I’ve promoted beards on this site for twenty-six years now. Somebody had to do it.
Why create a website in 1996 to promote beards?
Twenty-six years ago today, All About BEARDS appeared on the web for the first time. I created the site to spread the word that beards are all right. And I wanted to encourage and help men everywhere to grow their beards. It had to be done. I’m glad that I did it.
Beards are more than all right. Beards are great. Beards can be awesome. There is something special about beards. And men should be free to grow their beards as they please. Short or long, big or small, you should be able to grow the beard that you want without fear.
Well-maintained beards are worthy of respect, appreciation, and even admiration. I wrote “well-maintained” to exclude sloppy, dirty, unkempt beards because many may argue that it’s a stretch to respect beards kept in lousy condition. That’s a justifiable point to make. Take pride in your beard and its grooming. That’s a beard worthy of respect!
You are not alone.
Interested in learning about beards and how to grow a beard? Could you use some inspiration to help with your decision to grow your beard? There are plenty of resources for you today. In 1996, it was a different world. Those interested in growing beards were much more isolated and had only scarce beard resources available to them online.
I created All About BEARDS to say that it’s all right to be interested in beard growing and how to do it. I wanted to educate you about beards and growing a beard. I wanted to inspire you to grow your beard and encourage other men to grow their beards. I wanted to support your beard-growing efforts with helpful information.
There are people who are against beards.
There was also a need to speak out against widespread, well-established anti-beard bias. So the fledgling site included that as part of the pro-beard mission. Taking on anti-beard bias required more than just talk. I had to challenge people to rethink their automatic bias against beards. I wanted to persuade them to give beards a chance and stop rejecting them. I did this in the hope of putting them on a path to stop hating beards and towards eventually liking them.
Another way to combat anti-beard bias was to encourage beard-growers to reject it. Beard growers should not silently accept outright anti-beard bias. They should reject it, politely. Stand up for your beard!
Thoughtful engagement could help erode someone’s anti-beard bias. Question the legitimacy of the anti-beard complaint. Explain why you should have the freedom to grow your beard. Having a respectful conversation may not win them over to the pro-beard side immediately. But it could plant the seed that may lead to their eventually coming around.
There is still anti-beard bias out there. Let’s keep it on the decline.
We need more beard growers!
The more beards there are, the more people get used to seeing them around. The more people see beards commonly around, the more they get used to seeing beards. And as they get more used to seeing beards all around, the more they accept beards. They see that beards are a normal and natural part of life. They see that beards are not going away.
Beard acceptance diminishes anti-beard bias.
Grow your beard. Now.
Do your part to advance beard freedom. Join the bearded brotherhood.
All About BEARDS continues its original mission today:
to promote beards
to educate about all aspects of beards
to reduce anti-beard bias
to increase beard acceptance
to support, encourage, and inspire men around the world to grow their best beards ever
I’ve always had a calling to promote beards. In 1996, I had to create All About BEARDS to promote beards and help other beard growers and would-be beard growers. I am happy that I did it. The friends, supporters, beard growers, and beard fans I’ve met along the way have been a blessing. I thank you all.
Now keep growing your beards and encouraging others to grow theirs!
Is optimism for each new year overrated? It can get discouraging to start out each year with high hopes and enthusiasm only to end those years in disappointment. Our optimism for all the great possibilities of a new year can get steamrolled by heavy doses of real life as the year goes along. It’s not surprising that the abundant optimism present on the first of January wanes as we proceed through the year.
Yet, at the start of each new year we are accustomed to being full of optimism, even if the previous year or two or even more fell far short of what we had hoped. But that doesn’t mean that we may as well give up or lose hope.
Every day of the year is an opportunity to improve, to step up and do better. Don’t abandon your optimism. Hold on to it. Keep it in mind as you start each day. Make it a habit to do something positive every day. That includes doing something for others. Even small positive things performed regularly throughout the year can produce big changes for the better.
And everything’s better if you’re growing a beard that makes you happy, a beard that makes you feel good about yourself. That’s something to appreciate every day of the year.
Yes, 2020 and 2021 were tough and disappointing for too many people all over the world. But don’t lose hope. Believe in a brighter future. Doing something positive every day moves you along the path to a better future.
All About BEARDS was launched on the worldwide web twenty-five years ago today. The mission has always been to promote beards and beard acceptance as well as to provide men with information, support, encouragement, and inspiration to grow the best beards possible.
