Here it is, folks. The definitive ranking of the facial hair sported by main characters in the venerable Star Trek franchise. There can be no argument, all rankings are final.
13. Neelix’s Whiskers. I’m not sure this even counts as facial hair, but Neelix is actually the only character from Voyager who isn’t clean shaven.
12. Malcom Reed’s Goatee. Only appeared in one episode of Enterprise, in an alternate-future timeline in which the Earth was destroyed by a Xindi superweapon. Pretty terrible, but again, this is only time a character from this show had any facial hair.
11. Scotty’s Mustache. Not technically a beard, but still better than Neelix and Reed. First appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Since I watched the movies before seeing any of the original series, this is how I always picture Scotty.
10. Data’s New Image. Only appeared in one scene in the season 2 episode “The Schizoid Man.” It’s pretty clearly pasted on over Brent Spiner’s android makeup (granted, I don’t know how else they could have done it in 1989) But it gets bonus points for this quote:
9. Ash Tyler’s Scruff. I’m pretty sure Tyler’s manly scruff is just there to up the grittiness factor of Discovery a few points.
8. Geordi’s Beard. Respectable, presentable. Nothing to write home about though. Apart from one-offs, Geordi is probably the most variable in terms of facial hair. He generally shaved, but sported a full beard for a short stretch of episodes in TNG, then had a mustache/goatee in the later TNG movies.
7. Poor Miles O’Brien. Poor, poor O’Brien. At least, after living alone in cell for 20 years (or at least believing that you did), you have an impressive if somewhat unkempt beard to show off.
6. Sisko’s Goatee. Nothing too flashy here, but it sets off his shaved head nicely. And is generally seen as a marker for when DS9‘s quality when up another notch as well.
5. Worf’s Klingon Style. I’m fairly certain there’s no biological reason for it, so shaving just the middle of your mustache is a bold choice. I think it works for him.
4. Old Man Picard. Worn by a retired Admiral Picard in the future timeline of “All Good Things…”, Picard’s beard also balances the baldness on top. I like that it can make Picard look both more dignified, and slightly senile at the same time.
3. Spock’s Goatee of EVIL. Spock’s Mirror Universe doppelganger easily has the best goatee in all of Trek, establishing the “evil twin with facial hair” trope and looking totally badass.
2. The Real Dr. McCoy. Bones’s rugged mountain-man of the 70s look appeared only briefly in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and was gone too soon. But its glory cannot be denied. Having retired between the end of TOS and the start of TMP, this is Bones’s off-duty, real self. Unfortunately, he decides to shave when Admiral Kirk presses him back into service to confront V’Ger.
1. Riker’s Beard. As if there was ever any doubt. The beard that single-handedly elevated TNG from iffy at best to the classic genre show we all know and love.