Beard Perception: How Do People View the Bearded?

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January 24, 2019

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Beards and facial hair in general can make people think all kinds of things. Perceptions of facial hair vary by culture, and they can change with time too. One person might think that someone with a beard is handsome and powerful, while another might see them as being untidy and untrustworthy. There’s no clear way that everyone views people with beards, but there are some things that are worth considering if you’re interested in whether having a beard changes how people see you. Beards can prompt both negative and positive thoughts, so there’s a lot to explore and unpack where beards are concerned.

Beards Can Be Divisive

There’s no denying that beards can be divisive. Sometimes it all comes down to personal preference, whereas it can also be a cultural or generational perception of whether beards are good or bad. Of course, it’s not always black and white. Some people are perfectly accepting of an neatly groomed beard, but not so keen on a bushy number. A study in the 1990s showed that clean-shaven men were seen as more attractive and sociable. Other studies have shown that the more facial hair a man has, the more masculine he is perceived.

Salespeople with Beards Could Be More Trustworthy

If there’s one place where the beard is often discouraged, it’s in customer-facing jobs. Managers and bosses often choose to discourage facial hair, especially if it’s not short and neatly groomed. However, it’s possible that a beard could make a salesperson more trustworthy. A 2014 study showed that men with (crucially, well-manicured) beards were seen as more experienced and trustworthy. Maybe this is is because a beard often makes a man look older. So next time I’m looking for a Mercedes dealer near me, I might look out for a salesperson with a beard and see if they can back up what their beard is saying. Perhaps a beard gives you the power to be a good car salesman.

Beards Make Men Seem Like Better Parents

Some people even perceive men with beards as having better parenting skills than those without a beard. A study in the Official Journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society showed not just that but also that beards bestow perceptions of health, masculinity and attractiveness on men. This 2015 study perhaps shows the shifting attitudes with regards to beards and how we seem them now compared to 20 or more years ago.

Do Rich People Not Do Beards?

One suggestion that beards might not be so good is that in the past, members of the Fortune 100 have tended to be clean shaven. This might suggest that rich and successful men are more likely to have no beard, but this is another way things could be changing. With many successful entrepreneurs now seemingly being tech dudes, younger men in their 30s and younger, and bearded hipsters, this could certainly be set to change.

Having a beard might make people trust you more, or it could mean people think you’re less attractive and sociable.

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