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Whether you love them or hate them, it doesn’t look like beards are going anywhere anytime soon.

But, gents, if the idea of fashioning facial hair hasn’t grown on you yet, that being because you simply struggle to grow one or your partner just isn’t keen, you may be surprised to learn that there are some unexpected benefits to gaining some face fluff during the warmer weather. 

So, if you can’t bear-d to think about how your allergies are going to affect you with hayfever season in full swing, we’ve looked into what styles of beards are best for allergy sufferers.

 

Man's stubble

How can beards prevent allergies?

“For people allergic to pollen, cats, dogs, and dust, a reaction is caused by allergens entering the body through the nose or mouth. For most people, these allergens or particles are trapped in mucus and then swallowed, causing no effect. However, for people with allergies, inhaling these particles can cause sneezing, coughing, a runny nose and difficulty breathing.

Beards and moustaches can form a barrier for these particles. Rather than being inhaled, the allergens simply get trapped in the facial hair.

When the particles that cause allergens become trapped in a person’s beard or facial hair, they will still breathe some of these in, in a regular and consistent way. As these allergens are kept close to the nose and mouth and inhaled regularly, over time a person may start to build up an immunity to them. This is because the body gets used to small amounts of these particles being present, meaning that you’re less likely to suffer an allergic reaction when coming in contact with larger amounts.” Gill Hart, Scientific Director, YorkTest.

Best beards for allergy prevention AND facemasks

So guys, if you suffer from hayfever and allergies alike, what better a time than to take up a bit of manscaping – it could really help you throughout the season. To make your life easier, our team of scientists have analysed a number of beards to find out which style is best to reduce your allergies and wear a face-covering since they became mandatory in England.

All beards have been ranked 1-10, with the overall score out of 10 for each criteria using a hairy hayfever barrier score, measuring the proximity of face mask to face, and for good measure, we’ve even looked at the most sought after fashionable styles. The sooner you grow a beard, the sooner you’ll have a head start on keeping your allergies at bay and your look in check, without seeming like you’ve been crying all day!

What style will you go for?

stubble beard graphic

Stubble beard

For some, this style of beard can be grown in a day – think 5’oclock shadow or purposely trimmed.
Covering the upper lip, cheeks and chin, the stubble beard provides some coverage and prevention
of pollen from reaching the nostrils. It’s a good starting point for men who have hayfever and want
to take on a style that shows they can grow more than just a few stray hairs. 

As seen on:

  • Alan Sugar
  • Ryan Reynolds
  • Chris Pratt
  • Bradley Cooper
  • George Clooney

Business beard style‘Business beard’

Presentable both at home and in the office, the business beard is a man’s go-to if they’re fond of
rocking well-trimmed facial hair and can keep up the maintenance. It’s a great thicker beard for
men who don’t want to brave a thicker ‘hipster’ style of fuzz. Longer than daily stubble, naturally
it provides an ample barrier from pollen and dust particles.

As seen on:

  • Jake Gyllenhaal
  • David Beckham
  • Ben Affleck
  • Jamie Dornan
  • Russell Brand

Ducktail

Covering the cheeks and sculpted into a pointed ended beard, the ducktail is all about styling
a slightly rugged look from the chin down. Maintenance focuses on keeping the sides trim, with
your chin acting like a net, as such, to catch pollen. The ducktail offers a wilder and practical look.

As seen on:

  • Brad Pitt
  • Mel Gibson
  • Tom Hardy
  • Charlie Hunnam
  • Pierce Brosnan

Classic beard

Longer than the business beard, this classic style is great for men ready to take on a fuller look
that turns heads. Covering both the neck and cheeks, the classic beard easily catches pollen
(and the rest), acting as a useful barrier to aid your allergies. Kitted out with a decent beard balm
and a sharp pair of scissors, snip away and keep flyaway hairs tamed and you’re good to go. 

As seen on:

  • Childish Gambino
  • Jared Leto
  • Zach Galifianakis
  • Mat Fraser
  • Ant Middleton

‘Gone rogue’

Think Tom Hanks in Castaway – the name of this beard says it all. The ‘gone rogue’ look
encompasses the unruly brilliance of growing facial hair, letting it do its thing
(who knew you could grow curls) and taking on a natural look. For men who can grow this
amount of fuzz, say goodbye to your chin and embrace a healthy grooming routine to keep
the hair soft, clean and conditioned to remove pollen particles. 

