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To Beard or not to beard?

Matt Harvey

Recent media seems to be shifting in the direction that the beard is over, had its run, and is on the way to raising the white flag. However, taking a quick look around, your counterparts might lead one to rethink this opinion.

After all a beard can keep a man warm during a cold Canberra winter, provide an image of masculinity and add a few years of illusionary wisdom to those baby-faced ones. Not to mention, research has shown women rated men as more fatherly if they are sporting a beard.

Another factor is once you have a beard, it’s hard to let it go. Just like the Roman Colosseum, your beard won’t grow in a day. Parallel to a relationship there will be ups and downs, doubts, and room for emotional cheating. Even if you do the unthinkable and shave you might feel instant regret (that will fuel a quick regrowth and a holiday until you at least have stubble).

However, a clean-shaven face can be just as sexy and portray an image of a man who takes care of himself, exuding professionalism and a sensual side that might lead to a longing thought of what that smooth chin and face feel like up close. In an increasing metrosexual society, men are also taking the time to care for their skin and what better way is there to show your immaculate pores then revealing a fresh shave?

Current media trends try to stir us one way or another – telling us beards are dirty, potentially containing fecal matter and bacteria. Others seem to debunk these mentioning that equal amounts of bacteria are found with those who are cleanly shaven, claiming the same bacteria are found on everyday surfaces and objects like fruits and vegetables.

Lastly is the debate of whether beards are still a hipster icon? The main argument being if the hipster is ever changing and anti-conformist how can a beard stay?

So where does all of this leave us?

We checked in with the local experts and the founder of the Dollar Beard Club to see what they think…

HIS_CBR

From left to right: Michael (Boys 2 Men Hair Studio), Karan (Barbero), Craig (The Barber Shop), Adam (Axis Hairdressing) and Chris (The Dollar Beard Club).

Barbero Professional Barbers & Stylists {City}

Karan voices, “The beard is still here for a while. There are numerous beard enthusiasts in Canberra. Even looking at Melbourne you can see that the image of the hipster including the beard still exists.”

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Beard Growing Tips from Karan

  1. Let your barber trim your beard.
  2. Keep it clean using shampoos and conditioners.
  3. Brush it every day to get the dead hair out.

The essentials
Where: 143 London Circuit, Canberra City
When: Phone Karan for opening hours.
Phone: 0431 528 567
Web: Find them on Facebook.

The Barber Shop, {QT, NewActon}

Craig argued, “It really depends on the person. Those who were growing a beard as part of a trend might be getting rid of it… but some people have grown so attached to their beard they value it as more than a trend.”

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The essentials
Where: QT Canberra, NewActon
When: 10am-6pm Tuesday to Saturday
Phone: (02) 6267 1267
Web: www.qtcanberra.com.au/barber-shop

Axis Hairdressing {Braddon}

Adam gives us a historical standpoint and shares that “beards were a symbol of rebellion and affluence in different fashion eras throughout the 1800s… (However) today’s beards are also rebellious, stubble gone mad, unlike in the 1800s where beards were well groomed, they are intentionally grown out of control.”

Therefore to answer the question, “Well kept groomed facial hair will always be current and timeless, however the lumberjack look of the ‘hipster’ was never fashionable, just a fad that is now done, dusted, gone.”

Beard growing tips from Gianni at Axis

  1. Keep a neckline that matches your style and facial attributes.
  2. Keep your moustache well trimmed, to expose your lips.

The essentials
Where: 131/24 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
When: 11am-6pm, Tuesday and Thursday; 9am-6pm Wednesday and Friday; and 9am-4pm Saturday.
Phone: (02) 6247 1833
Web: www.axishair.com.au

Boys 2 Men Hair Studio {City}

Michael mentions that he “still sees beards trending on Instagram, Facebook and other forms of social media. And because Canberra is a little behind…they’re here to stay for now.”

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Beard Growing Tips from Michael

  1. Comb it out every day.
  2. Don’t listen to women.

The essentials
Where: 31 London Circuit, Civic
When: 9am-6pm Monday to Thursday; 10am-8.30pm Friday; and 10am-3pm Saturday
Phone: (02) 6257 7009
Web: Find them on Facebook.

The Dollar Beard Club {online}

Chris, from The Dollar Beard Club, shares, “I’ve heard people say beards are a trend. Let me ask – is the hair on your head or your chest a trend? Beards are not like a yo-yo. They’ve been around as long as man, and the natural process for a species. The key is to let it grow and learn how to manage it.”

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Beard Growing Tips from Chris

  1. Patience is a virtue – don’t let the itchy stages get to you. It’ll settle and turn in to a permanent pillow on your face. The journey is the destination.
  2. Take damn good care of that hedge. Can a plant grow without water? Our beards get thirsty too. A daily application of oil and balm is vital to maintaining a full and wholesome beard.
  3. Light any and all razors within your dwelling on fire and then dispose of the ashes.

The pre-poll

We conducted a random miniature poll of 27 Canberra women aged 18 to 35 as a preface to our online poll.

The results were 43 per cent of women preferred a man with a beard, (10 pro-Beard, 13 anti-Beard, 4 really could not decide)

The best response:

“I do like beards but my husband doesn’t have one.” — Anonymous.

The verdict

Your style should dictate who you are in the moment and be a direct expression of your confidence. If the image of a beard doesn’t sit well in your stomach then don’t go there. If it’s something you want to give a try, go for it and be patient. You might have to get through the first stages of patchiness and itching, which can be deterring and a test of your will.

As the experts point, out if you intend to grow a beard you’re going to want to keep it well groomed, clean and smooth. There are a number of products you can pick up such as balms, oils, conditioners and shampoos that will keep your mane healthy, vibrant and clean. In support of these products there might even be a Dollar Beard Club coming to Australia soon too, which is currently rivalling the Dollar Shave Club in America.

What do you think? To beard or not to beard? Vote in the poll below…

To beard or not to beard? Do you prefer facial hair on a man?

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Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

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Matt Harvey

Matt is a Canadian born ice-hockey player, who originally found his way to Canberra to play for the CBR Brave. He is a published author and is currently finishing a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology. When he’s not writing or playing hockey he enjoys cycling, playing tennis, watching Netflix, and checking out the nightlife in Canberra. On weekends he enjoys his coffee in Kingston and making pancakes with copious amounts of maple syrup. More about the Author

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