For several years now, facial hair has been enjoying a renaissance. From full-face beards to intricately-sculpted stubble, bristles are back in fashion of late and the clean-shaven style has taken a back seat.
But when there are so many forms of facial hair – from moustaches to mutton chops – how can you be sure that the style you’ve settled for is working for you?
Two years ago, a survey of 1,000 people found that women simply do not like facial hair as much as men. Whilst 75% of male respondents backed the beard, only 55% of women felt the same.
But men aren’t listening – and our love lives are suffering as a result.
“You need to get it right,” says Adam Brady, of award-winning Ruffians Barbers. “And, of course, this depends on personal preference to some extent – there are those who love the Jesus-style long hair and long beard combo. But, for others, it looks more dirty man than Messiah man.”
“The same can be said for the goatee and slicked back hair pairing,” Brady continues, “A bit ‘90s magician?
“However, there is one thing that everyone can agree on, and that’s trying to grow a beard when you simply don’t have the right facial hair growth is a terrible idea. I will make you look fluffy, a bit depressing, and just not worth the effort.”
Human Behaviour lecturer Tamsin Saxton has researched the social influence of facial hair in depth. She believes that although the way men view their own bristles is fairly constant, that facial hair’s effects on the fairer sex is less clean-cut.
“There’s good evidence that men with facial hair are perceived on average as being more aggressive and dominant than clean-shaven men,” says Saxton. “In contrast, there’s a lot of variation in whether women find facial hair attractive or not. It appears that men’s facial hair might have arisen under selective pressures to compete with other men, more than to attract women.”
Brady also reveals that wives and girlfriends who accompany their partners to the barber have, on occasion, even tried to put an end to the much-maligned facial hair whilst their men are in the chair.
“It doesn’t happen all the time, but usually the wife or girlfriend says that they want the beard trimmed shorter than the man wants.”
“But listen up men,” Brady warns the bushy-bearded out there, “your facial hair is getting too long!”