With Father's Day right around the corner, we've gathered up the best beard facts to wow the guys in your life. From Smithsonian sights to beard taxes and beer-soaked studies, these 15 factoids are stacked with hairy goodness you'll want to share with dads, brothers, husbands...anyone with so much as a whisker.
- Let's talk numbers. The average beard grows 5.5 inches a year, is made up of about 30,000 whiskers, and if an average man never trimmed his average beard, it would clock in at an astounding 27' 6” at the time of his death.
- The world's longest beard measured in at a lengthy 17' 6”. The lucky owner, Hans Langseth, died in 1927, and entrusted it to the Smithsonian Institute's permanent collection for preservation. Who's up for a little road trip?
- Women grow facial hair as well. It's commonly called “peach fuzz” and is often fairer in color. However, a hormonal imbalance can sometimes cause excessive female facial hair that's coarse and dark. At a little over 10 inches, the record for longest female beard goes to Vivian Wheeler, who, in 1993, grew out her chin hairs after the death of her mother and three failed marriages.
- In Turkey, köse means “baldness of the face.” Considering facial hair is associated with masculinity and high social status in this country, sporting a patchy or non-exist mustache or beard won't do much for your professional or love life. In fact, it can seriously affect it. That's why facial hair transplants and hair transplant tour packages (4-days of medical and overnight charges all included) are on the rise with doctors creating gruff stubble, mustaches, and beards to patients' specifications using hair from other parts of the body.
- No matter what your personal preferences are, a good study, like that done by the University of New South Wales in Australia, can throw you for a loop. They polled 351 women and 177 men on the attractiveness, masculinity, health, and parenting ability of 10 men with varying stages of facial hair. Across the board, those with fully, bushy beards rated the highest in sexiness and Dad potential. Stubble-studded guys beat out their clean-shaven counterparts for the lowest score.
- It's common for facial hair to be a different shade than the hair on your head. Though sun exposure (lightening effect), stress (gray hair), and malnutrition/vitamin deficiency (dull hair) can contribute, it comes down to the levels of pigmentation in your hair follicles. Each follicle contains a unique mixture of eumelanin (black or brown color) and pheomelanin (red and yellow color). These different combinations are responsible for random red or dark patches that sometimes plague our bearded friends.
- Attennntion! In the 1700s, men in the Prussian Army were instructed to draw a beard on their faces if they couldn't grow thick face mane by themselves.
- Would your men pay a beard tax? Modern-thinker Peter the Great, Tsar to the Russian Empire in the late 17th century, believed beards to be a thing of the past. He imposed a tax on all beards and Noblemen sporting them were made to carry a license.
- Here are some choice words to incorporate into your next cocktail conversation. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “out of print” is slang for a messy beard and “ziff'' means a beard in Australia.
- Keep the tux on hold and tie on a beard instead. In ancient Egypt, facial hair was a sign of poor social standing. However, in religion and art, beards were associated with god-like divinity. On special occasions, a pharaoh would wear a false beard secured by cords to convey his living-god status. Even high-powered women, like Queen Hatshepsut, are shown sporting one in royal paintings. The Osird style—trim, narrow, and braided like that of King Tut's famous gold mummy mask—was a popular choice for royal burial attire.
- For those who savor every last drop of their beer, facial hair may not be for you. In 2000, Guinness researchers discovered that 162,719 pints of brew are lost across 92,370 mustached and bearded drinkers each year.
- In the 1970s, Brigham Young University banned beards (mustaches are fine) to help set their straight-laced students apart from free-lovin' hippies. Along with modest skirt lengths and closely cropped male hairstyles, it became part of the honor code's grooming standards. Though Brigham Young, himself, sported quite the chinstrap, exceptions to the rule came about only recently. Through formal petition, “beard exemptions” are now allowed for medical, theatrical, or religious reasons.
- If you've ever hounded the guys in your life to use sunscreen, this might put your mind at ease. According to a published study conducted by the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, a thick, bushy beard can block 90 to 95 percent of harmful UV rays. The results proved it provides adequate protection against skin cancer (now to tackle getting SPF onto the rest of their face).
- Fear the beard. No truly, it's a real thing. Pogonophobia is the medical term for those who have an extreme fear, hatred, or dislike of beards. Conversely, someone who loves beards is called a Pogonophile.
- Here's a shocker: beards may be able to keep bacteria at bay. A study in the Journal of Hospital Infection showed that clean-shaven male hospital workers were three times more likely to carry harmful bacteria (and 10% more likely to carry patches of MRSA) on their faces than bearded colleagues. The study proposed two theories. 1) The repeat use of razors, and the microabrasions they create on the skin, can help bacteria grow and spread. 2) If kept very clean, beards may be able to fight infection.
So there you go. 15 beard facts to bring out on Father's Day, or any day, really. As these facts prove, beards are timeless.