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19th November 2014

To beard or not to beard?

Should you join in with the buzz around beards or fight the fuzz and stay clean-shaven? Kathryn Murray helps you decide

The beard. A staple fashion statement seen on university campuses everywhere. In fact, some may say that it is this year’s hottest men’s fashion accessory with  almost half (42 per cent) of us believing it is “fashionable for men to have beards.”

Once mature enough to leave home for university, males feel the need to grow a beard. But just because they can, doesn’t mean that they should. For starters, not every man actually suits the look. Some look great with a bit of facial hair. For example, Beckham and Clooney look as good with a beard as they do without one, while Ben Affleck rocks facial foliage so impressively that it is now difficult to imagine him clean-shaven.

Then you have the men who attempt a beard, but should probably just give up that dream. On instance of this is Brad Pitt who has always struggled to stay fanciable with facial hair, as does Tom Hardy whose beard has been described as a “hobo horror.” Not attractive. Personally, I am not a fan of the beard. It is itchy and scratchy and a bit generic.

Striking the balance between a beard that is too scruffy and a beard that is overly neat is challenging. And then you have to match your beard shape to your face shape. While pointy ones make long faces look longer, fat, bushy ones only make round faces look rounder. Sometimes, a beard throws everything out of kilter. This is why it takes so much confidence to pull off the bearded look.

Does this mean 21st century men are extremely confident? This year we have reached what fashion historians are calling “peak beard.” Trendy bushy beards, goatees and designer stubble have shaved an incredible £72 million off men’s grooming products in the last year.  Not only does this mean that beards are more popular than ever, it also implies that beards are on their way out of fashion.

So now is your chance. Should you beard? Or should you not beard? Here is a quick quiz to help you decide:

Do you look about 12?

If yes—beard. Facial hair always makes their owner look older.

Does your beard grow patchy?

If yes—don’t beard. Nobody wants to colour in your patchy fluff.

Does your facial hair match your hair colour?


If not, does your beard grow ginger?

Don’t beard. A colour mix and match head is not the best look.

Would  your beard constitute bum fluff at best?

If yes—don’t beard, ever.

Do you have a weak chin?

If yes—beard. You can handily disguise this by adding some manly stubble.

Will you care enough to trim and clean your beard?

If yes, then—beard. Nobody likes a wiry crumby beard to look at.

After answering these questions do you still want a beard?

If yes—give it a go! It might transform your life. You could be the next heartthrob. Growing a beard requires a commitment. The initial stages are rough, but stick it out and see what happens.

If you decide against the beard, then don’t worry. Do you really want to commit to the trend that died when Jeremy Paxman jumped on the beardy band wagon?

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