Here's Why Beards Are NOT A Trend

Here's Why Beards Are NOT A Trend
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Everywhere you look, you see beards. Not just on the people around you, but on the faces of countless celebrities and influential people around the world.

As World Beard Day approaches (this Saturday, September 2nd), I think it’s time to take a look and reflect on the “rise of the beard” in pop culture over the last couple years, and recognize that this is actually a lot more than just a trend.

Firstly, I think that it’s very important to note that when I refer to someone as being bearded, I am not saying that they necessarily have a massive beard that is 6 inches in length or more. Although it is certainly true that more men have massive beards than they have in the last couple of generations, a lot of men out there are simply rocking some stubble.

One of the most iconic brands and communities to emerge in the last couple of years along with the explosion in beard growth is the Dollar Beard Club, which actually changed its name this week to The Beard Club. We caught up with their CEO and founder Chris Stoikos to get some insight into what the underlying current within beard culture helps us understand about the rise of beards.

“I really love it when people ask me if beards are a trend,” says Stoikos. “You don’t need to do anything to have a beard, you need to do something to not have a beard. Facial hair grows naturally, while shaving your face is actually a process whereby men directly alter what they naturally should look like. So you tell me, what is the actual trend? Shaving? Or letting your body what it is supposed to do by nature??”

“Shaving is the modification of your natural state to fit into the definition of what somebody else wants you to look like. Whether that person is a boss, a customer, or a lover, you are playing by their rules and expectations for your life. When you grow a beard you step into the power of being who you truly are, at least to some extent. It can be the catalyst for a full on personal transformation for some people.”

With this in mind, one can actually see that the growing number of beards around goes hand-in-hand with the personal growth movement, the health movement, and the spirituality and consciousness movements sweeping the western world right now. Assisted by technology and social media, a mass amount of people are now realizing that they can direct a lot more of their health and personal fulfillment than they had previously thought possible.

Although it is certainly easy to see that beard growth happens by nature, it is still quite obvious that having a long beard is more fashionable now than it has been in generations. A quick look at Civil War era photos will reveal that it was actually more rare to have a clean shaven face than a long beard. In between now and then, it is likely that the rise in clean shaven faces was driven largely by WWI era policies, whereby a great deal of the male population in North America were forced to prepare for war and be ready to put on gas masks.

World Beard Day is seemingly more about those with giant beards as opposed to the more trimmed and tight look, however Stoikos thinks this is a great opportunity to shift this conversation a little. ”I have to admit that our company rose to prominence and shipped over 1.4 Million boxes in the last two years mainly because of our focus on large beards. We now realize though that the most exciting opportunity for our growth is by connecting those with short beards to this amazing new personal care category that they are going to love. In the last 6 months we have seen a massive shift in our customer base that indicates how willing men are to grow a beard, and excited they are to take care of it as a reflection of their self worth. Beard care is not just for big beards!”

A big part of the reasoning for the company rebrand was to help position The Beard Club for the growth of the industry rather than just the growth of their business. “We started our company to make beard care affordable for all, and we know that we are only going to amplify that message with our new look and feel. Our newest video explains what we do in a really straightforward way, and we feel that all of our new products and videos coming out in the next year are REALLY going to show the world why the should grow a beard and how fun it is to take care of it every day.”

A great parallel we can draw here would be with the rise in tattoos in mainstream fashion. Much like giant beards, having tattoos in the 50s and 60s was primarily reserved for convicts and bikers. Now, a vast majority of the young adult population either have a tattoo or are considering getting one. Just like tattoos, beards are becoming an important statement in defining a man’s identity and a powerful tool for self expression and confidence.

So on Saturday, don’t just wish those with massive beards a Happy World Beard Day, wish every man a Happy World Beard Day. Growing facial hair is something that unites all men, and I believe that in growing our beards we can learn a lot about ourselves. And most importantly, to focus less on how others see us, and more on how we see ourselves.

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