Male Grooming: What's with that beard?
The full beard seems to have come back in fashion, what with models, actors and students sporting it with style and abundance. Experts and stylists believe facial hair is here to stay, and suggest ways to ensure it’s a conversation-starter
Quiz: What are ducktail, Hollywoodian, circle, French fork and spade?
Hint: You might have seen a sample of each on your way to work.
You are right. These are the ubiquitous patterns of facial hair, which like a season, has come back in abundance. You know a child-faced guy from next door and a month later you keep spotting suspicious burly guy with a huge spade beard getting in an out of the house, which you later confirm is him.
David Beckham has been an icon of beard enthusiasts from the time he has sported adequate facial hair. Pic/ AFP
Such stories are common, confirms fashion blogger and grooming guru, Riaan J. George and says that the biggest men’s grooming trend is now the beard. "Almost everyone is sporting it. However, I think that there is a heightened awareness about grooming and facial hair maintenance among modern men. So beards are being sported in extremely sharp, well-groomed forms. A messy, fuzzy, stubble is unsightly and is not always acceptable in a professional context," he shares.
The trend according to him has been sparked off by Hollywood stars like George Clooney who sported a beard at the Academy Awards red carpet earlier this year. "What is spotted on these red carpets eventually trickles down to the rest of the world. And in the past few years, celebrities are sending out a message that beards are cool," George shares.
Stylist Sapna Bhavnani agrees. "Hollywood definitely has had an influence. From A-listers like Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Gosling, to the guy serving you drinks on a Friday night, it seems that the entire male population is ditching the fresh-faced look and growing a beard. There are also reports mentioning a rise in facial hair transplants over the last few months." Bhavnani adds that she gets many requests to get the bearded look particularly after she styled Dhoni.
Iran born, Mahmoud.Akr, has been a model in Mumbai for five years and sports a beard because it gives him a matured look. Pic Courtesy/ Pran Udiyana
Amit Dahiya, a 20-year old model, informs that he has learnt that designers now prefer models with a beard and hence sports a full one. Mahmoud.Akr, from Iran, has been a model in the city for five years and sports a full beard too. He agreed that it is popular with many designers and models but he keeps it because he thinks it suited him after he kept it once.
Mature, macho or lazy?
Image consultant Chhaya Momaya points out that the beard does give men a matured look but it depends on how groomed you are. "The unkempt beard does not work anymore," she shares. She adds that this trend is definitely big, and many young men, rich or not so much, are trying out different bearded looks. "One can achieve the look without spending as much as stars do. It is like skinny jeans you can get an expensive brand or a cheap one but the look can be achieved."
Rohit Saha, student at NID Ahmedabad
But not all beard-keepers are those from fashion or entertainment industry. Not all of them care about grooming either. Supratik Sur Ray, who is a Masters student of Film Studies at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, tells us that his big fuzzy beard is just a result of laziness. And this point of laziness does find echo from different cities.
He however adds that the relation of Bengali intellectuals and beard is probably as old as the age of Gandalf. "From pre-Independent India to the revolutionary 1970s, the beard has always been a distinct symbol for the intellectual society in Bengal. Whereas the Van Dyke of Lenin and the Combo of Che has inspired many youth to keep a beard to express their political awareness; the Beatles or Allen Ginsberg has inspired them too in the circle of literature or music. Besides, there is Rabindranath Tagore, the been there done that man on intellect or beard." He, however, stressed that he is not an intellectual.
Virat Kohli often sports a full beard. AFP
Rohit Saha, who is a master’s student at National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, and sports a full beard, attributes it to Austaralian electronica musician Chet Faker, agrees that the beard is now a trend but for him its just the way he wants to look.
Chhaya Momaya, image consultant
But he and the others could also listen to sociologist, Nandini Sardesai, who points out that whatever the beard it stays as long as the partner likes it. "Once the girlfriend says get rid of it chances are low that it will remain. One can explain it by following the looking glass theory. You model yourself on the accepted standards of acceptance," she says.
>> Wash with a mild shampoo and use conditioner regularly
>> Groom your beard and moustache with a wide-toothed comb especially meant for beard grooming
>> Use beard oil regularly to tame your beard
Supratik Sur Roy is a film student at Jadavpur university
Amit Dahiya is a model in Mumbai who sports a beard
>> Ignore if your beard is scratchy
>> Ignore dry flakes in your beard
>> Ignore beard hair fall
— Suggested by Jay Pawar, Barber and Trainer, Truefitt & Hill