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"The hero finds
Despite his trouble
He never has
To deal with stubble"

Heroes have hectic lives, often taking them to strange places for days or weeks on end as they go on their adventures. However, they rarely get the opportunity to shave or clean up between car chases and explosions... and they still somehow manage to keep a baby smooth face!

Somehow these guys manage to find the time to get out their shaving kit (or an electric razor) and clean up after being put in a dungeon and before escaping from The Dragon. Of course, this can be Played for Laughs by implying the character just doesn't grow facial hair at all. While everyone else has a Beard of Sorrow-type growth from the circumstances, he is as smooth as a smarmy preteen or smug elf.

In Real Life, having a beard can be seen differently according to countries and their different cultures, which of course, evolve with time.

This is also extremely common for female characters. If a female character bares a little skin or even has a full-on nude scene, expect her to be as smooth as a newborn baby. Even if she's been in the wilderness for weeks and/or is living during a time period where shaving body hair would be extremely difficult, if not impossible (or if even culturally expected).

Of course it's just as commonly justified as the character being both Crazy-Prepared and so dedicated to maintaining his personal appearance that he always shaves (often before everyone else wakes up). If he ever should stop shaving, it means he is suffering some kind of emotional breakdown. There are also a fair number of men who simply can't grow facial hair beyond the sideburns, although they are much rarer than fiction would have you believe. And for every boy who had a mustache at 13, there are about ten more who won't have one until they are 30 or even older, so age can also justify this.

While this trope is the opposite of Perma-Stubble, both can coexist. See Time-Passage Beard.

Closely related to Not Allowed to Grow Up and Not Allowed to Grow Old.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 99% of the time in manga/anime where there is male nudity or there is a shirtless fanservice guy, the adolescent to early 20s male characters are anatomically free of body/facial hair. The reason their bodies are glabrous is usually because they are young and or boyish in contrast to older matured men, who may or may not have developed body and facial hair.
  • Death Note makes this trope very apparent during the time when both Light and his father Soichiro are kept imprisoned for weeks in order to prove Light's innocence. Soichiro grows a beard, whereas Light doesn't show any signs of facial hair, since he is a Bishōnen.
    • L also seems unusually clean-shaven for someone so otherwise unkempt

    Comic Books 
  • Transmetropolitan: Spider Jerusalem's permanent baldness is justified in the first issue. After returning to civilization after a few years growing lots of hair in the mountains, he requests the computerized shower to give him a top-to-bottom cleaning. The shower obliged by stripping all the hair from his body...permanently.
  • Superman:
    • The Pre-Crisis version didn't grow facial hair in a yellow sun environment, so grooming wasn't normally an issue.
    • However, the Post-Crisis version had Superman having to periodically shave using his heat vision reflected back on his face. In fact, that was a dramatic point in an early story of this era when Clark had to suddenly travel to South America and didn't have time to shave his Five o'clock shadow off. So, when a crisis developed that required Superman, Clark didn't dare get into costume considering his unshaven face would be a dead giveaway for his secret identity.

  • The Night Unfurls: Chapter 7 of the remastered version reveals that Kyril invokes this trope via a minor shaving montage. He admits that he never expected himself to do something as banal as removing facial hair.
  • Vow of Nudity: Haara's character art shows her body to be completely hairless despite living naked in the wilderness for years. One flashback reveals why she's like this; the Genasi loathe body hair since they naturally don't grow any, and so all Genasi slaves are forced to undergo multiple hair removal treatments upon reaching puberty until the effects are permanent.

