The "apology beard" - does it work?It’s fair to say that facial hair is a man’s way to express himself, some prefer to be clean shaven for a tidy look whilst others may prefer a more rough and tough style with a beard. Regardless of which style he chooses to present himself with, a man’s facial hair along with the rest of his get-up can influence the way in which we see him, and interpret what he is saying or feeling.

Celebrity influence

Recently, there has been a rise in the phenomena of the ‘apology beard’ – with celebrities like Mel Gibson growing out their facial hair as an attempt to show their fans they are regretful and apologetic for private or personal mishaps. If carried out correctly, the rough and unkempt appearance in the public eye could help celebrities regain their popularity with their supporters.

Certainly there is no guarantee that growing a beard alone would actually convey to others that someone is feeling apologetic or guilty, however there are some convincing psychological aspects behind this method. Firstly, someone who usually presents themselves as clean shaven, and then appears with a beard, can be suggesting that we dissociate them from who they were and now look at them as a new person. Another aspect is that a dishevelled appearance can suggest someone is uninterested in their appearance – due to being too busy, upset or dealing with remorse.

Growing out the ‘Apology Beard’

If you’ve done something you’re looking to make amends for yet perhaps struggle in the facial hair department, there are a few different ways to grow a thicker beard:

  • Take care of your health, ensure you are eating well, staying hydrated and exercising regularly. Some people with minor issues will take vitamin supplements to optimise their hair growth and can notice results within a few weeks
  • Take supplements of biotin – a small molecule which has been shown to increase hair growth and nails
  • See a professional surgeon for a beard transplant

Beard transplants are growing rapidly in popularity. Eligible patients must have normal hair growth elsewhere on their body from which hair follicles can be grafted, as in the more traditional hair transplant procedure. One research study found patients who had a combination of beard and scalp hair grafted would have the most natural looking texture and results. Risks and side effects of the surgery are minor and many patients are more than satisfied with the end result.

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By Ian Watson

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