There has always seemed to somewhat of a fascination with the growth of this type of facial hair throughout history. In some cases, the public curiosity may be for a famous person or people whose facial hair had become synonymous with them. Others have been so intrigued as to study or try and prove and dispel myths about the fabled art of grown facial hair. Still, others were seemingly decades ahead of their time in the creation of their beard grooming products. This again could be said of the legendary Luther Taylor, who, in his initial attempts to crates the best smelling beard oil in the world, he would develop an all-organic recipe that was decades ahead of the times. Taylor’s innovative approach would lead to the seven private label luxury scents currently available from the company bearing the Taylor name. With such interest and a market that is obviously on the rise and appears here to stay, the stories “behind the stubble” throughout history are seemingly endless.
It’s safe to say that there are enough old “beard tales” that we could ever put them all in one story. However, an area that has consistently been discussed and debated is the physical or medical benefits one can enjoy by growing in a beard. Are they legitimate? Is it another case of “facial hair fables?” That would apparently depend on who you inquired about the topic to. One thing we think you will agree with, however, is that there is more to the “beard culture” than just “letting grow” or going in for a shave. Who knows, by the article’s end, you might even let that “five o’clock shadow” grow in yourself.
For those who think that the “beard boom” in recent years has spurned the upswing in an array of products and actually at current count has over 55 percent of all males wearing some type of facial hair, you couldn’t be more wrong. While at times the reasoning behind either wearing a beard or being told in some eras to be clean-shaven has vastly differed, “facial hair fodder” has never seemed to be lacking since the dawn of man.
Going all the way back to the early stages of evolution, historians believed that a beard was grown by prehistoric men to keep them warm in the wintertime. Not only was it thought to have protected them from the cold, but it was also felt that beards were a method of protection from sandstorms and insects. Also, during these early stages in evolution, it is believed that in these dangerous times that men wearing facial hair did so to present a more intimidating appearance, a key to survival at this point in history.
In addition to offering protection from the cold, experts felt that it was also grown to combat the hot summer sun. If we fast forward to more modern times briefly, studies eventually will show this to not only be correct in protecting one from the heat, though, as the beard’s ability to protect from the sun is one that goes even deeper. For one, it has been discovered that a beard will grow best in the warmer summer months of the year. Scientific studies proved this as fact, revealing that since a man’s testosterone levels are elevated during the summertime, that this is when facial hair grows in best. Even more importantly, a study completed by the University of Southern Queensland found that beards actually do provide protection from the sun as first thought in those prehistoric times. The research shows that beards offer 90-95 percent protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Moving along in time, beards became very popular in ancient Greece. In this society, full facial hair was seen as a sign of masculinity, knowledge, and wisdom. When someone actually did shave their beard in ancient Greece, it was seen as a sign of mourning or sometimes was even dealt out as a punishment. Maneuvering through time, beards would “come and go” in popularity, but by the mid-1800s, the full beard was back in full effect.
One of the first times it is believed that an actual medical opinion was voiced on the growth of beards was in 1843. This was when the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal hypothesized that a beard could act almost as an air filter of sorts and help to block out illness. The article would go on to suggest that a “thick beard” can trap harmful particles before they entered the body. Thus, through this piece, doctors encouraged men to grow their beards. This same type of premise would later be revisited by medical experts when encouraging those suffering from allergies to grow facial hair. The mustache and beard, it was said, traps disallowed debris to enter the body through the nose and mouth.
The United States President at about this same time, Abraham Lincoln, had also begun growing out his now-famous beard during this point in time. This combination led to a spike in the U.S. of upper-class men wearing beards. In Britain, the popularity of the beard returned as well at this point. It was primarily due to the conditions during the ongoing Crimean War of 1854-56. In that battle, it was perceived that the protection beards provided from freezing temperatures were the main reason for their popularity.
In the first part of the twentieth century, the beard began showing up on some very prominent and famous faces worldwide. Respected and brilliant men such as Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and Marcel Proust were visibly sporting facial hair during this period. However, by the 1920s in the United States, the full beard was, for the most part, rarely seen. Around or about the time that unrest began with the Vietnam War, the beard came back in full force. It was considered “anti-establishment” by some to grow in facial; hair, as many well-known writers, artists, and musicians would begin sporting beards. Even the clean-cut, “bubble gum pop” look of the Beatles took a turn to the “hairy side” during this era of the late 1960s. Other famous bearded musicians through this period included Jimi Hendrix, Willie Nelson, and Jerry Garcia, among countless others.
Sure, long hair and facial hair grew freely during this time and would become synonymous with the “hippies” and “counterculture” movement. But rising up against “the man” was definitely not the only thing prominently uncovered about beards at this point. It was about this time that medical and physical “perks” of growing facial hair would continue being unveiled. Many of these trends and “tips” from experts are ones that would seemingly be an influence today on the 55 percent mentioned above of American males sporting facial hair. Some may actually come as a surprise, as often a beard is thought to be scratchy or irritate the skin.
On the contrary, studies show that growing a beard can help to heal your skin. Since when using a razor for shaving, bacteria and dirt are spread, especially in those with sensitive skin, letting a beard grow in steering clear of said razor for a while allows the face time to refresh and heal. Another revelation that may be surprising to some is that a beard is also said to help keep the face moisturized. How, you might ask? This is due to your facial hair protecting the sebaceous glands, which produce oil on the face that naturally moisturizes the skin.
So, with the skyrocketing popularity of the beard care and grooming industry, it has maybe never been more “in” to sport a long and luscious beard. In an age where skincare and all aspects of heath are analyzed in such great detail, the “beard game” has followed suit accordingly. The introduction by the Luther Taylor brand of the first 100 percent organic jojoba oil carrier base and the usage of all-natural, organic essential oils in all seven of their luxury scents has undoubtedly made this brand appear as a new trendsetter in the beard grooming industry. So, what else does the future hold as far as the evolution of the beard? It looks like we will just have to wait for the final verdict to “grow in.”