Alun Withey, an academic who will run a three-year research project on the beard and its cultural history in the UK, predicts that the beard might finally die in 2016. Apparently non-experts who comment on trends in facial hair have been predicting the end of the beard for the past two or three years. This time however, Withey claims the end is near.
Common creative types and celebrities alike have been sporting beards for a while. There was slight concern when a report suggested they might be full of fecal matter, but some actual tests with celebs like Will Forte proved the fear inaccurate.
Withey says that based on historical data and patterns of beard popularity, the trend will soon be over. While he predicts that beards will diminish in popularity, he fully acknowledges that they will remain a part of cultural history:
The hipster beard, or lumberjack beard, is going to be the defining facial hair of this generation.
Withey is truly fighting the good fight. Without his groundbreaking research, the general public would have to just wait and see when beards go away without the benefit of predictive modeling. Perhaps his future projects could predict when people will once again stop wearing black leather jackets.