Fall is right around the corner, and we all know what that means: pumpkin spice lattes, apple picking, autumn weddings, and our personal favorite: beard season.
Here at The Black Tux, we’re all about a well-groomed beard—pun intended. Though some insist that grooms always look best clean-shaven (Mom), we believe every groom—and every man for that matter—is most comfortable and confident when his appearance reflects his personality. For some, this might mean reciting vows in a bright bow tie or a color-blocked velvet tuxedo jacket. For others, it might mean sporting a well groomed beard or full-on mutton chops on their wedding day.
To show our support for past, present, and future bearded grooms, we decided to explore trends in facial hair across the country. To do this, we used Google Trends search data to determine the most popular, or most searched, beard style in every U.S. state and region. Additionally, we determined the overall most popular beard styles in the U.S. by calculating the beards that were most-searched in the highest count of states.
Ready to impress your friends with your suspiciously deep knowledge of the country’s top beard trends? Simply want to justify your patch of soul? In both cases, read on.
Table of Contents
i. The Most Popular Beard Style in Every State
We had so many interesting state-specific beard findings, it’s hard to know where to begin. We decided to give peace a chance, and start with the Peace Garden State (aka North Dakota). We were surprised to learn that stubble is the most popular form of facial hair in North Dakota. With an average winter temperature of 12 degrees, we sort of assumed North Dakotans would be full beard folks (because #warmth), but this is not the case. However, other states with notoriously chilly temperatures, like Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey, do prefer full beards.
As it turns out, there are also a couple of southern states—namely, North Carolina and Louisiana—that are on the full beard bandwagon. While we’re not quite sure what sparked North Carolina’s adoration of full beards, but we can’t help but wonder if Duck Dynasty is correlated with Louisiana’s full beard infatuation.
We noticed an interesting trend among the “A” states. Even though Alabama and Arkansas are in entirely different parts of the country than Arizona and Alaska, the goatee remains the most popular beard style in each of these states. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, and Rhode Island are some of the other states that fancy a good goatee.
As we all know, West Virginia, Michigan, and Illinois have seen the greatest number of Flemish immigrants over the years, so one would naturally assume the Van Dyke—named for notable Fleming Sir Anthony van Dyck and his signature foliage—would be popular in these states. It will undoubtedly shock you (as it did us) to learn that these states prefer chin straps (WV), full beards (MI), and yeards (IL). However, the Van Dyke beard did triumph in Virginia.
ii. The Most Popular Beard Style in Each U.S. Region
So what about regional beard trends? We’re glad you asked. The breakdown is pretty simple, but quirkier than we imagined. We expected more mainstream options like full beards or even stubble to perform best regionally, but it seems that Americans from three of the four major regions, the Midwest, Northeast, and the South, are really into goatees. Now, is it a coincidence that Brad Pitt, who has consistently been deemed one of the sexiest men alive, has been rocking a goatee as of late? Impossible to say, but probably not.
The West is the only U.S. region where the goatee trend did not persist, which isn’t all that surprising, honestly. Historically speaking, Westerners have always been mustache people.
iii. The Most Popular Beard Style in the U.S.
The regional beard trends in this study turned out to be solid indicators of the national trends. The goatee, which dominated three out of four regions, is also the most popular beard nationally, earning the most-searched beard title in a total of fifteen states. And as the most popular beard in ten states, the mustache isn’t all that far behind.
After mustache, there is a pretty significant drop-off in the count of states that favored the other beard styles. The full beard is the most popular style in five states, as are chin strap and mutton chops in three states each, or six states collectively.
iv. Wrap Up
If the most popular beard in your state caught you off guard, remember: you’ll feel most comfortable and confident when your beard style (or lack of beard) is based on how you want to present yourself—not on how everyone else wants you to look. The style of your tuxedo, color of your tie, and the shine of your dress shoes should be a reflection of what’s going on inside, just like your beard.
So if you’re contemplating growing a beard that doesn’t quite line up with the trends in your state or region, we say go for it. Own it. And for that matter, hashtag it. Because those photos of you walking down the aisle totally pulling off a yeard might inspire other grooms to do the same.