The average man has 30,000 ‘beard’ hairs on his face, and some grow fast, some grow slow, and some grow all curly and weird. Beard hair also behaves differently depending on where on your face it sprouts from.
WHERE DO FACIAL HAIR GROWS?
Facial hair grows in 5 different areas:
1. The mustache – the hair above the upper lip.
2. The soul patch, flavour savour, or jazz dot – the patch of hair directly underneath the bottom lip.
3. The goatee – the hair on the front of the chin, above the jawline, and expanding to the cheeks.
4. The side-burns or mutton-chops – the hair on the cheeks above the jawline.
5. The neck – everything that grows below the jawline.
Facial hair grows differently in each of the five growth areas, and rarely grows in a way that is even and uniform. This becomes especially noticeable around 2 to 6 weeks of beard growth when the hair has gone from mere stubble to the beginnings of a beard. At this point, it’s natural for a beard to be patchy and disconnected .
Growth patterns differ from person to person and are highly subjective to a person’s age and genetics. Additionally, the hair that grows in each of these areas has its own unique terminal length, which again varies from person to person. This is why some men can grow long ‘handlebar’ mustaches while others can’t, or why some men have soul patches that are the entire width of the bottom lip, and some don’t.
The majority of the bulk and shape of a beard actually comes from hair that grows on the neck. Typically, neck hair has the longest terminal length of all five growth areas and has a tendency to grow a little bit faster than the rest of your beard.
WHY DO MEN HAVE BEARD?
Children, females, and men of all kinds can certainly live without beards. But nowadays, no matter what street you walk, you’ll find well-maintained (and poorly-maintained) facial hair of all sizes and shapes, from designer designer stubbles to waxed moustaches and hipster beards. Seeing men paying attention to their appearance may be an indication that they are looking for a partner.
Researches on beards and voices discovered that beards have probably evolved, at least in part, to help men improve their status among other men. Compared to many other primate males and females, males and females look very different on average, partly due to the hair on the male’s face. And when looking at the differences between males and females, the explanation is often summarized in evolution by sexual selection. This is a process that supports traits that improve mating opportunities.
But interestingly, women don’t seem to care much about their beards. Some studies have found that women prefer less or more hair on men’s faces, while others report preferring a cleanly shaved look. The lack of consistent evidence means that it is not possible to conclude that the beard has evolved because the woman was attracted to the beard.
Therefore, researchers have suggested that a second type of sexual selection may provide an answer – to breed, it is often not enough to be attractive, there are also intense competitions with the same sex for mating opportunities. That’s where having beards gave men an advantage, as a number of studies have suggested that both men and women perceive men with beards as older, stronger and more aggressive than others and dominant men can get more mating opportunities by intimidating rivals to stand aside.
In fact, a study by Nigel William Thomas Barber, American biopsychologist and author, linked British facial hair fashion from 1842 to 1971 to the proportion of men and women in the marriage market. It turns out that beards and mustaches were prevalent at a time when the majority of single men were competing for a few women.