This article was published by Fairfax Media on October 30, 2013.


Nathan Glue's grooming routine is fairly simple. His bathroom shelf holds face wash and moisturiser, but no razors.

“I'm about a month and a half in,” he said, proudly, of the beard he's growing. “It's not one of those rough and stubbly things; it's defined for sure.”

The St Kilda East resident is a veteran beard-holder. He grows one every 12 to 18 months.

“I reckon the reason why I've got a beard now is that about once year I lose interest in trying to keep it clean, and before you know it you've got a beard happening.”

Mr Glue, 33, is one of the many "bearded hipsters" shunning the daily shave, according to research by Roy Morgan.

A study of more than 17,000 men found a 2.3 per cent drop in grooming products – including shaving soaps and foams – being purchased since 2009. It also found that 2.3 per cent fewer Australian men are buying disposable razors.

The biggest drop in grooming products occurred among younger men, with more than 3 per cent of males aged under 34 years not buying, or buying less, shaving soaps and foams.

The research warns that the market may be suffering. But Mr Glue is quick to dispel what he believes is a myth: that growing a beard is an alternative to grooming.

He said that while having a beard meant less shaving, there was still maintenance required.

“All I tend to do is shave the top of it, and my neck, to not look scruffy. I also trim around my mouth because if you let your moustache grow, it will end up covering your mouth.”

It was also much harder to maintain a beard during summer, he said, with heat often pushing him to shave.

“Every time I've done this, I start during winter. I'm going for big lengthy beard. But all it takes is one hot day where you're over it and decide, 'I've got to shave it!' ”

Roy Morgan's (bearded) spokesperson, Norman Morris, said the current popularity of facial hair was the result of multiple factors.

“The popularity of beards among high-profile celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Brad Pitt has almost certainly contributed to the facial hair revival, as has Movember," he said.

Movember is a popular fund-raising initiative in which men grow moustaches during November to raise money for men's health research.

AuthorToni Brient