LOS ANGELES —
More American men these days wear beards and mustaches, and for some, facial hair is more than a fashion statement.
Barber Daniel Winter says the rugged hairy look, sometimes with body art, is a growing trend in Los Angeles, California, and other major cities.
“Bigger corporations, like huge companies, that are geared more towards fashion are now hiring models with beards and tattoos, going for a bit of a more alternative look. And it’s really starting to spill over into the general public,” he said.
Winter has worn a beard for 10 years, and says that the growth of beards and mustaches is rooted in history.
"Facial hair was associated with masculinity, sexual vitality, and overall awesomeness. You look at Greek mythology and almost every God had some sort of facial hair; whether it had been a full beard or some sort of goatee,” he explains.
Styling facial hair has also become popular. Just ask Nicholas Watsford, who manufacturers a beard and mustache wax called Dubs Stache wax.
“If I want to do full curls or what not, I can do full curls," he said.
Watsford decided to create an organic wax after other products on the market irritated his skin. He says growing a beard in Los Angeles is not a craze - it's a lifestyle.
“Your appearance and everything now. Just how you’re representing yourself, like a mane for a lion. It’s really in full effect,” he said.
Thousands of men around the world are growing their facial hair during the month of November to bring awareness to men’s health issues. But some in Los Angeles take facial hair-awareness very seriously year-round. Nathan “Chops” Johnson has a massive handlebar mustache that reaches to his waist.
“I take care of this guy by myself. I don’t let anybody near it,” he said.
The L.A. Facial Hair Society
was started by two men and two women with the goal of unifying California’s bearded and mustachioed community and those who love them.
Alana Beck, one of the society's founders, says, "I only date guys that have beards. I don’t do mustaches. There’s a manliness to it that’s very attractive.”
Member Roberto Campos says facial hair brings people together.
“All of a sudden your Facebook friend number jumps to the thousands after meeting all these people,” he said.
Members like Roberto and “Chops” enjoy the friendly competition to see who can grow the best beard and mustache, but they say the unique - and hairy - family that they’ve formed is what matters most.