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 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 2023 — 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.
The No-Hair-Hair Look
“When it comes to bald guys, a beard is an essential feature. Male pattern baldness can be a real confidence killer for young men, but growing a badass beard is a great way to feel better about their new look.
Bald men who are clean shaven can often look unhealthy and even ill, especially if they’re slim and have a pale skin tone. But a trip to the gym, a little sun and a manly beard will make any bald man look healthier and more attractive.
It also gives baldies a little flexibility – whether it’s the simple Jason Statham stubble or a more adventurous approach, growing out a shorter beard or trimming into a new style is pretty much the only way for bald men to change up their look.”
— Matt / BaldAndHappy.com
“The return of facial hair really happened during the pandemic. People weren’t seeing their barbers as often and were comfortable growing some stubble and that led to more people experimenting with facial hair styles as they worked remotely.
This led to the “Corporate Beard”. Companies that never allowed beards are now loosening their policies as long as the beards are well groomed and maintained. Many clients I see for straight razor shaves or clean ups are coming in weekly to ensure they can keep their beard at work while maintaining a polished, professional appearance. Of course, the 5 o’clock shadow is always in style – as long as the neckline is sharp and cleaned up. This has contributed heavily to the rise of beard transplants.
Wanting to grow better facial hair? Keep a small brush or comb to stimulate blood flow under the skin and keep it neat as it grows in, looks cool and doesn’t itch or irritate you. In addition the use of a product such the Barber Surgeons Guild Hair Serum will lock in moisture for a healthy-looking mustache. Have a pro barber maintain the growth even by trimming flyaways for a smooth and groomed look.”
— Alexia Donovan / Barber Surgeons Guild
“While big beards were in style for quite some time, it feels like the pendulum is swinging the other way. After the outgrowing of beards due to the pandemic, 2023 may bring back the full but well-kept beard. In addition, it seems like mustaches were thrust onto the center stage this past summer with the release of the latest iteration of Top Gun. Overall, expect the trend of big and wild beards to retreat in favor of classier, shorter cuts.”
— Dan Potter / Head of Digital / CRAFTD
“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’ve saw seen a lot more beards and stubbled faces in 2022 and I think that’s going to continue into 2023.”
— John Frigo / My Supplement Store
“The most attractive style in 2023 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 2023. 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.”
— Kerrin Jackson / Makeup Artist & Beauty Blogger / The Makeup Refinery
Trim and Taught
I don’t know about the most popular facial hair for men in 2023 but I’ve noticed that goatees are in style. It can also bring more attention to the chin, so is ideal for wider faces. I like to keep the middle thicker on my beard. Mustaches have been more popular in the past but haven’t quite made a comeback outside of the gay community. There was a small resurgence with the Freddy Mercury movie but it is less common.
Beards will always be cool, but it may depend more on your partner’s preferences. Although your partner shouldn’t need to prescribe your entire look, they should still find it attractive. Beards are often associated with masculinity and fertility, but it varies based on how unhealthy a culture’s fixation is with youth.”
— Sage Suede / Model, Musician & Fashion Influencer / Instagram
“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, a 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 Robbin / 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 / Next Luxury
“Beards will still be cool in 2023, but with a more modern twist. In the last few years, we have seen a shift away from the traditional lumberjack-style beard towards a more trimmed and sculpted look. This trend is expected to continue in 2023, with men opting for shorter, groomed beards that still have an element of ruggedness to them.
The most essential thing in keeping a beard looking good is regular maintenance. It’s important to invest in the right products, such as a good conditioner and oil, to keep the hair nourished and prevent it from becoming dry and brittle. It’s also important to trim it regularly to keep it looking neat and tidy. Finally, make sure you wash your beard regularly with a beard shampoo to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated during the day.
The best thing about beards is that they can add a unique and stylish look to your face. They’re also great for hiding imperfections and making your features stand out more. On the downside, beards require maintenance and care in order to look their best and, if not taken care of properly, can make you look like a caveman.
Clean-shaven faces are great if you want to maintain a neat and professional look. It also doesn’t require any maintenance (other than shaving), which is a plus. The downside is that it can sometimes make you look younger than you really are and also highlight any imperfections on your face.
Stubble is perfect if you want to look stylish and masculine without the hassle of taking care of a full beard. It’s also great for adding texture and definition to your facial features, which can be quite attractive. The downside is that it is an “in-between” look and doesn’t have the same impact as a full beard.”
— Russell Stanley / The Men’s Attitude
“I have been around men’s grooming for a long time – what will never go out of style for me? The 5 o’clock shadow stubble – as long as the neck line is sharp and cleaned up. You look like you are just the right amount rugged but probably own a nice suit and smell good. A no go? The neck beard.”
— Alexia Donovan / Director of Client Services / Barber Surgeons Guild
“For 2023 I believe that beards will still be in huge fashion. However, I see a trend when we start going more towards shorter beards, rather than longer beards.
As beards also are the male version of make-up, it helps with defining your original facial features. By just growing out your beard a little bit, you can change your looks from an innocent schoolboy to a masculine biker!”
— Rikard / Turbobeard
“While big beards were in style for quite some time, it feels like the pendulum is swinging the other way. After the outgrowing of beards due to the pandemic, 2023 may bring back the full but well kept beard. In addition, it seems like mustaches were thrust onto center stage this past summer with the release of the latest iteration of Top Gun. Overall, expect the trend of big and wild beards to retreat in favor of classier, shorter cuts.”
