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Grooming standards in the Continental Army

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GreenCheek44

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I’m going to my first event in a few weeks but it just donned on me that my facial hair may be farb. I have a short well kept beard that I would really not like to shave (insecure about receding hairline) I understand that facial hair was not a popular style back then especially for people my age (early 20’s) but is there evidence of a few soldiers shaving facial hair? I can’t imagine every single soldier would be so well kept especially as the campaign dragged on. I’m in the 1st Delaware so I can’t be a rough miliaman either

is there any evidence of men of Spanish or Latin decent being in the colonies at this time? Could use that as an excuse I suppose
 

LawrenceA

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I know little of such things.
What I do know as there always seems to have been units where such things were less important.
I expect that there were also Regulars, Auxiliaries and maybe Mercenaries. Each would have their own rules would they not?
Like the French Sappers have always sported beards where other units did not and do not.
 

Grenadier1758

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It's not Colonial, in fact its a painting to commemorate the "Battle of Culloden" by Morier effectively ending the Jacobite Rebellion in England and Scotland in 1745. Look at the Grenadier Sergeant behind the Officer and the Scotsmen in the front line with a modest amount of facial hair.

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Shaving was not a daily practice with shaving every 3 or four days was sufficient to be considered clean shaven.
 

GreenCheek44

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It's not Colonial, in fact its a painting to commemorate the "Battle of Culloden" by Morier effectively ending the Jacobite Rebellion in England and Scotland in 1745. Look at the Grenadier Sergeant behind the Officer and the Scotsmen in the front line with a modest amount of facial hair.

View attachment 47900

Shaving was not a daily practice with shaving every 3 or four days was sufficient to be considered clean shaven.
this is awesome! I started taking a closer look at colonial battle paintings and many have a few men sporting beards. Would these paintings really be considered a reliable source though? I doubt the painter was in or around the battle they are painting. But then again, why would they give a man a beard if it was not accurate?
 

Greg Blackburn

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I’m going to my first event in a few weeks but it just donned on me that my facial hair may be farb. I have a short well kept beard that I would really not like to shave (insecure about receding hairline) I understand that facial hair was not a popular style back then especially for people my age (early 20’s) but is there evidence of a few soldiers shaving facial hair? I can’t imagine every single soldier would be so well kept especially as the campaign dragged on. I’m in the 1st Delaware so I can’t be a rough miliaman either

is there any evidence of men of Spanish or Latin decent being in the colonies at this time? Could use that as an excuse I suppose
"...insecurity about receding hairline..." Easy fix brother: SHAVE YOUR HEAD. I feel 10 years younger every time I shave mine. Once I started doing it, I got more dates. It's a statement.

My current squeeze (fiance) loves my shaved head but hates beards. It's a good thing I love to shave, if I'm shaving with a straight razor. A combination of skill and nerve needed----shaving is now fun.
 
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Grenadier1758

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Paintings were often painted well after the incident occurred. In the Case of Morier's "Battle of Culloden", he made sketches in 1746 shortly after the battle to use in the final painting. The sketches were likely based on descriptions provided by participants in the battle. I would think there are some romanticized aspects of the painting, but it should be somewhat close to the events.

But as @JB67 states, shaving was the order of the day except for the moustaches favored by German (Hessian) troops.
 

Rató:rats

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Le loup, as a hirsute gentlemen, has written a few excellent articles on his website, woodsrunnerdiary, about beards in the 18th century. As a bearded guy I found his research helpful in verifying the commonality of facial hair in Europe and North America in the time period.
 

tenngun

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One place to look is cartoons.
Often done on the fly and and exaggerated features. Unlike paintings where people looked their best. Cartoons often showed torn clothing, missing buttons, out of fashion and worn out clothing.
Beards show up about 10% of the time.
We can never overlook style.
People were not any cleaner in the seventeenth century or middle nineteenth century where beards were in style.
 

GreenCheek44

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"...insecurity about receding hairline..." Easy fix brother: SHAVE YOUR HEAD. I feel 10 years younger every time I shave mine. Once I started doing it, I got more dates and dated hotter women. It's a statement.

