Beards have been popular for the last few years and many men have embraced facial hair.
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However, you may be wondering if they are on their scruffy last legs and set to go the way of man buns. Should you have a beard or no beard?
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 for 2020 — 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 beard vs clean-shaven spectrum. And if you’re interested in a second opinion, we asked women what they really think about beards.
Team ‘Beards Are Still Cool’
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, including some bearded celebrities, learned the joys of facial hair and not-shaving and we don’t expect them to abandon their beards and go for the no beard look.
That said the scruffy lumberjack look seems to be evolving into a better maintained, more professional and shaped beard.
“I think beards are in right now, regardless of what the trend is currently, just because of the pandemic. With most people working remotely or not working at all, as well as no social events for the most part going on there’s no real reason to shave.
You also have many people who maybe previously couldn’t have facial hair because of their job can now grow a beard. I saw ve seen a lot more beards and stubbled faces in 2020 and I think that’s going to continue into 2021. It seems that for the majority of this year many will be in lockdown so I see beards and facial hair as continuing to be common in 2021.”
— John Frigo, My Supplement Store
“As far as beards go, yes I do prefer bearded men – my preference is a well-kept lumberjack style.
The most attractive style in 2021 would undoubtedly be a clean and tidy beard. With many in the workplace being required to wear facial masks and PPE gear on their face, the hipster 1800’s beards of yesteryear are definitely OUT!
I believe that beards will definitely still hold their own in 2021. Although, I suspect that in general, the length size will come down and popular beards will be those close to the face and short in length.
It is essential for a gent to take pride in his beard, and to care for it to look its best. Regular grooming, washing and oiling to treat the hair. Trimming the stragglers and keeping a clean neckline all make for a presentable beard.”
— Kerrin Jackson, Makeup Artist & Beauty Blogger, Utter Musings
Trim and Taught
“I absolutely love a trimmed beard. It’s sexy, manly and adds shape to the face. I think the shaggy wilderness man look is on its way out, but trimmed, well-maintained and past the stubble stage is a sexy look.”
— Teia B. Collier, Publisher – Dallas Single Mom
Color Me Bad
“For a few months now, we have observed a new trend: beard coloring. Beard coloring has always existed, but it was marginal. It has become a more and more usual demand.
What is surprising, because not so long ago a bit of grey in a beard or a totally white beard with white hair was cool, a sign of mature manhood. But now more and more customers are asking to darken their beard, to remove the grayish areas. It probably has to do with looking younger.”
— Pierre, CEO, DashStylists.com
The Maintained Face Mane
“I absolutely love a man with a beard. Especially the “big beards” or “long beards” such as James Harden’s or Nipsey Hussle’s. Beards are still absolutely in style in 2021. However, it is not as plentiful as you may have seen in the past few years.
The best thing about a well-groomed dapper man is how well the hair is cared for, how soft it is, how lustrous the shine is, and most importantly, how scrumptious it smells. Having the right beard care products is key!”
— Alexus Renée, Stylist/ Makeup & Beauty Consultant
“Beards are hot right now. It’s not so much about the style or shape, but the ability to rock facial hair for a while and then take it off when it gets in the way. Definitely a manly feature.
When men keep their beard neat, they make other guys look like wild animals. Shave daily, clean and trim, and keep your beard in shape, because beards aren’t going anywhere.”
— Daniel Bishop, The Man Source
“Beards are great as long as they are properly cared for. Uncared for beards tend to get dry, wiry and brittle. Good beard oil is a must. Red Rocks beard oil contains oils to soften and condition the beard to keep it moisturized, but it also contains herbs to help the skin under the beard. Just put some on your fingertips and work through the beard and into the skin too.”
— Cindy Jones, Colorado Aromatics
“We can all agree on one thing – a tidy and maintained beard is never out of fashion. No matter if you have a lumberjack or stubble beard, well-trimmed and nurtured beard will look good on you.
Clean-shaven and stubble beards are easy to maintain but be careful to do it regularly, otherwise, they can easily start to look messy. So if you want to have a good looking beard, please schedule your barber’s appointments regularly.”
— Zack Robbins, Founder, Beardoholic
“Beards will never go out of fashion. While it’s true the wild lumberjack look has lost its appeal, a well-maintained beard adds character and gives most men a more manly appearance. If it’s good enough for Jason Momoa, it’s good enough for me.”
— Daniel Javor, CEO of Next Luxury
“I love a good scruff! If you’re bold enough to grow a beard, make sure it compliments your style and take the proper steps to maintain it well. By utilizing shampoo, conditioner, oils, and balms, you can take a beard from sad to rad overnight. Facial hair, or lack thereof, is a statement piece that pairs well with fashion. I don’t see it going anywhere soon.”
— Stacia Kelley, Artistic Director of Sport Clips Haircuts
“To beard or not to beard, is the question. There’s been a beard revolution over the past decade that seems to have waned a bit over the last few years.
With that being said, beards are nothing new. They’ve been around as long as they have roamed this earth. However, we see beards trending across the globe. We’ve seen stubble, minor facial hair to pork chop sideburns and long, full beards harkening back to Blackbeard’s in the 1700s.
Historically beards were meant for protection from the elements and as we’ve progressed into the future they eventually became a fashion statement and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I believe the trend is over for the most part in 2021 but there will be those who can’t live without it. It’s an identity and surely a crisis without.
Personally, I love some stubble and a little facial hair. It highlights cheekbones and gives more structure to one’s face. Especially if you have a round face or are lacking in the chin department. I find it attractive if, and only if, the beard is groomed (shorter, washed and oiled). I wear a beard half the time and my grooming begins by washing, brushing, trimming, defining neckline and finishing off with a beard oil. It always looks great! I find this long, full kempt or unkempt trend really unsavory. The length and fullness creeps me out. Who knows what’s hiding in there!”
