Short answer – The Beard. Let’s go back 10,000 years to when Gillette razors were not around. Unless those ancient men were plucking, they had beards. So what? this is known, we have advanced as a civilization, created tools, advanced them, made them lighter and sharper which has allowed us to cut and shape and shave. A clean-shaven face is a testament to our advancements as a people. Does that mean that a clean-shaven face is superior or more attractive as it is a representation of an advanced man? Does it mean that a man would be more likely to be successful in life by his facial hair choice? Is it more or less attractive to sport a beard? You will find many articles on the internet that try to find the answer but you will never get a clear answer because there are too many factors. It depends on trends in fashion, the economy, politics, and more.
At the end of the day what does it matter? These days, beard or no beard, there is no necessity for either. Yes, there may be some cultures and traditions that demand a man to have a beard or not, but for the most part our facial hair is a means of expression. A beard can be symbol of strength and stability or it can simply mean a man got lazy for a month and didn’t want to go through the daily shaving routine. A shaven face can be an expression of cleanliness or trustworthiness – it can present a notion of discipline and openness. Surely in Europe and North America a shaven face was statement of decorum and formality. You don’t show up to an interview, work, or a date with a hairy face. It was (and sometimes still is) generally perceived as not acceptable. For the past few hundred years this overarching sentiment has been the status quo.
But as times change and the world gets more connected and ideas, fashion, culture and norms are exchanged, men are finding themselves embracing the beard once again. But not like we’ve seen before. With the proper grooming, a man can fashion his mustache or beard to a preciseness that exhibits an iconic particularity. The internet has unloaded so much information that men have the tools to express themselves easier than ever, without having to go to a barber. That is why the beard is on the rise. You can see this for yourself. Next time you’re walking around town take a look at the men around you and see the diversity in facial hair expression.
Whether you want the clean-shaven look, the scruffy look, the percussion laser cut lined up beard look, the grizzly look or anything in between, men are breaking the social norms that once restricted facial hair freedom. Even when going to that interview or work or that hot date.
So what does it matter which came first, which is better or why? It doesn’t and it never should. What matters is that you go out into that world being yourself because that only thing that should come first.