Manly or Scruffy?  What's
Your Beard Style?

Handsome Man with a Beard

Recently on Facebook, a friend announced new film work he is doing that is important and fun for him.  Along with congratulations in the comments, questions popped up regarding whether he would shave or trim his beard, what levels of beards were permitted, etc. 

In other words, people do notice if you have a beard.

It's Not Just About Style

These days facial hair is in style.  Many celebrities and sports stars wear varying degrees of scruff and many men are feeling comfortable in trying on styles as well. 

"Manly" is a look any male might enjoy, were he described so.  What man wouldn't want to sport a look of strength in his world regardless of his choice to wear a beard or not!  

But let his beard get out of hand and you begin to hear negative comments and musings.  Instead of "manly," he could easily be viewed as an intimidating figure.  Research shows that men with beards are perceived to be leaders, assertive, and sometimes aggressive in their ambitions. 

Depending on the type of perception you want to give, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Always keep yourself clean and neat, and be sure to know if “neatly trimmed” counts as “shaven” in your professional circle.  
  • If your beard does not grow in evenly, or tends to grow scraggly, consider this as a reason to shave, as this beard will likely draw negative attention.
  • If you choose to wear a beard, avoid playing with it when in the company of others. 

Your Beard in the Workplace

I recently worked with a salesman, a professional who dressed very well and was sharp in all regards, including his cleanly trimmed beard and mustache.  Once I noticed that, I stopped noticing it. 

But had his beard looked neglected, the conversation might not have gone very far.  Why?  Because I would have been distracted by his appearance in our face to face conversation.

Whether we like it or not, how we look, along with what we say and do, contributes to the first impressions we make with others.  We’re reading each other all the time.

When interviewing for work, do some research to find out if facial hair is acceptable in your chosen company.  Potential employees are held to a high standard during the interview process so a positive first impression will be most important.

  • Know the company culture and “look.”  This not only includes consideration of dress codes, but also likely applies to facial hair.  Explore and ask.
  • Does the company have a “clean-shaven” look?  It probably doesn’t take a deep study to know if wearing a beard will be acceptable.
  • In some industries it matters and in others it doesn't.  Some work environments have wider latitudes of opinion.  What’s to your advantage?

Daily Challenges

Good grooming requires cleanliness.  It's in your best interest to cleanse your face and beard every day, and you probably need to be aware of what your beard attracts to it as you're out and about. 

Food particles can easily get lodged in a beard and become the first thing someone sees when you approach.  When dining out, choose beard-friendly foods that are easy for you to eat.  Soup dripping down your beard, or bread crumbs lodged here and there may be distracting for the person you're sharing a meal with.  Especially if you're on a date!  And remember, your napkin is for dabbing the corners of your mouth, not for beard wiping.

If you work for a company that doesn't frown on men with facial hair and you've decided to grow a beard, do so with caution.  The growing-in phase can sometimes look far too scruffy, making the transition from clean-shaven to bearded inappropriate for the workplace in some cases. 

A better idea might be to grow your beard while on vacation.  This may give you time to get it right, and then you can show it off when you return (looking incredibly rested and relaxed!). 

However, if you aren't doing stellar in your work position, you might want to remain clean shaven for a while longer.

Enough Already

Recently I had a conversation with someone who had a little bead in his beard.  I kept wondering how he got it there and tried not to stare, so I wasn't listening to him at all.  A beard is ornamental enough.  If you ever need to be heard, there's no reason to add any additional distraction.

A smile is the only other thing you need to enhance that shadow of manliness on your face.  You handsome devil!

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