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The 5 o’clock shadow, goatee, and more: These are the best beard styles, so choose wisely

Beards have been around since the dawn of mankind — here are the best styles

A man getting his beard trimmed at the barber
cottonbro studio / Pexels

Great facial hair is how we men transform the shape of our faces. A great beard can hide a weak chin, lengthen or widen a face, and remodel a personal image. Beards are versatile, and we love the way they look. Some men’s beard styles may be refined, some rugged, or even unconventional, but one thing they all have in common is that they are a powerful form of self-expression. If you’re looking for the perfect style for your growing beard, we’ve broken down the best beard styles, and the face types best suited to rock’ em.

Before we start, remember that a healthy beard is beautiful, no matter the style. Hence, proper and adequate beard care with the best beard products is a must. From trimming to conditioning and straightening, your beard (and the skin beneath it) will thank you for keeping it healthy.

5'o clock-shadow-beard
sanneberg / Adobe Stock

The 5 o’clock shadow

It wasn’t that long ago that hirsute professional men with corporate office jobs kept a razor handy in case they needed a quick shave before a late-day meeting or dinner date. Men were expected to be clean-shaven at all times, as though puberty itself was a Human Resources infraction.

The 5 o’clock shadow, aka stubble, now suggests a slightly rebellious attitude for a man who lives by his own rules. It’s also a great way to begin a beard journey and gauge if you’ve got the genetics — not to mention the patience — to grow a full beard. Its very simplicity means that it works well for various faces, shapes, and hair types.

It’s a game changer for many men of African or Arabian descent for whom regular shaving can result in painful ingrown hairs or razor bumps. The popularity of this style has stood the test of time because it’s so versatile. If you’re in the corporate world and not allowed to grow long facial hair, the 5 o’clock shadow may be your best bet.

Stubble doesn’t require much maintenance but do keep the beard trimmed and neat. Moisturize it with beard oil and keep it looking sexy. Remember that if you don’t trim your stubble and keep it looking great, you’ll simply look like you didn’t take the time to shave that day. 

Scruff beard
Image used with permission by copyright holder


Give your stubble a little more time to grow, and you’ll have scruff! Slightly longer than stubble, the scruffy style is often characterized by its wild and shaggy appearance. The key to a shaggy beard that looks tidy (if done correctly, this will make you look refined yet rugged) is to maintain its upkeep, which is relatively effortless. 

This includes trimming and shaping your beard once you have your desired length. Trimming will help to even out the beard and add symmetry. Shaping the cheeklines and neck will help you avoid looking too rugged. The scruff period is often the itchiest, and using the best beard oil to moisturize your follicles is a must.

Short boxed beard for men
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The business beard

Growing a beard while working in a corporate setting was considerably more challenging years ago when businesses were more conservative. Thankfully, corporate culture has evolved, and trimmed beard styles have become more acceptable. The business beard, also known as the corporate beard, is precisely what it sounds like, a beard between half an inch and 1 inch that is evenly trimmed and well-manicured, with no flyaways. 

Although professional, this beard style can be a little boring because it’s so mild and contained. But the good news is that it works well in any work setting and can give any man a refined look. The key, with most beards but arguably more important here, is grooming and maintaining this beard expertly. One flyaway can make you look horribly unkempt. Proper conditioning and a little beard balm can go a long way. 

ArenaCreative / Adobe Stock


You can’t grow a beard because it’s patchy, or you don’t want to commit to a face full of hair? The goatee, or circle beard, may be an excellent look for you to try. This not-quite-a-mustache, not-quite-a-beard look can make you look sophisticated and suave if done correctly. 

The trick to pulling off this style is having the right face shape for it. Goatees are generally best for oblong or long faces. This is not one of the best round face beard styles. Rounder faces will end up looking, well, rounder. Maintaining a goatee is an easy “starter beard,” allowing you to build up to something more intricate. 

Long beard
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The full beard au naturel

Men who can pull off the full beard are not only badasses but are also committed to the beard life. You can find Instagram accounts, YouTube channels, and even businesses built around a beard identity. You heard that right; some people create a part of their identity around growing a luscious man mane. Perfecting this style requires patience and regular upkeep. 

With a full beard, washing your beard with the best beard wash, softening with conditioner, and protecting with oil become necessary steps for proper beard growth. You also can use a beard brush to get it untangled. Jason Momoa rocks his signature au naturel beard and reminds us of that this style is the perfect mixture of masculinity and elegance.

Viking beard
befree / Adobe Stock

Viking beard

Vikings weren’t only known for their warrior-like sensibilities but also for their vigorous beards that symbolized virility and all things masculine. What was historically a means of keeping the face warm during the frigid winter months has been reduced to a mere fashion statement today.

However, Viking beards have been on the uptick for the past few years (maybe due to the popularity of a particular television series?) and are most notable for being bold and maybe even intimidating. This style requires patience, precision, and a good grooming routine, such as combing your beard to keep your beard full and shiny.

One thing that keeps this beard different from the others on this list is the difficulty in grooming this adequately at home. There is often a shorter length on the sides and a longer on the bottom, requiring a bit of fading between the measurements. The best approach if you are new to this style is to find a barber who can help you keep it looking good consistently until you get better at grooming it at home. 

