You've swooned over Ben Affleck during awards season because of one reason and one reason only. His beard. What's with guys and facial hair? I'll admit, I'm a sucker for it. Would you let your man wear facial hair to a formal event? I spoke with Dr. Allan Peterkin, a men's grooming expert who's actually studied the history and societal acceptance of beards to find out about facial hair etiquette. Here are the do's and don'ts about his facial hair: Growing in facial hair is a big grooming trend right now. Why do you think that is?
Facial hair is widely accepted today, as opposed to some periods in the past, and I think men feel more comfortable experimenting with styles—whether they choose a little, a lot, or none at all. I’d also say grooming trends are pretty cyclical. While we’re on a fairly hairy streak right now, I think the pendulum is set to swing the other way within the next five years—right back to the preppy, clean shaven, Mad Men look.
Why do men grow beards?
It’s a great way to express your style—and sometimes it’s seasonally driven, too. Some do it to keep warm in the winter, or protect their skin in the summer. But the cardinal rule of any beard—or facial hair—is to keep your facial shape in mind when choosing a style. If you have a very round face, mutton chops aren’t for you. If you have sparse blonde hair, a Chevron mustache isn’t the best choice and sideburns will make a long face look longer.
Celebrities have proven throughout awards season that beards are appropriate for formal events. How can we make sure our men upgrade their facial hair for special events? What should they do?
Well, one common misconception is that once you’ve grown your beard, the work is done. Au contraire; it’s just the beginning! You need to ensure the beard is washed and moisturized, to keep it soft. Also, crucial for special events: make sure it’s trimmed and clipped—and that the margins are clean. Facial hair looks quite unkempt when not delineated by straight lines—easy accomplished with a razor and a moisture-rich shave gel, like the Dove Men+Care Shave Gel.
Is it appropriate to ask a man to get rid of his beard? Why or why not?
Well, one of the things I always say is to ask your romantic partner before you grow any facial hair! Often times they’ll have very specific preferences, so it makes sense to ask.
Beards still get a bit of a bad rap in some industries (like banking and politics) so you may also want to consider your colleagues’ style choices, and always make sure your facial hair looks tidy, clean and properly cared for.
How can we make sure our men are taking care of their skin and underneath all that hair? What should they use?
You’ve said it right there: no matter what kind of facial hair you have, the skin beneath it is crucial! It’s important to ensure guys have products suited to their skin type and designed for men. A grooming routine should be easy and quick. For example, Dove Men+Care introduced a new Face Range, which cares for all men in three easy steps: cleanse, shave and finish. No muss. No fuss.