My current squeeze (fiance) loves my shaved head but hates beards. It's a good thing I love to shave, if I'm shaving with a straight razor. A combination of skill and nerve needed----shaving is now fun.
im only 23 though thats the big bummer about it. thanks for the advice though
 

mushka

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I was going bald so I just shaved my noggin about two years ago. Shave the head daily with an electric razor. I don't shave my face daily though, don't like to for whatever reason. Shave my face every couple three days. My lady friend of ten years says I'm a better looking man with a shaved head. At 76 I really don't give a hoot what I look like, I'm just an old active man.
 

Greg Blackburn

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im only 23 though thats the big bummer about it. thanks for the advice though
23? Ha! I started losing mine at age 18, it just started falling out like mad. I fought back with Rogaine and Propecia, both were wastes. I should have started shaving it when I was 18. By age 23 it was pretty much stabilized. I shaved my head the first time on Christmas Day, 2002, 8 PM.

It isn't all hot women though....if you bump your head you know it, easy to cut one's head (cabinet corners are great for it), sunlight will burn it in seconds, and in the least bit of cold you'll need a hat. However, women do love it. Did I mention, women love a shaved head?

I use a Norelco electric on my head (have some trimmers if it's long to knock it down). I use the trimmers on the beard (clean all that up and toss into trash can so as not to clog up the sink) but I shave my face, neck, and below belt with a 6/8" to 15/16" straight razor, full hollow ground, round point. I find that 13/16" is my best size although 6/8" is fine. Most of my razors are at least 1920's vintage, some older. I use a Mach III on my upper arms and chest. I can use a straight for those but it's a bit tedious with all the contours. Below belt: helps if one is slim.

Straight razors have no razor burn, no 3-days-later-whiteheads, no in-grown hairs. The blade lasts several hundred years so there is no long-term high costs. A sharpened razor lasts me about 6 to 12 months before needing sharpened ("honed") again. Initial cost can be high: strop, brush, razor, cream but much cheaper once you have all that. Learn to hone your own blades and then you are only buying cream. I even have elephant ivory handled ("scaled") razors.
 
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toot

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Lice were a real thing. Shaving was not just a fashion statement but for hygene. Many people actually had very short hair or shaved heads to combat lice, with wigs to hide the baldness.
isn't that why that wigs were powdered? to cover up the sweat / stink, odor?
 

Flinty Scot

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If you're going for full authenticity, from what I've read, period straight razors were slab cut- not as deeply hollow ground as "modern" ones (mine are 1920's or earlier).

I had one which was slab ground, but had a rounded brass backstrap along the back, to establish the honing and stropping angle.

I've no idea how old it was, but it took a great edge and was easy to use, in spite of being longer, wider & thicker than the more modern straight razors. Unfortunately, I lost it in a move.
 

GreenCheek44

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23? Ha! I started losing mine at age 18, it just started falling out like mad. I fought back with Rogaine and Propecia, both were wastes. I should have started shaving it when I was 18. By age 23 it was pretty much stabilized. I shaved my head the first time on Christmas Day, 2002, 8 PM.

It isn't all hot women though....if you bump your head you know it, easy to cut one's head (cabinet corners are great for it), sunlight will burn it in seconds, and in the least bit of cold you'll need a hat. However, women do love it. Did I mention, women love a shaved head?

I use a Norelco electric on my head (have some trimmers if it's long to knock it down). I use the trimmers on the beard (clean all that up and toss into trash can so as not to clog up the sink) but I shave my face, neck, and below belt with a 6/8" to 15/16" straight razor, full hollow ground, round point. I find that 13/16" is my best size although 6/8" is fine. Most of my razors are at least 1920's vintage, some older. I use a Mach III on my upper arms and chest. I can use a straight for those but it's a bit tedious with all the contours. Below belt: helps if one is slim.

Straight razors have no razor burn, no 3-days-later-whiteheads, no in-grown hairs. The blade lasts several hundred years so there is no long-term high costs. A sharpened razor lasts me about 6 to 12 months before needing sharpened ("honed") again. Initial cost can be high: strop, brush, razor, cream but much cheaper once you have all that. Learn to hone your own blades and then you are only buying cream. I even have elephant ivory handled ("scaled") razors.
Ok I might just take the plunge. Some random dude said I have a “Warrior skull” whatever that means.
 
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