All About BEARDS, a steadfast advocate for beards, is the world’s longest-running beard website. The site has never wavered in supporting beards regardless of the degree of popularity beards may have at any given time. A core principle promoted by All About BEARDS is that the decision to grow a beard should not depend upon the whims of fashions or trends. Each individual man always should have the right to grow his beard as he sees fit.
When All About BEARDS started in January 1996, beards were far less common than they are today in 2021. I’ve been promoting beards for the long haul, including long stretches during which beards were not exactly viewed as being cool. I’m proud that All About BEARDS was standing up to promote beards during times when not many others were.
In my twenty-fourth anniversary post last year, I shared some reflections on how far we’ve come in advancing the prevalence and acceptance of beards. Here at the beginning of 2021, beards are seen in numbers similar to those of one year ago.
While the bearded cause has come a long way, there is still a long way to go. Casual, everyday observation reveals that there are far more shavers than beard growers. It is heartening to see beards represented in large numbers in television commercials and in other media. However, it seems that in real life I don’t see so many beards out and about. I’d like to see a lot more growth in the number of beard growers. And the need to reduce anti-beard bias still remains.
Celebrating our past and a better bearded future
For All About BEARDS‘ tenth anniversary I created the following graphic to showcase some of the site’s highlights back then.
You can still view any of the tenth anniversary highlights seen above by following these links.
What’s it like to have a beard for more than ten years? Could you do it? Would you do it? Some guys give up on growing a beard after only a few days! Having a beard for ten years shows some serious beard dedication.
Valentin is a seriously-dedicated beard man. Up until 2009, he gained beard-growing experience by going through phases with and without his beard. Starting in August of 2009 with a completely shaved faced, Valentin grew his beard once again and has kept it ever since.
After Valentin reached the milestone of being bearded for a full decade, he reflected on his experience with us. We proudly salute Valentin for being continuously bearded since 2009 and for his tremendous dedication to the beard!
How do you feel about your current beard reaching its tenth anniversary?
These ten years passed very quickly. I have a stable feeling about the correctness of my choice. There was never a desire to shave off the beard. With the beard I feel very free and natural. I’m so used to it that being bearded is completely normal for me. I do not notice my beard in everyday life. It is as familiar as the hair on the head. I even forget that I have a beard, while someone, most often preschool children, will express their thoughts out loud about my beard. Men, with all their restraint, mostly express themselves emotionally, appreciating and admiring my beard. I always ask them why they don’t wear a beard.
Have you kept your beard about the same length and size for these ten years?
If you look at the photographs of this decade, you can see that for the first year or two, I wore a rather short beard. My barber once told me: “Why do you shave the lower part of the beard around your neck? Let the beard grow naturally. Then it will look more voluminous. The upper part of the beard hair will lean on the lower, and the beard will look bigger and more natural.” Then I looked at the photos, read the materials on your site, and realized that a full beard may not need a cheek line and neck line at all.
Following the advice of my barber, I stopped using scissors and a razor and decided to see what opportunities nature gave me, what a full beard would look like, and whether it suited me. I watched with interest the length of the hair of the beard and I liked it more and more. I discovered that I have a pretty good beard; it suits me. I don’t need to cut and shave it regularly. I just need to keep it clean and tidy.
I liked the full, big beard and realized that this beard is for me. At the same time I thought that I needed to determine my maximum size, the maximum size which would suit me. When the beard grew longer than twenty centimeters (7.9 inches), it seemed to me that the bottom of the beard became rarer, not clear, and not contrasting. I shortened my beard by six centimeters (2.4 inches) and went on a return trip: I allowed my beard to grow again freely without touching it with scissors or a trimmer. I called it “a return trip” or “a journey back through the world of beard”.
Has your beard gotten any thicker over the ten years?
Probably not. The unhindered and free growth of all the hair produces a larger volume for the size and shape of the beard. And the regular use of beard oil helps me to shape the larger volume of the beard. It seems bigger and bushier, which I like.
What have you learned about being bearded during this time?
I, myself, and people I know are so used to my bearded appearance that it does not raise questions. Being bearded has become an everyday state for me. I have no problems with it. Instead of daily morning shaving, I have a standard daily set of beard treatments that are very simple. Definitely I have learned that I will never shave my beard again.
Would you describe your beard grooming and maintenance routines?
