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From Caveman to Lumbersexual: The History of Men’s Beard

Mario, comics, priests, pirates, and your beard too! Let’s talk about the history of men’s beard! If a guy landed straight from the 90s in one of the creative, bohemian, and middle-class neighborhoods of a big city these days – be it New York, London, or Berlin – he could believe that his beard was invented in the last week, such an enthusiasm with which facial hair has been grown.

But the hair in the male face was not born yesterday, and if you carry a beard, you already know that. Still, the synonymous with manhood, wisdom, credibility, and expression channel for male beauty has crossed seas and mountains through the centuries and trends. It was not that hipster boy with a hairy span below the chin that invented it. To prove it, we will show you some curiosities and facts about beards throughout history (not that they will fit all here, but we select some of the most interesting ones).

 

The History of Men's Beard

1 – The Stone Era

In ancient times, men’s beards are to protect them from the cold, to give emphasis on the jawline, and to show a fierceness appearance that could help to scare the enemies. Had a beard could be the difference between life and death. But, If you usually cut yourself with a razor when shaving, please don’t complain about it, you are in a delightful spot. History believes that the first men who shave their beard, around 30,000 years ago, used shards of sharp stones to do it. What is not a surprise since they use to cut everything with rocks. I am here imagining shaving myself this way and not happy at all with the results.

2 – The Evolution Theory

Several biologists believe that hair has historically played a fundamental role in the sexual selection process. Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory and the owner of a super beard, believed that face hair functioned as an essential indicator of sexual maturity and attraction. Individuals with the more appealing ornaments (yes, he added the beard to the ornament category) will attract potential mates and succeed in reproducing themselves quickly. One of the two: Or Darwin really knew things and took his findings seriously, or he was just advocating for his beard cause.

3 – The Baby Butt Army

In ancient Greece, growing a men’s beard was a sign of status, strength, courage, and wisdom – the Spartans, for example, shaved the faces of those they considered cowards. Everything was going well until Alexander the Great, who we blame for the end of hairy culture after these civilizations, banned the hairs of his men because he believed that the beard meant a weak point in hand-to-hand combat. In addition to brandishing swords and shields, do you think that what the ancients enjoyed was pulling beards during fights? I never saw it in a movie, did you?

4 – The Middle Age Celibate

In the Middle Ages, the beard returned to mean virility and honor among the noblemen and knights. Hold somebody else’s beard was a severe offense that was solved through a duel. On the other hand, the Catholic clergy were required to be clean-shaven. Act understood as a synonym for celibacy. In other words: no beard, no sex.

5 – The Pirates, The Rum Beard Lotion

In the 16th century, sailors mixed rum and bay to create a moisturizer for their beards. It was essential to smell good when docking from one port to another. This mixture took on another role centuries later, as an aftershave lotion.

According to many beard specialists, rum (yes, the same one present in your Cuba Libre drink) has healing properties, and the bay adds aroma. Together, they are useful for closing pores, absorbing oil, and revitalizing the skin, and for a long time was the way to keep the sailor’s skin healthy and smooth.

One of the most famous pirates in history, the Blackbeard, did the opposite to deserve his fame and nickname. Cruel, he insisted on having the most striking and sinister appearance possible before hitting ships in the Caribbean.

Owner of a thick (and, of course, black) beard that went almost to his waist, he used to separate it into braids tied with colored ribbons. – Awww that was cute, now we know where that Brad Pitt Beard Style came from.

The sailors who ran into the figure used to think that he was the Devil himself. Devil? Wow, I hate to say it, but that’s a respectful beard!

6 – The Beard of Death

Are you excited to grow a beard? Be cautious! Growing a beard can be dangerous. If well-kept, facial hair is capable of making a man proud, there is also reports that it can kill him too. Literally.

In 1567, the Austrian Hans Steininger – who supposedly had an enormous 1.40 meters of beard – tripped over his facial hair during a demonstration of masculinity in a festival, fell, and broke his neck. A sad end for the leader of Braunau’S CITY. So, remember to groom your beard once in a while, okay?

7 – The Uncle’s Beard

As the 16th president of the United States, he abolished slavery and kept the country together even after having gone through a Civil War, but Abraham Lincoln did not use a beard.

Lincoln had a gaunt, wrinkled face, a long neck, and was tall enough to tower over his contemporaries. And throughout his career, mocking his appearance was considered fair game. When he was running for president in 1860, a paper in Houston described him as “the leanest, lankiest, most ungainly mass of legs, arms, and hatchet face ever strung upon a single frame.”

The history says that this only changed after a letter written by an 11-year-old girl, who told him to “grow a BEARD” because his face was skinny and if he did so because the ladies like whiskers they will tease their husbands to vote for him too and he will win the presidency. Good job, girl!

8 – The Beard as the Last Name? I want it bad!

One of the pioneers of American Scouting, Daniel Carter Beard, was bearded even in his name. It is not surprising that he dedicated part of his life to the tradition of turning boys into men (before founding the organization Children of Daniel Boone and the Boy Scouts of America, he was a very popular illustrator and by the way, loved beards).

9 – The Beard Taxes

You have probably heard that in the United States, the only thing that we are sure of in life is that we will pay taxes until you die. Well, I am grateful that no one had the brilliant idea of ​​recreating “beard taxes” here.

