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A beard is the hair that grows on a man's chin, cheeks, and the area above the upper lip. In the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various and varying attributes such as wisdom, sexual potency, or high status, but also lack of cleanliness and refinement or crankiness and an eccentric disposition. Beards also play an important role in some religions. For example, Sikhs do not remove a single hair from their body. See also life under Taliban rule.

Out of fashion during the first part of the 20th century, beards, together with long hair, were reintroduced to Western Europe and North America by the hippies. At the beginning of the 21st century, full beards are rarely seen among young men.

Beard hair is most commonly removed by shaving. If only the area above the upper lip is left unshaven, the resulting facial hairstyle is known as a moustache.

See also:

Further reading

  • Allan Peterkin: One Thousand Beards. A Cultural History of Facial Hair (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2001) (ISBN 1551521075)

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