It’s getting hairy out there, folks. Or, well...in there. As self-isolation becomes the reality for many people across the world, people are starting to find all sorts of ways to amuse themselves while stuck at home. And in the grand tradition of men counting days (until a sports team wins, until Movember is over), some guys are growing their facial hair as a way to pass the time.
Jim Carrey recently took to Twitter to announce he’s growing his beard "until we all go back to work." He took it further by inviting other men to join him in his "meaningless transition" and soon a bunch of other dudes, including Noah Centineo, jumped on his #letsgrowtogether hashtag in solidarity.
Carrey isn’t the only celebrity to think of growing his beard while social distancing. Will Smith took to his Instagram to show off his salt-and-pepper isolation beard and LeBron James compared his own shaggy beard to “Tom Hanks off Castaway” on his Instagram story. Russell Crowe has been sending dispatches from the UK featuring epic Santa Claus bristles. Kevin Hart has been letting his grow. Even Pete Buttigieg has debuted some scruff on that previously baby smooth face, though maybe it’s more of a post-Presidential Primary beard if we’re going to split hairs.
Life without access to barbers, coupled with general boredom, is certain to bring out some weird stuff in the next few weeks (we’re willing to bet we’ll see a lot more beards and an uptick in at-home buzz cuts). And honestly, we at Esquire endorse beards. Like, a lot. We love them. And there is nothing wrong with growing a beard while you’re at home in isolation. Go crazy, we say!
As long as you’re safe about it. Beards get dirty and could potentially carry germs as easily as your skin, which is why doctors are urging against touching your face at all, whether you have a beard or not. “We know that viruses likely live off the skin for a few hours to potentially up to a few days,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research, Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai. “We also know that viruses may live for a short period of time in moist, oily environments.”
To be 100 percent clear: There is no evidence that guys with beards are more at risk of contracting or passing along something like the coronavirus more easily than their clean-shaven brethren. But we also know that facial hair compromises the efficacy of N95 masks, thanks to that cringeworthy CDC infographic. So if you’re going to be wearing one of those masks for whatever reason, it’s probably safer to shave your whiskers.
For the rest of us who are staying home and hoping to help flatten the curve, you don’t have to go full-on Stephen Colbert (unless you’re bored). Grow with God. But if you do go outside, and you have a beard, make sure that you keep it clean and wash it often says Dr. Zeichner. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
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