    Films — Animated 
  • The title character in Tarzan manages to somehow stay clean-shaven while presumably not even knowing what a razor IS. This is an Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: he is also clean-shaven in the original novel, but it explains how he remains so, as well as why he bothers.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Professor X, Magneto, Warpath, and Colossus in 2023 have very little facial hair despite living in a post-apocalyptic world where they're being hunted down by Sentinels.
  • Laurel and Hardy always managed to resist beard growth (Hardy's toothbrush moustache never grew out to the rest of his upper lip), even if they starred in episodes as homeless and hungry idiots.
  • Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who is a Pretty Boy, appears always clean-shaven, even after spending two years in space or over one year in prison. It is entirely possible that he uses magic to accomplish it.
  • Aquaman: Unlike his half-brother Arthur, Orm is very clean shaven.
  • In Master and Commander, the officers occasionally appear unshaven but the sailors never do, even though in real life at this period ships' crews only got a shave twice a week. Obviously it would have been an impossible feat of continuity to give everyone the right number of days' growth in every scene.
  • In most adaptations of The Man in the Iron Mask, the eponymous prisoner is clean shaven under his mask ... even though his strictly enforced condition leaves it mysterious how he was ever supposed to get a shave under there (or a haircut, for that matter).
  • Blue Lagoon: The Awakening: After being stuck on the island for weeks, Emma lampshades how Dean hasn't grown any facial hair. The fact that she herself hasn't grown any body hair whatsoever goes unaddressed.

