Wishing you a wintry and wondrous Washington's Birthday
Posted on
February 20, 2023
How much do you know about U.S. presidents and their hair?

The Certification Magazine home office is closed today in honor of the U.S. holiday of Washington’s Birthday (also informally known as Presidents Day). We’ll be back tomorrow (Feb. 21), with more of the all-around IT certification goodness that you crave. Until then, please enjoy the following quiz.

In past years, we’ve done quizzes about Washington himself, as well as about the other 44 men to succeed him. (Remember, Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th president. So there have 46 presidents, but only 45 individuals have held the office). We did a quiz about first ladies, one about the White House, and one about presidential pets.

For 2022, we decided to crank out a quiz about coiffure. You don't have to have a fabulous head of hair to become the Commander in Chief, but follicular fecundity has been a surprisingly abundant condition among U.S. presidents. Join us for a round of "Hail to the (Hairstyles of the) Chief."

1) How many president wore a powdered wig while in office?

2) Which four presidents had a moustache, but no beard, while in office?

3) How many presidents had a beard, but no moustache, while in office?

4) Which president famously got a $200 haircut from Hollywood hairstylist Christophe on board Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport?

5) How many presidents' heads of hair were represented in the Smithsonian Institution exhibition "Hair of the Presidents, Washington, D.C., 1855"?

6) Which former president, while still only a candidate for the highest office in the land, said he would have to change his hairstyling regimen if elected?

7) Which well-coiffed chief exec did not have any white or grey hair when he assumed office, despite turning 70 just weeks after his inauguration?

8) Which future president once sidestepped a question about whether he had ever had a hair transplant by saying, "Guess. I've got to keep some mystery in my life."

9) Which five presidents have been bearded while in office?

10) Which president, despite being a natural redhead, powdered his hair while in office?


How much do you know about U.S. presidents and their hair?

1) Four. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were all in accord with the prevailing fashion for men of consequence while residing at the White House.

2) Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and William Howard Taft. The mustachioed quartet were four of the six men to hold office over a three-decade span where the moustache predominated. Across that period, only William McKinley, who served between Cleveland and Roosevelt was clean shaven, whereas Benjamin Harrison (the beef in a Grover Cleveland presidential sandwich) sported a full beard. Arthur's mustache was of the "mutton chop" variety, spreading across his cheeks and connecting to his sideburns.

3) One. Abraham Lincoln's iconic facial hair is, to date, a one-of-a-kind presidential look.

4) Bill Clinton. The costly clip caused a minor public scandal. Clinton, who paid Christophe's fee out of his own pocket, later apologized for committing "a boner," going on to explain that, "I've never lived that way. That's not the kind of person I am."

5) 14. Every president from George Washington through then-sitting president Franklin Pierce was represented. The exhibition, prepared by John Varden, a curator at the Smithsonian, included a lock of hair from each president.

6) Donald Trump. While campaigning in Iowa, Trump claimed his high-maintenance 'do would have to go if he got elected: "I would probably comb my hair back. Why? Because this thing is too hard to comb. I wouldn't have time, because if I were in the White House, I'd be working my ass off."

7) Ronald Reagan. Noted stylist Steve Martini told the Washington Post in 1980 that Reagan's famously dark hair was not dyed.

8) Joe Biden. Biden, who had notably thinning hair when he became a first-time U.S. Senator at age 35, neither confirmed nor denied the surgically augmented status of his personal capitol dome to a Washington Post reporter in 1987.

9) Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hays, James A. Garfield, and Benjamin Harrison. Despite namby-pamby non-committal elongated sideburns from John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren, who were meekly mutton chopped at most, no president had ever been bearded before Lincoln arrived at the White House in 1861, and no president has been bearded since Benjamin Harrison lost his reelection bid to Grover Cleveland in 1992.

10) George Washington. Though red in his youth, Washington's hair color faded to a light brown for most of his adult life. He eschewed the powdered wigs that were in fashion during his time in office, but did powder his hair.

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Certification Magazine was launched in 1999 and remained in print until mid-2008. Publication was restarted on a quarterly basis in February 2014. Subscribe to CertMag here.

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