After a few years back in the spotlight, the beard is fading fast as the facial hair du jour. The shavers are out and the chin is fuzz-free, but a sleeker, more retro, alternative is growing back in its place. The moustache is officially in, and the fully sprouted fuzz is losing its luster as self-proclaimed ‘lumbersexuals’ (think plaid shirts, jeans and a full chin of hair) are reaching for the razors. We might not have seen it coming, but science did, and they have some pretty interesting explanations.
Psychologically, it’s been said that men subconsciously feel the need to grow out their beards when society feels their masculinity is at threat, a kind of LOOK AT ME move to assert manliness without even opening their mouths. As the beard begins to lose its place to the ‘tash, it seems that faith in the male species has been since been restored – just not completely. That’s why the moustache is still lingering on.
It’s also been proposed that feminism is the reason behind bushy beards, too. Bear with us here – as waves of the women’s movement come about, men apparently feel the need to assert their authority by growing macho beards. Hmm, we’re not sure if we quite believe this one…
But facial hair is not just a grooming tool to prove masculinity. Many scientists (and general beard experts) say it also indicates sexual prowess, as facial hair proves a man has reached maturity and is ready for reproduction (only in the physical sense, of course). And let’s just say a nice big beard indicates a good size elsewhere. Other than that, the moustache is even said to be a practical way to stay healthy, blocking pesky germs and insects from entering the body through the nose and mouth, as well as blocking UV rays and keeping lips less chapped. Clever.
There’s an evolutionary reason behind the soul patch too – the sides of the chin under the lip are left unfurred because that’s where our canine teeth used to be, until we evolved to keep them inside our mouths. Whether they went bald to allow canine teeth to grow unimpeded or stayed empty to give the impression of scarily big teeth, we don’t know, and surprisingly science hasn’t quite found time to tackle this burning question.
One reason for the moustache’s miraculous comeback is undoubtedly Movember, the testicaular cancer charity that sees millions of men across the country get sponsored for growing the most outrageously retro moustaches they can muster. Sarah Coghlan, UK Director of the foundation, says “moustaches used to be a thing of the past. Our dads had them, our grandfathers had them, but the Movember Foundation has helped bring the Mo back into fashion".
Love them or hate them, we never knew the moustache meant so much! So grow on, men – just keep your patch of masculinity above the lip.
Want to see some incredibly hot men with not-so-sexy facial hair? You need our gallery…