To this question I have a very standard answer. It can be found both in your beard care tips and in other recommendations. Every one of us knows what kind of hair and skin he has. Depending on this, he selects shampoo or soap and the frequency of washing the beard. I wash my beard once a week with special beard soap. On the other days of the week I rinse my beard only with water during my morning shower. However, because the beard’s hair absorbs odors of the street very much, it becomes necessary to use soap again. In this case I use a neutral soap that is recommended for children. This soap doesn’t contain various additives that make hair dry, fragile, unruly. I tried various sorts of soap, but chose this kind.
After washing my beard, I usually wipe it with a towel, making light and slow movements from top to bottom. After that I put oil on my palms, rub it in my hair, and massage my skin. I comb the beard with a wide tooth comb from the top to the bottom. Gradually I use combs with smaller teeth. Combing is accompanied by stroking the hair with my hand. I give the desired shape to the beard and allow some time to dry the hair naturally. Sometimes when going out, I use hair wax for better fixation. However, when it is windy, it is impossible to keep my long beard in good order.
In your area, are beards seen more favorably now than ten years ago?
Yes, that’s for sure. The beard has become a fashion now in our country. Until 1700, all Russian men of different classes wore beards. Russian Tsar Peter I forcibly introduced beard shaving in Russia. Those who refused had to pay a large tax for the beard. And now the beard has returned to Russia again. In big cities, barbershops are opening one after another. Young guys, students, try to grow beards, which, due to their young age, are still growing poorly in the majority. But they want to have a big, full beard right away. So they ask with a melancholy voice how to grow a big beard. Some of them rub some ointments into their skin or take medications hoping to accelerate hair growth. I think that many guys from the younger generation will become bearded men for life.
Are beards now more common in the area where you live than they were ten years ago?
Probably in all countries, small towns remain more conservative, and are more adherents of old habits and traditions. But with the current means of communication, when television, the Internet, and mobile communications are available everywhere, it is difficult to isolate oneself from the world. In advertising, in television programs, we now see men with different types of beards. The men of our small town try to keep up with the times. On the streets I can see more and more bearded men. Maybe these are their first timid attempts, but over time they will wear beautiful beards.
Have you encouraged or inspired other men to grow their beards during this time?
Over the years, a lot of guys talked with me about beards, asked questions of interest to them, and asked me to be photographed with them. I think it did not go in vain. Even my grandson, two years ago, after leaving school and entering university, began to wear a beard. Now our family has two beards.
What is the best thing about being bearded for ten years?
Joyfully and gladly I have worn my beard all these ten years. It is a good feeling to be a bearded man. One man said after talking with me about beards that this is already my disease. I don’t know. Maybe it is. But it’s just a sweet illness.
How has the world of beards changed over this ten-year period?
In recent years, the situation with beard materials has dramatically changed. This is due to the fact that the beard has become a real fashion among the male population. There was a need for more information. As a response to this need, many new websites about beards have appeared on the Internet. The advantage of the beards.org site is its carefulness, deep insight into the problem, and a versatile approach. A lot of interesting and necessary material has been accumulated here.
There was a lack of good, high-quality beard photos before. But now, with the development of photographic equipment, the possibilities have become different, and people can take pictures everywhere. The quality of the photos is different, of course, but there are plenty of them to choose from. And most importantly, there are many men with handsome and diverse beards. What a variety of faces and beards: one is better than the other.
Probably the most acute hunger for inspirational beard visuals and information has already been satisfied. Now some other stage has come. Beards.org has accumulated a large amount of material here. On your site there are so many interviews in which the invaluable experience of different people is collected. They share their thoughts and problems, among which anyone can find answers to questions of interest. I remain a fan of your site. So I am happy to share with you the tenth anniversary of my beard.
All About BEARDS is pleased to count on Valentin as a long-term, loyal friend of the site. Be sure to also see Valentin’s beard feature.
The above greeting was the headline on the home page of All About BEARDS when the site made its debut on the worldwide web on January 17, 1996. I started the site to take a stand:
to proclaim that beards are okay, that beards are actually way more than okay
to declare that beards are natural and worthy and should be embraced rather than shunned
to stress that beards merit respect, appreciation, and even admiration
to state that it’s all right to have questions about beards and how to grow a beard and to seek out information about beards
to provide much-needed information on the right way to grow a beard as well as helpful information on beard styles and beard grooming
to encourage and inspire men all over the world to grow their beards
Ever since that first day twenty-four years ago, the site has steadfastly remained true to the bearded cause. That was the start of All About BEARDS’ efforts to increase beard acceptance. The goal has always been to enable men to be free to grow their beards as they see fit.
