No Shave November and a Brief History of Facial Hair – Jessica Jefferson

Autumn is a time for pumpkin spice coffee (pumpkin spice anything, really), the crisp scent of burning leaves, decorative gourds, and incredibly hairy men.

mustache Yes, it’s that time of year where men let down their hair…er, grow out their facial hair.  No Shave November and Movember (Mo as in the French word, Moustache) are movements that request men don facial hair in support of their favorite men’s health and other charitable organizations.  The idea is to donate what the average man spends in grooming costs and have hairy men grab attention for a good cause.

My husband recently started a team with all donations going to the Wounded Warrior Project, a group that assists disabled veterans.  It’s only day 12 and he’s fine with the beard, but I’m not too certain I’ll be able to tolerate it until December.

Men’s facial hair seems to be a polarizing topic—you’re either for it or against it.  But this debate isn’t new.  Since the dawn of mankind, there have been fluctuations in the popularity and styling of men’s facial hair.

The Ancient Egyptians used facial hair to exhibit power.  Pharaohs pharaohand Queens alike rocked the chin locks, women (most) having to suffice for a prosthetic version.  In other ancient civilizations, facial hair was only seen on those in the top notches of the social stratosphere. Greeks and Romans introduced beards as signifying wisdom and a display of virility.

During Medieval times, the Normans often went clean shaven.  The Franks preferred a good amount of facial hair, sometimes opting for  a long mustache, or going for a chin-strap/mustache combination.  Vikings would often be bearded and introduced some pretty impressive manscaping.  It was not uncommon for those Vikings unfortunate enough to be born brunette to dye their hair, including their beards.

Victorian MenGeorgian and Regency eras saw a decline in men’s facial hair, but the Victorian age saw an impressive resurgence of mustaches and beards alike.  The mustache became a symbol of manliness which prevailed through the World Wars, culminating in the magnificent specimen that was Tom Selleck’s mustache in Magnum P.I. (cue theme song).

Photo from
Photo from

Today, we’re starting to see a backlash to the metrosexuality of the early 2000’s and men’s facial hair seems to be making yet another comeback.  The mustache is having quite a good decade with its likeness seen on everything from children’s birthday party themes to random and ironic hipster t-shirts.  Beards are now the subject of a popular reality television series following the underground world of beard competitions.  And always the pulse of pop culture, the Chia pet, has a bearded version based on the popular series, Duck Dynasty.

chia pet

Whether it’s a fashion statement, politically motivated, religiously dictated, or a simple reflection of the beliefs of a culture, men’s facial hair has a proven itself to be an indelible part of history.  Now, don’t forget to answer the Romantic Pursuit question for your chance to win the  Favorite Things gift basket.

Romantic Pursuit Question:  What did Ancient Egyptians believe beards to demonstrate?


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Follow Jessica Jefferson:

Jessica Jefferson makes her home in Almost-Chicago with her husband, nine and three year old girls, guinea pigs, and English bulldog Pete. When she's not busy trying to find middle-ground between being a modern career woman and Suzy-Homemaker, she loves to watch "Real Housewives of [insert city here]" and performing unnecessary improvements to her home and property. Jessica writes Regency-era historical romance with a modern twist, infused with humor. She always tries to create endearingly flawed heroes and one of a kind heroines that you'll want to continue knowing long after you read the last page. Fall in love with romance again...

6 Responses


    WHAT A FUN POST! I’ve always disliked facial hair but then my hubby decided to grow a mustache and goatee about 5 years ago.I didn’t like it at first and told him it aged him (which it does) BUT it also looks very distinguished which is what he likes. Now I’m used to it (and have even grown to like how it feels) and can’t imagine him without it.

  2. Sandra Owens

    Great post, Jessica. I prefer clean-shaven. My husband grew a mustache a few years ago. I didn’t like it. Some time went by, and one day he said, “Don’t you notice anything?” I looked at him, I looked around the house…nothing seemed different. He laughed and pointed to his mouth. “That mustache you hated is gone.” LOL

  3. Violetta Rand (@ViolettaRand)

    Love the history, Jessica. My least favorite facial hair is when my husband announces he’s growing his “hunting” beard 6 weeks early. And yes, it’s communal, so the whole city has a crowd of wildly bearded men running around in September. 🙂

  4. JoannaM

    I love this post! So glad you ladies brought it to the spotlight. I’ve been a fan of the movement for at least 4 years. It basically started to raise awareness for prostate cancer but it has now become a world wide phenomenon by bringing to light the importance of all of men’s health issues <3 (here's more info on the movement in the US 😉 )
    I am not a fan of the "mo" by itself, not one bit. But I will agree that there are some guys that will look gooood regardless of the clean-shaved, goatee, scruffy or 5 o'clock shadow look (I'm talking to you Hugh Jackman!)