Gentlemen, Drop Your Razors: Rocking Retro Beards

Up until not long ago, I long detested beards on men (well...and on women, too. Ha.) I can't even explain why--I just thought guys looked sexier and more professional when clean shaven, with nothing standing in the way of any food that might fall from their face while eating. But now, I think a short, well-groomed beard is devastatingly sexy on the right man. What flipped the switch for me? It was watching Christoph Waltz play Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained. That beautiful old timey facial hair is as much Schultz's trademark and accessory as the derringer he uses to blow to hell outlaws and abusive slave owners. Waltz has said in interviews that the beard was like a pet, and throughout the movie he cannot resist twirling his 'tache and smoothing it into shape...a character mannerism, I'm sure, he dreamed up himself. Plus he looks dashing with the right length of whiskers in a debonair brown and gray pattern which calls to mind a 1970s Kris Kristofferson. What I wouldn't give to feel those bristles gliding across certain parts of my body, but I digress...

We're talking about RETRO beards here! And they are sexy and masculine if done right. 

Beards have definitely been making a comeback on the celeb circuit in recent years--Ben Affleck, George Clooney, and Jon Hamm are just a few of the men who have been sporting them off camera on a regular basis. However, gentlemen need to take care--and clippers--here, because once a beard grows past a certain length it ventures dangerously into ZZ Top, Ted Kaczynski, Grizzly Adams, biker dude, Santa Claus and crazy hippie guy territory. Also, neck beards are never--NEVER!--ever sexy. I don't care what your hipster friends tell you. 

With that in mind, I rounded up a collection of dudes from back in the day who I think looked good with a certain amount of beard. Emphasis on good. Jim Morrison looked terrible with that caveman beard of his, as did Mick Jagger. George Harrison's Jesus look above is quite fetching, but then he turned into Rasputin the Mad Monk by the time All Things Must Past was released. So you won't find those examples here. Instead I present...

Jeff Bridges

Most of us are accustomed to seeing Bridges sport a goatee as "The Dude" in The Big Lebowski. But how hot was he in Against All Odds with his short, trimmed beard? So hot that Rachel Ward could not resist his charms among the Mayan ruins of Mexico. 

Clint Eastwood

The good, the bad, and the beard, which is a little bit of both and not ugly (and by bad I mean BADASS.) 

Harrison Ford

After finding this photo, I'm surprised that Harry never really was seen with a beard in his younger years. This is really a quite flattering look on him. Indy, leave the razor at home on your next adventure.  

Paul Newman

I don't think anything could have made Paul Newman look bad. Something about this beard...perhaps because it's bringing out his blue eyes even more. 

Paul McCartney

All of the Beatles had beards at one time or another, particular by the time Let It Be came out--I'd like to think they started the hairy trend, after all. Around the time the Beatles broke up, Paul looked like a stoned Neanderthal which is what happens when you get lazy about your beard grooming habits. But here in this photo, with a very short beard, I think he looks absolutely love me do-able. 

Bruce Springsteen

While I think The Boss looks better without the fuzz, he can still rock a beard--quite literally.

Steve Jobs

It was a bit skimpy in its younger incarnations, but I cannot leave Steve Jobs off a list like this. He did indeed look pretty good with a beard...even better than Ashton Kucher. 

Robert De Niro

One of the few times we've seen him with a beard--here with his Oscar for Raging Bull

Eric Clapton

Not very nice to the women in his life, but I'm guessing they couldn't resist Slowhand's whiskers. He did look very sexy throughout the 80s with the neat, trimmed beard. 

Billy Crystal

How cute was Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally when he had the beard?

Christoph Waltz

Well looky who we have here! Dr. King Schultz, the early years I presume. Yeah, I had to end it with that.


  1. If I have one regret in life, it's that I can't grow a decent beard to save my life. I'm afflicted with the Keanu Reeves effect; my beard is thin and patchy, like some wild animal has been chewing on my facial hair. It's actually quite embarrassing...

  2. George Harrison, I love you.

  3. Herman -- well, I suppose you can go for the Don Johnson stubble!

    Therese -- me, too!

  4. Paul McCartney- cool beard man !!!

  5. Grow baby grow!


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