I ski (XC) in the winter. I run in the winter. I cycle in the
winter. I have a beard. People have been saying, "A beard
keeps you warmer."
Sure it sounds good, but has anybody ever really tested this
theory? In the interest of science, I thought of cutting off
my beard for a winter to determine if it would be colder without it.
Thinking about it for a while, I realized that this was no good.
Maybe it would be a warmer (colder) winter this year. Maybe
I would forget how cold (warm) it was last year.
I needed a control! Another person was no good; their perception
of cold may not agree with mine. I had only one choice. Shave
half of my beard.
I shaved the right half of my beard. The result can be seen in the
picture above. I then proceeded to perform my various outdoor activities.
I encountered several parameters I hadn't previously expected.
One side of my face was heavier than the other. In my case,
this posed no problem since I'm told that I'm too right
brained, the excess weight on the other side balanced things out.
At higher speeds, I found increased wind resistance on the side of my face
with a beard. This caused me to have to force the muscles in
my neck on one side to counteract the force of the wind.
Is spite of the above inconveniences, I was able to conduct the
experiment. I ran, cycled, and skied. Yes, it does feel warmer with a
beard. Also more comfortable. The side without the beard felt
Needless to say, I've only scratched the surface. Much work remains
to be done in this area. Although I've determined that it felt
warmer with a beard, no analytical tests were performed. I did
not determine skin temperatures. It is quite possible that I had
only thought I felt warmer. I suggest that a better test would
be to shave half a person's beard off, but not tell them which
half. This would give a fairer test of warmth.
It may also be that one side of my face
is less sensitive than the other. I must repeat the experiment
with the beard on the other side. It will take a bit of time for
it to grow again.
to see me 6 weeks later.
Listen to my
Pete Hickey / email@example.com