This chart purports to show how facial hair trends in London changed from 1842 to 1972. You could call it “The Rise of the Razor.”
The data comes from a study that sociologist Dwight Robinson did back in 1976, looking at facial hair trends from 1842 to 1972. His methodology was somewhat unusual — he paged through 130 years of the Illustrated London News and counted all the beards, sideburns, and mustaches he saw. More recently, a Reddit user made the chart of Robinson’s findings.
Back in the 1880s, it seems like almost everybody in London had some type of facial hair — and beards were the most common. Sideburns dwindled in the 19th century, and mustaches came in vogue around the 1870s. But by the 1970s, when Robinson’s study ended, facial hair was going out of style.
There are some obvious limitations to the study — the chart only represents trends for the type of elite men who would have appeared in the Illustrated London News. So it’s an older, English set being tallied — there aren’t any beatniks or hippies shown in the data. The study also leaves out men in uniform and, of course, people who weren’t in London.
Why did all the beards, sideburns, and moustaches go away?