  • In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes has been secretly living in a stone hut on the moor for several weeks, and yet "he had contrived, with that catlike love of personal cleanliness which was one of his characteristics, that his chin should be as smooth and his linen as perfect as if he were in Baker Street."
  • In Starship Troopers, Rico notes that when Sergeant Zim is waking them up at insanely early hours he has a clean-shaven face and otherwise excellent hygiene.
  • In Codex Alera, Tavi is told he's got to meet this trope when he temporarily finds himself in command of a legion, if only for the morale of his troops. The obvious implication is that a leader who is so rushed that he can't find time to shave isn't in control of the campaign.
  • In A Brother's Price, Jerin apparently never has to shave. However, when describing his deceased father he does mention that Tullen Beadwater had to shave every day or he'd grow whiskers. Maybe it's an age thing; Jerin's not quite sixteen.
  • Discworld:
    • In one novel, Ponder Stibbons reflects that despite all his best efforts he has never been able to grow a "proper" Wizard Beard. In fact, the most facial hair he is ever given in the illustrations is a barely-there dusting on his upper lip and chin.
    • Carrot Ironfoundersson, a dwarf (by adoption) completely lacks the full beard that would be common to dwarves, without any apparent effort on his part.
    • In Monstrous Regiment, Polly is complimented on achieving this, by officers who don't know she's a woman. Several of the top brass are also known for it, and for promoting it among the troops. They're women too.
  • Male tributes in The Hunger Games never grow facial hair while they're in the arena. It's not known what the Capitol does to them to prevent them from growing beards (Katniss assumes that the boys are injected with a hormone that prevents it, similar to how she and the other girls get injected) but whatever it is, it seems to be only temporary, since several male victors grow facial hair later in life.
  • The American illustrations for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban show Sirius Black inexplicably clean-shaven while in Azkaban or on the run, even though his hair is long and unkempt.
  • Lord of the Flies has a variant, since all the characters are prepubescent: in their time marooned on a deserted island, the boys' hair grows long and unkempt as they descend into savagery, exempt for the Only Sane Man Piggy, whose hair never grows at all thanks to the Rule of Symbolism.
  • The Black Knight, as well as likely some other Named in A Practical Guide to Evil don't grow facial hair. Justified, because being Named shapes your appearance according to how you perceive yourself and to a lesser extent how others see your Name. So when you think of yourself as not having a beard, you won't grow one.
  • A fairly extreme case occurs in Tarzan of the Apes: the eponymous hero not only teaches himself to read using scavenged books, but following the illustrations in said books, teaches himself to shave.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, more or less. When everyone comes back from the Arctic at the beginning of season 3, everyone else has massive full beards; he has a tiny, neatly trimmed goatee.
    • This reflects the actors. Jim Parsons naturally has a very light beard but regularly ALL of the characters are well-groomed. In between season breaks Johnny Galecki (Leonard) is usually sporting at least some stubble, to the point you barely recognise him as Leonard.
  • Glee: Kurt Hummel is, naturally, incapable of growing facial hair.
  • An interesting female example that shows you should take the term "reality" show with a grain of salt, the women of Survivor. The men will develop a full Jesus beard while on the island, but most of the women tend to stay fairly smooth-legged throughout.
  • In one time-travel storyline of Dark Shadows, now-human Barnabas Collins is chained up for at least a few days. Every time the story shifts to him, not so much as a whisker is visible.
  • Angel, being a vampire, doesn't grow hair. In After The Fall though, he becomes human again and he has to start shaving again.
  • In Supernatural, Dean remains clean-shaven during the year in purgatory while Castiel grows a beard.
  • Doctor Who:
    • This is present throughout the Classic series. Usually the Doctor and companions have access to the TARDIS (or sometimes UNIT) to provide ablutory supplies, and they usually don't stay in places for very long, but it doesn't change anything even when they are stranded.
      • This was most common in the Hartnell era, which frequently left the crew in place over weeks or months, like undergoing a quest on the hostile planet Marinus or trekking through Skarosian caves or across China, and ran the end of one adventure directly into the beginning of the next (the '60s tie-in novel Dr Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks went out of its way to include a scene where the Doctor gave Ian a futuristic electric shaver to explain this).
      • Season 12 (with the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane, and Harry) also involved a long sequence of events linked directly into each other over a period of weeks or months with TARDIS access lost near the beginning - not only do the Doctor and Harry remain perfectly smooth-faced while stuck in a Skaro war-zone but Harry's sideburns even get an obvious trim during a teleportation.
      • The Fourth Doctor might qualify generally - the general idea behind his look is that, unlike his predecessor, he now has a relaxed attitude about his personal appearance, wearing scruffy old clothes and with uncut Messy Hair (that Tom Baker refused to let the makeup artists comb between scenes as he felt it would be out of character for the Doctor to do so). Yet he never betrays a hint of stubble, and his sideburns are always beautifully groomed. We know he's capable of growing a full beard, as he wears one when artificially aged in "The Leisure Hive". Either he's deliberately cultivating the careless look, or this trope's in play. "The Masque of Mandragora" does slightly lampshade it by showing us his shaving room - an otherwise fully functional console room that works better than his main one.
      • Leela, a Nubile Savage in a very short skirt, also keeps her legs perfectly shaved in a variety of horrible situations and long before she has any opportunity to know what a razor even is (though as her culture is a Future Imperfect version of Western culture, female body hair beauty stigma might have evolved into a cultural taboo for her people).
    • The new series makes a point of averting this, giving the Eleventh Doctor a Time-Passage Beard after several particularly extreme bits of waiting.
  • In First Wave, main character Cade is a fugitive after being framed for his wife's murder. He's explicitly avoiding capture by remaining off the grid, and yet he never shows a hint of stubble, and his hair is always immaculately kept in the same distinctive style he wore in the pilot. Particularly egregious example as, being on the run, you'd think changing his look would be Job #1.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Bryan Danielson's baby-faced mug had been such a signature of his that when he was finally seen with a beard people correctly guessed that he had gone insane.
  • No matter how long he stayed on the road or how many matches he worked a week, RJ City never seemed to have any facial hair and would mock other men like Matt Cross for their dumb beards. In the International Wrestling Cartel Cross was also the one to push him into admitting he couldn't grow one.
  • Cody Rhodes, although he does rigorously shave and there is a reason for it. When he did come to the ring with facial hair he was relentlessly mocked for it.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Comedian Pete Holmes has a routine where he jokes about his inability to grow a beard. He says that if he were ever marooned on an island and rescued some time later, he would emerge from the jungle looking like he had only just landed on the island and couldn't wait to wear a loincloth.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Justified in Vampire: The Requiem, since a vampire's body always looks as it did at their time of death. Invoked by Augusto Vidal the ancient and elegant Prince of New Orleans, who, to his perpetual annoyance, was Embraced when he had a week's scruff and has to see a barber every sunset because it grows back whenever he rests.

