TORONTO (REUTERS) - For the second time in five months, Canadian social media users are obsessing over Mr Justin Trudeau's face.
In September, it was old pictures of the Canadian prime minister in blackface that got him in trouble during the election campaign.
This month, it's Mr Trudeau's facial hair that is trending online after a picture posted to Instagram by his personal photographer showed a pensive-looking Trudeau sporting a neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper beard.
The Instagram post, which offered few details, got dozens of comments along the lines of "We need answers about the beard", and the hashtag #trudeaubeard trended on Twitter in Canada with thousands of posts.
Mr Trudeau has sported facial hair in the past, including a moustache and goatee while in opposition. But as prime minister, he has thus far been clean-shaven.
His office did not immediately respond to queries on Tuesday (Jan 7) about the beard's provenance or whether Mr Trudeau, 48, plans to keep it.
Canadian pop culture commentator Shinan Govani said the beard was reminiscent of Mr Trudeau's father, Pierre, who sported a similar, somewhat scruffier look while briefly in opposition in 1979.
"If any world leader can get away with that Brooklyn creative look, it is Justin, though," he wrote in an e-mail.
Political style consultant and former New Democratic Party adviser Ian Capstick said he expects the post-vacation beard to be short-lived: "It's a risky play at this stage for him to be sort of seen taking up too much space on a beard when the world is burning down."