Beard tales

An Italian general, American entrepreneur and a 11-year-old girl’s letter to Lincoln

eric- bandholz-abraham From left- Eric Bandholz, Giuseppe Garibaldi and Abraham Lincoln

Beards are divisive. While some cultures view them as essential, others associate them with poor hygiene and an “uncivilised” appearance. But, come November and beards represent something bigger. A massive collective effort to aid the fight against cancer—No-Shave November.

The concept is simple—donate the money normally spent on grooming, from the cost of razors to the cost of a salon visit (women typically contribute the cost of waxing), via Started in 2009 by the family of Matthew Hill from Chicagoland, US, who died of colon cancer, the NGO has raised more than $2 million (around 014 crore) to date.

If you are observing No-Shave November, you may be left with a lot more beard than you are used to by the end of the month. Some choose to continue growing it and aim for yeards (beards grown for one year) or tweards (two years). Others opt to go back to the clean-cut look or the highly popular stubble. But, if you are in the mood to experiment, check out these three styles.

The Garibaldi

British historian A.J.P. Taylor called the Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882) the “only wholly admirable figure in modern history”. It is no surprise then that he left behind a lasting legacy. From English football club Nottingham Forest’s official colours to the names of Italian naval ships and a biscuit, the general inspired many things. But his most understated contribution is perhaps the beard style named after him.

The Garibaldi is a wide, full beard, but no longer than 20cm, with a rounded bottom and an integrated moustache. Keep the moustache neat and allow the beard to grow. If this is your first experiment with a full beard, the Garibaldi is a good choice as it is suitable for all face shapes.

The Bandholz

When Eric Bandholz was fed up with the stigma against beards in the corporate world, he quit his job as financial adviser at Merrill Lynch, and turned his beard into his business. He is now CEO of Beardbrand, a men’s grooming products company founded in 2012, and his now iconic style is proudly displayed on the company logo.

The Bandholz is similar to the Garibaldi—both have moustaches connected to full beards. But while the Garibaldi has a rounded bottom and a length limit, the Bandholz is allowed to grow freely. However, trims around the edges are also acceptable. It gives the face a more angular look and is suitable for men with round faces.

The Old Dutch

In October 1860, a 11-year-old girl named Grace Bedell from Westfield, New York, wrote to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, telling him that “growing whiskers” would make him look better as he had a thin face. Four months later, when Lincoln stopped in Westfield and met Grace, he was sporting a beard.

Also called the Shenandoah beard and the Chin Curtain, among other names, the Old Dutch style made popular by Lincoln is back in vogue now and is suitable for men with triangular faces. Round off the corners, flatten the bottom and ensure the sideburns are prominent. But most importantly, no moustache.