In this third and final issue of this blog series, I am going to be finishing up the history of the beard. While we have learned some incredible facts together about beards and its history, we are going to be finishing up this blog series with the final chapter of what the beard has meant to men from the beginning of time!
Hello Summerville! I hope that as I hop back into my writing chair this week, that you’ve been enjoying this cooler weather and are exciting for the upcoming holidays! It has been such an exciting few weeks for me, and as always, I am so thankful to all of my patrons, customers, supporters, and dear friends. I love seeing you in my barber chair, I love seeing your comments on social media, and I love being able to help you pick out or care for your perfect style or hair care treatments. Don’t forget, while we are getting closer to the holidays, it is time to schedule your next appointment to look your best for all of those holiday gatherings and photos. Also, start thinking about holiday gifts for your loved ones or yourself! I have some incredible new and staple services that make my barbershop stand out against all of my competitors. Don’t forget, I offer nonsurgical hair replacement services, classic shaves, all kinds of facial services, and much more that will be welcomed gifts for the holidays! Make sure to book now before my appointments are filled up for the rest of 2020. Can you believe we only have a few weeks left of this year? Let’s gather together and make them the best that we can!
While you are daydreaming sweet dreams about your next haircut or beard treatment, let’s get back to the history of your beard! In my last blog, we talked about the history of the beard from the very beginning of modern culture from the ancient Romans, Greeks, Indians, and the Egyptians. Each of these cultures treated and looked at the beard with high esteem and importance, and when faced with punishment men would lose their beards and stand in their communities. Could you imagine that now? The importance of the beard continued as the world and time marched on. Vikings, of course, have been remembered for their epic beards as much as their historical battles and plunders. While many have depicted the Viking beard to be a giant and mammoth unkempt dirty shag of hair, according to the History Cooperative and Beard Pilot, things were very different than what the media has depicted to us for many years. Hygiene and care for their beards were incredibly important to the Vikings, and they took great pride in their appearance, along with how big their beards and facial hair could grow. They used their beards as a silent weapon, striking fear into their enemies without a single blow thrown. The Vikings wanted to look overwhelming and powerful in appearance before the battle even began.
This idea bloomed and continued to grow within the middle ages where beards were worn by knights and kings to show their virility, masculinity, power, and honor. According to Beard Pilot, men of the church at the time were required to be clean-shaven to show that their walk in life and purposes was much different than these knights and kings. Through the middle ages and into the scientific age across the settled countries, the beard continued to grow and prosper. While the world changed, the beard continued to hold strong in fashion and cultural power. Kings continued to wear them to show their power and masculinity, but so did men of lower born class. They needed to keep their faces warm, they didn’t have time to be clean-shaven while they were trying to keep food on their tables and a roof over their heads, and it was still considered proper fashion to have a beard.
With the entrance of the scientific revolution both on the shores of Europe and a budding America, the beard and how it was looked saw a huge revolution as the world started to grow and change faster than ever before. The power of the bead and those who wore them were drastically changed in the 1700s for almost 150 years according to History Extra. This was one of the very first times in history that a clean-shaven face was deemed more proper than a face with a full beard. This was the age of the proper gentleman; these gentlemen were highly educated, scholarly, and leaders during the dawning of both the European and American industrial revolution. They spent more time indoors than their predecessors ever had. These men were well dressed, spent a large amount of time on their appearance, were very wealthy, and did not consider a beard proper.  Their power came from their education and family background, and none of that needed to be proven with facial hair. Facial hair started to get a pretty bad reputation; society believed that the wearer was lazy, dirty, and had no class. If you had facial hair during this time, it needed to be short and well kept, or your standing in society was questioned.
Once the mid-1800s dawned everything changed once again, especially for the American man. This was the dawning of a great exodus to America, and many settlers were beginning their trip out west for gold, more religious freedom, and more land. In Europe, this change was born from fear and crisis of the loss of masculinity. Many feared that men were losing touch with their masculinity and the rebirth of the beard once again solidified power and strength in a whole new away. In America, the beard was grown to represent one’s culture, grown because one was trying to make a living in a new difficult world and didn’t have time to trim it, and it also became a tool of protection. Around this time, doctors were prescribing men to grow their beards. Many believed that a beard could keep you healthier, prevent sickness and disease, and believed the sickness could be caught in your whiskers instead of going into your body.  It also protected its wearers from harsh elements like the sun, dust, dirt, and even the cold. Thanks to popular figures like Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain who wore their own unique style of beard, pop culture took hold of the beard and made it stylish once again.
Today, the beard is still a sign of masculinity, but it isn’t the only definition. The beard is a sign of style, uniqueness, and personality. We have evolved the idea of caring for our beards akin to something like the Vikings, and have developed incredible oils, waxes, balms, and other tools to care for them. These new tools and treatments also have your skin and health in mind, focusing on keeping you and your body as healthy as possible. The modern-day beard has even been linked to a scientific point of view again, helping to protect from harmful UV Rays! They might even play a very heavy role in the love game, according to the History Cooperative. Apparently, 2/3 of women find men with beards more attractive. Of course, that is all in the eye of the beholder and the opinion of the beard grower.
Did you know the beard you’re wearing or thinking about growing had so much history behind it? Caring and taking time for your beard is also not a new idea, it’s a historical honor and a time-honored tradition. Taking time for self-care has been culturally important for hundreds of years. Never question or feel guilty for taking time for your facial hair and hygiene,  it was one of the most important things to Vikings, kings, and knights! If you have any questions about beards, facial hair care, or want to share your interesting facts about beards, don’t hesitate to reach out and share! Until next time, I am Patrick the Groomsmith and I am here with the best barbershop in Summerville, the best nonsurgical hair restoration in Summerville, and more.