Close, clean shaves still exist, but the beard is rapidly overtaking the chin landscape of male celebrities. The 2016 Oscars saw a red carpet filled with facial hair.
Even the ever-popular Leonardo DiCaprio could be found winning the day with a rugged, extended goatee. GQ even went so far as to declare the 2016 Oscar’s as the hairiest event of its kind—ever.
How hairy was this a-list actor beard invasion?
Even Chris Evans, of clean-shaven, Captain America fame went scruffy for the occasion. His short, full beard paired handsomely with a smart tux and bowtie looked modern with a nod to bygone bearded days of yore.
The Oscars, however, were not the only awards show to find a few more face follicles gracing their star-studded audience. 2016 Golden Globes, Vogue notes, offered either bearded or clean-shaven faces—with little in between the two camps of facial hair styles.
In the eye-catching-sex-symbols-worthy-of-their-own-meme category, Ryan Gosling sported a neatly trimmed blond beard as he bantered with a clean-shaven Brad Pitt on stage. Meanwhile, even comedian Ricky Gervais grinned from under a thick, if graying, short black beard.All of them used the best beard trimmer from the top 6 trimmers listed here.
Beyond big events, magazines filled with pictures of celebrities with beards around town or on the go are the norm in 2016. This, continuing the trend, year over year, since roughly 2010, of more faces showing off their hairy best in the spotlight. From Ben Affleck to Zach Galifianakis, stars from gorgeous to loveably goofy are rocking the beard look the world over.
Flowing locks on the face have been in the process of invading the most famous faces for the last five years—give or take. Facial scruff found its rise to stardom in the urban creatives as the trend toward more masculine menswear dawned. Almost overnight, the smart, trendy way was less about clean shaves and more about thick, luxurious beards.
Popular movies such as the critically acclaimed “The Revenant” and other movies with Western and heroic themes offer more beards than the popular fair of times passed. Even superhero films, long the darling of the new millennium, have beard-sporting Thor in their ranks. Although it is unlikely that Chris Hemsworth’s neat blond face in the Avengers is solely responsible for the increase in beards, one cannot deny the extreme hunk-factor involved in his beard’s silver-screen appearance.
Riding the waves of popularity witnessed by the urban lumberjack or lumbersexual look, many celebrities in recent years have experimented with facial hair of varying lengths. Jon Hamm, for example, has celebrated everything from the close shave to the full hipster beard-with-glasses look in recent years. His free-to-fuzzy face shares space with the on-again-off-again beard-wearing of fellow stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Bradley Cooper.
A Nation of Beards
In 2015, the Daily Mail reported as many as 52% of the male population in the United Kingdom wore some form of facial hairstyle. This included everything from full beards to chin curtains and soul patches. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the full beard found favor in urban settings like London, while locations like Sheffield leaned toward extended goatees or mutton chops.
By contrast, the Huffington Post noted that, in 2015, 67% of men in New York City had some form of facial hair. This included mustaches, goatees, and a wide variety of other facial hair configurations. Still, as many as 1 in 3 men preferred a full beard.
Both in the United States and across the pond, most men involved in the surveys listed confidence and an air of maturity as major factors in growing a beard. Fabulous facial hair was also listed as more masculine, more stylish, and more convenient.
In addition to being a fashionable choice for male celebrities, there is good evidence to suggest there are many other factors involved. Shaving less undoubtedly makes a busy schedule easy to keep. And the fact that it only adds manly overtones to already handsome stars hardly stands as a drawback.
Sadly, there is a chance our favorite bearded celebrities will take to the razor soon. In 2015, Ask Men started to see signs of the beard waning in popularity within the coming years. After its rise in popularity, the over-abundance of facial fuzz may ultimately be leading to its downfall.
Despite the fact that many studies suggest women prefer beards as much as gentlemen preferred blondes (in at least one movie and one psychological study), there exists some thought that the preference has more to do with scarcity. As a result, too many beards may lead to fewer balbos, goatees, and mutton chops in the years to come.
Suffering the same fate and the fedora before them, celebrity bears may be the harbinger of a razor-rampage in the near-term future. As an item becomes more prevalent, the magic is lost. A luxurious Victorian beard is a talking piece when you’re the only one on the team wearing one, but when everyone and their lumberjack-impersonating brother has it, the silence falls.
Unfortunately for the beard, celebrities weren’t the only ones with scruff in 2015. Politicians like Paul Ryan was spotted with one that triggered a debate regarding men’s style and aggrieved trendy liberals eyed their shavers nervously. Ultimately, when press secretaries, GOP vice presidential candidates, and Al Gore grow out their facial hair—something deeply uncool has occurred in the collective consciousness.
The peak beard trend doesn’t signal an immediate end to fuzzy faces. The slow decline may be in sight, but odds are in favor of at least a bearded year or two in our future. Since the beard has not officially placed in the bell-bottom, platform heel and fedora museum of fashion history, now makes a great time to grow a good one before time runs out. As most men polled believe a beard takes roughly 67 days to grow to its full, furry potential, this leaves time for quite a few beards between the Peak Beard of 2015 and the beard-related memes to come.
For now, we can enjoy our bearded celebrities and even try to copy them, as this style is sure to be a memorable part of the 2010’sCelebrities: In the Forest of Fabulous Beards fashion era.