Fellas, we know that we can be a bit judgmental, but first impressions are the most lasting. That’s why we feel it is our obligation to point out when the hem length of your suit is all wrong or to run in the opposite direction when we detect Merrells on your feet. And whether you realize it or not, your facial hair also says a lot about you.
The editors here at HuffPost Style have a strong attraction to scruffy-faced guys (read: Ryan Gosling) because they appear to be the most easygoing and laid-back. However, after recently chatting with Dr. Allan Peterkin, a pognologist (aka beard scholar), Dove Men+Care facial grooming expert and author, the confidence of a mustache-wearing male like “Sons of Anarchy” star Charlie Hunnam is turning us on.
Does this facial hair expert have you all figured out?*
An “older” man’s beard. “I think the association for a lot of people is that it’s scholarly beard, or academics often have those beards. Full beards also have religious associations (think of Moses or Jesus). So that one comes with a lot of historical weight. It’s a bit of an old-fashioned style but we certainly see young men wearing it these days.”
A man whose stuck in the past. “This [facial hair style] hit in the mid-1990s. It was a bit of a statement then, but it’s sort of become the overly done expression. Some men still wear it, but one guy I interviewed said, ‘If your dad and your dentist still have goatees, it’s time to change your look.'”
A man who is up on the latest trends. “If you just scan men’s magazines — Esquire, GQ, etc. — probably every one to tjree ads have a guy with stubble as the main expression. Sometimes you see it superimposed with a mustache on top or with bigger side burns, but stubble is sort of the base. The only misconception is that people think that it’s easy and you just roll out of bed. But you do have to maintain it.”
A man who likes to have fun. “Everyone thinks of Elvis when they think side burns. I think college campuses and hipsters in Brooklyn are where men experiment with it the most. It’s a playful look.”
A man making a pathetic cry for attention. “It’s for a guy who wants to push the envelope and also wants to be asked about his facial hair. Everything has been done under the sun, so I think men are sort of looking for what’s the thing that they don’t see on their street or in their workplace.”
A man who is a bit cocky. “Historically, it’s had the baddest rap of all the facial hair expressions. Then in the ’70s, the mustache took on a sexual connotation — there was the swinger mustache, the porn mustache and then the gay/bisexual mustache. The mustache comes with all that baggage, but it’s eased up recently because of charity movements like Movember. I think younger guys who wear it are confident enough to believe that you can read their mustache in any way and not really care.”
A man who is rebellious. “This one was always thought of as the biker mustache and then the wrestler. Or whenever a famous person like Hulk Hogan adopts the style, it becomes associated with him.”
A man with a pleasant personality. “We think of barbershop quartets, southern gentleman and the famous baseball player Rollie Fingers… this sort of old fashion, sipping tea on the porch kind of association.”
A man who is a bit off-beat. “During both both World Wars, men particularly in America were clean-shaven. Then every decade after, there was a little pocket of facial hair. In the ’50s, beatniks had soul patches, and then hippies adopted the look in the ’60s.”
A gentleman with a big heart. “What comes to mind for me is a Victorian gentleman with a monocle or the a general in the South called ‘Burnside.’ But it’s a very Victorian expression.”
A man who is a bit preppy. “Before, men used to be wed to a look, it was a life-long expression and not a fad. I think young men are going back and forth between having some sort of facial hair and now going clean-shaven. I think men are freer to do that then before. And I predict that we’re going to go back to that ‘Mad Men,’ clean-shaven look.”