Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat – no, beards do NOT act like balaclavas in the summer sun, so no, they don’t make you hotter – unless they’re super long and you’re wrapping them around your neck and head for some reason. Unless the sun is beating directly down onto your face, having a beard in the summer is actually more like having a little personal sun umbrella permanently attached to your face.

It makes sense – since beards keep you warm in the winter, they should make you warmer in the summer, too. But the reason beards keep you warm in the winter is not because they act like sweaters, but rather because they act like windbreakers, keeping the wind off  your face. So, applying that to summer, it can keep the heat off your face in the same fashion.

That’s not to say that they won’t get sweaty or full of barbecue sauce, which are your own summer demons to wrestle. All we’re trying to tell you is that no, beards aren’t sweaters. If you think your beard is making you hotter in the summer, it may simply be a placebo based on your buy-in to the popular misconception that hair = heat.

So, beardsmen, in case that wasn’t enough to convince you to keep your beard all year long, here are a few more reasons:

Your beard will actually keep you cool

beard in the summer

This is a man who understands how to best utilize his beard-shade

We said it above, but just in case you’re one of the many folks out there who only read headlines, it bears repeating.

Whenever someone asks you if your beard is hot, tell them your beard is like a bush. No, not that bush! You can take shelter from the elements under a shrub in the winter, and can find some lovely shade there in the summer.

Should you happen to sweat into your beard (because if it’s hot out, you’d be sweating whether you had a beard or not), if your sweat-moistened beard happens to catch a whiff of a breeze, that’s one more thing working to cool you off.

Your beard will block UV rays, protecting you from skin cancer

A study in Australia found that beards actually block 95% of cancer-causing UV rays, which means having a summer beard can LITERALLY SAVE YOUR LIFE. Kind of.

It’s really fun to wring out your wet beard after a nice swim

One of the many joys of being a man in the summer.

Beards grow faster in the summer

This may be more true for some men than for others, but in general, the increased vitamins you’re taking in from leading a healthier lifestyle and being in the sun more often means hair growth all over your body will kick into overdrive. That means a longer beard! Yes!

You’ll be among the bearded elite

Many folks only grow out their beards in the winter, which is also totally swell, but it takes a certain kind of person to wear a year-round beard. Cheers to you, all you badass beardsman out there.

Keeping a healthy beard in the summer

Remember that in the summer your facial skin takes a beating, which extends to the condition of your beard. It’s also a time of year when you spend more time in the dirt and sun, and in salt water and chlorine, so it’s important to make sure you keep your beard cleaned and oiled.