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Faking a Beard: a How-to Guide

The rise of the beard in the last few years seems almost inescapable. Facial hair has grown!
Using a range of common household items, I attempted to transform my smooth, rubbery visage into a towering pinnacle of furry masculinity

From well-groomed models in glossy magazines to loud, drunken specimens in city-centre nightclubs, facial hair has grown (disgraceful pun intended) exponentially in popularity, leaving my local high street looking less like a friendly shopping destination and more like an intimidating celebration of all things bushy and bacteria-ridden.

But what if you just can’t grow a beard?

A search on the internet, as it tends to, provided me with a range of vaguely scientific-sounding and well-advertised products promising to finally allow me to join the ranks of Johnny Depp, Hulk Hogan and Gandalf and become a manly, beard-sporting hunk.

However, on closer inspection, these “treatments” seem to contain nothing more than a vitamin blend and a large dose of wishful thinking.

So what can a discerning, bald-faced male do to avoid being ostracized and ridiculed by the world at large?

As a young man with a tragic inability to grow anything more than a patchy smattering of limp fibres (and a self-admitted follower of fickle fashion trends), I decided to take the initiative and provide a service to other follically-challenged men by attempting to find the most effective way to fake a glorious mass of facial hair.

Using a range of common household items, I attempted to transform my smooth, rubbery visage into a towering pinnacle of furry masculinity.

After rating each method using a rigorous scientific scale (and recovering from a totally unrelated bout of contact dermatitis), I determined which was the sexiest and most realistic. You’re welcome.

Cotton Wool

The most obvious and readily available product at my disposal was the humble ball of cotton wool. After prepping my face with a liberal helping of Vaseline, I stuck these fleecy delights to my greasy mug in a tasteful and practical tribute to King George V. Whilst I did look handsome, noble and dignified, the cotton wool apparently didn’t share in my enthusiasm and dropped listlessly onto the ground after a weak 7 minutes. A disappointing start.

Fake beard rating: 5/10

Black Markers

Next came an office favourite and nemesis of those who fall asleep at house parties, the black marker.

As a sufferer of a variety of weird and wonderful skin conditions, I was a little concerned about the effects of filling my pores with toxic solvents and dark ink but, in the true spirit of investigative journalism, I soldiered on regardless.

Luckily, my artistic prowess is second-to-none and, as you can imagine, my false goatee was so realistic that I almost forgot it wasn’t natural. A promising result held back only by a lack of real texture.

Fake beard rating: 7/10

Tea Bags

After the cotton wool and markers, I had essentially run out of ideas so I consulted the ever-reliable internet for some inspiration. A quick and mildly embarrassing search for “fake beard ideas” yielded a breathtakingly simple tactic that somehow hadn’t crossed my mind: tearing open a tea bag and fashioning the contents into a sexy and macho impersonation of stubble.

After drawing once again for my trusty tub of Vaseline, I poured the fragrant leaves all over my chin and prayed to God that I had finally reached the end of my beardless torment.

Sadly, the finished product looked less like a beard and more like an accident, so, after a brief existential crisis, I cleaned the petroleum jelly and plant matter off my face and returned once again to the drawing board.

Fake beard rating: 3/10


At this point I was beginning to lose confidence in the possibility of ever witnessing my childlike features give way to a virile bastion of all things hirsute. The traumatic tea bag incident had shattered my self-belief and I was on the verge of giving up and going home for a cry when I was struck by a revelation: Why not use black yarn to create a classy, mysterious and mildly racist Fu Manchu moustache?

Full of newly acquired vigour, I cut two lengths from the ball and stuck them to my upper lip with household tape. Upon inspecting my creation, I instantly knew that I had reached previously unheard of levels of sophistication.

Unfortunately, when I asked my colleagues for their opinion, all female members of the office threw themselves towards me in a primal display of appreciation for my stylish new appearance and I was sent home in disgrace. A frustrating end to my investigation.

Fake beard rating: 1/10


Hopefully, this article has been both informative and inspiring for those, like me, who are unable to sprout dirty clumps of keratin from their chin. But if you weren’t convinced and still prefer a fresh, clean-shaven appearance, then why not enter our competitions in June issue (see Related Articles) to win a wet shave courtesy of Gareth Clark barber’s and £200 worth of Bluebeard’s Revenge shaving products, and feel relieved that capricious fashion trends will render the beard outdated in no time at all.

- Jack Rayner


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