Beards Are Dead: Why Shaving It Off Was One Of The Best Decisions Of My Life

I woke up on my 28th birthday and realized this just wasn’t working – “this” being my life. Sure, I had my two French Bulldogs, Dutch and Dillon, and a sweet 1987 convertible, but I also had a tiny apartment above a wind chime store (how is that even a thing?), a depressing job packing small boxes into bigger boxes at the box factory (how is that even a thing?), and a barely-running 1987 convertible.

Oh, and like so many men in their late 20s, I had a beard.

Growing a beard seemed like a no-brainer as a young man. I would look older and wiser, with something to stroke whilst pondering whatever bearded men ponder, but more importantly, a beard would cover up the remnants of acne from my teenage years so I could finally be a hit with the ladies.

Yes, I naively believed a beard would transform me into a rugged badass. I was so very wrong.

The reality of bearded life was much different than my fantasies. For one thing, it didn’t grow quickly or uniformly. Initially, my face was a pathetic pastiche of black fur interrupted by barren stretches of baby-smooth skin where my beard could find no purchase.

Then once it grew in, I learned that keeping it neat and clean was not easy. It required special shampoo and conditioner – for some reason the stuff I used on my head just didn’t cut it – and an ever-growing assortment of oils, balms, and waxes. The high cost of beard ownership was totally unexpected.

And the ladies? Sure, when I spent an hour trimming every stray hair and slathering my beard in a variety of sandalwood-scented products – everything for beards smells like sandalwood – I did alright. But that wasn’t every day. Or even most days.

Instead of the full beard of a badass, my beard was more like the scraggly face pubes sported by an overly confident teenager. Obviously I was no chick magnet.

Career-wise, my beard didn’t do me any favors either. With little time to go through the full beard care procedure each morning, my face was a mess that left me destined to work in back rooms and poorly lit warehouses, out of sight of customers and better-groomed coworkers. And if such positions didn’t exist, employers created one just to keep me far from anyone’s gaze.

So why am I describing my beard in the past tense? Because after reflecting on that 28th birthday, I decided I needed to change – beginning with the end of my life as a bearded man.

It was not an easy decision to come to, having not been clean-shaven in years. Would I even remember how to shave? And what would I stroke whilst pondering whatever clean-shaven men ponder? Despite those admittedly idiotic reservations, I continued down the beardless path.

I grabbed my trimmer, removed the guard, and went to work. It was a good start, but once my trimmer could trim no more, it was time for the Schick Hydro® 5 to get that perfect shave I hadn’t experienced in years.

I pulled out my can of shave gel, wet my face with warm water, and lathered up. Then I put the razor up to my face, stared into my reflection, and bravely proclaimed, “This is it, don’t get scared now.”

Emboldened, I began the final step in removing my beard for good. I smoothed on some Edge® Shave Gel, and then, with each stroke of the razor I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders – and face to boot!

With a splash of cold water and gentle patting with a clean towel, I was free to admire my handiwork. The whole shaving routine had come back to me without any effort. Just like nobody ever says, shaving after having a beard for many years is just like riding a bike!

As much as I wanted to keep staring at my new, handsome face, I had work to do. It was time to free myself from the menagerie of tiny, odd-shaped bottles and tins containing beard care products I had accumulated over the years.

Tossing them into a trash bag, I would never again be a slave to overpriced oils emblazoned with cheap clipart of hipster arrows and anchors. Satisfied with what I had done, I took a deep breath of fresh bathroom air that would forever be sandalwood free.

Facial hair

I definitely felt better about myself, but what would the rest of the world think? A *recent survey from Schick Hydro and Edge Shave Gel of 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+ showed that 59% of Americans ­­– including a whopping 69% of Millennials – agreed that whether or not a man has facial hair is a huge factor when it comes to forming a first impression. And when it comes to the workplace, 70% of Americans are more likely to hire a man without facial hair. For the first time in years, the odds were on my side.

With confidence oozing from my newly naked pores, it was time for a more fulfilling career. Having worked in a bank in my pre-bearded life, I thought returning to the field would be the perfect bookend. And as luck would have it, a nearby bank was hiring personal bankers.

I first was given a phone interview which I easily got through thanks to being free from the distraction of itchy facial hair and no longer having to wipe beard oil off the phone every 30 seconds. A few days later I was offered a final interview at the branch with the manager and when the date arrived, I awoke surprisingly calm.

I waltzed into the bathroom and performed my simple shave routine. No more staring at my beard products, praying for help to soothe my savage beard. Shaving meant I “shaved” an easy 15 minutes off my morning routine while also leaving me with zero anxiety. So I put on my best suit, glanced at my handsome reflection for one final confidence boost, and headed out.

The interview went perfectly. I was confident and chatty, having no trouble finding the right words and never once did I nervously tug at the beard that was no longer there. But best of all, the job was mine.

And that was just the beginning. With my new job secured, I said goodbye to the box factory and every other job where I was kept far away from the public. And after a few months at the personal banking game, I made enough in bonuses to move far away from the wind chime store (really, how is that a thing?).

And the ladies? For a while I played the dating game and it went well. Making a clean shaven first impression seemed to confirm the fact that *nearly 1 in 3 Americans (31%) feel wild facial hair would be a bigger turnoff than an ex in a dating profile picture.

Once I got my sea legs under me, I became close with my new neighbor, an esthetician who adores my neat appearance. Oh, and I still have the convertible, but I was able to fix it up and now drive topless without fear of catching bugs and debris in my beard. Yes, everything is going smoothly.


In 2015, Joel Alexander, of Instagram hipster beard fame, decided to shave it off too and wrote a fitting eulogy to beard culture. Read it here.

*This editorial was produced in partnership with Schick Hydro and Edge Shave Gel for a recent online omnibus survey to 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+ that showed some surprising results when it comes to shaving related to career moves and dating.

Facial Hair and Career Moves:

  • More than half (59%) of Americans, including 69% of Millennials, agree that whether a man has facial hair is a major factor in forming a first impression of him.
  • If they were equally qualified for the job, 70% of Americans are more likely to hire a man without facial hair than one with it.
  • 67% of Americans feel that clean-shaven guy is more likely to have a larger bank account than a man with facial hair.

Facial Hair and Dating:

  • More than half (59%) of Americans, including 69% of Millennials, agree that whether a man has facial hair is a major factor in forming a first impression of him.
  • Two thirds (66%) of Americans, including 75% of Millennials, think a man who regularly shaves his facial hair is more likely to have better bodily grooming habits elsewhere.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 Americans (31%) feel wild facial hair would be a bigger turnoff than an ex in a dating profile picture.



(*)Citation: Wakefield on behalf of Edge Shave Gel and Schick Hydro (Spring 2016) [online omnibus survey of 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults aged 18+]