Scientists Prove the Beard is Dead! Get Ahead of the Game with These Top Trends.

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Does a beard make a man? Judging by the amount of facial hair currently taking up residence on the faces of men across the UK, it seems to be the case. From the subtle to the all out ZZ Top bush, facial fuzz quickly became the breakout trend of the last year but how much longer will it last?

The alarming rise of the beard caught the attention of scientists in New South Wales who used science to determine whether we have in fact reached ‘peak beard’. Researchers showed participants 36 images of men’s faces, using the first 24 to condition them towards either all bearded or non-bearded men, or a combination of the two. Participants were then shown 12 more images of either clean shaven or bearded men and were asked to rank them in order of attractiveness. The ranking of the men’s faces were shown to be dependant on the exposure that the participants had prior to the 12 man test, the more beards they had seen – the less attracted they were to subsequent beards and vice versa. Scientists call this ‘negative frequency-dependent sexual selection’, in laymen’s terms this means that beards are advantageous when they are rare however as soon as they become a trend, they lose their magic.

Why Beards?

Beards are seen as a sign of masculinity, seemingly adopted by those wishing to convey their lack of desire to conform to the ‘normal’ grooming standards by taking extra time to cultivate their own individual facial hair statement. We’ve seen beards pop up on the high fashion catwalks over the last few years, however with the news that high street favourite New Look have incorporated their own bearded model, does this highlight the fact that we’ve hit the peak?

Beards have also been backed by many a celebrity stalwart, causing a dramatic influx in Buzzfeed articles dedicated to showing just how much more attractive they are when you add a mass of facial foliage. The ‘peak beard’ theory can also be explained by the celebrities who have picked up the trend, the gradual decline clearly illustrates the amount of style influence the celebrity has compared to the popularity of the beard – science!

What's Your Celebrity Beard Style?

It’s believed that trends re-emerge every 30 years, so what’s next for the style conscious male? We’ve picked out some of the key trends that we can see making their way back into the heart of every hipster this summer.

Flares

Will the 70’s make a comeback on the catwalk this year? We’ve already seen these wide legged denim jeans adorning the legs of female celebrities such as Victoria Beckham but will they transition over to the male collections? After the success of American Hustle at the box office, the classic 70’s style may not be such a long shot for those taking bets on the S/S 2015 runway collections.

Sports Luxe

Yes you read that right, ‘Sports Luxe’ is a term that’s being used to describe the preppy 50’s style that is set to come back into fashion. The focal point of this look will be a block colour baseball jacket (think Grease or your typical American high school movie) either with leather sleeves for a smart look or plain cotton for casual. Go team!

Headbands

Not quite 30 years later but another style statement that made it’s return to the catwalk this year is the hair band. Roberto Cavalli is not stranger to bold catwalk looks and his models showcased a practical way to keep their manes out of their faces, as did designer Nicholas K. The style is typically attributed to footballers such as David Beckham and Mark Sanchez however we’ve also seen people like Jake Gyllenhaal and Harry Styles bringing back the look over the last couple of years.

Slicked Back Hair

Of course there is a chance that male grooming will jump right to the other side of the spectrum after beards have their final curtain call. The slicked back hair look favoured by 80’s Wall Street tycoons is one of the many hair styles expected to make a comeback after it was featured in Calvin Klein’s A/W 2014 runway show. This kind of ‘uber groomed’ look is the perfect contrast for those wanting to ditch the bearded lumberjack persona. We can already imagine the queues for extra strong hair gel in East London.

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