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The case for a clean-shaven face

June 27, 2012

Used with permission from

On Father’s day morning, I spent a little time shaving before church. My young son watched as I explained what I was doing. He felt his face, then mine. “This razor holds sharp blades to take the hair off my face,” I told him. He looked puzzled, but eventually grasped the concept. At the end, he slid his fingers along my smooth chin.

Thanks to King Camp Gillette and engineer William E. Nickerson, the world gained a marvelous new invention – the disposable razor blade (patented in 1901). With that innovative product, it became easier and safer for men to shave. It would take another twenty years before a shaved face became the norm, but since then it has stuck.

A smooth face just looks good. Here are a few reasons:
1. It portrays a more youthful appearance – think about it – young kids have no facial hair.

2. It slims your cheeks by reducing the appearance of shadows.

3. It cleans you up as hair can make you look like you need a wash.

4. When you shave, you give the impression of a man who pays attention to the details – as if you started the day right and didn’t simply jump out of bed to head out the door.

used with permission from

5. A case can be made you look more believable and honest – like you are putting your best foot forward – not hiding your face. Many groups of people desire to show these traits. Allow me to illustrate. Think of a politician, news journalist, or CEO with facial hair. Hard to do? That’s because they are rare today. In fact, the last American president to display facial hair was William Taft who left office in 1913 (Check out the presidents gallery). Look at the current Senate. Only one Senator has facial hair –North Dakota’s John Hoeven with a mustache (Check out the current Senate photos). The most well known people in the media also maintain a close shave. They know what I am telling you now – a clean-shaven face portrays you in a good light.

6. My last reason for a smooth chin resides at the other end of a kiss.  Which would your wife or girlfriend prefer, to snuggle up to a scouring pad or soft skin? As I ran through the preliminary draft of this article with my wife, she emphasized this point. A man’s face can be rough (even Jeremiah Johnson can relate).

Don’t get me wrong. I write today not to dog facial hair, but to highlight the benefits of shaving. In fact, there are men who look great with facial hair (i.e. David Beckham with the six o’clock shadow). If you decide it works for you, then be intentional. Think it through. People usually look at your face first. So, make sure your beard or mustache stays well trimmed.

© Copyright 2012 Fashion for the average man.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2012 3:55 am

    Great article. I think men who are clean shaven give off the vibe that they care about their appearance and are respectful to others. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. June 28, 2012 3:00 pm

    There’s something wild and unleashed about kissing a man with facial hair too. And the excellent exfoliation provided by an 11pm shadow. The cut glass smoothness of a man who ‘scapes his facial hair into pencil thin lines, or the full blown 70’s revival of mustaches and sideburns.
    I like both, clean shaven and hairy.
    Portia xx

  3. July 2, 2012 3:31 pm

    I’ve been through all the phases–just a mustache–a mustache and a beard–just a beard–a Vandyke–name it I tried it–now at 76 I shave once a week. I disagree with the 2 women above–all the young actors today have that 5 O’clock shadow look and, consequently, all look alike–Portia has it right–love them all!

  4. Robin permalink
    July 3, 2012 12:06 am

    I think it was the Miami Vice TV show that started the trend for what I call the ‘I need a shave’ look. Personally I’ve never cared for a man that looks like that. Either shave or grow a beard. I know a number of men with beards and for them it is perfect. Even a mustache is fine, but that overgrown 5 o’clock shadow is just sloppy. What would a guy think of a woman with harry legs?

  5. July 3, 2012 1:10 pm

    The five o’clock shadow can look a little ratty and half-formed unless maintained. But, what the hell, it’s their face; maybe that’s the look they’re after.

  6. July 4, 2012 7:04 pm

    I don’t enjoy facial hair, it retains odors.

  7. July 7, 2012 8:15 pm

    Enjoyed reading your reasoning for men going with the clean shaven look – yes! What an interesting and looks like informative blog you have here!!

  8. August 11, 2012 7:34 pm

    I like beards! If I were a man, I would grow a long beard and braid it.

  9. August 22, 2012 9:56 am

    Great post …. don’t understand this with facial hair on men .. most think they are looking younger with it – want my man’s face and hands clean: Brilliant.

  10. freelanceallison permalink
    November 15, 2012 5:45 pm

    Great post! I never quite understood why my husband felt the need to shave daily instead of growing that scruffy look but based on what you’ve said that fits his personality pretty well, so I get it now 🙂

    • November 15, 2012 6:34 pm

      Thanks. Glad to hear you see the value in it. Your husband sounds like he pays attention to the details.

  11. December 12, 2012 2:50 am

    I shave every other day for work and then give my skin the weekend off. Some girls like a bit of stubble, so I’ve experienced….

  12. Sam Fickling permalink
    January 30, 2014 2:36 am

    I don’t mind growing a bit of stubble now and again. However, I personally prefer being clean-shaven. It’s cleaner, smoother and makes me feel more confident. Yes, maybe a beard is attractive, but only on certain men, Although shaving can be at times a tedious and time-consuming effort, I always prefer it to growing light stubble, or even growing heavy stubble. With stubble, I feel rough, unclean and immature. It’s clean-shaven all the way for me

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