Whether you’re looking for a new beard style or just beginning your facial hair journey, we’re here to break down all the buzzworthy buzzes that are making this year the year of the beard. Sure, clean-shaven is fun, but sometimes you’ve just gotta let it all grow out and trust your whiskers to guide the way. Of course, our guide for shaping a beard can help you keep it under control.
Stubble or Scruff
For those just getting into the facial hair game, we suggest starting with a good ol’ fashioned stubble. While some may hesitate to call this a beard style, a well-groomed dash of stubble can have a super becoming effect on a variety of different face shapes (as long as your hair doesn’t grow in too patchy). Plus, it’s not hard to maintain, though a touch of upkeep every day is recommended for an optimized aesthetic.
As far as celebrities go, a lot of guys flaunt the scruff, but the most successful stubble connoisseur has got to be Ryan Gosling, who makes it look oh-so-effortless.
Once you’ve got stubble down, you may want to start experimenting with different types of mustaches — and maybe even get some mustache wax. Though anyone can technically don a ‘stache, square faces are typically better suited for them than other shapes. Why? In our opinion, it’s all about real estate — square faces typically feature wider jaws and larger foreheads, so a wily mustache won’t be too obtrusive.
For example, Milo Ventimiglia of This Is Us fame can rock a ‘stache like nobody’s business because his features don’t overcrowd it.
Goatee or Circle
One of the trickiest facial hair feats to pull off, the goatee or circle beard is definitely not for everyone. When done well, it can make a dude look sophisticated and wise. When done poorly, it can muddle even the most handsome face. So how do you know if it’s the style for you? A general rule of thumb is that long, round faces are best for a goatee, mostly because they mimic the natural form of the style.
You can see this especially well with Common’s circle beard, which fits his face to a T.
Natural Full Beard
Though not every gent has the ability to grow a full-on beard, those who do must embrace its power with cautious care. Left untamed, a natural beard can look scraggly and messy. But with a little conditioner — and the TLC of a handy beard brush — even the most unruly facial hair can look camera-ready without totally quelling its rebellious tendencies.
Take Jason Momoa for example, who’s made a wild beard his trademark, all without letting it take over his money-making mug.
Maybe you don’t work in a place that’s open to the rough-and-tumble look of a Momoa-style beard. No worries. You can still achieve bearded glory within the confines of a professional environment. The trick here is keeping a tight trim and making sure the beard line is consistent from side-burn to side-burn. Those with longer faces will have better luck with this look, though it’s hard to know for sure how a beard’s going to look until you grow one.
For beard inspiration, look no further than Idris Elba, who owns the manicured beard style better than almost any other celebrity in the game.
A Balbo is a beard featuring a trimmed, isolated mustache and no sideburns. It’s an easy style to pull off and one that transitions seamlessly from day to night. Because of its versatility, it’s also a great go-to look for fellas of all face shapes, though you may want to customize it differently depending on your features (wider mustache for long faces, a tighter trim for shorter round ones).
A great example of a successful Balbo is Robert Downey Jr., who’s tried out a myriad of different variations over the years.
Originated by 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck, the Van Dyke beard has an old school flair ideal for the vintage guy. To qualify as a Van Dyke, the facial hair must consist of some sort of combination of mustache and goatee, with absolutely no hair on the cheeks. Here, regular maintenance is key, so you’ll definitely want to trim your VD in the morning before you head off to work. Aesthetically speaking, small, round faces benefit most from the Van Dyke as it helps to lengthen the overall silhouette.
Many celebrities have been known to whip out the Van Dyke, but Pierce Brosnan arguably does it best.
Weird Beards (Do Not Grow These)
While you can absolutely try out whatever kind of facial hair feels right to you, there are a few beard styles we strongly recommend against.
First and foremost the Chin Strap (a thin line of hair along the jaw) and its close cousin the Chin Strip (a thin vertical line of hair along the middle of the chin). These styles are incredibly hard to pull off and time-stamp any look to the early 2000s, a veritable fashion red zone (unless you’re Guy Fieri). If you like the aesthetic of either of these, we suggest opting instead for the Balbo.
We also encourage you to stay away from the Horseshoe Mustache (which straddles the chin like an upside-down goal post and only seems to work for Sam Elliott) and the Soul Patch (a bit of hair that lives under the bottom lip, regularly almost-rocked by TV host Howie Mandel). Like the Chin Strap/Strip styles, both of these looks are extremely dated and make the wearer look like a creep from a should-have-been-forgotten era. Avoid at all costs.
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