Let’s face it, beards are amazing, and can quite effectively transform any man’s look completely.

But is facial hair always the perfect choice for the occasion or are there some places where you should simply shave instead?

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Well, yes and no.

While there is no hard set of rules for whether to shave or not for any occasion, it’s still a fact that people do judge you based on the first impression, and in some places, it’s commonly expected that you do indeed shave your face.

With that being said, growing a beard is a long process, and if you have been growing out a long beard for months or even years, it can be a massive change and step out of your comfort zone to just go and shave it off.

This is why we need to carefully examine each scenario and decide whether or not they actually are worth shaving for or not.

Let’s get right into it. ↓

1. Do Women Prefer a Shaved Face?

So you have a big date coming up with a woman of your dreams, and you are not sure whether she personally likes or dislikes facial hair on a man…

Should you shave just in case?

I would say no! If you have a beard normally, then that’s part of who you are.

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Shaving it off to please a potential girlfriend would be almost equivalent to being under her thumb before you have even barely met, and that type of people-pleasing attitude, in general, is not something most girls like anyway.

Besides, if we look at averages, it appears that most women actually prefer men with facial hair or at least stubble.

relationship context and beardedness

Bottom line: Shaving off your beard for a date would be wrong on so many levels that it’s just not worth it.

2. Should I Shave for a Job Interview?

office beard

This one is tricky.

You have a big job interview lined up, and you’re not sure about their beard policy.

“Could having facial hair potentially ruin your career opportunity?”

Well, it just might. Even though having a “beard policy” in 2019 is borderline discrimination.

Typically many office jobs have some sort of no-beard policy or at least they expect you to have a very formal and sharply shaped short beard such as the “corporate beard style“.

However, this doesn’t apply to all corporate environments, so it’s best to just call up and ask, or spy around a bit on the company’s LinkedIn to see if their male employees are all clean-shaven or not.

For your typical blue-collar jobs (welder, construction worker, car mechanic, etc), you most likely don’t have to shave for. It’s enough that you’re good at what you’re doing.

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Bottom line: I would never personally shave for a job interview unless it’s an extremely strict corporate environment, and even in that case, I would question whether it’s worth working in such a place that doesn’t let a man grow any facial hair.

3. Wedding: Beard or No Beard?

wedding beard

If it’s your friend’s wedding, then there’s no reason whatsoever to shave your facial hair to please anyone or to fit into any norm.

If someone actually has the guts to ask a bearded man to shave before attending a wedding, then what sort of clean-shaved freak-show is that party going to be?

When you’re the groom yourself, then nothing really changes. Your fiancee is marrying you, and if you normally have a beard and enjoy sporting one, then why would you need to shave it off for YOUR own special occasion?

The answer is that you shouldn’t.

I had a bushy beard before my own wedding, and I just had it cleaned up a bit the day before (neckline, cheekline, some light shaping work), and no one had anything negative to say about it.

Besides, I had been rocking a beard for a couple of years before without ever fully shaving it off, it would have been really weird if I had suddenly been at the altar all babyfaced up.

So think about that before you whip out the razor for your wedding day – most men actually look worse without facial hair.

Bottom line: I wouldn’t recommend anyone to shave off their beard before a wedding, not even if it’s your own ceremony. Though, if your beard looks like pubes and is nowhere near a full beard, then maybe it could go.

4. Do You Need to Shave Off a Beard for a Passport Photo?

passport in a hand

So here’s a scenario for you…

You grew a big bushy beard, then you took passport photos with that facial hair of yours, received the new passport, and when it’s time to travel abroad, you have ended up shaving your face.

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“Would this mean that you’re now unrecognizable and can’t get into the country you’re trying to get?”

And what if you do it the other way around, get photos when clean-shaven and then grow a beard and try to travel with the beardless passport?

Answer: While there are some major differences in the passport policies between each country, most airlines and border patrol, etc. do understand that some men can grow facial hair.

And unless it’s a 3rd world country you’re traveling to, then they – or at least their machinery – should be able to tell if it is or isn’t you, beard or no beard.

When it comes to the policy of the United States:

“New photos are only required if your appearance has significantly changed from what is in your photo. Growing a beard or coloring your hair would not constitute a significant change”.The US Gov. Travel FAQ

I have personally traveled to the US twice after I grew a bushy beard, while my passport picture has me clean-shaven…

On the left is a pic on my passport (taken 10 years ago) and on the right is what I looked like when I traveled to the US:

beard vs no beard passport
After a quick look, you couldn’t even tell this is the same person (what a difference a couple of years, beard, and a good haircut can make), but at all the airports I’ve been to, they have been able to tell it right away.

I also have an added difficulty level of having “Ali” as my first name, which you can imagine raises some additional red flags at any American airport.

Although I have often always been “randomly searched”, I have never had to shave my beard to enter any country.

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And think of the opposite scenario, what if you are traveling clean-shaved but your passport photo has you in a big beard? Are they expecting you to grow one before entering the flight?

Bottom line: Every country has its own set of rules, but for most developed countries you should expect to be able to enter even if your passport photo has you with different level of facial hair than you currently rock.

5. Should I Shave for Prom Dance?

prom beard
If you’re prom age and can grow a beard like this, then no need to shave, but this is definitely not the level of beardedness most guys can attain at such a young age.

You are probably expecting me to say “no, don’t shave”, once again, right?

Well, I’m going to say yes, you should probably shave or at least trim to stubble if it’s your prom dance.

Why?

Simply because if you’re young enough to enter the prom, your beard is probably an incredibly patchy “teenager beard” – while you yourself might think it’s the coolest thing ever.

Bottom line: But what do I know, maybe you are able to pull off a sick Viking beard as a teen, in that case, go ahead, trash your razor.

6. My Beard is Not at 100% Coverage, Should I Get Rid of it?

young man with a patchy beard

This is probably the most common scenario of them all on this list.

Your beard is patchy or it has a lot of “peach fuzz” in it, and people are telling you to shave that thing off…

Should you?

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Well, it depends on a case-by-case basis, but if a lot of people (normally kind people) are making remarks about it, then it might legitimately look bad and you could be better of just trimming it down to stubble or completely shaving it off.

Don’t fret though, I have actually written big guides on how to transition your thin peach fuzz beard into real terminal hairs and how to grow a thicker beard with good density.

Before you let go of the dream of rocking a brutal beard, please read through them for some actually helpful (and scientifically proven) tips.

Bottom line: If a lot of people are making remarks about your beard and how you should definitely shave it, then it might be time. If just a few of your friends who normally trash talk everything makes that remark, then don’t shave.

7. Should I Shave Against the Grain to Stimulate Beard Growth?

shaving equipment

Absolutely not.

Shaving your beard more often does not stimulate beard growth. This is an urban beard myth.

It was most likely crafted by mothers who hated seeing their little boys trying to grow a beard (telling them shaving would make it grow was a fine way of getting them to shave).

There are some legitimate methods of speeding up your beard growth rate and even a handful of them that can help you grow a beard when there’s no beard to grow

But shaving more often – or against the grain – is not one of them.

Conclusion

“Should I shave?”

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It’s up to you buddy. Your beard, your rules. All of the tips above are just possible examples of different scenarios where facial hair could be frowned upon…

But not necessarily is.

Was there ever a time in your life where you ended up shaving the beard for a special occasion, a wedding, funeral, job maybe?

Let me know in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and keep on beardin’. (unless you’re shaving).

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Ali is a published author and a beard grooming expert from Finland. To this date, his articles have been read more than 15-million times on various sites, and he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and grow thicker. His work has been featured and cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.

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