Yes, beards have come a long way since 1996. In recent years and still today, beards are seen in far greater numbers and enjoy a lot more acceptance. Today beards are seen much more frequently in popular media than probably ever before. A notable indicator is the number of beards seen in television commercials. Back when All About BEARDS first started, it was highly unlikely to ever see a beard in a television commercial. Nowadays it seems that nearly every man appearing in a television commercial has a beard, usually even a full beard. That’s some beard progress.
In the years since All About BEARDS started, many more companies have eased or lifted restrictions on employee beards. Men in a variety of professions are growing beards and finding that their beards are not a detriment to a professional appearance. This represents great progress. However, plenty of employers still maintain outdated restrictions on beards.
Today beards are seen less like an oddity and more like an accepted, everyday thing. And beards these days regularly summon plenty of compliments from both women and men. Many a time I’ve had people go out of their way to compliment me on my beard.
That pesky anti-beard bias
Despite all the gains in acceptance and the increased goodwill toward beards, there remains a surprising amount of anti-beard sentiment. Lots of people still voice strong criticisms of beards with great conviction. They may claim that all beards are unsightly and unkempt. They may say that beards are unclean. They may say that beards are offensive or disgraceful.
Others may allow for beards, but impose their own restrictions, especially with respect to size or length. Some state that beards that exceed a certain length, sometimes as little as a quarter of an inch, are absolutely unacceptable and must not be tolerated. In most of these cases, they appoint themselves to decide whether others may grow their beards or to what extent these beards may be permitted to grow. They are also quick to insist that new beard growers stop that beard-growing nonsense immediately and shave. They can be unrelenting in their demands that new beard growers obey their wishes. All of this serves as a reminder that much more progress is needed to counter anti-beard bias.
Do your part and grow your beard
When it comes to beards, I continue to stress that there is strength in numbers. This works in many ways. Overall, the more beards there are, the more common they become. As beards become more common, greater numbers of people become accustomed to them. With increased familiarity with beards, more acceptance follows.
Each bearded man has the opportunity to be a positive role model, improving the image of bearded men in general. Bearded men and beard fans should actively encourage other men to grow their beards. And those new beard growers should do the same. This increases the number of beards in the world and helps grow more acceptance of beards. Now do your part and grow your beard! Also share this post and encourage others to grow.
Many thanks go to all of the wonderful friends who have supported and grown with All About BEARDS during the last twenty-four years!
Twenty-three years ago today a little beard website made its online debut: All About BEARDS. That was the small beginning of a worldwide mission to promote beards and the growing of beards. Accompanying this effort was the important mission of providing helpful information about beards. The site developed an easy-to-follow guide on how to grow a beard successfully. The All About BEARDS beard-growing guide has helped thousands of men around the world to grow their beards. Before these men started growing, the site helped convince them to do so. In many cases, the All About BEARDS site inspired them to grow and bolstered their confidence to stay with it all the way through to beard success.
By promoting beards without wavering, All About BEARDS set out to increase public acceptance of beards. With the increased popularity of beards in recent years, it may be hard to fathom that beards used to be far more rarely seen. And it was not long ago that beards enjoyed far less acceptance than they do today.
Recently Scott, pictured above, reported that he was speaking with a young man who is just a year older than the All About BEARDS site. In reference to All About BEARDS, the young man asked Scott why there would be a need for a website devoted to promoting beards. Scott mentioned this exchange to one of his dearest friends. In response, she told Scott to tell me, “Mission accomplished.”
The heartbreak of anti-beard bias
While I was delighted to hear that congratulatory “Mission accomplished”, All About BEARDS‘ mission will never be fully accomplished. Even today while beards seemingly enjoy great popularity and acceptance, the negativity of anti-beard bias remains surprisingly prevalent. It may not be as readily apparent as before. But it still lurks about and makes itself known with too much frequency.
There are people who still comment about how much they detest beards. There are still those who ridicule new-beard growers and insist that they shave. Or, these self-appointed beard police often inform bearded men that their beards must be trimmed down substantially or shaved off altogether. Why should someone else hold so much veto power over your beard? And thanks to these people, there are still far too many men who are too reluctant to grow their beards. It is not easy to eliminate the harm of anti-beard bias. However, All About BEARDS will continue undeterred.
Growing for the future
Click on either image above to view larger.
One of the main ways to grow beard acceptance is for as many men as possible to grow their beards. The more bearded men there are, the more others will grow accustomed to being around beards and, with that, acceptance follows. There is strength in numbers.
