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Popular Facial Hair Trends and How They Came to Be

Grooming is booming as men experiment with new ways to express themselves through their style and self-care routines. 

There’s no question that 2020 has been an interesting year, full of a lot of unexpected surprises (good and bad). But one good thing it’s been consistently full of? Time - time to try new hobbies, new recipes, or, as we wrote about here, new facial hair trends. 

At Shavelogic, we’re particularly interested in that last one. Grooming is booming as men experiment with new ways to express themselves through their style and self-care routines. 

On the hunt for a new look, but not quite sure where to start? We’ve got you. To help you make your next style move, we’re taking a look at some of the most iconic facial hair trends, and how they came to be.

1. Sideburns

Or should we say, Burnsides. This trend, defined by long strips of hair down the sides of the face, got its name thanks to Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, who flaunted a particularly pronounced version of the style.

Since then, sideburns have popped in and out of popularity - most notably in the ‘70s. They look great alone or paired with a killer mustache or goatee (Google John Lennon if you need some inspiration).

2. Handlebar Mustache

The handlebar style, AKA a lengthy mustache with an upward curve, first rose to popularity during World War I, when most men shaved their beards to accommodate gas masks and other army regulations. Our President at the time, William Howard Taft, was an early adopter, paving the way for scores of men to jump on the trend.

Handlebar mustaches are super versatile, and can be modified to fit your personal style. Want something subtle? Try the English. If you prefer to make a big splash - go for the Hungarian. Given that the Handlebar mustache rose to prominence in some part because men had to wear (gas) masks, the style is also a great option if you want facial hair that accommodates PPE.

3. Soul Patch

This style may seem normal now, but goatees used to be a symbol of convention-defying counterculture. The soul patch, an evolution of the goatee defined by a singular plot of hair just below the lower lip, became especially popular among jazz musicians in the 50’s. Dizzy Gillespie hopped on the trend early - and his name became ubiquitous with the style early on (before it was the “soul patch,” it was known as the “Dizzy Gillespie Beard”). 

Since then, the soul patch has lived on in various circles, and had a major resurgence in the ‘90’s among grunge and alt-rock artists. It remains a popular option for those who want a relatively low-profile beard option (or, if you’re like Dizzy, need a comfortable place to rest a trumpet mouthpiece).

4. Designer Stubble 

Or as it's more colloquially known, a five o’clock shadow. It’s first, very public appearance can be traced back to the (in)famous Kennedy v. Nixon televised debate debacle, where people thought Nixon’s stubble made him look gaunt and scruffy compared to JFK’s All-American spiffiness. But, this trend actually became desirable years later when musicians and Hollywood-types began to embrace it.

George Michael first popularized the look in the 1980s, and Tom Cruise, ever the style icon, led the style’s resurgence in the early 2000’s. It continues to be a modern perennial favorite as people enjoy the close-cropped, almost-beard scruff without the appearance of trying too hard.

The Right Tools

When experimenting with a new style, it’s even more important to have the right tools for the job - ones that give you the confidence and control you need to nail something new.

That’s exactly why we made the SL5. Whether you’re going for a soul patch or sideburns, the SL5’s powerful magnetic attachment and 5-in-3 blades will give you maximum control - and comfort - as you shape, trim, and style your way to facial hair perfection. Happy experimenting.