Study Finds a "Facial Hair Ceiling" in the American Workplace

"ESPN Factor" noted as limiting facial hair growth amongst leadership

After two decades of employment persecution and nearly being shaved out of existence forever, the Mustached American is back and prospering in the U.S. workforce. However, as a new survey conducted by the American Mustache Institute and Wahl Trimmers reveals, the freedom to wear facial hair in the workplace may come with a price.

Nearly 92 percent of the 1,109 people who participated in the Workplace Mustache Survey believe mustaches are appropriate attire for the workplace and 65 percent feel facial hair should be encouraged at work. Despite the overwhelming acceptance of facial hair on the job, only 30 percent of those surveyed said they were supervised by a worker with a mustache, indicating a "facial hair ceiling" in the American workplace.

"It's encouraging to know that nine out of 10 Americans surveyed believe mustaches are appropriate for the workplace," said American Mustache Institute Chief Executive Officer Dr. Adam Paul Causgrove. "But it would appear there is a definitive 'facial hair ceiling,' if you will, presenting Mustached Americans with fewer opportunities for advancement and leadership than their clean-shaven counterparts."

In addition to the disappearance of facial hair amongst most global CEOs, U.S. politicians and heads of state, AMI's Dept. of Research & Anthropology cites a direct correlation between the lack of facial hair among the on-air talent on the ESPN sports network -- noted as the "ESPN factor" -- in driving the "facial hair ceiling."

"Clearly, the 'facial hair ceiling' is very real, and as the most rabidly consumed information sources for today's male ages 21-48, there is an ESPN factor at play here," added Dr. Causgrove. "Yet our study demonstrates that the unreasonably clean-shaven standards the network sets are no longer the status quo. The smooth-faced tyranny of Kirk Herbstreit, Kenny Mayne and Scott Van Pelt will continue to crumble as Americans seek more powerful, sexually dynamic living."

The survey also showed a perception of the Mustached American as a hard-working and impressively sculpted co-worker, yet surprisingly less tan, rebuffing the a deep historical perception of the archetypal-bronzed Mustached American of the 1970s. Additionally, more than half of respondents associated Mustached American lifestyles with excessive alcohol intake (69 percent) and being persistently well-groomed (60 percent).

Understanding the conservative nature of the corporate business environment, Ben Phillips, master barber for Wahl Trimmers, suggests the following tips for grooming for the workplace:
  • Choose the right style - The key to a well-groomed look is to understand what style works best suits your face. Start with something less risky and work your way up.
  • Get help from a pro - A professional barber can help you define the look you're going for. Simply bring in a few photos of styles you want and they'll take it from there.
  • Keep it clean and detailed - The best way to look polished and put-together is to keep it clean and detailed. Regularly trim your facial hair and keep your lines.
With acceptance of Mustached American lifestyles seemingly growing overall -- a vast majority of those surveyed (93 percent) said they would recommend a job opening to a mustached friend while 78 percent said they have either considered or are currently enjoying a sexually dynamic Mustached American lifestyle - AMI's Dr. Causgrove believes more work is needed.

"Our job is far from over," he said. "Through our partnership with Wahl Trimmers, we will fight this issue and we believe it is only a matter of time before a sexually dynamic Mustached American lifestyle proliferate popular culture as it did in the '70s and '80s, and we can look to the abundance of facial hair among professional athletes as an example of this cultural change."

Among the 1,109 people surveyed, 67 percent reported being of Mustached American descent, 65 percent of the audience identifies as being employed in a white-collar workplace while 35 percent identified themselves as being employed in a blue-collar professions.

The full white paper and details of the Workplace Mustache Survey can be founded at, and below is one stop in an eight-city road tour that was taken to encourage participation in the survey.