Last week, we discussed the emergence of the beard movement. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and with every rise in popularity comes the inevitable fall that follows. Here we discuss the rise and fall of the beard.
From professional offices to your nearest hipster hangout, it’s clear that beards have pervaded popular culture. A facial hair style that was once taboo for working men has become the go-to grooming choice for millions. However, it seems beards have reached a saturation point. BBC News calls it ‘peak beard’. The more popular beards become, the less attractive they seem. Though you might not notice it in your Instagram feed, this cultural shift started in 2014 and seems poised to grab hold this year.
Public relations guru James Gordon-MacIntosh reaffirmed the death of beards in an opinion piece for PR Week. “While it may become a bit neater in the professional quarters of major cities, the beard is here to stay for a good six months before it starts an inevitable decline,” he said. This was in January. So, the death of the beard could happen at any moment. In fact, beard culture could be dying a slow, painful death as we speak.
What’s next? The polar opposite. The ‘beard boom’ is inspiring legions of men to look to the past for inspiration. Expect the guy next door to ditch the lumberjack whiskers and embrace a clean-shaven face. There are tons of reasons behind the switch.
Call it beard backlash. A couple years ago, there were studies released which proved women were most attracted to bearded men. But other studies have since surfaced with less desirable results. The Independent reports that men with beards are more likely to be viewed as sexist. And they could be carrying around harmful bacteria on their chins. Manliness aside, no guy wants to be viewed as a chauvinist or an incubator for disease.
Additionally, men are realizing the benefits of a clean-shaven face. For starters, a beard can be a professional roadblock in more conservative industries. For guys in finance or law, the office dress code tends to be strict. Facial hair is usually an indication that you don’t take your job seriously. A clean-shaven face gives you a competitive edge.
And all those studies saying men with beards are more attractive? It turns out the findings were a bit misleading. Women actually preferred light stubble to beards. So, that full Gandalf doesn’t provide an advantage in the office or on Tinder.
Plus, going clean-shaven these days helps you stand out from the crowd. Your morning shave could be the ultimate confidence booster for your career, your dating life, and your individuality.
This shift back to clean-shaven faces has also led to an increase in use of cosmetic products. Without a beard as a distraction, there’s more of a focus on clear skin. From concealer to anti-aging serum to oil cleanser, men are developing more comprehensive skincare routines. The focus is so intense that two men were recently named ambassadors for global beauty brands.
The future of men’s grooming previews a stark contrast to the last few years. By early 2018, expect to see all those beards replaced by smooth cheeks and flawless skin. The ‘beard boom’ has officially come to an end.