fine as long as one accepts that everyone in your line of sight sees your statement and will interpret it through their own lens. The beard-without-mustache look doesn't make me think of the Amish, it makes me think of Ska Punk culture, which makes me think of skinheads (there was an overlap in my SoCal community).

    Mast Brother #1 looks alright - too much beard for me personally, but he looks well-groomed and sort of New England-ish. Mast Brother #2, with the glasses and the bushier beard, looks like he has too many head accessories. I feel like I can't see HIM, only his costume.

    Personally, I'm attracted to clean-cut guys. Squeaky clean. Sixties NASA engineer clean. (Handsome, scruffy bad boys are sometimes fun to look at, but only from across the room.) Hubby sometimes grows a 'stache or goatee or whatever, but I'm in this for the long haul, so I just grin and bear it until he gets sick of it and shaves it off.

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  41. I'm pro beards! It's really a kind of accessory for men so they should get really work it. It's a bit like glasses, they can change the shape of your face and the way your face in general looks. My boyfriend has a goatee. i've seen him once without it and I was crying to put it back on, but unfortunately it has to grow and it takes a while for it to get back, unlike glasses. :)

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  42. If you look good without a beard, then none. If however, you look like my ex husband, (who had a beard then shaved it off one day revealing his Howdy Doody face), then for the love of God, grow a beard!

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  43. No beard unless it's big Tam (Sean). Goatees however are a different story - they really float my boat on the right men.

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  44. I don't care for them. What does Michael think?

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  45. seems to me that a beard emphasizes the jaw line, and you do not need to emphasize yours. I'd rather see you clean shaven.

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  46. I'm rather partial to facial hair on my men. I recently cut off my beard and starting going for a big stache ... I recommended a beard or goatee for ease of maintenance ... I never had to groom my hair this much when I had it

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  47. if you have facial hair, FGS keep it clean. Nothing worse than a dirty beard/mustache or one that is stained and discolored, and /or smelly. That's my $.02.

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  48. My husband has a kind of medium-length beard and I love it. He initially grew it because he had folliculitis and the doc said not to shave for awhile. It's been more than a year now. He's the kind of guy who has a five-o'clock shadow five minutes after he shaves and it HURTS when I nuzzle. His beard is MUCH more pleasant than his stubble.

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  49. I love beards, on myself and other men. I love the feel when smooching. Shaved men feel like sandpaper.

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  50. When it comes to beards I am definitely in the 'Depends'section.

    As a rule, I think beards make men look more mature - so for the young cream-cheeked sort, a beard can be a good thing - if he chooses a shape that flatters his face.

    On the other hand, I have frequently seen men grow 10 years younger when shaving off a huge gorsebush-type beard.

    I have one absolute tho - a beard must be well groomed and not too long - else it just looks as if he just can't be bothered.

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  51. Peter, I really like that current look on you! Lawdy, maybe it's because I just turned 40 or something but a little grey in a little facial hair... I like.

    On another note, "soul patch"? THAT's what those things are called? I always just called them a shaving problem.

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  52. Hi Peter, I think it depends on the person, I agree trying to toughen up a baby face with a beard is laughable and doesn't work, I have had a goatee in the past, probably about the same time you did, mine made me look like an escaped Spanish convict! Now I tend to sport 3 or 4 days stubble apart from on my neck, have a soul patch too, sometimes I leave it to grow more, other days I shave it back, just depends on what I'm doing etc.
    Love the blog btw:-)

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  53. i like a man with a beard, or any type of groomed facial hair. my honey currently has a goatee, and has had a full beard in the past. i prefer it, otherwise he looks like he's 12. now that he shaves his head, it balances things out nicely.

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  54. My dad had a bushy beard most of my life. I never really like it. My second serious boyfriend had a moustache pretty much since I met him in grade 9; when he shaved it one day I nearly passed out, it was SO not 'him'. I usually stuck with clean faces after/before that, but then one lover grew a goatee during our relationship and I fell in love. Don't want no stubble though. I can't convince my husband to grow a proper goatee :(

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  55. The hipster bushy beard boys are killing me these days. Sometimes I marvel, sometimes I giggle, sometimes I shudder. Seldom do I swoon.

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  56. I'm a huge fan of beards. I loathe goatees, however.

    I much prefer my boyfriend with scruff. I've never seen him with a full beard though because he busks, and he has this theory that nobody will give him money if he looks scruffy, so he shaves every Saturday morning before heading off to the market.

    Men With Beards Eating Cupcakes is the ultimate hipstergirl porn.

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  57. I do not like facial hair. Every once in awhile my 40'ish son grows a goatee and I think it looks terrible. ;-) He,s so good looking without it.

    When I was in my 40's my SO scratched me with a very clean 2 day old scruff and I landed in the hospital with antibiotic IV due to a staph infection on my face a couple weeks after. My immune system was compromised at the time.

    I vote no. ;-) Just my preference.

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  58. I agree with you that the Sean Connery style beard and mustache is perfect with a balding crown. My honey had a scratchy little mustache when I met him, not enough to balance his glorious extended forehead. After a few days growth on a long weekend, I took my eyeliner pencil and drew on his face with the instructions, "Don't shave past here." I also told him to let his mustache come in a little softer. The result was (is) magnificent. It is especially cute with his wire rim glasses and collection of hats, which include porkpie, fedora, panama, greek fisherman and newsboy cap. Très handsome!

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  59. beards and facial hair always make me double take.
    so yes, facial hair=good
    preferably beards
    or styled mustaches.

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  60. I've had my mustache since I was 15. I'm not a fan of beards but I'll occasionally have a soul patch. My friends used to make fun of me because of my mustache.

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  61. Oh my god! Clean shaven Lincoln looks like a demon from a horror movie.

    I thin it depends on the individual face, it's the same as hairstyles, some things look good on some faces and some don't.
    I think you look better clean shaven, it would be terrible to cover up any part of that smile of yours.

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  62. It all depends on the face, as some men look right with a beard while others don't. It also depends on how well a man's facial hair actually grows, since a thin, patchy beard isn't terribly flattering on anyone.

    Personally, I hate the way I look without a beard. And as for the complaints of scratchiness I see from some of the ladies on here, it's worth noting that if you let your men grow past that short scruff phase the hair softens especially if he conditions it) and that issue will largely disappear.

    From the looks of your pictures, I think a short beard or goatee would suit you well.

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