Recently, an NBC News website conducted an online survey to determine which beards and mustaches were the
most offensive to people. 24 They received more than 7,500
responses. Participants were restricted to vote for only 1
choice out of 9 options.
The results below rank the nine choices and include the
percentages of each in terms of offensiveness. The soul
patch and chin-strap beards were considered the most
offensive, followed by mutton-chop sideburns and pencil
mustaches. These would certainly be facial hair options
that clients and witnesses should avoid when testifying at
depositions or trials. The traditional mustache was the least
offensive in this study.
1. G. Jack Brown, Leadership Secret #39: Facial Hair and Perception.
www.bodylanguagesuccess.com, June 2, 2014.
2. A. A. Lino de Souza, V. B. U. Baiao, & E. Otta, Perceptions of
men’s personal qualities and prospects of employment as a function
of facial hair, PSYCHOL. REP. 98( 1), 2003.
3. B. J. Dixson & R. C. Brooks, The role of facial hair in women’s
perceptions of men’s attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities, EVOLUTION & HUM. BEHAV. 34( 3), May 2013.
4. Antonio Centeno, The science of facial hair: What signals do beards,
stubble, and mustaches send to others? www.artofmanliness.com,
Mar. 25, 2014.
5. J. ARCHER, DOES SEXUAL SELECTION EXPLAIN HUMAN SEX
DIFFERENCES IN AGGRESSION (2009).
7. R. P. Conti & M. A. Conti, Mock jurors perceptions of facial hair
on criminal offenders, PERCEPTUAL & MOTOR SKILLS 98(3c),
10. Dixson & Brooks, supra note 3.
12. de Souza et al., supra note 2.
13. Dixson & Brooks, supra note 3.
14. Z. Janif, R. C. Brooks & B. J. Dixson, Negative frequency-dependent preferences and variation in male facial hair, BIOLOGY
LETTERS, Mar. 24, 2014.
15. de Souza et al., supra note 2.
16. Centeno, supra note 4.
17. Brown, supra note 1.
19. de Souza et al., supra note 2.
21. Centeno, supra note 4.
22.de Souza et al., supra note 2.
24. Brian Alexander, Sorry, guys: We judge you by your facial hair. NBC
News survey, www.bodyodd.nbcnews.com (June 18, 2014).
Chris Daughtry’s chin-strap
(musician, American Idol contestant)
Apolo Ohno’s soul patch (Olympic
Hugh Jackman’s mutton chops
John Travolta’s Fu Manchu David Niven’s pencil mustache Samuel L. Jackson’s full beard
George Clooney’s 5:00 shadow Johnny Depp’s goatee Tom Selleck’s traditional mustache
Brad Pitt’s shaggy look
The Most Offensive Facial Hair
Soul patch 22 percent
Chin-strap beard 18 percent
Mutton-chop sideburns 16 percent
Pencil moustache 14 percent
Fu Manchu mustache 8 percent
Full beard 7 percent
Goatee 6 percent
5:00 Shadow 6 percent
Traditional mustache 3 percent
When Is Facial
In summary, facial hair on clients and
witnesses, if present, should be conservative,
trimmed, and traditional. This is, of course,
unless your client is Brad Pitt, who could get
away with walking into almost any courtroom looking as shaggy as he wants in front
of most jurors!