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.

Kapi-Mana News - - FEATURE -

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.

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