Beards have been popular for the last few years and many men have embraced facial hair. However you may be wondering if beards on their scruffy last legs and set to go the way of man buns or are beards still in style? Should you grow a beard or shave it off?
We asked six style experts to weigh in on the male facial hair trends we've seen in the last couple of years - and are likely to see in the coming years.
Read More: Do Women Like Beards?
The overall verdict is that beards are still in — but in a less-scruffy, more well-groomed way than before. Facial hair trends change quickly - read on to decide where you land on the Beards vs. Clean Shaven spectrum.
Beards are Here to Stay Team
Beards have long been a classic look for men and realistically they won't be disappearing anytime soon. Some trend-followers who jumped on the bandwagon might decide to shave, however we don't expect that everyone will. Many guys learned the joys of facial hair and not-shaving and we don't expect them to abandon their beards. That said the scruffy lumberjack look seems to be evolving into a better maintained, more professional and shaped beard.
Men will be looking for ways to cultivate a polished beard, looking for better trimming methods as well as tools to tame their facial hair.
Evolution of the beard. The guys who are in for the long haul will remain and stand out. The trend riders will fade out. Structured beards will stand out. The beard trend continues on but now we are seeing the guys who are truly committed. They want to stay with it. Instead of a loose and rounded shape or a long and loose shape we are seeing much more structure and shape to each of the beards. Definitive lines and perimeters are being shown. Beard oils and balms are used to define the shapes.
—Floyd’s 99 Education Team
Beards: Less is More!
Whilst there is no doubt that the beard is again going to be a strong look... the focus looks set to be on more tightly cropped and shorter length. So much of what we’re seeing on the catwalk... is with this shorter defined look. Think George Michael in the ‘I’m Your Man’ video! Should be a big year for quality razors and balms.
—Ben Rose, Founder and Senior Editor at www.primandprep.com
If You Keep a Beard - Take Better Beard Care
Beards are definitely not going away anytime soon! In fact, last night I had three men come in for a beard trim. The trend I’m beginning to see is that men are becoming more interested in how they care for their beards. They want to know how to trim it, brush it and what products to use on it. The male guests I work with are constantly asking me questions about how to groom their beards or how to get a certain look.
— Lizzie Lopez, Salon Manager at Supercuts
My two cents on men's grooming and beards in particular... they aren't going away. Nor is the desire for men to "up" their grooming game. We added beard oil to our line in Fall of 2017 and it's been a big hit!
— Heidi Danos, DirtyKneesSoap.com
The Clean-Shaven Comeback
Team Clean-Shaven weighs in with a return to traditional shaving. Clean shaven is always classic, fitting in for nearly every situation. However many men have embraced beards purely because they hate shaving and the associated razor burn, in-grown hairs, etc). The proponents of the clean shaven look emphasis that making shaving a more positive experience with high-quality equipment and shaving rituals will get many men back to shaving with a more positive experience.
Momentum for Clean Shave
The Clean Shave look gains momentum. In 2016 43% of US Men shaved everyday, according to Mintel, we expect those numbers to start going up. Beards have become more maintained and trimmed, the next step is a cleaner, younger look.
— Dan Farris, Founder, Chief Executive Officer ModrnMan
Return to Traditional Shaving
I also believe that beards are on their way out and a return to traditional shaving is on the rise. I really believe the reason why beards became so popular is due to the crappy quality of shave cartridge razors give. And the prices of cartridge razors being what they are and the inferior “one size fits all” shaves they provide, millions of young Men (and women) are returning back to time tested methods of shaving; Shave Soap, Shave Brush and Safety Razor!
One thing Millennials demand is Choice. You don't get this with the plastic cartridge razor, however with a traditional safety razor there are thousands of blades, razors, brushes and soaps to choose from...thus making it the truest form of customizable shave, a unique fit for your unique face. Sure there are cartridge blade clubs you can join and save some cash, but is it really worth the subpar shave?
— Douglas Smythe, Phoenix Shaving
Is Now the Time to Embrace Stubble?
There's no hard and fast rule on whether you should grow a beard or shave it off this year. Facial hair styles have as much to do with your own personal style as anything.
Growing a beard can be a great way to express your personal style and every guy should try growing one at least once in his life. However truly embracing the bearded look depends on much more than what's in style. Consider your beard hair growth (some guys find they have patchy or irregular facial hair), facial shape and whether it contributes to or distracts from your overall personal style.
If you want to grow or keep your beard:
• Learn how to shape it.
• Use beard oils to soften and maintain it.
• Keep it short and structured.
• Consider embracing stubble rather than a full beard.
If you do want to go clean shaven:
• Go to a barber shop for a hot shave and learn how to use a straight razor.
• Invest in quality shaving equipment that will reduce skin irritations associated with shaving.
• Make shaving an enjoyable ritual complete with shaving brush and aftershave.