The ‘lockdown beard’ has been one of the most persistent men’s grooming trends of the year thus far, and a powerful metaphor for how our priorities have changed during 2020.
With working from home replacing business brunching, and the prospect of actually meeting the match you’ve been chatting away to on Hinge growing more and more unlikely as The Bat Kiss drags on, letting your normal grooming habits slide somewhat seems like a pretty natural thing to do: many men have been taking advantage of social distancing to cultivate some seriously good beards.
But while some men have gone the Chris Hemsworth route and kept things fairly restrained, others have decided to go ‘full Amish’ and grow out messy, bushy beards the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Gold Rush. Celebrities like LeBron James, Sergio Ramos, Jim Carrey, Liam Gallagher and Odell Beckham Jr. have set the template, all cultivating exceptionally unkempt and old-school facial hair. Naturally, what starts with celebrities has trickled down to the man on the street… Or ‘bristled down’, more like.
DMARGE spoke to Jacob Martin, barber and founder of Tate & Lyle Sydney, one of the finest hairdressers in the Harbour City, who muses that it’s not a big surprise that this has been one of the runaway grooming trends of the year.
“I’ve assumed that due to COVID and the restrictions on barbershops globally has allowed a lot of men to really embrace this lower maintenance style beard… [it’s] a very old school beard synonymous with the Wild West, Amish, bushrangers etc… I really feel that it’s a result of the environment rather than a new trend.”
View this post on Instagram
There’s also the cultural aspect: traditionally, longer beards like this have also been associated with political or religious ideologies, Martin relates. For example, unkempt beards are both common amongst Orthodox Christian, Jewish and Muslim men; and uncut hair (including one’s beard) is one of the five compulsory articles of faith for a baptized Sikh. Perhaps the ‘Amish beard’ trend is emblematic of how rocking a bushy beard is slowly becoming a more secular thing to do.
The real question is – how does one cultivate a beard like this?
Martin explained that it’s a combination of “low maintenance as well as having great genetics which allows for full thick growth.”
But it’s not that simple, he cautions. “This beard is not suited to all men [so] seek the advice of your grooming specialist to see what beard suits you.”
“Note this beard is perfectly complemented by a sharp haircut. Rule of thumb [is] you can really only have one or the other – sharp beard, messy hair or sharp haircut, messy beard!”
The reality is that to make this sort of beard work, you actually need to put a bit of effort in. More Idris Elba, less Grigori Rasputin.