It’s an age old question that has perplexed men for centuries. What is better? Clean shaven or beard?
It used to be the case that a clean shave would always trump the beard. Back in the early days before beard grooming became an acceptable routine, growing out a beard would result in a scruffy, hideous wilderbeast on your face. Nowadays, with cutting edge beard trimmers, beard oil, beard wash, and beard balm, the beard does not only look attractive and exquisite, but has now become a must have for many men.
But the question whether to grow a beard or not still lingers. So here are some straight facts about the pros and cons of shaving versus the beard.
The Pros of Clean Shaving
Being clean shaven involves one process – shaving usually with a razor or electric shaver. This will become your everyday routine for the rest of your life. Pretty easy.
You don’t have to worry about others judging you because you are sporting a scruffy beard. Traditionally, a clean face may have seemed more professional, but I think this is becoming less of the status quo as beards rise in popularity.
People perceive men without beards as young. This is because clean shaven men show less signs of testosterone. As you may or may not know, but growing a beard requires more testosterone to activate the hairs on your face. Testosterone production occurs more in older men compared to adolescent males, and subconsciously people recognise this as a marker for age.
The Cons of Clean Shaving
Spending money on blades all the time
If you shave every day, obviously you are going to go through a lot more blades. Blades cost money, and over the year, this can add up to a hefty sum.
Putting on the shave lubricant, running the razor over your skin, toweling off. It's all very predictable. No surprises. Shaving every day becomes a chore. There’s nothing exciting about it, except the part when you finish.
Going back to the ‘looking younger’ part. Sometimes without a beard, men look too young. Almost like babies.
Face may be more irritated from shaving
Constant shaving and improper technique can cause a lot of irritation for men when they shave. This includes pain, redness and ingrown hairs. If you are constantly irritated from shaving, you may consider growing out a beard to avoid these side effects.
The Pros of having a Beard
According to a study by Dixson et al, women perceived men with facial hair more attractive compared to those who don’t. This is because facial hair is a sign of strong genetics in males, which is a trait women are evolutionarily attracted to. It also helps the appearance of a strong jawline, adding to your rugged looks.
Don’t have to shave everyday
This one speaks for itself. When you grow a beard, the chore of shaving everyday disappears. Now you have more time in the morning to relax before work.
It’s fun to maintain
The beauty about having a beard is that maintenance only occurs a couple times a week (for most). Maintenance involves a quick trim, wash, application of beard oil and balm, and a quick comb through. All this can even be done by your barber, who should also be trained in beard maintenance. Otherwise, beard upkeep can be done in your down time, and many men find it a therapeutic task.
Be part of the global beard club
Once you’ve grown a beard, you automatically qualify for the unspoken global beard club. Members will recognise each other everywhere they go, and acknowledgement of your membership is displayed with a simple nod to each other. You get exclusive access to all things bearded and you have respect everywhere you go.
The Cons of having a Beard
Can get itchy
If you just started to grow a beard, you may find that you skin can get really itchy. Without proper beard maintenance, this itchiness can stick around for some time. Beards get itchy because at certain lengths, the hair can curl around and rub the skin. Add the build-up of dead skin cells and dryness, and you get irritation. But there is a solution. Let the beard grow out a little longer, wash and exfoliate you skin, and add some beard oil to help relieve the inflammation and dryness. It will only take a couple of weeks of upkeep, and then you’ll notice a huge difference in comfort and style.
It may be hard to grow
Many men find it hard to grow a beard. Usually, the frustration of a patchy beard gets to them and they shave it off. But what they don’t realise is that beards need time. Some men might need more time than others, and this can be a hard concept to grasp. Various factors like genetics and hormones effect the rate at which a beard grows. But be patient, and it will come. Over time, testosterone will activate the various hair follicles on your face, and soon enough, you’ll be growing a full and lush beard.
At the end of the day, your choice in style is your decision. For what it's worth, we reckon you know you're on the right track when you feel good in your own skin & you enjoy getting ready in the morning.
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