We may have reached 'peak beard', warns study
Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014 8:33PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:49PM EDT
Whether you think of facial hair as a way to be lazy, a way to stick it to the man or a cool new fashion trend, the attractiveness may be wearing off. Mostly because they become less attractive to women if more men have them.
The study published in the journal Biology Letters suggests we may be reached ‘peak beard’. This means the full facial hair is no longer unusual enough to be attractive. Researchers at the University of New South Wales put a series of images in front of subjects, who were mostly women. When they showed them a series of bearded men and then a clean-shaven one, they were more likely to rate the clean shaven one as attractive. The same was also true for when they showed the subjects the clean shaven men and then the bearded guy.
“They are going strong,” says Brayden Simpson, a barber at Garrison’s By The Park Barbershop. Although he concedes that may have something to do with him living in the Queen West area of Toronto. “A lot of women like my beard, I get a lot of great compliments.”
Mark Wrzesniewski agrees saying about 60 to 70 per cent of women like his facial hair. Wrzesniewski took first place at the National Beard and Mustache Championships in Las Vegas for his Fu Manchu.
David Hughes, who is also on Beard Team Canada and a member of the Toronto Facial Hair Club with Wrzesniewski, puts that number at closer to 50/50, but says “I do much better with a beard.”
We assembled the three to see if the study findings were true, but also get to the bottom of some questions:
What actually constitutes a beard?
Wresniewski: “Once you go past the ‘I’m lazy’ stage.” He says once you start taking care of it and don’t rush to shave because you have to go back to work or your partner is coming home after a few days away, you have a beard.
Hughes: “When there is stubble.”
Simpson: “As soon as it’s long enough to leave the jaw line.”
What’s the line between dignified and duck hunter?
Hughes: “The moment people stop you on the street and want to take their picture with you.”
Simpson: “I think a lot of it is in the sides. The more unruly around the cheeks, the more the person will be like a duck hunter.”
Is having a beard still an act of rebellion or defiance?
Wresniewski: “It’s not a rebel thing. We just do it…Founding fathers of every country, they had beards and they had some weird stuff (like mutten chops to keep from dropping food in their beards)
Simpson: “I wouldn’t say people with a beard are defying anything. But some may think people are sticking it to the man to have a beard and wear a suit to work every day.”
Are people with beards less trustworthy?
Wresniewski: “That’s from the persona of people without beards. When we (club members) walk into a Home Depot, people walk up to us and ask questions.” He says there is a certain amount of authority and the more grey he has, the more respect he gets.
Are hipsters ruining the look?
Wresniewski: “There’s always a newby who wants to do something like this. For most of us, our beards grow differently, so we don’t care who grows one. If it suits you, I say go for it.”
Hughes: “I think hipsters made it really popular so they are probably going to stop growing them soon.”
Simpson: “I don’t think so. Hipsters are the embodiment of manly lumberjacks. They portray burly men.”
And if you think any of these men are being lazy by having a beard, think again. Hughes has three brushes, lotions and oils.