Minneapolis Beard and Moustache Club recruits
members with a mission that reads: "We drink
beer and live in tree forts. Our blood smells like
shaving cream. We represent modern
Minneapolis-style facial hair." Here, Tom
Wichman and his beard are photographed at
Dangerous Man Brewing Co. in Minneapolis, Nov. 7,
ó Chris Sorensen usually spends 20 minutes each
morning carefully styling his beard and mustache. Other
days, "depending on how critical the situation
is," it takes more than an hour.
29-year-old Brooklyn Park, Minn., resident combs
essential oils through his long goatee, then uses wax
and a blow dryer to coil the ends of his 15-inch
musketeer mustache into perfectly round circles. Hair
spray finishes the look.
started four years ago as a way to honor his late
grandfather has become Sorensenís personal trademark.
to men like him, this devotion to well-coiffed facial
hair has made the beard ó in all of its incarnations
ó a fashion darling.
the past, facial hair got the creepy-guy, homeless-man
vibe," Sorensen said. "Now, you can carry
yourself in a presentable and stylish way when you have
a good-looking beard."
trimmed, neat or bristly, beards are as varying as the
men who wear them ó from blue-collar welders and pro
athletes to Paris runway models and downtown
businessmen. This widespread appeal has made beards a
style statement even in the workplace, where acceptance
of the unshaven look is growing (pun intended).
revival of barbershops, as well as the formation of
facial hair competitions and stubble-loving celebrities,
are markers that the beard might be entering a new
past summer, Schick reported a 10 percent drop in razor
sales ó indicating that more guys are letting their
is peak whisker season. The global Movember movement,
which encourages guys to grow mustaches to raise
awareness and money for menís health, launched the
mustache into popularity in recent years. But the
fuller, fluffier beard is vying for its own spot on the
facial hair map.
Foster is a recent beard convert. Though heís had some
sort of facial hair since he was 17, the big-bearded men
who rule TV shows like "Duck Dynasty" and
"Fast Ní Loud" have inspired him to retire
covet facial hair," said the 31-year-old, who works
in a corporate setting for a large financial
institution. "I feel more manly when I have a
some science behind that notion. According to studies,
men with facial hair reportedly feel more masculine and
are perceived as more virile than clean-shaven men.
Peterkin has written three books about facial hair. Heís
a pogonologist, otherwise known as a beard expert (yes,
there is such a thing).
an evolutionary point of view, male apes would jut their
jaws out to appear more powerful when meeting their
enemies," the Toronto psychiatrist said. "A
beard seems to enlarge the jaw, so the guy with the more
follicles is usually read as more masculine."
beardsí popularity through history, Peterkin said many
people still perceive them as "dodgy," as if
men behind them have something to hide. Maybe thatís
why there hasnít been an American president with a
full beard since 1893.
Licktieg, Juutís master stylist and menís
specialist, said that while not everybody finds facial
hair attractive, itís becoming commonplace in
professional circles. Heís styling more beards than
absolutely acceptable ó if done smartly and groomed
properly," he said. "Guys can take some
liberties with their facial hair as long as everything
else is buttoned up."
products and tools, many men will go the distance to get
their beards looking just right. Matt Legare says his
beard is nothing more than an expression of his
blue-collar background. But every six weeks, the
37-year-old welder from Lakeville, Minn., drives 25
miles to get a haircut and beard trim at 7th Street
Barbers, an old-school barbershop in St. Paul.
Twin Cities area has an active beard scene. Thereís
even an annual Beard-Off at First Avenue (scheduled for
Feb. 9). Then there are the clubs for men ó and the
women who support them.
USA Womenís Beard & Moustache Society, also known
as the "Whiskerinas," has faux-beard
competitions of their own. The Twin Cities chapter is
called the Yeti Betties.
for the guys, the Minneapolis Beard and Moustache Club
recruits members with a mission that reads: "We
drink beer and live in tree forts. Our blood smells like
shaving cream. We represent modern Minneapolis-style
group shares styling tips (drink whiskey and take hair
vitamins to thicken your whiskers) and supports one
another through changing fashions ó usually over beers
at Dangerous Man Brewing in northeast Minneapolis.
true, we all seem to like beer," Sorensen said.
"Beer and beards go hand in hand like salt and
a recent bar gathering of the Minneapolis Beard and
Moustache Club, the men even helped groom one another
with hair dryers and flatirons before mugging for
photos. Many of the club members are featured in a new
book by Twin Cities photographer Joseph D.R. OLeary.
felt like beards were in fashion but out of favor,"
agrees. "Many of us have been doing this for years
and years. Now people are starting to notice it and
respect it," he said. "People blog about it,
talk about it and weíre getting the positive attention
weíve been looking for."
the club is a champion who has competed at the
international level. Michael "MJ" Johnson, of
Minneapolis sports a style called the Imperial Partial
Beard, an abstract look that blends his mustache and
sideburns ó the thick dark chops covering most of his
cheeks and curving upward.
the 38-year-old wine specialist flew to Germany to
compete in the 2013 World Beard and Moustache
Championships. He placed second in the Imperial Partial
Beard category, bringing back a silver medal to his
recognize that (a beard) makes a statement,"
Johnson said. "Besides, why look good when you can