Is Philly the City of Beardly Love? With its new ranking as the number one most facial hair friendly city across the nation, it appears this would be true.
In partnership with market research firm ORC International, men's grooming company Wahl carried out the year-long study used to rank 50 different cities across the nation. Ousting Chicago, ranked #2, and Atlanta, the #3 contender, Philadelphia moved up 27 spots since 2017, now holding the chart-topping position.
The annual study analyzed factors such as online searches surrounding facial hair, social conversations related to beard and mustache positivity on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, and overall interest in the topic across the Internet.
"When you're in the business of celebrating great facial hair like we are, it helps to have a compass," said Steven Yde, division vice president for Wahl. Wahl is now in its fifth year of executing the study.
As per usual, spikes in whiskered conversations were found during Movember and No Shave November and from sports-related influences (Jason Kelce, anyone?), but this year also showed a notable increase in social discussions from women expressing positive sentiments towards facial hair on men. After the study was complete, women across the U.S. were then surveyed on the topic, with answers weighted by a number of census variables. In Philly, female enthusiasm for a well-groomed beard was more notable than anywhere else.
On a national level, the survey revealed that a majority of U.S. women prefer a man with a whiskered versus a clean-shaven face (58% vs. 42%), with more than 70% of those in the millennial age group favoring facial hair.
Stubble topped the preference list of styles, but a well-groomed beard was a close second.
For Philadelphians feeling inspired by the data, there is perhaps no better time to begin cultivating a beard than now, as the Philadelphia Beard Festival returns on Sunday, April 29 at The Schmidt's Commons Piazza.
The festival features a playful beard competition, with 12 categories that range from longest beard to groomed beard (1-6 inches and 6-plus inches) to freestyle to fake lady beard.
"I personally started growing a beard a few years ago, and I began noticing more and more people joining the trend and new products popping up everywhere, and so I went to my partner, and I said, 'I really think there's something here'," Michael Wink, the cofounder of the festival, which launched last year. "The culture behind it is becoming more mainstream."
Festival attendees can also participate in a bearded speed dating session as well as enjoy a beer garden, live music, whiskey tastings, and various outdoor games. Additionally, a variety of grooming and related vendors will be onsite throughout the festival, as will Wahl's 30-foot mobile barbershop, giving out free facial hair trims. For every trim delivered, $1 will be donated to ZERO, a nonprofit with a mission to end prostate cancer.
For those interested in attending, tickets bought in advance online at philadelphiabeardfest.com come at a $5 discount. Tickets at the festival entrance are $25.