As we head through Movember, moustaches are currently growing across 20 countries in support of over 1,250 men’s health projects. But which beard styles are being cultivated across the UK? The English Shaving Company looked at Google search interest to find the facial hair that’s most popular heading into 2021.
The Van Dyke is both London and the UK’s new favourite beard style
Peaking in popularity this October, the Van Dyke has just overtaken the Yeard as London’s favourite beard style. It’s also the UK’s most trendy beard. Rising 24.5% in interest since 2010 – 10% more than the next trendiest beard style, the chinstrap.
The Van Dyke is a style of facial hair combining a moustache and goatee. Named after the 17th-Century painter Anthony van Dyck. Donned by popular figures throughout history, this beard-style is associated with influence and fame. Some of these notable people include King Charles I, Buffalo Bill and even Vladimir Lenin.
A revival of the Van Dyke in Hollywood has brought this style back into the spotlight. With Pierce Brosnan, Christian Bale, David Beckham and Johnny Depp all making a statement with this classic beard-styling.
Where are different beard styles the most popular across the UK?
The moustache – an iconic sight each Movember – is the most popular style in the Essex town of Harlow. Despite peaking in popularity in November 2012, the moustache is a timeless icon. That continues to see massive interest every November.
With more variations than any other style of facial hair, moustaches come in many shapes and sizes. Trending styles include handlebar and pencil moustaches, both of which are currently more popular than the standard moustache. For further moustache styling inspiration, visit Movember UK where you can also donate and fundraise for men’s health.
Manchester is the top spot for Oasis-esque sideburns
The Gallagher brothers haven’t just left a legacy of over 25 years of music in the UK. They also still influence current trends in their hometown of Manchester. Here you’ll find sideburns are the most popular form of face fuzz. Often combined with a mod haircut for that classic 90s Oasis look.
The Yeard has dropped in popularity in London and across the UK since 2017
The Yeard has been a trending style of beard for most of the past decade. Often seen as a wilder, more hip beard, the Yeard is – if you didn’t already know – a beard grown for an entire year with minimal trimming and shaving throughout.
The dedication required to not groom your beard for a year is a challenge for many enthusiasts of this style. And can put off those who prefer a tidier look or don’t like how their beard naturally grows out.
While the Yeard has been a huge part of the 2010s culture, UK residents now prefer tidier, more stylised facial hair. With sharper styles seeing a much greater increase in interest.
Which beard styles have seen the largest increase in interest?
After the Van Dyke, the UK’s second most trendy beard style is the chinstrap. Followed by the handlebar moustache in third place.
The chinstrap beard is the UK’s runner-up favourite beard.
Ever since a resurgence in 2010, the chinstrap beard has been steadily rising in popularity. Increasing by 14.88% in interest over the past decade. This beard style runs along the jawline, connecting ear to ear. As the chinstrap outlines the jaw, it flatters and accentuates the natural face shape and makes facial features more defined.
This facial hair type can be seen on many famous UK artists and sportspeople. Gracing our stages with Stormzy and race tracks with Lewis Hamilton.
The handlebar moustache takes third
In third is a Movember staple – the handlebar moustache – with an increase in interest of 12.61% over the past decade. This style is one of the harder moustache types to master – it requires more hair growth so the ends of the moustache can be curled into the bicycle handlebar shape that gives the style its name.
Associated with the Wild West and popular in World War 1. This stately and old fashioned beard style is sometimes seen paired with a ragged haircut and clothing choice as part of a hipster fashion statement.
The soul patch and the monkey tail trail behind
The soul patch takes fourth place, followed by the monkey tail beard. While the soul patch is a well-known style created by jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and featured in The Blues Brothers movie, the monkey tail beard is a much more recent arrival to the facial hair scene.
To create a monkey tail beard, a single sideburn must be styled so that it wraps under the chin and up the other side of the face, looping back to connect with the moustache. This look is certainly unusual and, when done right, looks very much like a monkey tail tickling your nose. We don’t think it’ll catch on.
In Wick, Northern Scotland, the beard is king
The full beard is by far the most popular facial hair in the town of Wick, Scotland. Not only is the full beard most popular here, but more residents surf the topic of beards over shaving than in any other area of the UK. 62% of Wick residents show more interest in beards than shaving, with the next highest location of Broughton Astley falling 7% behind this figure at 55% versus 45% beard to shaving interest.
Wick, deep in the Highlands, is one of the most northern points in the UK and lies just 15 miles south of John o’Groats. Originally a Viking settlement before becoming a town famed for fishing and whiskey, Wick is the perfect capital of the UK for the no-frills full beard.
What’s more popular, beards or a clean shave?
Over the past decade, the UK’s interest in beards has overtaken interest in a clean shave. The topic of shaving saw significantly more interest before 2014, but ever since then beards have dominated both our searches and faces.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a doubling in beard interest every November and December with only a slight increase in shaving interest during the same months. People are most interested in shaving during the summer months where that winter face warmer might become more of a nuisance than a benefit. April 2020 saw a massive peak in beard interest alongside a lesser spike in shaving interest, perhaps reflecting the UK’s collective decision making process of whether or not to grow a beard during the first few weeks of lockdown.
Which UK nations prefer beards or shaving?
When comparing the interests of the four UK nations, opinion is divided between beards and shaving. In England, 2% more of the residents are interested in beards than shaving. In Wales this gap is narrowed to 1%, while Northern Ireland and Scotland actually prefer a clean shave, both divided 51% to 49% in favour of shaving.
Tania Fulton, Spokesperson for The English Shaving Company: “With the amount of time that UK residents have spent indoors this past year, there have been plenty of opportunities to experiment with facial hair. Lockdowns and working from home have meant there’s no need to worry about that patchy phase of initial growth, nor what coworkers or relatives might think.”
“Instead, men can take the time to grow out their stubble and try out different styles.
“The results are interesting, as lower maintenance, scruffier looks such as the Yeard have fallen out of popularity – the opposite of what you might expect from months at home in joggers.
“Instead, more stylised beards such as the Van Dyke are rising in popularity. This could be due to facial hair fans having more time to sculpt the perfect style, or as a result of workers experimenting with their looks while still wanting to look presentable for work calls.
“Either way, across the UK beards are now more popular than shaving so we’re sure that when restrictions are lifted you’ll be bumping into more beards than ever before.”
So, that’s the roundup of the UK’s top beard styles as we head into 2021. There’s a beard style for everyone out there, no matter your face shape or facial hair growth pattern.
Want to find out more about the ranking of your favourite beard style? See the full dataset here.