The number of razor sales is steadily decreasing, and razor manufacturers are blaming the ‘long beard’ trend, which does not seem to be disappearing. Currently, the popularity of the long beard is at its highest since the end of World War I. Psychologists and hairdressers reveal why the beard is still fashionable, and how it makes a man impressive.
Between the 1910's and the 1960's, most men in the United States and Europe would never consider growing any kind of hair on their face. In the 1960's, the hippie movement took off, and the beard became a symbol of nonconformism. Nevertheless, the beard was met with hostility in banks and corporations, and white-collar workers still had to be neatly shaven. The hipster subculture of the first decade of the 21st century brought the Long Beard back, but it was the 2013 American Academy Awards ceremony that revealed that many Hollywood stars had also long abandoned the razor blade and the shaving cream. We can no longer blame Long Beard Fashion on the hipsters, when George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hugh Jackman are also culpable.
That same year passed under the symbol of the beard, and not a neat Van Dyck but rather, a full lumberjack one. Lawyers, bank tellers, investment advisors, actors, and even soccer players, who had been clean-shaven until then, started to invest their diligence into the care of their beards.
In 2014, after razor manufacturers discovered a drop in sales, cautious recommendations to shave the beards began making their way to hipsters, because there were too many of them, and uniformity detracts from men’s charm.
This claim was made by researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. During the experiment, they presented men and women with pictures of men with different degrees of facial hair: from neatly-shaven to thick-bearded. Following the experiment, it became clear that both neatly-shaven men and ones with beards that covered their faces up to their eyes appear impressive, on condition that their appearance is unique.
The researchers explained the results of the experiment through an evolutionary phenomenon called “negative frequency-dependent choices”: it assumes that beards become trendy only when a small number of men have them; after the trend reaches its peak (which they expected to happen in 2015), it disappears.
And yet, the trend did not disappear; 2016 has commenced, and beards are still here.
They are giving business to barbers, while Gillette and Schick are wishing for a hot summer, hoping bearded men would regret their decision and begin to shave. It does not matter that the voice of the hipsters, the website Mashable, announced the death of the beard trend. Ever since lawyers and financiers stopped shaving, the beard is not attributed solely to the hipster. Regardless of what the fashion gurus may say, men adorned with beards and wearing elegant suits will continue riding their bicycles and motorcycles on the streets of Milan and other fashion centers. Why persuade them to shave if they look so good?
Scientists have even managed to offer a new explanation: they now believe that the beard is a sign of social influence. This is what has been claimed according in a new study at the University of Western Australia: this study compared men’s beards to the features of a number of members of the animal kingdom, and came to the conclusion that the beards are as trendy to men as long noses are to proboscis monkeys or a red face to the rhesus macaque. The more prominent the feature, the more attractive it is among its own species.
However, this explanation does not match the results of the study preceding it (even though the previous study was also Australian), and it determined that women find medium length stubble most impressive, and that men with full beards look like good fathers.