Is Hollywood’s fetish for full-on facial hair here to stay? LA's chic elite weighs in.
Keep it together: Jake Gyllenhaal has mastered the “gentleman’s beard” currently in vogue: neat, tight, and in control.
Bad news for burly guys and hipsters: The gentleman’s beard is in for fall.
Spring 2015 might go down in Hollywood history as the awards season that men stopped shaving. Jared Leto’s voluptuous locks and facial hair, Chris Pine’s surprising salt-and-pepper whiskers, Steve Carell’s distinguished stubble, and Matthew McConaughey’s unruly bristle—it was as if leading men collectively forgot that razors existed. Wearing a tuxedo while sporting a full beard, however, “is definitely out,” insists Karen Lynn Accattato, the key makeup artist and groomer for the hot TV show of the moment, Empire. “A tight, groomed, short beard with formalwear is very on point,” this fall.
Those “overboard, scraggly, hipster beards” have jumped the shark, says Accattato, also a Dove Men + Care grooming expert. The new trend: “the gentleman’s beard,” which Accattato defines as “neat, tight, and waxed—think of the 1920s, every hair is in place.” Among the studs who have already mastered this slick look: Common, Jake Gyllenhaal, Idris Elba, Jon Hamm, and Empire’s Jussie Smollett. In fact, Accattato says, viewers will see many more beards on the show’s just-started second season.
Pop culture isn’t the only place beards are unavoidable. “I noticed them on male models first—there were hairy dudes being cast as the faces of mainstream brands like H&M,” says TV presenter Louise Roe, author of the style guide Front Roe: How to Be the Leading Lady in Your Own Life. “I remember thinking, Yay! Men, not boys, are becoming fashionable!” Her model for formal beard excellence? Armie Hammer, who, Roe says, pulls off the beard-and-suit combo with aplomb.
Understandably, the new gentleman’s beard is quite specific. “It’s really tight,” says Accattato, who has groomed President Obama and Lenny Kravitz, among many others, “a quarter to a half inch and no longer than an inch.” Despite Roe’s observation that guys see beards as an excuse not to shave, careful grooming is required. Hair shouldn’t go above the cheekbones or down the neck; a barber visit is advisable.
“It should be a shadow, like a contour. It shouldn’t take away from you,” Accattato says. “I don’t want to see the beard walk into the room before I see you.” A clean shave is a classic look that’s easier to accomplish, but there’s just something about a perfectly groomed beard. “It says you’re fashion-forward, progressive, and it gives you a whole new edge,” she adds. “It’s super masculine and super sexy.”