In 1535 the British king Henry VIII created a face hair tax that varied according to the individual’s social position. Sometime later, her daughter, Elizabeth I, recreated the fee. This time, all beard owners with more than two weeks of growth needed to deliver a little money to the crown.

Something similar happened in the Russia of Pedro I, who wanted to modernize his governed society to Western European standards. Taxpayers were required to carry a banner that said: “the beard tax has already been paid.”

10 – It’s me, Mario!

The most famous mustache of the video games, plumber Mário, owes his mustache to the graphic limits of videogames of the past.

Shigeru Miyamoto said in an interview with presenter Conan O’Brien that he created the character’s trademark because the mustache made it easier to see the character’s nose in 8-bit games.  No, please don’t tell me the truth!

11 – The Beard Hunter

Think of a ridiculous villain from the comic book universe. Thought? So I present you one even worse: the Beard Hunter (created by Grant Morrison, father of the New X-Men).

Born with a hormonal deficiency that prevented him from growing a beard, Ernest Franklin accumulated so much resentment and envy in his baby face that he started a crusade against facial hair.

In the DC stories he appears in, he hunts and kills his victims to take their beards home as a trophy. House in which, by the way, he lives with his mother. No more, Your Honor.

12 – The Bearded Avengers

That Marvel usually gets heavy on that thing of inventing multiverse superheroes most fans of comics already know. But I find it hard for any idea to be more bizarre than the one that rules the Earth 200500 universe: in this reality, all Avengers have this men’s beard. Even Scarlet Witch. Too much right, Marvel?

13- The Evil Spock

Wickedness and beard go together? For the creators of Star Trek, yes. When creating the “Evil Spock” for the episode “Mirror, Mirror,” which explores the union of universes in an alternative reality, the authors made the actor Leonard Nimoy adopt a goatee. Gave him some very respectful look, don’t you think?

14 – The Well-Respected

In the universe of American series, Ron Swanson has the title of the most portentous mustache of the 90s.

A true disciple of Magnum (Tom Selleck), the character even has a code for the mustache in his pyramid of greatness: “Facial hair: full, thick and aligned. Nothing sculpted. If you need to carve it, it probably means that you can’t grow one.”

15 – Please Keep that Mustache

Legend of the armed struggles on television, Hulk Hogan warned that he was going to shave his characteristic mustache when he announced his retirement in 2012.

The American Mustache Institute (I know, I know, but yes, it exists.) Protested, claiming that Hogan was a “leading figure in the sexually dynamic American mustache community.” Are you kidding? Great powers bring great responsibilities, man!

16 – And the Winner is…

Since 1995, the World Beard and Mustache Association has held the World Beard & Mustache Championship every two years.

The Austin Facial Hair Club, to date, hosts the most significant WBMC. Welcoming guests from 33 countries, 738 competitors, 27 categories, and more than 3k in the audience.

The great controversy is that the American competition was created, in 2014, with the same name as the Europeans (in fact, Americans changed the name of the national championship to the world championship because of its success, as we like to do in basketball, baseball or football). A petition against the American competition was created and signed by 103 clubs around the world, and until now, the testosterone battle is still going on.

17 – The Men’s Beard that is Not for Sale

Owners of the most iconic beards in rock, guitarists Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill, from ZZ Top, have been using their style since the 70s (the drummer of the group, ironically called Frank Beard, is the only one out of the trademark).

In the 1980s, they received an offer from a razor company to shave their beards for $ 1 million each, but they did not yield to economic pressure. Long-life to the rock and roll!

18 – The Most Beautiful Fake Men’s Beard

The movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, directed by Wes Anderson, won the 2015 Oscar in the hair and makeup category by presenting an impressive variety of mustaches and beards. Despite the successes, the hair was not what it appeared to be: 70% of the whiskers scattered throughout the film were fake, and created from human hair.

A more than honorable exception goes to the hair displayed by the legend Bill Murray. I expected no less from you, master!

19 – The Lumbersexual

The lumbersexual trend has recently emerged. This term is based on the English word lumber (lumberjack) + sexual, giving rise to a complete style: the man who dresses like a peasant lumberjack, but who lives in large urban centers, and, of course, has a beard. The woodcutter brings out the masculine virility, the highlight of the male supposedly “sloppy,” but that nevertheless overflows sexuality, beauty, refinement, and vanity. The word is officially in the American Dictionaries, and now, if you carry that responsible beard, you can add this new style to your list.

20 – Amen

Last but not least: Gandalf, Dumbledore, and even Jesus have a beard. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

You already know about our unconditional love for beards and its accessories. We often launch articles talking about all the qualities of hairy men, their greatest deads, and the importance that our facial looks have for the more evolved society. And its also clear that we want you to feel in love with your beard too.

Because of it, we selected some of the best products from Manners for Him to show you today. Beard oil, beard conditioner, and a super grooming kit will make all the difference in your life. You can trust our suggestions (what is better than a bearded man talking to another?). Check it out and click on the images to visit the entire collection on the website:

As every Yin has its Yang and every Batman his Jocker, our chat today had a beginning, and it’s arriving at its end, leaving you, once again, more knowledgeable and proud of your facial hair. If you don’t have a men’s beard, it’s time to grow one (I am not kidding here), and if you are already part of the mustache-goatee tribe, be welcome to the Manners for Him community and sign up to keep receiving our articles and keep your style in check.

See you inside and check our products for men’s beards!

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