There is no face so handsome that it can't be improved by a good beard. A beard makes everything better, from kissing to snuggling to hangnails and lactose intolerance probably, who knows? They're powerful beings.
This year was resplendent in great beardery. From Cap's beard (RIP), to Steven Universe warming our hearts and faces with Stevonnie's dawning beard, to the quiet of The Quiet Place being broken by our Krasinski-induced moans, these are the best beards of 2018.
And, we promise, there is not a single Sharon Carter joke in this post.
Jason Momoa’s underwater face tassels in Aquaman
Jason Momoa is lovely to look at anyway in Aquaman, but there is something about that beard that gives him just a little bit more of an edge. (Why do we find men with beards edgy? Is it the, “I don’t care, man. I’m just too busy saving puppies and the rest of the world to shave” thing?) It’s exactly the right length to waft gently under the sea, but not so long that it would, you know, get tangled in his trident. Plus, its loveliness will hopefully distract us from that eye-bleeding red wig of Amber Heard’s. She is not Ariel! Who picked that thing? - Jenna Busch
Rick Grimes' apocalyptic beard on The Walking Dead
Nothing says post-apocalypse chic quite like a beard. Who has time for shaving every day when the world is on fire? Also, male grooming supplies will only last for so long. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) has been cultivating quite the strong facial hair look throughout the many years fighting zombies (and humans) on The Walking Dead. Andrew Lincoln appeared at this year’s SDCC with a smattering of stubble, which was a clue to his big departure announcement that took place at this panel. In his final season of The Walking Dead, he cut his hair short ditching those beautiful curls, but thankfully he didn’t take the same approach to his mighty beard. Leaning into the whole silver fox vibe, this beard is pretty much the ideal length; cultivated without going full grizzle length. The latter is something we got a glimpse of in Season 8 during Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) dream sequence. Rick Grimes might be gone, but his beard will not be forgotten. - Emma Fraser
Arthur's grow-your-own beard in Red Dead Redemption 2
If you are a person who can’t grow facial hair naturally, you are in luck. You can do it virtually in Red Dead Redemption 2 with the main character Arthur Morgan. Forget those old Wooly Willy beard magnet toys. This is far more satisfying. You don’t have to do much. You can just exist for a while, and that face puppy will grow by itself. If you head back to camp, you can shave in your tent. You can trim his chin, his mustache or his mutton chops separately. You can even decide how long to keep it. Arthur looks pretty swanky either way. He’s very Josh Brolin with the beard, and sort of Ser Jorah Mormont without it. Fun with facial hair is the best! - Jenna Busch
Kratos' dad beard in God of War
Giving Kratos a beard was one of the best ideas gaming could have had this year, especially when you consider how great he looks in it. Sure, Red Dead Redemption 2's Arthur Morgan gave him a run for his money, but a cleanly-shaven Kratos has nothing on the majestic beard he grew in the 2018 reboot of the hack-and-slash favorite. Sure, he was a looker before, but Kratos became a distinguished, respectable-looking older man when he gained a son, and we've been totally here for it. Mmm, bushy. - Brittany Vincent
Cap's gone-but-not-forgotten beard in Infinity War
In the wake of Captain America: Civil War, our hero with a heart of gold and buns of steel went into hiding. But how can a burly, handsome man with a world-famous face hide? The answer was behind a beautiful beard, and no we're not talking about Sharon Carter. (#StuckyLives!) When Cap resurfaced for some day-saving in Avengers: Infinity War, he did so with a beard born of brooding, smolder, and non-toxic masculinity. This was a beard that remembers your birthday, that puts the toilet seat down, that makes values your pleasure as much as--if not more than!--its own. From the moment it stepped out of the shadows, this beard inspired steamy fantasies in fangrrls around the world. We dreamed of its touch, its softness, its smell. And while it proved to be too good for this world (link!), Cap's dreamy facial hairdo will live on in our lustful imaginations. - Kristy Puchko
Stevonnie’s glorious first beard on Steven Universe
When Stevonnie, a fusion of the alien-human hybrid Steven and human being Connie, gets stranded on a deserted jungle moon in outer space, they have to learn how to live off of the land. During their time alone on the small satellite, they learn to forage, fight big bird-blob monsters, and even how to shave. That’s right, our favorite nonbinary Crystal Gem stays in their fused form long enough to grow a glorious first beard that they shave with a sword. Like a total badass, of course. After their shave, however, the beard doesn’t disappear and Stevonnie lovingly examines their new stubble. While it might be inappropriate to thirst after Stevonnie, they are an amalgam of two teenagers after all, we salute their beard and its portents of a facial hair-infused future for this wonderful character. Perhaps more importantly, Stevonnie’s facial hair brings beautiful nonbinary representation to the screen and to children and adults everywhere. - S.E. Fleenor
John Krasinski’s face blanket in A Quiet Place
Look, John Krasinski has quietly been transforming into a bona fide daddy for years now, but his 2018 horror flick A Quiet Place officially elevated him from dorky Office hunk Jim Halpert to a premium, Grade-A slice of man meat. Sure, the fact that Emily Blunt chose him to be her life partner adds to his sex appeal — I mean, come on, it’s Emily Blunt — but make no mistake, it’s Krasinski’s face fleece that warms our nethers and it’s on full display in his latest film. The actor’s man-mane is a thing of beauty, full, voluptuous, a bit grizzly. It’s the kind of fur muzzle we’d like to crawl inside to keep warm for the winter. And it’s multi-purpose, protecting Krasinski from the elements as he fights to protect his family for alien monsters with supersonic hearing who like to snatch children in the woods. Sexy and functional? That’s the kind Lady Tickler I want when the apocalypse eventually comes. - Jessica Toomer