I was raised the old-fashioned way, some things were hard lessons taught to me by other people and some were picked up by using the power of observation. I would observe gentlemen older than me, and what I learned is that a man pretty much shaved every day. Shaving one’s face was not reserved for special occasions or job interviews, men shaved every day and there weren’t many exceptions to this rule. Much like tying a tie, learning to shave is a rite of passage for a man.
Necessity is the Mother of Invention
There was a time that you would have been looked down upon for going into work with two days of facial hair growth. If you kept facial hair it needed to be tidy, groomed and classifiable in the form of a moustache, goatee, or beard. In the early 1980’s Designer Stubble became popular and was catapulted into the mainstream by celebrities such as singer George Michael and actor Don Johnson. Designer Stubble provoked several companies to manufacture beard trimmers designed to empower any man to channel their inner George Michael or Don Johnson.
Enter the Beard Era
Fast forward 30 years and enter the Beard Era. Here in North America, I would say we’ve been deep in this movement for a few years now. Beards are extremely popular and mainstream. Many men are growing out their facial hair into well-managed glorious beards which have become a token of self-expression and some might even say manliness. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against beards, in fact I give you mad props for taking the time to grow such epic amounts of facial hair. I am also super envious of men that grow consistent facial hair and not end up with a patchy mess like I do.
What Inspired the Beard Era?
I think the Beard Era is a result of a combination of things. So many men in my age group (currently 37 at the time of writing this) have struggled with shave irritation from bad tools, bad process or bad technique, all of which I believe have helped contributed to the Beard Era. This was one of the reasons why I turned to Traditional Wet Shaving. In a way to reclaim manliness, the lumbersexual has replaced the metrosexual, using the beard as the preferred icon of self-expression. Some have attributed the Beard trend to laziness, which could be true for some, however I personally think you have to be incredibly disciplined to grow an epic beard… They can be really itchy! One could argue that the cost of razor cartridges alone has singlehandedly contributed to the Beard Era.
Are We Past Peak Beard?
Peak Beard!! Is that a real thing?!? Yes, it is and columnists, observers and trend spotters are noticing fewer beards at mainstream events. I bet you are thinking… is it someone’s job to count beards at concerts? Yes, it’s true. Some experts say that beards hit their peak back in 2013 and the clean-shaven look is slowly coming back.
Is clean-shaven back in style? I think over the next couple of years we will start to see a slow increase of clean-shaven men here in Canada. This is especially true as spring and summer set it, as removing the winter beard for the summer season is also popular because of the warmth. In my opinion clean-shaven never went out of style and will always remain classic.