Van Dykes and soul patches. Goatees and chin straps. Is there anything better than a beard? Hollywood doesn’t seem to think so. Everyone from George Clooney to Dwayne Johnson is growing out their inner scruff. There must be something to it! But is there more to beards than just a bit of facial fuzz? Do beards, in fact, give you a leg up on life? An edge on your competition?
We think so! But do the facts stack up? We hit the books and the web to find out. Here’s our conclusion:
You’ll be perceived as more dominant
That’s right! Men who grow a beard are perceived as older, stronger, and more aggressive than other males. Though, there’s no actual link to testosterone levels. Strangely, the cause of beard popularity may be linked to sociology. When the proportion of single men competing for women increases, beards and mustaches become more popular. Little wonder: beards set you apart from the crowd. That’s a definite edge in our book.
Not convinced yet?
The benefits might be even more powerful. In one study, eight men shaved their beards off, then grew them back. As their beards were regrowing, photos were taken and shown to 64 men and 64 women. The result: as they grew fuller, each man was rated as more mature, attractive, and healthy.
You’ll protect your skin
Skin damage comes from UV rays from the sun hitting your skin. Over time, the damage accumulates, risking cancer and more. It makes sense, therefore, that blocking the UV rays from hitting your skin prevents it from getting burnt and damaged. In the long run, it lowers your risk of cancer. It’ll also mean fewer wrinkles too!
But that’s not all. Some have even suggested that not shaving reduces your risk of acne. That makes intuitive sense. When you shave, you damage the underlying skin, and you spread bacteria across your face. Any open pores become a breeding ground for bacteria and other bugs. Nasty stuff! But, for those who don’t shave, their underlying skin is smooth and soft.
You can; they can’t
Why do we climb mountains? Why do we go to the Moon? Why do we try to scale the local streetlamp when we’re drunk on a Friday night? Well, in the words of the late great JFK, “we go not because it is easy, but because it is hard.” In short: we do it because we can.
Around a quarter of US males cannot grow facial hair, however. But you can. While we only have the dearest sympathy for our bald-faced brothers, we’re not going to go bare-faced in solidarity. Not when there’s a beard to grow.
It does give you a statistical advantage, though. Approximately 59% of women find beards more attractive. But only 33% of US males have a beard. That means if you’re one of the lucky few, you’ve got an instant leg up. Even in the gay community, beards are still popular: some studies suggest even more so.
So, whatever your preference, beards give you a definite edge.
Not grown a beard yet? Wondering whether to start or debating whether to shave your beard off? Consider this final thought: Hemmingway had a beard. That’s right. The oak-fisted writer, who brawled and fought in the Spanish Civil War. The ultimate man’s man. If that’s not an edge, we don’t know what is.