In a manly movement, big, bushy beards are everywhere
Consider it a whisker revolution. In coffee shops, grocery stores, on the beaches, in the pages of this magazine — everywhere we look — there’s a man and there’s a beard. A full, bushy beard — Paul Bunyan style.
The fierce follicles have become a fashion frenzy, introducing new lingo into our vocabulary, such as the provocative “lumbersexual,” and inventing new ways of dating, like Bristlr, the app that unites men with beards and those who want to run their fingers through them.
But why beards and why now?
There’s no denying that initiatives meant to raise awareness about men’s cancers and health issues are bringing equal amounts of attention to facial hair. Such initiatives include No-Shave November and also Movember, an international charity inspiring men to grow mustaches for the month of November.
Since it began in 2003, Movember organizers have raised $559 million and inspired more than 4 million participants looking to grow a beard or cultivate a mustache.
We also can pin this trend on nature. There’s a phenomenon called negative frequency dependence, which basically means the rarer a trait is, the more we find it attractive. In fact, a trio of researchers found that beards are most attractive when fewer people have them. That likely means beards will be cool until everyone sports one.
In the meantime, the extreme facial fashion is promoting growth for businesses along the Texas Coast.
When Coast Monthly spoke to Manny Salazar, owner of Manny’s Traditional Barbershop in Galveston, he had just finished one beard trim and had another customer waiting in his chair.
Salazar’s beard-trimming business has quadrupled in the past six months, he said.
“Mostly, it’s the younger people — I’m talking about under 35 or 40 years — who are really getting into the beards,” Salazar said. “And it’s not short beards. It’s a fuller beard.”
The fad also brings about opportunities for local businesses to sprout new products. Although many customers at the Santa Fe Soap Factory sport a respirator at work — either at a plant or a firehouse — owner Jim Morehead is tinkering with a beard oil in response to the sudden growth in facial hair.
And in Beaumont, there’s a band of mostly bearded buddies who a year ago started Texas Beard Co. The online retailer sells beard oils and balms made with natural ingredients, along with brushes.
Adam Haynes, one of Texas Beard Co.’s founders, recognizes the revolution, but doesn’t partake year-round. Still, beards and beard culture is a phenomenon, he said.
“There is just as much culture around beard growers as there is fashion,” Haynes said. “It’s developed into a kind of worldwide club. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of competitions and meet-ups across the country throughout the year.”
Haynes is right. You can join the Buffalo Bayou Beard & Moustache Club or start growing your facial hair for the World Beard and Moustache Championships that will be held in Austin in 2017.
If you’re a little fuzzy about how to maintain a beautiful beard, try these tips from the Texas Beard Co.
• Brush your facial hair every day.
• Using a beard balm or oil daily will make sure your scruff stays soft.
• Pay attention to your product’s ingredients and stay away from harsh chemicals. Moisturizing your beard and the skin underneath it with natural oils will help keep the dreaded “itchy beard” at bay.