Of course, when beards are more common, beard-growing pioneers may long for the old days when having a beard made them stand out even more. When beards were less common, those who steadfastly remained bearded often felt that having a beard made them more unique, making them stand out from the rest, and giving them a certain mystique. They have a point when stating that when every man has a beard, having a beard may not make them feel nearly as special as before. However, we still have a long way to go. Even today at large public events I may look out into the crowds and see that beards are few and far in between.
When it comes to the future of beards, I still say that more is better. Adding more beards to the world by inspiring more men to grow their beards is one of the best ways to make the world more beard-friendly. And the more beard-friendly the world becomes, more men will feel free to grow their beards as they see fit.
If you are one of the thousands of men who grew their beards with inspiration or assistance from All About BEARDS, I express to you my hearty thanks. If you grew your beard without inspiration or assistance from All About BEARDS, I thank you for growing as well. And if you have not yet grown your beard, I invite you to visit our guide on how to grow a beard and start growing for the future right now!
Here we are again at another all about beards anniversary. Today marks twenty-two years since that little site started out on its mission to promote beards, share information about beards, and celebrate beards. During this time, we have helped thousands and thousands of men all around the world to grow their beards. This, “adding beards to the world”, is among our proudest achievements.
Adding more beards to the world is one of the best ways to increase acceptance, and even respect, for beards. The more beards there are, the more the general population becomes accustomed to them. The more the general population becomes accustomed to beards, the more accepting of beards people become. With that, more people are less likely to harbor that pesky old anti-beard bias that surprisingly and stubbornly resists fading away. The anti-beard bias was much stronger in the early days of all about beards. And it was even stronger for years and years prior to that. Anti-beard bias, however, still remains stronger than many may realize. Plenty of people still feel entitled to tell new beard growers and established beard growers alike that they should shave. A milder form of anti-beard bias allows for limited beard growth, but not too much, with the limit defined by the beard critic. Grow your beard a bit beyond stubble length and you may hear, “That beard’s too long. You’ve got to trim that down.” Here at all about beards, we think that beard critics do not have the right to dictate what restrictions must be imposed on a man’s beard.
Anti-beard bias will never disappear completely. However, we are happy to see that it is much weaker now than it was twenty-two years ago. In recent years beards have made great gains in numbers and in acceptance. We could not be happier, except for the movement to continue in favor of beards.
Ready to grow your beard? Be sure to check out our tried and true beard growing guide and start growing today!
We will always keep growing. We are all about beards.
All About BEARDS celebrated its twenty-first anniversary on January 17, 2017. This video featuring photos and video from selected beards.org photo shoots marks the momentous occasion! Many thanks go to all of the site’s friends from throughout the years.
It began with the heartfelt desire to communicate to the world that beards should not only be accepted, they should be appreciated and encouraged. This also included the objective of providing would-be beard growers with useful beard-growing information, inspiration, and support.
Building strength through numbers, the idea was to get as many men as possible to grow their beards. The more beards there are, the more common a sight they become. Over time, this leads to greater acceptance of beards as “normal”. And the more acceptance beards gain, pervasive anti-beard bias begins to subside more and more.
It is deeply gratifying to know that all about beards has encouraged thousands of men all around the world to grow their beards. Even though not all have kept their beards, each one counts as a victory because at least they all got to experience what it is like to grow your beard and be a bearded man. It is also gratifying to hear from these newly-bearded men how proud they are of their beards and how great they feel about themselves with their beards.
Just as important as encouraging men to grow their beards has been providing them with the information needed to grow their beards properly and to avoid common beard-ruining mistakes. Whenever I see a man in the beginning phase of growing a beard who has already badly misshapen the nascent beard, I am reminded that the site’s information on how to properly grow a beard still needs to spread further.
All about beards launched on the worldwide web twenty years ago today on January 17, 1996. It started out on AOL member web space where it began to grow and thrive. The original URL, now-defunct, was http://members.aol.com/beardguy . All about beards moved to its new permanent home at beards.org on January 20, 2005. To this day, all about beards continues to use the original firstname.lastname@example.org email address for regular correspondence.
Heartfelt thanks go out to all of the site’s loyal friends, supporters, and contributors. Thanks for bearing with me as the site is going through some more growing pains. The plan is for all about beards to keep growing and get better and better.
This post is illustrated with sample photos from another beard growth progress photo shoot with Chris a few days ago. Chris’ amazing beard growth is just getting started and is making fast progress. Click on any photo to see a larger version. Use your browser’s back button to return to this page.
See more of Chris
View more photos of Chris with his incredible beard here: