From the hipster to mutton chops, the soul patch to the chin puff, facial hair has been growing and changing for eons. Facial hair and the people behind it have left an incredible mark on our world. So much so that many of these iconic looks have been embraced by the world’s greatest men—past presidents, famous authors, even Greek Gods. So, in honor of President’s Day, we present the 10 most iconic beards in history.
Abe Lincoln 1809-1865
Honest Abe was America’s first bearded U.S. president. So, who inspired this robust beard? It all started per the request of an 11-year-old girl named Grace Bedell. Grace told the future president that if he grew a beard, the ladies would tease their husbands to vote for Lincoln because “all ladies like whiskers”. He later won the 1860 election with 180 electoral votes. Lincoln, a hipster of his time, literally brought back the beard. In the 18th century, thanks to the Puritans, beards were out and wigs were in. Once the country saw the way Lincoln rocked the beard, scruffiness quickly returned.
- John “Grizzly” Adams 1812-1860
This famous California mountain-man grew a beard so thick that grizzly bears took him as one of their own. When one lives with grizzlies he cannot be bare.
- Santa 280 – ∞
The only known human able to enter each house in the world all in a single night. Perhaps Rudolph’s red nose is to thank or perhaps it’s that thick, magical beard that truly guides the sleigh each Christmas.
- Merlin 1493- ∞
Merlin was the most powerful wizard of all time—or so it has been said. His life was filled with mystery, magic, and hair-growing vitamin D. With appearances in Welsh poetry and Harry Potter, this fictional Slytherin has a beard no muggle could ever fathom.
- Gandalf the White Before the shaping of Arda- January 25, 3019
Gandalf the White was formerly known as Gandalf the Grey but you know how that goes. The wisest of Maiar, Gandalf had the ability to heat fire to a blue flame, manipulate sparks, and of course, create shock waves felt high and wide. Gandalf’s beard was impressive but the length of his bushy eyebrows was a mystical miracle.
- Zeus 700 - ∞
Other Greek gods known for their beauty include bare-faced Eros, Adonis, and Apollo. Only Zeus, however, grew such a potent beard. Zeus has always been depicted as a full-grown man. This was indicative of his experience and dominance that made him the ruler of the Olympian gods.
- Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519
A Renaissance genius who mastered painting, sculpting, architecture, music, engineering, literature, mathematics, and more. Da Vinci was one of only a handful of artists who never had a self-portrait. We ask ourselves, for a man with such a magnificent beard why not celebrate it?
- Ernest Hemingway 1899-1961
Famous author Ernest Hemmingway proves a lumberjack beard is for more than just lumberjacks. Thick, luscious, with a wise white glow that says “man is not made from defeat. A man can be destroyed, but not defeated.”
- Uncle Sam 1812- ∞
Initially, Uncle Sam (US) was a bare-baby-faced cartoon. It wasn’t until 1869 that cartoonist Thomas Nast added the iconic white goatee. As beards were “growing” in popularity, many products began adding bearded men to their product lines. As a symbol of the United States, Uncle Sam was no hipster-Lincoln but more of a trend-conformist.
- Chuck Norris 1940 - Present
Rumor has it there is no chin behind Chuck Norris’ beard, only another fist.
- Colonel Sanders
- ZZ Top
- William Shakespeare
Some of our famous beards were a bit wild and untamed while others required daily maintenance. Luckily for today’s men, a straight razor isn’t necessary to man-tain the perfect beard. Using a high-quality trimmer, like Wahl’s Lithium Ion + Stainless Steel, can make any Grizzly Adams-like beard history.