While most women prefer men without beards, they agree that men with beards appear manlier and more powerful. Beards have cycled in and out of fashion throughout history. Considered a secondary sexual characteristic, men become able to grow beards around puberty due to the chemical dihydrotestosterone, and that growth varies with the seasons and hormone levels. This is why beards tend to grow faster in warmer weather, and when a man is having regular sex!
Many religions, such as Islam, require men to grow their beards. Some cultures view beards as a sign of honor, and punishments can include cutting off a man’s beard as a means of shaming him for wrongdoing. Beards are considered both worldwide and across cultures to be a sign of vitality, wisdom, strength and status. Ironically most women find beards less attractive than a clean shaven man, but still associate these positive qualities with bearded men. Men with beards are viewed as older and mature, respectful and more powerful.
5 Benefits of Sporting a Beard
- Protection from the sun. Beards block out the UV rays and protect the face from sun and wind.
- Warmth. This is especially useful in colder climates.
- Not shaving saves time. Maintaining a beard requires occasional trimming to keep it shaped rather than daily shaving.
- Sex. The hormone that stimulates beard growth is stimulated when having regular sex. Likewise, men who grow beards report an increase in sexual activity. Coincidence?
- Avoid acne and razor burn.
Trends and Movements
Americans tend to view beards as symbols of strength, independence, ruggedness and a pioneer spirit, yet the iconic successful businessman is typically without a beard. Since the 1960s, growing a beard has been associated with independence and standing out from society. This was especially true during the social movements of the 60s and is again true of the recent hipster movement which, for men, is highly symbolized by beards and tattoos. As the hipster trend is in decline, so too is the trend of men wearing beards – after having peaked about the summer of 2013, according to Dr. Alun Withey, a beard historian.
There is also a movement called “No-Shave November“ in which men put down the razor as a show of support for cancer awareness. Many police departments, businesses and agencies across the country are participating in this event as a way of raising awareness of cancer and raising funds for research.