How to lose over 12 grams in less than an hour

Living in an area that commonly gets over 200 inches of snow per year, having a bit of extra protection from the elements can be very beneficial.  But what happens when that protection is no longer needed.  Why Science of course!

Initial observation:
Left unchecked, my face produces an impressive amount of hair.

Question:
How much beard can grow in a beard season?  Also, will removal of that beard result in significant weight loss?

Expectation:
The beard will have a measurable mass.

Equipment & Materials:

  • bearded man
  • scissors
  • electric trimmer (w/ built-in vacuum)
  • razor
  • bowl
  • kitchen scale

Procedure:

  1. Shave immediately before school year begins
  2. Grow an epic beard (this may require some maintenance)
  3. Wait until first day temperatures reaches 10ºC after the spring equinox
  4. Mass bowl
  5. Remove bulk of beard into bowl, using scissors (rough cut)
  6. Mass bowl with partial beard
  7. Use electric trimmer to remove as much additional hair as possible starting at higher setting and working to the lowest setting (rough trim)
  8. Mass bowl with partial beard with trimmings
  9. Remove guard from from trimmer and remove as much remaining beard as possible (fine trim)
  10. Mass bowl with partial beard with all the trimmings
  11. Finish removing remnants of beard with razor
  12. Freak out everyone you know with your lack of beard (optional)

Data:

Beard start date: Between 2012-09-01 and 2012-09-04
Beard end date: 2013-04-26
Growth time: 234-237 days (235.5 days +/- 0.64%)

Starting from a fully grown beard as shown below.

Full Beard

The nearly finished beard after a short trip to acquire a delicious burrito during a blizzard.

A series of photos were taken before removing starting, and after each phase of removal.

Phase 0

Multiple angles of the beard before any removal.

Phase 1

Rough Cut: After removing the bulk with scissors.

Phase 2

Rough Trim: After removing as much as possible using an electric trimmer with its guard on.

Phase 3

Fine Trim: All thats left after a final pass with the electric trimmer withouts its guard.

In addition, photos of the removed beard were taken before masses were measured.  From these pictures it is apparent that the the bulk of the beard is removed during the rough cut phase.  This is confirmed by comparing the masses after each phase.

Beard Clippings

Beard collection bowl. a) Before rough cut, b) after rough cut, c) after rough trim. No photo of the fine trim was taken.

Before any removal, and after each phase, the bowl and its contents were massed, as shown in the table below.

Raw Mass (g) Beard Portion (g)
bowl

204.5

0.0

+ rough cut

215.5

11.0

+ rough trim

216.8

12.3

+ fine trim

217.0

12.5

This gives an average growth rate of 53mg +/- 0.34mg per day.

While no detailed timing information was recorded, the entire process took less than an hour, based on photo timestamps.

Surprise Results:
The amount of additional hair removed during the fine trim was quite small, but still detectable by the scale.

Conclusion:
As expected, the beard had a measurable mass.  However the total mass was only 12.5g (0.027 lbs.), so this is not a very effective means of losing weight.

Future Questions:
If this measurement is repeated over multiple years, would there be any correlation with weather or age?

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