Beard Primer

Joanna Schroeder fills you in on the latest in beard trends.

Not since Mr. Edwards’ first appearance on Little House on the Prairie have beards been so popular. You can’t walk around Los Angeles these days without running into a young guy who looks like he’s on the road to ZZ Top-hood. Even before Brad Pitt adopted his Unruly Goat (above), he was running around like he’d just come back from a Post-Apocalyptic Caveman World.

Here’s Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses, circa 2007. I believe this is the seminal year during which the Hipsters of Silver Lake and Echo Park began releasing their inner Grizzly Adams.

Bridwell’s beard has a life of its own in this video. I’m nearly certain the beard is sweating.

And here is Joaquin Phoenix in his “Biblical Beard”:

Then there is the unshaven guy who keeps it trimmed, not Biblical, but doesn’t do any actual shaving, so then he has a beard that also takes over his neck. Hugh Laurie is my most famous example. This beard looks great on guys whose beards are greying. And guys who actually have to go to jobs.

Though I call what Hugh Laurie has a “neck beard”, it’s not technically a neck beard. This (modeled below by Mr. Thoreau) is technically a neck beard:

(For the absolute best Neck Beard photos, visit Bro J Simpson’s collection of breathtaking Neck Beard shots.)

Then, as demonstrated by George Lucas, we have The Optical Illusion Beard:

And finally, we would be remiss to talk about beards without mentioning the Traditional Beard. Think Sigmund Freud, think Kenny Loggins… Think (yes ladies!) Jon Hamm:


What do you think? Do you have to be famous to sport something as bold as the Biblical Beard, The Unruly Goat, or the Hugh Laurie Neck Beard?

What beard style do you think absolutely has to go?

What style of facial hair do you currently sport?

Is there anything more manly than a beard?


Photo credits:
Brad Pitt – AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi
Joaquin Phoenix – AP
Hugh Laurie – AP/Chris Pizello
George Lucas – AP
Jon Hamm – AP/Matt Sayles


About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane,,, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.


  1. Todd Mauldin says:

    Perhaps this will help:

  2. Beards are a challenge because sooner or later you want to scratch the damn thing by dragging that spot right under your jaw up and down on a big gnarly pine tree.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      If you do this, would you mind catching it on film? It sounds like a momentous man-occasion.

  3. Jameseq says:

    It is good that more men are once again wearing their peacock’s plumage, their lionic mane

    What do you think? Do you have to be famous to sport something as bold as the Biblical Beard, The Unruly Goat, or the Hugh Laurie Neck Beard?
    *shrugs* no, a man can wear whatever he wants.

    What style of facial hair do you currently sport?
    a goatee, it suits my face the best

    I really struck by how striking Jon Hamm looks with his beard. His beard frames his face so beautifully. Shame his hair isnt shoulder length and his eyes arent lined, to further enhance his beauty. Note how Jason Momoa looks with his eyes made up

    Jason Momoa, eyes unmade

    Jason Momoa, eyes made

    • Jameseq says:

      I never found Jon Hamm attractive in MadMen – He looks like a schoolboy. But with his beard, he looks wooooof – devastating

  4. Nick, mostly says:

    I’m ready to shave my beard off. If only it didn’t require such regular maintenance to keep shorn.

    But you omitted one crucial beard style, betraying your LA-centrism: the ironic beard. Worn by the hipsters of Williamsburg and Bed Stuy, the ironic beard is definitely cool, or rather not cool, or is that pre-cool?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Link, please!

      Must see evidence of The Ironic Beard.

      I thought Bridwell’s (and Mumford and Sons, Avett Brothers, etc) beard was ironic?


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