As seen on:

  • Adam Jones
  • Kimbo Slice
  • Gandalf The Grey
  • Sébastien Chabal
  • Rag’n’Bone Man

Goatee

The goatee is a tamer facial hairstyle that looks like you’ve made an effort with your
stubble without going the full way. Grow it out as thick as you’d like, although we’d
suggest fuller is best to prevent pollen from affecting your immune system. Since you
can leave it to grow out as much as you like, the goatee is easy to maintain as long as
you stay on top of trimming your cheeks.

As seen on:

  • Ryan Gosling
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Will Smith
  • Johnny Depp
  • Bill Bailey

Chinstrap

If you’re not quite able to grow a full beard and still want to achieve some coverage,
accept the hair growth you do have and try the chin strap. Connecting your sideburns
to your chin, it’s up to you (and your hair follicles) whether you add a moustache for
extra protection from allergic particles.

As seen on:

  • Anthony Joshua
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Olivier Giroud
  • Craig David
  • Prince

Mutton chops

Channel your inner wolverine and grow this iconic style to make hayfever a thing of the past.
A bit like a reverse goatee, you’re basically growing a beard without any hair on the centre of
your chin or upper lip. More style over substance, mutton chops aren’t for those afraid of regular
grooming, however, they can be grown out to enhance facial coverage from allergens. 

As seen on:

  • Djibril Cisse
  • Wolverine
  • Guy Martin
  • Andy Carroll
  • Lemmy

Wearing a face covering with a beard

From the 24th of July, face coverings are mandatory to wear in shops and supermarkets in England.
Please ensure that, if you have a beard, your mask is in accordance with WHO’s guidelines on wearing a mask.

You must ensure the face mask covers your:

  • nose
  • mouth
  • chin

While ensuring that there are no gaps between your face and the mask.

“As well as helping to maintain social distancing, wearing a face mask works similarly to a beard in reducing hay fever symptoms, providing an additional barrier to limit pollen from being inhaled.” Dr Gill Hart, Scientific Director, YorkTest.

 

Top tips for growing a beard

If we’ve managed to persuade you into growing a beard, follow these top tips on supporting hair growth, collated by Alison Orr, one of our nutritional therapists

  • Get a good nights sleep! 7-8 hours of kip helps the body to repair and regenerate its cells, essential to promote hair growth.
  • Take care of your skin. Keep your face clean by exfoliating your skin to unblock hair follicles, which can encourage hair growth.
  • Clean up your diet. Maintaining a good diet and ensuring you are getting the right nutrients is key to increase blood flow to stimulate hair follicles. Also, as the hair builds up allergens and particles, if not cleaned regularly, it can stop acting as a preventative barrier and work as more of a store of allergens. This means you’ll start to breathe in enough allergens to provoke a reaction.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamins B6, B12 and Biotin. Not only can they help to reduce stress, but they can also prevent hair loss. Find them in foods like fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, brown rice, oatmeal, and wheat germ.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent dry, brittle hair. Omega-rich foods like flaxseed oil, walnuts, and oily fish like mackerel or salmon are great for your diet.
  • Foods like egg yolks, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and kale are rich in vitamin A, which can repair skin tissue and aid growth.
  • Vitamin C & E can encourage the production of the natural oil, sebum, to give thick hair. Try eating citrus fruits, green peppers, broccoli, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, spinach, and mangoes.
  • Hair is mostly made of keratin, a protein made up of amino acids. High protein foods like fish, legumes and beans, such as black beans, lentils and meat supports our body in creating keratin.

Methodology

Using search data and medical advice provided by health experts at YorkTest, we’ve scored each beard style based on their effectiveness in reducing hayfever symptoms, how well they would fit under a face covering, and their popularity since lockdown. 

We’ve ranked each beard based on:

  • Face mask friendly
  • Popularity in search volume
  • Hairy hayfever barrier

Sources