Gursimrat Ganda / Unsplash

The beardstache

Can’t decide between a beard or a mustache? Why not try the beardstache? This style has gained popularity in the last couple of years and is still going strong. The beardstache is characterized by a mustache that is kept longer and thicker than the surrounding area. This is a perfect style that still allows you to show off your strong jawline while still rocking thick facial fur.

Perhaps the best example of this look, and maybe what rose it to popularity in recent years, is Henry Cavill wearing it in Mission Impossible: Fallout. It was a good movie, but his facial hair was a star of its own. The best way to grow this is to let the mustache continue to grow while maintaining the rest of your face in the form of stubble. 

Faded beard
deagreez / Adobe Stock

Faded beard

Faded beard styles are great if you want to add style to your beard. Rather than keeping your beard all one length, you taper the hair around the sideburns that clean the cheeks and fade down toward the jawline. This versatile style can be tapered in several ways to compliment your head shape or haircut. Faded beard styles are one of the hottest beard trends in 2022 and show no signs of slowing down.

While this is similar to the Viking beard in that the lengths vary from top to bottom, what sets this beard apart is that the Viking beards tend to be longer on the bottom, whereas this beard can have whatever length you want everywhere. The same approach applies to this beard in grooming; get some help until you have it down. 

Man with Van Dyke beard
Anatoliy Karlyuk / Adobe Stock

Van Dyke beard

If you saw this style and thought, “Dick Van Dyke never had this,” you’re not alone. The Van Dyke is actually named after Renaissance painter Anthony van Dyck. It was a popular style worn by men in the 17th century and had a revival in the 19th century. This style is the definition of timeless and will continue to be a popular beard style. 

What makes the Van Dyke stand out is the mustache and goatee combination with no hair on the cheeks. Regular trimming and maintenance along the cheeks and neck are a must to keep this style looking sharp. It’s best to grow everything out first, then shave all but what is left to ensure you get the same length on both separated parts. 

Balbo beard
sanneberg / Adobe Stock

Balbo beard

The Balbo is a beard style featuring a trimmed, isolated mustache separated from the beard and no sideburns. The Balbo beard originated in the early 20th century and it was popularized by Italian aviator and politician Italo Balbo.

This style works well for men of all face shapes, especially those with a weaker chin, as it adds fullness. The Balbo is a truly versatile beard style and can be customized to personal taste. One thing to remember with this beard style is that you’ll have to keep the rest of your face shaved neatly, or it will get lost in the stubble. 

Corona beard
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Corona beard

OK, so this may not be as much of a specific style as it is a movement. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all into lockdown, many men decided to let their quarantine facial hair grow free. Men who had always wanted to grow out their facial hair decided that it was an opportune time to do so. Many men said no to razors and enjoyed their #CoronaBeards, and many of those men are still rocking that beard today. 

Being patient and letting your facial hair do its own thing for the first two weeks is the biggest challenge. From there, you can assess the best next steps for your facial mane. You can trim it, line it up (or not), or just let it grow.

Chris Memsworth Boss Bottled 2017 campaign
Hugo Boss

Crusader beard

Yes, that’s Chris Hemsworth in the above photo, and he’s rocking the crusader beard style, and if it’s good enough for Thor, it’s good enough for you. The crusader beard is kind of a step down from a full beard, where the facial hair is kept trimmed and tight to the face, but there is still full coverage.

To get this look, you need to let your beard grow out for a couple of weeks, and then once it has grown in, trim the beard so it comes from the sideburns and under the cheekbones and connects with your mustache. The area below your bottom lip should be kept shaved, except for a soul patch right in the center.

Man with blond hair and a long red beard, standing outdoors on a sunny day
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Frequently asked questions

How do I choose my beard?

The beard style that best suits you comes down to two significant factors. The first is your face shape. Just like picking the correct dress shirt collar, the rounder faces should stick to beards that elongate the face or square the jaw, while the more narrow faces should gravitate towards the fuller beards, giving your face some breadth. The second is your lifestyle. Whatever beard you choose, it has to be one you are willing to put the time into maintaining. From short and simple to long and complex, no matter which beard style you choose, without the proper maintenance, it will just end up looking shabby.

What type of beard is most attractive?

In short, the right one. That isn’t a sarcastic answer; it’s the real one. The most attractive beard isn’t the one that some celebrity or influencer has; the most attractive beard is the one that fits your face, and that you are willing to maintain. We may want to be able to grow a full, bushy beard, but if Mother Nature (and genetics) has other plans for us, at least we have choices.

What is the most popular beard style?

While all of these beard styles have their fans, the two you will see the most often these days are the Stubble and the Corona. Why? Simple. They each require little care and maintenance, and they both have maximum impact. Best of all? The Stubble sets you on the course to other beard styles, and the Corona can easily be trimmed back to just about any of the other styles on our list!

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John Jones
John Jones is a Jersey City, New Jersey-based writer who enjoys covering design in all its forms, from fashion to…
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