— Dan Potter / Head of Digital / CRAFTD London
“The 5 o’clock shadow, or the stubble will be the style for men’s facial hair in 2023. It is a great style even for those starting the beard journey and is great on most faces and shapes. It is also perfect for men in the corporate setting, or those whose genetics can’t permit long facial hair.
The best thing about stubble and beards is the health benefits, protecting the face from UV rays and environmental pollutants. The worst thing about beards is high maintenance demands, failure to which a man may develop skin problems. From moisturizing, choosing a style and combing, beards require commitment.
Beards will be cool and a sign of dominance, confidence and capability. They help you attract potential life partners as most women prefer men with beards. They will remain cool in 2023 and beyond.
Essentials in keeping a beard looking good include combing or brushing to prevent knots and tangles. Trimming and moisturization are also a great essentials to make beards look good.”
— Alice Rawling / Hair Stylist & Chief Editor / Hairdo Hairstyle
“Beards will continue to be in style in 2023 since more men now seem to care about their facial appearance and are putting time into grooming themselves.
You always want to keep your beard moisturized. And have a good facial cleanser since it’s still necessary to wash your beard. Comb your beard – DAILY – and nourish with essential oils to keep it shiny. Neat hair always compliments a nice full beard. So whether you’re keeping a haircut, have a clean shaven baldy, rocking dreadlocks or braids, it will compliment your beard and vice versa.”
— Shantise Michelle / Celebrity Hairstylist / Instagram Account
“I am seeing a lot of fades in 2023, 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 / Stylerecap
“In terms of whether beards will still be cool in 2023, it’s difficult to say for certain. However, I think that well-groomed beards will always have a place in men’s fashion, as they can add a touch of sophistication and masculinity to a man’s appearance.
To keep a beard looking good,
- It’s essential to regularly wash and condition it to keep it soft and healthy.
- Regular trimming and shaping are also important to maintain a neat and well-groomed appearance.
- Additionally, using beard oil or balm can help to keep a beard moisturized and looking its best.”
— Neha Sharma / Payuoc
“Beards are likely to remain popular in the coming years. They are seen as a symbol of masculinity and power, and many women find them attractive. However, as always, personal preference will vary.”
— Rebecca Keller / Head of Diversity, Health & Lifestyle / Debt Bombshell
Maybe, Possibly, Probably
“Fashion trends tend to shift unpredictably, however one trend that has been on the rise lately is beards. Whether it’s a full moustache or well-groomed scruff, facial hair has become a popular accessory to many styles.
It is difficult to speculate whether or not beards will still be seen as cool in the year 2023; what we can say for sure is that regardless of its wearability, facial hair will continue to remain an important form of self-expression for men who use it as a style tool and source of confidence.”
— Oberon Copeland / Founder and CEO / Very Informed
The Research Shows
“As a USA Today bestselling romance author, I am an expert on what women want with respect to men’s facial hair. In August 2022, I polled my readers on this very question and bearded men are far and away preferred over clean shaven men – at least in my reader’s fantasy lives!”
— Danika Bloom / USA Today Bestselling Author / Website
“Year on year we have seen an increase in the use of beard oils and balms which is showing a growth in this trend. Its showing no signs of slowing down so we believe beards will continue to be a hit into 2023 and beyond! Alongside the increase of beard maintenance products being sold we are also seeing a growing trend of beard styling. Men are choosing to grow beards but keep them looking sharp by using a blade / straight razor to keep the beard lines tidy and straight.”
— Tom Yates / Director / Cut Throat Club
A Nice Summary
“Trim and tight is too stiff and way too prim going into 2023. 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 2023. 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 still absolutely in style in 2023. However, it is not as plentiful as you may have seen in the past few years.”
— Alexus Renée / Stylist, Makeup & Beauty Consultant / Website
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
“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 2023, beards of all lengths are here to stay.”
— Mary Winkenwerder / Makeup Artist & Blogger / Website
“For facial hair, we’re seeing more relaxed natural styles come in rather than tight, sharp beard lines. Light stubble that hasn’t been overly groomed is very in right now. Furthermore, the clean-shaven look has come back in style as well – we’re seeing a reversion to a lot of late 50s and early 60s styles right now, and the clean-shaven look keeps things classic.”
— Patrick Kenger / Image Consultant / Pivot Image
“In 2023, both clean-shaven and stubble will be on trend. For the past few years, men’s fashion has been shifting away from full beards towards a more ‘natural’ look – one that is closer to the modern classic of a clean shave or light stubble. With this shift in men’s fashion trends, in 2023, a clean shave or light stubble will be seen as the more stylish and modern option.”
— Lauren Udoh / Hair Creative Director / Wig Reports
“All you need to do is look at Ryan Gosling is the Barbie movie to know where beard trends are headed. From Prep School sleek to Wall Street slick, hairless is hot right now. All of the gender-bending looks—think Timothée Chalamet and Ruby Rose—have led to a trend of smooth, youthful sheen. Women may be embracing their gray but men are cutting it clean with strong angles and high shine. Face fuzz gets in the way.”
— Shaun Surething / Hair Stylist / Seagull Hair Salon NYC
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.
The Scruffy Look
“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 2023, 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 / Pivot Image Consulting
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.
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.
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Mark Grassick joins us with over 17 years' experience as a journalist covering pop culture in the UK and Ireland. He's interviewed everyone from Alan Rickman to Iron Maiden and is currently a bearded, music-mad father of two and husband of one residing in London, England.