Young men throw away their razors
A growing trend worldwide for young men to grow beards may be catching on in New Zealand. KELVIN TEIXEIRA investigates what’s behind the growth.
Walk down the street in any city or town in the Wellington region and while the number of clean-shaven men still outnumber those with facial hair, beards are becoming more popular.
Helped by the increasingly casual nature of workplaces, many young men are shunning metrosexual grooming and also saving time by shaving less.
Wellington barber Danny Gunn said overseas, young men with beards are ‘‘everywhere’’.
‘‘It’s now catching on here as a bit of a hipster thing.’’
Mr Gunn said it was not just short beards and goatees either, with many men striving for the full-beard look of Ned Kelly, the famous Irish-Australian bushranger from the mid 1800s.
‘‘ Maybe it’s stemmed from Movember, where young guys have grown moustaches and gone from there.’’
Wellington baker Richard Gray said beards on younger men are ‘‘ a lot more accepted’’ these days.
Always clean-shaven before, Mr Gray has grown his beard for the past eight months and said he is often complimented on it.
‘‘I don’t think people look at me or treat me any different. It’s just like having a different kind of hairstyle,’’ he said.
‘‘And, it’s easier than shaving every day.’’
Levin’s Richard Staniford has grown his beard for 18 months as an ‘‘offbeat personal challenge’’ and said he has noticed more young men with beards.
‘‘I’d never grown one before because where I used to work at an optometrist clinic, you needed to be quite smart,’’ he said.
‘‘ That all changed when I became a stay-at-home dad. At first I decided to see how long I could go without shaving and got to 13 months before giving it a trim.’’
Mr Staniford said he felt like it was ‘‘such a chore’’ to shave.
‘‘I don’t need to think about shaving and it’s so much easier not having to. I even threw my razor away.’’
He encouraged men growing a full beard to stick with it.
‘‘You do go through a real scruffy look around a month and then at around two or three months it gets really itchy again and that’s when you need to resist the urge to shave but after three to four months it stays quite comfortable.’’
Mr Staniford said his wife and two children, aged 3 and 11, are ‘‘fine with it now’’.
Wellington catering company owner and chef Taz McAuley, 31, has had a beard for the past three years and earlier this year it was long enough to cover his chest.
‘‘I cut it right back for a wedding in April and now I just keep it professionally groomed.’’
Mr McAuley said it is not about creating an appearance or style.
‘‘It’s about the time it takes to shave or not having the time more like it,’’ he said.
‘‘But once you have a beard, you don’t want to lose it. My girlfriend likes it too, which is unusual apparently.’’
Wellington public servant Joseph Murray-Cullen, 26, said his beard of two months is the result of him being ‘‘lazy’’.
‘‘I just fell out of the habit of shaving. But I’m liking the beard at the moment – it gives me something to play with.’’
Wellington bar manager Tadhg Kieran, 25, said he enjoys sporting a beard.
‘‘I do like the look and so do many other people it seems. A few grab it to see what it feels like and I’m OK with that. It’s quite a compliment.’’
Facial hairstyle: Richard Staniford encourages young men growing beards to stick with it.