    Video Games 
  • Don't Starve both averts this trope and plays it straight. All of the characters, male and female alike, over the days, weeks, months, and potentially years they spend living in the wilderness have no change at all to their hair or facial hair, EXCEPT for Wilson, who starts clean-shaven but grows a magnificent beard over time that can be shaved off with a straight razor, providing beard hair which can be used to craft things, and Webber, who is part-spider, and whose "beard" is actually made of spider silk, which can also be shaved off, providing said silk which can also be used to craft things.

  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: While the crew's conditions made off-panel shaving a technical possibility for a good part of the comic's run, the trope gets noticeable in later chapters:
    • Back at Mission Control, Onni manages to grow no beard after a Power-Strain Blackout leaves him in a coma for several days.
    • At some point in the story, the crew has to abandon their Awesome Personnel Carrier and travel on foot. Emil and Lalli end up on their own for a few days instead of a planned few hours, and Emil quickly gets enough on his plate that he no longer bothers to keep his hair neat, yet remains clean-shaven.
    • Reynir has a Fictional Disability that requires him to wear a mask on his lower face on a regular basis, opening the possibility that time is taken to keep any beard he may grow short enough for the mask to do its job. It may even have become more essential than before, as the mask has become Reynir's only protection between stops, while its role could be fulfilled simply by Reynir staying inside the Awesome Personnel Carrier when the crew still had it.
  • In El Goonish Shive, both Ellen and Grace have no visible body hair. Ellen is an Artificial Human based on a form created by a teenage boy, so that's just one of her perks. Grace meanwhile is a very sheltered shapeshifter who didn't know women even had body hair.
  • Most characters in The Order of the Stick are perma-shaven; however, of particular note is Elan, who not only lacks a beard to better contrast with his brother's goatee, but due to circumstances, has wound up explicitly unable to grow facial hair.
  • Dean from Dragon Sanctuary has this genetically. Thanks to his fairy side he never grows facial hair or any body hair for that matter.

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time's Finn, unlike most cartoon characters, actually ages, but despite going from 12 to 16, his face appears to be as young as it ever was. Subverted as it turns out that BMO is plucking Finn's facial hairs while he sleeps to keep him "forever young". Finn isn't aware of this, all he notices is his lip hurting the next morning.
  • The Tick: Parodied. Apparently not growing facial hair is one of the Tick's Auxiliary Superpowers, as when an evil experimental mustache attaches itself to his face Arthur reacts in shock, remarking Tick has never had to shave in all the time he's known him.
    • Played straight in the episode where they're lost in prehistory for 6 months, as Arthur remains clean-shaven the whole time despite being shown shaving in other episodes.
  • A rare female aversion in Steven Universe; while stranded on an island in "Island Adventure", Sadie begins to grow some visible stubble on her legs. Oddly played straight with Lars in the same episode, who shows no stubble on his face or anywhere else. Even the hair on the sides of his head, which he presumably has to shave to keep his mohawk-style hairdo, shows no signs of growing.

    Real Life 
  • Something of an Enforced Trope in the American and Russian armed forces, due to dress and appearance standards meaning that the soldier must be clean-shaven in all uniform combinations—justified in part by the need for gas masks to have a tight seal. Of course, dress and appearance standards can be the first thing to go when in a battlefield environment, with many growing so-called Deployment Mustaches or spending more time worrying about more pressing concerns.
  • Also an Enforced Trope for anyone working in a Fire Department. The SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) -REQUIRES- that the wearer be clean-shaven (except for a mustache) in order to obtain a tight seal so that the toxic environment can't get into the mask (and suffocate the wearer). The Military does the same thing with MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) gear to protect soldiers from NBC environments. One bit of stubble in the wrong place can mean the difference between you getting out of the situation, or going home in a (sometimes very small) box.
  • Many Native Americans plucked their facial hair to keep it from growing back.
  • A number of young Asian men tend to have no facial hair, or slow-growing hair so that a good shave lasts for days if not weeks.
  • Some men also simply don't/can't grow visible amounts of facial hair. Perma-Shave can also be a telltale sign of certain genetic or chromosomal disorders in men, such as Klinefelter's syndrome (47-XXY).
  • Getting sessions of laser hair therapy or electrolysis can remove one's beard permanently.