The popularity of the beard is so great these days that you’re just as likely to see bearded cooks as kale salad when you walk into a local hip restaurant. But this hirsute proliferation has given rise to a new “trend” – beard hairnets. A beard hairnet, also known as a beard snood, is a small and opaque elasticized cap that straps beneath the chin and hooks over ears, sometimes covering the mouth.

Beard snoods are becoming a requirement in more and more restaurants nationwide, and wearing them is already standard operating procedure in the UK for many companies that package or prepare food. In fact, Adrian Wright, COO at Lion Haircare & Disposables, said that sales of beard snoods have seen a 32% uptick in the past three years.

We’re all for beards, but it does make sense to cover them if you’re making something a person is going to eat. Every hair on your body has a life cycle, which means each hair will eventually fall out. And that hair has to land somewhere. But here are some interesting stats for you: according to a recent study by microbiologist John Golobic of Quest Diagnostics, men are six times more likely to shed hairs from the beard than the head because beard hairs are twice as dense. At any given time 30% of beard hairs are in the telogen, or resting stage, and thus shedding.

In that same study, Golobic found bacteria usually present in feces in men’s beards. This harbors the possibility that a bearded man can pass the bacteria living on his beard to others.

So far enforcement of beard hairnets varies from institution to institution. But in many professional kitchens, there are still no rules about restraining head hair in a hairnet.

We’re curious – are you yay or nay on the beard snood? If your occupation involves food, would you wear one?
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