The Psychology of Shaving: Why Do We Choose to Be Beardless or Bearded?

by Jay Kang | Posted on May 28th, 2023

Greetings, gentlemen! Let’s embark on a fascinating journey, one that each man navigates every morning in front of the mirror: the decision to shave or not to shave. What seems like a simple grooming choice is, in fact, a compelling reflection of our personalities, societal norms, and self-expression. As an experienced psychologist with a keen interest in men’s grooming, I am thrilled to share my insights into this intriguing topic.

A Deep Dive into the Psychology of Shaving

Shaving, for many men, goes beyond a task in their morning routine. It’s a crucial part of their identity, a medium for self-expression, and a link to societal norms and expectations.

half beard

Self-Expression and Personal Identity: Your Facial Hair, Your Canvas

Your choice to wear a beard or go clean-shaven is, in essence, an act of self-portrayal. Whether you prefer a refined stubble, a full lumberjack beard, or a smooth, clean-shaven look, each choice paints a unique picture of your identity. I’ve seen in my years of practice how grooming can enhance a person’s confidence and how they perceive themselves.

Profession and Cultural Expectations: The Unwritten Facial Hair Code

Certain professions and cultures carry implicit or explicit expectations regarding facial hair. For instance, healthcare professionals often prefer a clean-shaven look to maintain hygiene. Adherence to these norms is not just about compliance but a demonstration of respect and integration into shared values.

The Role Model Influence: Copying the Stars

Every time a Hollywood star grows a beard, barbers around the world brace for a surge in similar requests. In essence, men often draw inspiration from their role models when it comes to facial hair, further proving the deep psychological impact of shaving and facial grooming.

Perceptions Crafted by Your Facial Hair

Now that we understand why we make certain grooming decisions let’s look at how these decisions impact how others perceive us.

The Bearded Perception: Dominance and Maturity

Fact Check: A study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology suggests that women find men with heavy stubble most attractive, with full-bearded men perceived as healthier and better potential parents. Isn’t it intriguing how a beard can influence others’ perception of you?

The Clean-Shaven Perception: Trustworthy and Youthful

Fact Check: A Social Psychological and Personality Science study revealed that clean-shaven men are often viewed as more sociable and trustworthy. This perception might have fueled the clean-shaven trend in the corporate world.

The Art of Striking a Balance: Decoding Your Beard Game

Choosing between a beard and a clean-shaven look involves balancing personal comfort, societal norms, professional requirements, and individual identity.

Whether it’s the mustache mania of the 70s, the clean-shaven 90s, or the beard boom of the 2010s, societal attitudes towards facial hair are continually changing. As an enthusiast and expert, I always recommend embracing these trends but never at the cost of personal comfort or identity.

The Practicality Factor: To Itch or Not to Itch

Lastly, let’s not forget the practical aspect. Some men might find growing a beard itchy and high-maintenance, while others might relish the warmth and style it offers.

The Power of Choice: Embracing Your Personal Style

The decision to go bearded or beardless is a deeply personal one. As an expert in this area, my advice is always to make the choice that helps you feel the most comfortable and confident.

Remember, beards grow back, and clean-shaven faces can always change. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and most importantly, enjoy the journey of self-discovery that grooming offers. Your choice to shave or not is an essential part of who you are, so own it, embrace it, and wear it with pride.

Jay Kang

Just because i'm asian does not mean I don't need shaving. I always wanted to grow a beard when I was young, now I need to shave because hair growth for me is a problem. I'm going through what every man will and has gone through before.