He may be an unlikely style guru, but Jeremy Paxman has got the debate going again: is the beard so 2013, or a look that can last?

Chinstrap, stubble, whiskers, face rug... whatever you call it, there's no denying that the past 12 months was the year of the beard.

Loading article content

First seen at the top levels of the sartorial world (think Prada, who famously used rugged, bearded male models in its shows among a sea of baby-faced boys walking for other fashion houses), the trend for fuzzy faces has eventually filtered down to the masses and is now as prevalent on high street stores' campaigns (and customers) as it is on hipsters.

Cathy Owen, operations manager at Glasgow agency the Model Team, said the changing face of men was simply a reaction to the norm: "In a market of clean-cut male models, the need for innovation came about because of the desire for something different.

"All it took was one designer to be directional with their thinking and everyone else followed suit - now the trend for beards is broad-reaching and dominant."

But is Paxman right? Has the trend run its course? Are we ready to relegate bushy beards to the style sin bin next to flares, blue mascara and the Kevin Keegan perm?

Beards are so 2013: Jeremy Paxman goes back to bare

Sharz Din, Vidal Sassoon Glasgow's senior creative director doesn't think so, or at least not quite yet.

"It's a wonderful thing that we're embracing elements of design within the constraints of the beard. It's like a shirt - it won't go away, but its style and shape will change. 2014 will see colouring and grooming become popular. Taken care of, conditioned and crafted, the beard becomes a friend."

The prevalence of hirsute gents on the red carpet hasn't gone unnoticed, either: some male celebrities have sported a beard since what feels like the dawn of time, while others have recently adopted it as a new (if itchy) accessory for acting roles, or just for fun.

So, sorry Jeremy, unless you're a starter for 10, beards are here to stay.

Below we look at 10 actors in beards - five of whom consider their beard to be an old friend, and five who have cultivated theirs temporarily.

Beards: Always on

Russell Brand

Part actor, part comedian, Russell Brand's looks like he's a member of the immaculately trimmed facial hair club.

Sean Connery

If the beard is good enough to appear on the face of a one-time James Bond, it's good enough for our list.

Ryan Gosling

Darling of the indie film world with a cult fan following to boot, perhaps Ryan Gosling's appeal lies in his designer stubble?

Russell Crowe

The Australian hard man's furry chin is one of the most famous in Hollywood. Who'd want Gladiator after them if they claimed it wasn't?

Zach Galifianakis

Star of The Hangover films, Zach's beard has been making cameo appearances alongside him since 2009.

Beards: on and off

Gerard Butler

Butler's whiskers led an army of Spartans into war in the epic 300 and have never quite left the actor's face ever since.

Tom Hardy

Grown in anticipation for his role in the upcoming Mad Max film Fury Road, Hardy's face warmer is a sterling effort.

Bill Murray

Alongside his red bobble hat, Murray's silver beard is one of the most recognisable things in the 2004 film The Life Aquatic.

Brad Pitt

It's been braided and beaded, so this trimmed-down goatee - grown for World War Z - is a much tamer look for Brad Pitt.

Johnny Depp

Who can forget lovable Captain Jack Sparrow? Judging by the dubious facial hair it took to play the part, Depp might want to...