I remember as a young boy proudly running to my father pointing at my chin. "I have a beard!", I proclaimed. My father said nothing but grabbed me by the shoulders. Scrutinizing my face, he began pulling, pushing, and manhandling my little face. He got closer and closer until I could feel his eyeball touching my chin. "Okay you're gonna have to start paying rent now."
Since then I've developed, groomed, and nurtured, my beard. I've experimented with shampoos, oils, styles, designs, and even the cuts of my beard. All of this has made me a confident beard aficionado.
Curly vs Straight
Beard growers, the people who love them, and haters have been embroiled in a hairy debate. The issue at hand is which is better a curly or a straight beard? Follow along as we delve into the subject and answer this question thoroughly once and for all.
A beard is an accumulation of hair that grown usually on the cheeks and chin of pubescent young men. It said to be traces of our evolution from androgenic hair. Evolution did not affect all humans in the same way. Over time some of the earth's population like indigenous Americans commonly produce less hair. And people from European or Asian DNA tend to have hairy bodies.
Beard: The Etymology and History
The origin of the word beard is traced back to the Western Germanic word "barthaz", which is said to have birthed various versions within other dialects:
Old Frisian = berd
Middle Dutch = baert
Old High German = bart
German = bart
In Middle English, we get a better understanding of the word beard. It comes from a sense or notion of getting in someone's face:
"To grow a beard" = "Confront bodly and directly"
"Rennen in berd" = "Oppose openly"
"Reproven in the berd" = "Rebuke directly and personally
Science: Hair 101
It is generally viewed that a straight beard is the better beard, but is that true? Let's take a look at the science behind hair. What makes it straight and what makes it curly and is there an advantage to having one over another.
The biomaterial known as hair is comprised of a protein called Keratin. Keratin is composed of amino acids. Among these amino acids is the proteinogenic amino acid Cysteine which is responsible for the curling of hair.
How Does Cysteine Impact Hair?
Cysteine acids can form disulfide bonds with itself. Depending on where these bonds accumulate on the hair's shaft impact how their shapes are formed. Excessive protein in a single location, as well as asymmetrical follicles, will produce a curly beard. With straight haired beards, these disulfide bonds are generated much more uniformly throughout.
Grooming Is Important Regardless
Whether your pro curl or team straight beard, just remember an itchy beard needs attention. Do people avoid kissing you? Do you have lint balls in your beard? Does your beard smell like an ashtray and/or a tuna sandwich? Whether a curly beard or a straight beard both need to be maintained and catered to in a vigilant grooming ritual.