Now that beards are out of style, should I shave?

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Not necessarily. Believe it or not, beards existed long before the recent trend, and they will exist long after. In fact, the enduring legacy of this beard trend should prove to be a reintroduction of facial hair of all kinds back into polite society, rather than just a brief blip in the history of men's grooming. However, if you're starting to become mistaken for every other bearded hipster in your neighborhood, maybe it's at least time for a trim.

For decades facial hair was relegated to academics, the "dad mustache", and various fringe members of society, which was too bad because (as many recently found out) some men look better with facial hair. Too much space between your nose and upper lip? Grow a mustache. Weak chin? Grow a beard or goatee. Want to look slightly slimmer? Beard. Want to look more mysterious? Stubble. Want to look slightly older (e.g. McDonald's shift manager)? Mustache. And then there is always that intangible quality that some men just look better with facial hair.

Depending on your profession you should probably avoid overly whimsical styles (think renaissance fair), but the rules have definitely become more relaxed for facial hair in a professional setting. If you are in a fairly conservative industry, your facial hair should follow suit. If you are in a more artistic field, the rules are out the window. A good barber will know what suits your face, your personality, and even your job. Subtle differences in length and shape of facial hair can significantly affect your public persona.

I have never been a proponent of blindly following trends, so I don't suggest rushing to shave your beard just because a national magazine told you to, just as I didn't suggest growing one for the same reason. Use your better judgement, or ask your barber for guidance. Maybe you look better with facial hair.

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