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Are Beards Professional? A Guide to Professional Grooming in the Workplace

A man in a suit with a range of facial hair styles

Beards have been part of men’s grooming for centuries. However, the question of whether they are suitable in a professional setting is one that continues to divide opinions. While some industries and companies are beard-friendly, others have strict grooming policies that prohibit facial hair.

So, are beards professional? In this article, we’ll explore the history of beards in the workplace, the benefits of sporting a beard, factors to consider when growing a beard for work, tips for professional beard grooming, and how to navigate beard policies in the workplace.

The History of Beards in the Workplace

The idea that facial hair should be kept neat and tidy is not a new concept. In fact, beards were common in the workplace in the past. Many famous historical figures, including presidents, scientists, and artists, sported beards.

For example, Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest presidents in American history, was known for his iconic beard. He grew it in response to a letter from an 11-year-old girl who suggested that he would look better with a beard. Lincoln took the suggestion to heart and grew a beard, which became a defining feature of his appearance.

Similarly, Charles Darwin, the father of modern evolutionary theory, had a bushy beard that he believed helped him to appear more authoritative and intellectual. And Vincent van Gogh, the famous Dutch painter, was known for his thick red beard that added to his bohemian persona.

However, in the early 20th century, there was a shift towards clean-shaven faces, largely due to the increase in popularity of electric razors. Additionally, during World War I, gas masks were introduced, which required soldiers to have a clean-shaven face to ensure a proper seal. This idea persisted for many years, and many companies and industries instituted strict grooming policies that required employees to be clean-shaven.

The Evolution of Workplace Grooming Standards

As attitudes towards personal grooming have evolved, so have workplace standards. Companies and industries have become more accepting of individuality, and this has led to a relaxation of grooming policies. Beards are now more common in the workplace than they were a few decades ago, and many companies have recognized the benefits of allowing employees to express their personal style.

For example, some tech companies have embraced the bearded look, with CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey sporting well-groomed beards. In fact, some companies have even gone so far as to offer beard grooming classes for their employees, recognizing that a well-groomed beard can be a sign of professionalism and attention to detail.

Beards and Professionalism: A Changing Perception

Despite the positive shift in grooming standards, there are still those who believe that beards are not professional. This perception is changing as more and more professionals sport well-groomed beards in the workplace. In fact, some studies have shown that individuals with well-kempt facial hair are perceived as more competent and trustworthy than those without.

Moreover, some industries have even embraced the bearded look as a sign of expertise and authority. For example, in the world of craft brewing, beards are almost a requirement, with many brewers sporting long, bushy beards that are seen as a sign of their dedication to the craft. Similarly, in the world of artisanal coffee, beards are a common sight, with baristas often sporting well-groomed beards that are seen as a sign of their expertise and attention to detail.

Overall, the history of beards in the workplace is a reflection of changing attitudes towards personal grooming and individuality. While there are still those who believe that beards are not professional, the reality is that a well-groomed beard can be a sign of professionalism, attention to detail, and expertise. As workplace standards continue to evolve, it will be interesting to see how attitudes towards facial hair change in the years to come.

The Benefits of Sporting a Beard

Aside from the aesthetic benefits, there are several reasons why men choose to grow a beard. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of sporting a beard in a professional setting.

Confidence and Personal Style

One of the biggest benefits of having a beard is that it can boost confidence and enhance personal style. A well-kempt beard can help a man stand out, and it can be a great conversation starter. Additionally, it can be a great way to express individuality and personal brand.

Health and Hygiene Advantages

Believe it or not, beards can actually be good for your health. They can help protect the skin from harmful UV rays, and they can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, beard hair can trap pollutants and harmful bacteria, keeping them away from the skin. Just make sure to keep it clean and well-groomed for maximum benefits.

Factors to Consider When Growing a Beard for Work

While there are many reasons to grow a beard for work, there are also several factors to consider before making the decision. Let’s take a look at some of the most important considerations.

Your Industry and Company Culture

While many companies have relaxed their grooming policies, some industries still require employees to be clean-shaven. If you work in a customer-facing role, it’s important to consider how your appearance will be perceived by clients and customers. Additionally, it’s important to consider the company culture and whether or not a beard would be acceptable.

The Shape and Style of Your Beard

When growing a beard for work, it’s important to consider the shape and style. A well-groomed beard can enhance personal style, but an unkempt, shaggy beard can be seen as unprofessional. It’s important to choose a style that’s appropriate for the workplace and to keep it well-groomed.

Maintaining a Well-Groomed Appearance

Perhaps the most important consideration when growing a beard for work is ensuring that it’s well-groomed. A well-kempt beard can enhance personal style and professionalism, while an unkempt beard can have the opposite effect. Be sure to keep your beard clean, trimmed, and styled in a way that’s appropriate for the workplace.

Tips for Professional Beard Grooming

Now that you’ve decided to grow a beard for work, it’s important to know how to maintain it properly. Here are some tips for professional beard grooming.

Choosing the Right Beard Style for Your Face Shape

When choosing a beard style, it’s important to consider your face shape. Not all beard styles look good on all face shapes. Consult with a professional barber to find out which style would suit your face shape best.

Essential Beard Care Products

Beard care products are essential for maintaining a well-groomed appearance. Invest in a good quality beard oil, mustache wax, and beard balm to help keep your beard looking its best.

Establishing a Grooming Routine

Establishing a grooming routine is key to maintaining a healthy and well-groomed beard. Be sure to wash your beard regularly and use a beard comb to keep it tangle-free. Additionally, trim and shape your beard as needed to maintain the desired shape and style.

Navigating Beard Policies in the Workplace

Finally, if you work in an industry or company that still has strict grooming policies, it’s important to know how to navigate them. Here are some tips for dealing with beard policies in the workplace.

Understanding Company Grooming Guidelines

Before growing a beard, it’s important to understand the grooming policies of the company. If facial hair is not allowed, it’s best to adhere to the guidelines. If there is some flexibility, be sure to keep your beard well-groomed and professional-looking.

Addressing Potential Discrimination Issues

If a company’s grooming policy is discriminatory towards those with facial hair, it’s important to address the issue. Speak to management or HR about your concerns and see if there’s a way to come to a compromise.

Advocating for Beard-Friendly Work Environments

If you’re passionate about facial hair and want to work in an environment that’s accepting of beards, consider advocating for beard-friendly policies. Speak to management or HR about the benefits of facial hair in the workplace and see if there’s a way to institute a more flexible grooming policy.


So, are beards professional? The answer is that it depends on the industry and company culture. While there are still some industries that prohibit facial hair, many companies have relaxed their grooming policies and are more accepting of individuality. If you do decide to grow a beard for work, be sure to consider all the factors and take steps to ensure that it’s well-groomed and professional-looking. With the right care and attention, a beard can be a great addition to your personal style and professionalism in the workplace.


Caffeinated Beard Enthusiast, Family Man & Dog Lover. Hailing from the picturesque landscapes of Salt Lake City, Utah, Todd Harris is a devoted husband, loving father, and proud dog owner with a passion for all things coffee and facial hair. His dynamic personality and unmistakable love for life are evident in each of his engaging blog posts.