Watch This Guy Shave Off His Entire Beard for the First Time in 8 Years

Anyone who’s slapped on a long white beard to play Santa Claus knows what a difference facial hair can make. Not just in your appearance, but in how you see the world. You might even say there are two ways of going through life: bearded (guarded and ready for anything) or clean-shaven (open but vulnerable). Start to grow a beard and it becomes part of your identity; shave it off and you profoundly change yourself.

Beardbrand founder Eric Bandholz is obviously a facial-hair partisan; he runs a beard-grooming supply company, after all. He also has a years’ worth of thick, luscious gingerbeard—or rather, he had. He decided to shave it all off, for reasons ranging from obvious (good content!) to personal (he discovered a growth on his chin and wanted a dermatologist to check it out).

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According to Bandholz, he’d been rocking the Viking beard for eight years, so naturally he made a video of the de-bearding process, demonstrating a variety of styles as the hair came off. He nailed the long-but-trimmed power beard, easy to style with just a comb. Then he shortened it to a corporate beard, before sharpening up the lines for a cleaner look. His beard journey progressed through a scruffy goat to a brushy beardstache, then on to a regular mustache. Finally the stache had to go, leaving Bandholz completely clean-shaven.

It’s a radical change that transforms him from a Viking to a guy who’s just looking to get into your three-on-three rec league game. (Check out his wife’s reaction.) With before-and-after pictures you’d be hard-pressed to recognize the same man, but with the video journey you can see how subtle differences in his look emerge with each style. If nothing else, it might give you ideas for mixing up your own facial hair routine.

Watch the video here:

Jesse Hicks is a Detroit-based writer and former features editor at The Verge who specializes in longform stories about science, health, and technology.