old man with long beard
Jack Scrimshire

Jack Scrimshire

5 Interesting Facts About Beards

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We see our beards everyday while grooming. We also walk around in a world where beards are a status and used to improve your looks and your life. However not many of us think about the history of facial hair or how facial hair has been viewed throughout the world.

During our years as beard lovers, we have heard all sorts of strange and wonderful tales related to facial hair. Read on for our picks on things you don’t know about beards.

It grows 5.5 inches per year

Of course this is an average but out of thousands sampled, the median growth of a beard is 5.5 inches, annually. There are ways to speed this up and get a few extra inches but all around the world, this is the normal growth.

On the other side, if you never shaved your face (really, never) then your beard would grow to be 8.5 meters (27.5 feet) long over the course of your life.

Medieval times

Things worked a bit differently a few hundred years back. Keeping warm and showing your masculinity was important then, so beards were the way to go. With this popularity came problems that we never encounter in modern times.

Beards were so important in Middle Age Europe, even touching a man’s beard was a serious societal gesture. If you touched another man’s beard it was grounds for a duel, so a simple check on the softness of someone’s facial hair could mean you waking up with a missing limb the next day.

The Persians were some of the first to take beard grooming seriously. While their bearded counterparts in Europe were running their fingers through their beard, the Persians used beard oils and balms. They even wove their facial hair with jewels to indicate wealth and status.

In the middle east, crimes could be punished by having your beard forcibly removed. That might seem like a lucky escape today, but back then this was seen as a completely humiliating action and was something you couldn’t hide.

Beards and Taxes

Some of the weirdest tax laws in all of history were imposed in Britain during the 1500s. Understandably, the strangest laws were made by one of the most outlandish leaders, Henry VIII.

If you had hair on your face, you would be taxed. The amount of tax was decided by the length of your beard and your status in society. Eventually this ridiculous tax was abolished, but was brought back by Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. This time it was a bit more straightforward, as a general tax was imposed for any facial hair over 2 weeks old.

No one knows the exact reasoning behind this tax, but most agree it was to set a social precedent. Long, beautiful beards cost more money – so they were associated with wealth and power.

On a smaller scale, Peter the Great of Russia taxed men 100 rubles a year for the right to grow a mane of facial hair. This also brought about the “beard medallion”, which was essentially a license to have a beard.

How many hairs make up a beard?

It’s hard to groom without leaving a trace It’s happened to us all. We enter the bathroom to start our grooming only to find some hairs from the previous day lying in the sink. Did someone else sneak into your bathroom to trim?

The reason for this is due to the amount of hair on your face. It might not look like it, but a full beard has around 30,000 individual hairs. So next time you get in trouble for leaving the bathroom a mess, show them this article.

Terminology

There are modern terms like “Beard Gang” thrown around on Social Media but did you know there are official beard terms in the English dictionary?

For all of us here, there is Pogonophile. This is someone who loves beards. It doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so easy but it’s nice to know there is a word just for us in the dictionary.

The other side of the spectrum is Pogonophile – someone who is afraid of beards. We have never met one but apparently, they do exist.

A pogonologist is very specific, this means someone who studies beards. A google search doesn’t return any current job openings but its interesting to think about why this word was coined and its usage throughout history.

Other beard facts:

  • In the past, documents from the English Royal Family were certified by having hairs from the kings beard mixed with the stamp wax.
  • The world’s longest ever recorded beard belonged to a Punjabi Indian. It was measured at 1.83 meters, or six feet, from chin to tip.
  • Full beards are so prized in Saudi Arabia as a sign of masculinity and power, you can get beard hair transplants, the same as the treatment for baldness.
  • Beards can be deathly In 1567, Hans Steininger, the man said to have the longest beard in the world at the time, reportedly died after he tripped over his beard running away from a fire.

We hope you had some fun reading a few things about beards (and history) that you didn’t know before. Maybe future generations will be writing some things about us!

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“Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.”

-B.R. Ambedkar