Beard fashion 'makes people happy'

Illawarra filmmaker Samuel Doyon was one of the first members of the Sydney Facial Hair Club.

"Yep, that's a thing," he says, anticipating a quizzical look.

Like many a brilliant plan, it was hatched on a night out when Samuel was with some mates last year.

"I met my friend one night, he had a cool beard and said we should start a club, so he did and I joined," he says.

But the facial hair enthusiast should hope the club doesn't get too big, because rarity creates attraction according to recent research from the University of New South Wales.

Thirty-six men were photographed at four different stages of beard-growth: clean-shaven, light stubble, heavy stubble and full beard.

When nearly 1500 women and more than 200 men rated their appeal, the bearded men became less attractive when they dominated the group, but were fancied when rarer.

Samuel, however, thinks no matter how popular beards become, not everyone can pull it off.

"Not many people can grow a good one, if it's sparse and has holes in it, don't bother," he says.

The 22-year-old started growing his facial hair when shooting a feature with co-founder of his company Way Ward Films, Morgan Way.

Samuel and Morgan competed to grow the biggest beard.

Since then, Samuel has held on to his locks and plans to keep them indefinitely.

The only two people who dislike his hairy chin are an aunt and cousin, he says.

"It makes people happy," he says.

"People are nicer to you, women are more approachable and they go up to you and want to touch it.

"It's an ice breaker.

"It's a common thing for everyone who has a big beard."

The appeal is worth the maintenance, he says.

Samuel applies shampoo, conditioner and when going out an oil product to keep his hair soft and shiny. But his friend Morgan laughs at the idea.

"I'm not into the shampoo scene," he says. "I do it every so often, but I like keeping mine low maintenance. I'm not into beard oils, mine's quite soft naturally."

The 23-year-old says his hair gives an advantage in the film industry - it makes people take him more seriously.

"It makes me look older, and in my line of work that's quite useful."

His wife, though, is ambivalent: "She puts up with it, it's always the moustache that gets ticklish".

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