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The Evolution Of Male Grooming
It’s one of the great mysteries of our time: Why are men so obsessed with grooming?
From stubbles to scrubs, from oil to water, from scissors to razors, men have gone through a lot in their quest for perfection.
And it seems that they’re not finished yet. After years of exploring and experimenting, we’re now seeing the next big evolution in male grooming. And it all starts with one man’s obsession with stubble.
Let’s take a trip back in time to revisit one of the most recognizable men in the world. While women may have been captivated by his gorgeous looks from the beginning, it was the humble stubble that truly made him a sex icon. A symbol of rugged masculinity and a role model for men wanting to follow in his footsteps.
From Beard To Stubble
In the 19th century, clean-shaven men were considered the epitome of masculinity. With the rise of women’s right movements and the suffrage campaign, men were ashamed of not being able to grow a full and flourishing beard. It was almost as if the shadow of lady justice had fallen upon them.
In the latter half of the century, as ideals of masculinity evolved, so did male grooming. Beard oil and balm were developed to increase comfort while shaving and to reduce the risk of razor burn. Oil-based products like these did more than satisfy men’s growing need for grooming; they also became an ingrained part of their routine.
The oiled-bearded man was an iconic figure representing strength, courage, and virility. He was the epitome of a ‘man’s man’. And he certainly didn’t grow a full and wonderful beard just to fluff it up a bit. He grew it because he was genuinely proud of what he had and wanted to represent the best version of himself. He was most definitely not afraid to express his masculinity. In fact, he embraced it. Perhaps that’s why we still remember him today.
The Evolution Of Beard Scrubs
Beard oil and balm were the starting point of the evolution of male grooming. However, it was the invention of the scratchy fabric beard strip in the 1950s that truly revolutionized men’s grooming habits. Most guys couldn’t grow full beards, and those that could spent a good deal of time and effort trying to make them look good. The beard strip made it much easier for men to grow and maintain a full, bushy beard. As a result, the humble beard scratchy was virtually unknown during the oil boom of the 20th century. It remained a bit of a secret pleasure for men who were lucky enough to have a full and beautiful beard.
Then in the mid-1950s, one man took the secret of the beard scratchy and turned it into a mainstream product. He called his company Beardscraps and decided to put his money where his mouth is. And so he did. With the help of numerous celebrities, he promoted and sponsored various beard competitions and awards, drawing more and more people into the world of beardology. And it wasn’t long before bearded men and women were proudly wearing their scrubs.
From Stubby To Scrubs
In 1959, the year after he founded Beardscraps, Tom Wilson from Dallas, Texas, set the bar pretty high when it came to beards. At just 17 years old, he shaved off his entire facial hair in an attempt to look more youthful. Some men were inspired by his bold move and decided to go clean-shaven too. Others were inspired by his courage and wanted to stand up for what they believed in. All we know for sure is that from that day on, the humble stubble became an increasingly popular option among young men wanting to experiment with their looks.
It wasn’t just about following Tom’s example and going au naturelle. There were many options available at the time including short-shorts, body hair removal, and eye-liner. Some men were even applying makeup to their chests! We don’t know what was going on in those heads. Perhaps they were trying to be like Tom or maybe they were just experimenting. Whatever the reason, many men were growing and experimenting with different types of hair and facial hair, creating endless possibilities for the style-conscious.
Toward The Perfection Of The Oiled-Bearded Look
While traditional beards have always been popular, the oiled-bearded look has become increasingly popular over the past few decades. It’s not that oiled-bearding is a new invention. After all, Cleopatra was famously known for her heavy makeup and elaborate hairstyles, regularly applying makeup and oils to keep her looking young and captivating. But it is the ease of applying oil that has made it so popular. And it doesn’t end there.
Just like with Tom Wilson, some men were inspired by Cleopatra’s heavy makeup and decided to try out the same techniques to compliment their own facial features. As a result, the humble oil slick became a popular option among men wanting to experiment with different looks.
In the ‘70s and early ‘80s, when it was first invented, it was considered a form of self-expression. In the 21st century, men are exploring different ways of expressing their individuality. Through art, clothing, and accessories. They are standing up for what they believe in. And they are daring to be different. As a result, the humble oil slick has become one of the most recognizable symbols of today’s man.