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The War on Beards Has Become Pretty Shitty

  • Maureen Elsberry

Shitty beards

Forget shit for brains, research suggests you’ve got shit for beards. At least that's what one Albuquerque news station suggested recently. ABC News affiliate KOAT7 sent the internet into a frenzy when they released data suggesting beards were hairy collectors for bacteria, the same kind that’s found in your gastrointestinal system, or as KOAT put it, your poop. 

After swabbing some random volunteer beards, Action 7 News took the samples to microbiologist John Golobic at Quest Diagnostics, a noticeably shaven bloke. An analysis of the Petri dish growth found evidence of enteric bacteria, or its more endearing title, gut flora, which normally lives in the intestines of both humans and animals. Their conclusion? “Some beards are as dirty as toilets.” As dirty as a toilet is much better than 18 times dirtier than a toilet, which was the fate of a similar study done on cell phones. 

Golobic also had some disturbing news for ladies of beard-bearing men: Bacteria found on the swabs was also the type to cause urinary tract infections. I just crossed my legs. He made sure to bash the hygiene of unshaven saying, “It certainly shows a degree of uncleanliness that would be somewhat disturbing.” That’s a total “no shit Sherlock” statement if I’ve ever heard one.

But never fear my furry men, this study was far from rigorous. KOAT rounded up a handful of hipster volunteers with beards of varying impressiveness and swabbed through the tangles of their bird nests. Most of the beard samples were simply chalk full of the normal types of bacteria that were expected to be found, not an overwhelming amount of gut flora. One microbiologist and a few beards does not a scientific study make. A real study would have also sampled mustaches, soul patches (barf), and goatees (double barf). 

I’m pretty sure that if beards were inherently filled with poop that “food poisoning” would be far more rampant than it currently is, and bearded men and the people who love them would be constantly losing their cookies or having a bad case of the runs. It should also be noted that, just because a bacteria is found in feces, it does not make that bacteria actual shit. 

So why all the hoopla? Some bearded folk are taking this absent minded “study” as a personal attack suggesting that it was a malicious ploy by the clean-shaven to discredit the sexiness of beards. I wouldn’t be shocked if this was also a case of trouble in razordise. The shaving industry might be stooping as low as the sewer to boost business in the age of the beard.  It’s got to be tough these days when some men are even shelling out nine grand for beard implants. Whoever is really behind this war on beards, we thank you for the brilliant headlines.

So the good news we can take away from this is, unless you go so far to actually rub feces on your face knowingly, your beard is probably far from shitty. Nevertheless, make sure to give your beards a good scrub in the shower . . . just in case.