— Frankie Sanderson, Celebrity Hair Stylist of TheStudeo
“I am seeing a lot of fades in 2021, seriously, a lot of fades. It’s a totally great look and one I admire.
I am seeing fashion and men’s appearances are taking on more of a film noir look. Hair, especially facial hair, ties the look together.
A Balbo beard is a beard without sideburns and a trimmed, floating mustache. A soul patch beneath the lip and the sides can sometimes be extended along the jawline. The mustache can be customized into various styles.
It owes its name to Italo Balbo. Italy’s Air Marshal and Governor of Italian North Africa, he was also a flamboyant public figure in the USA. In 1940, his plane was shot down in friendly fire when attempting to land. Unlike the toothbrush mustache, the Balbo has succeeded in overcoming its bleak past to become a celebrated and stylish beard.”
— Mohamed Hassan, Founder of Stylerecap.com
The Beard Research
“All Things Hair, the hair-focused website by Unilever, has confirmed: Men equate their beards with attractiveness, success and overall confidence.
Celebrating Movember, All Things Hair surveyed 522 men about their beards – here’s what we learned:
- 311 of the 522 have a beard
- 59.16% of those feel more confident with their beard
- Over 70% feel more attractive with a beard than without
- More than half agree they think a beard looks more professional”
— Lynette Pettinicchi, Founder of, Mint & Honey, Co.
“In studies, heavy stubble seems to be the preferred amount of facial hair that positively influences attraction. Guys know that they can use facial hair to influence their level of attractiveness so it’s likely to stick around.
The amount of facial hair you keep depends on what kind of attributes you’d like people to associate with you. For example, men with larger beards are perceived as older, more mature, and masculine. This might be beneficial if you’re a younger man who would like to appear less youthful. On the flip side, if you’re an older man and you’d like to appear younger, a clean shaven look can shave some years off your face.
In 2021, grooming trends are more relaxed. We’re seeing longer, messy hairstyles, and facial hair correlates to this.. You’ll see fewer sharp lines and fades as we head into the new year.”
— Patrick Kenger, Founder of Pivot Image Consulting
A Nice Summary
- Scruffy-on-the-beard has been the look of the year in 2020.
- Trim and tight is too stiff and way too prim going into 2021.
- Lumberjack beards are for old guys. Unless you want to look decades older, just don’t.
“Short beards that look like stubble recently grown out will probably stay with us for 2021. Think Justin, emm… Trudeau – the prime minister of Canada. Justin Timberlake’s beard could actually use a little help.
The best thing about a beard is when it’s well-kept and smells nice. The worst is, well, the opposite.
With more people working from home, beards probably aren’t going anywhere. Who wants to shave every morning when you can try out something new then shave it any time you’re ready?
There are so many beard balms out there that give a nice shine and fragrance. Don’t underestimate the value of beard balms. Grab one.
Don’t rule out asking your barber if he knows about styling beards. If you’re already past the scruffy stage, don’t do a lumberjack. Get it shaped. Take a sample picture with you, if possible, though. Your idea of shaping might be his idea of whacking.”
— Ghanima Abdullah, Hair Expert, The Right Hairstyle
Beards Are Out of Style: Clean-Shaven Comeback
After hearing from the pro beard team, the no beard team weighs in with a return to traditional shaving. Clean-shaven is always classic, fitting in for nearly every situation. However many men have embraced facial hair purely because they hate shaving and the associated razor burn, in-grown hairs, etc).
The proponents of the no beard, clean-shaven look emphasize the creation of a positive experience with high-quality equipment and shaving rituals will get many men back into shaving.
Momentum for the Clean-Shave
“Let’s kiss that overgrown beard goodbye and embrace your handsome face as is, the one you’ve worn your entire life and will take you into the next decade.
Keep in mind that a little scruff separates teenage boys from men shows little polish and style. All of us boys have had our time to be lazy, look disheveled, scruffy and a bit dirty. “
— Paul Labrecque, Celebrity Stylist
The Next Step Beyond Beards
“The clean-shave look gains momentum. In 2016, 43% of US men shaved every day, 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
Clean It Up
“I feel like once the pandemic subsides and everyone is vaccinated, beards will be out of style. Beards were a long-running trend, but now we’re seeing beards poking out the sides of every face mask. We’ve all heard the stories of “maskne” (acne under face masks due to poor hygiene). We now officially associate beards with sloppiness.
As a gay man, I like the idea of waking up next to a guy and feeling his stubble or beard all over me. But as far as a look to wear on the town? This pandemic has totally canceled beards.”
— Michael Freeby, Photographer, Michael Freeby Photography
“Clean-shaven is nice, so is a shadow as long as it is clean and well-groomed. The worst thing about a beard of any kind is when it’s not well-kempt or clean. In 2021, beards of all lengths are here to stay.”
— Mary Winkenwerder, Makeup Artist & Blogger
Is Now the Time to Embrace Stubble?
There’s no hard and fast rule on whether you should have a beard or no beard and shave it off this year. Facial hairstyles have as much to do with your own personal style as anything. And of course, there’s the in-between of embracing stubble.
Stubble, which was long dismissed as simply a lazy long-weekend look, has recently become acceptable in the workplace. If you’re looking for a safe place between the full-on lumberjack growth and the clean-shaven look, it can be a good alternative. Learn how to achieve perfect stubble.
Growing a facial hair 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 update 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 face of hair.
If you do want to go with no beard:
- Go to a barbershop 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.