Men's Changing Facial Hair Since 1800s

Over the recent centuries, the style and amount or lack of facial hair on men have changed greatly. Just look at family photos of male ancestors. I just located one of my great grandfathers in the 1870s and he had quite a full beard and another photo in 1890 a very trimmed beard. Besides beards, men’s styles had elaborate sideburns and mustaches.

In the 1820s having no beard or mustache was common but they did like the long sideburns. In the 1830s, the mutton chops with sharp edges of a gull side beard was the fashion. By the 1840s men had a trimmed full beard along the jawline but no mustache.

In the 1850s, men still had full beards, some with longer hair at the chin but now also added a short mustache. The 1860s had the full chin beard for men but not the mustache.

The 1870s had a very popular concept of full mutton chops –facial hair from the sideburns and then connected to a full mustache. In the 1880s these full mutton chops continued but with those side hair along the jawline quite long and full.

A style that remained popular for years beginning in the 1890s was wearing just a mustache, the rest clean-shaven. That style continued into the 1910s. With the mustache even longer and fuller.

With many men in the military from the mid to late 1910s, the need for gas masks, all facial hair was banished in the US Armed Forces. Men got used to shaving every day and the ladies liked the shaven face. The clean-shaven look continued into the 1920s, especially with the new Hollywood movie stars leading the way.

By the late 1920s and into the 1930s, the ‘toothbrush mustache’ became popular, with its thick, full short mustache under the nose. It was worn by films stars such as Oliver Hardy and Charlie Chaplin. The most famous person was Adolf Hitler.

In the 1940s and another world war, most men were clean-shaven. One style of a ‘pencil thin’ mustache became popular and was allowed in the military. Being clean-shaven during the 1950s continued. Some younger men did have longer sideburns.

In the 1960s, some men wore a small mustache and a ‘soul patch’, a bit of hair at the center of the chin. In the 1970s beards and full mustaches, especially on young men, returned as did having longer hair lengths.

Styled and thick mustaches were popular in the 1980s. By the 1990s, men wore goatees facial hair that wrapped around the lower chin and a thin mustache.

In the 21st century, men had more the scruffy look with just a barely-there beard. Then later the change to a fuller beard and mustache. So by 2020s, having full beards and mustaches became very popular.

Photo: 1870s – Men’s full mutton chops

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