Sideburns, Mustaches, Mutton Chops? Facial Hair Of The '60s & '70s

By | December 8, 2017

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From left: Neil young in 'The Last Waltz' (1978), Wayne Garland's 1978 baseball card, and Ron O'Neal in 'Super Fly' (1972). Sources: IMDB,, IMDB

In the 1960s and '70s, facial hair -- including mustaches, sideburns, goatees, Van Dykes, soul patches, mutton or lamb chops and other creative topiary -- was a means of free expression and identity. The 1950s had been an era of extreme clean-shavenness; in movies of the time, a 5 o'clock shadow was a visual shorthand for intoxication or derangement. As young men threw off the shackles of conformity, they began experimenting with facial hair. From the beatniks' goatees and Van Dykes to full hippie beards, and then into the '70s with massive sideburns and pimp-ish mustaches. If you could grow it on your face, you had free rein to do so.

Youthful Experimentation 

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During the 1960’s and 1970’s nearly every young man on a college campus was growing some sort of facial hair. Let’s face it, they were away from home and the influence of their parents. It was equivalent to a young person taking control of their own lives. Facial hair had previously been associated with, “beatniks.” Beatniks were people who rejected conventional behavior, or more commonly known as, hippies…. what could be worse than that?

Mustaches and sideburns are, to a man, much like make-up is to a woman. Facial hair can range from the very subtle to the very extreme. Of course, it probably goes without saying that plenty of celebrities also made their own personal statement with the facial hair statement.

Mustaches have been called everything from handlebars to gunslingers to Fu Manchus. Sideburns have been called everything from skinny to mutton chops. Women are generally considered more appearance conscientious than men. Don’t be fooled, though, because men are also concerned with appearances.

Below you will see some recognizable icons who exerted their individuality with facial hair. They range from actors and musicians to athletes.