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The best beard styles for older men: This is the definitive list

These beards for older guys ensure you keep looking strong and dignified no matter your age

As we age later in life, it all seemingly feels like beards are easier to grow and fit well into one’s own personal appearance. Beards have been around as long as there has been man, withstanding the test of time. Cavemen were sporting beards before we became advanced enough to manscape, making it the first symbol of masculinity.

While the beard might be timeless, some beard styles are not. More youthful guys can pull off some styles, while other types never look good, no matter how old you are. There is a surprising number of factors that determine the beard that’s right for any one man. Face shape, chin size, jawline, thickness, and coloring should be considered when deciding on a beard style. Without further ado, here are the best beard styles for older men considering all these factors.

Portrait of sporty mature man with earphones

The heavy stubble beard

Older gentlemen who have sharp, angular faces don’t have to do much more than not shave for a few days to look good. Literally, laziness is the best practice in this case. How many times will you hear that in your life? The great thing about the heavy stubble beard is that it can accentuate a really thick beard or mask thinner beards that would be more noticeably thin grown out. Heavy stubble beards are also lovely if you have a rich salt-and-pepper look.

George Clooney pulling off the short boxed beard

The short-boxed beard

As far as beards go, the short-boxed beard is the most common and easiest to pull off, no matter your face shape. It’s a step above the heavy stubble beard. Still, it’s low maintenance, can vary in length, and is excellent at masking a double chin — if that’s your goal. However, if you have difficulty filling out your beard, the heavy stubble beard is probably as far as you should take your beard-growing journey.

Rick Ross with a full beard

The full beard

The full beard is excellent for the older gentleman if you have patience and can grow a thick and glorious mane. Although it might seem as simple as growing your beard as long as possible, the long beard lends itself to many ancillary styling options. Remember that if your beard contains a lot of gray, the full beard can age you dramatically if you’re worried about that sort of thing. Don’t get over-sensitive about it, though; gray can also make you seem more dignified.

Man with blond hair and a long red beard, standing outdoors on a sunny day

The Old Dutch/Verdi beard

These beard styles are a play off of the full beard with some mustache extravagance. Both types involve drawing your attention toward the thick handlebar styling of the mustache. The Old Dutch beard has a wide, unkempt flare, while the Verdi sports a full beard with a neater trim. The amount of time you’re willing to allot to beard upkeep will likely be the deciding factor between these two beard styles.

Man with a Donegal beard

The Donegal beard

The Donegal beard is also known as the Shenandoah, spade beard, the Lincoln, Amish beard, or chin curtains. Not to be confused with the chin strap (a beard styling we don’t suggest for anyone, young or old), the Donegal is a full or short beard sans mustache. Although many older men who attempt this beard style come off looking like a 19th-century fisherman, some can pull it off. The Donegal lends itself to guys with very wide, prominent jawlines and softer chins. Forewarning, be prepared to talk about this beard. This isn’t just a conversation starter; it will completely command all attention from anyone around you. It may become part of your identity.

Mel Gibson rocking a ducktail beard

The ducktail beard

Ducktail beards are a hybrid of a short box and a full beard. The sides, neck, and mustache are trimmed short, while the chin is left long to a point. When done correctly, the ducktail beard can look great on older guys. However, the ducktail can quickly become a scraggly mess if not regularly maintained. If you have a round face and a weak chin, this look can elongate your face and give you sharper lines, thinning you out and strengthening your silhouette.

Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz and his fork beard

The fork beard

The fork beard, or French fork, is the ultimate power move beard. These beards are another variation of the full beard and don’t really begin to shine until after several inches. Men with cleft chins or those who naturally grow less hair in the center of the chin than the sides are more apt at developing fork beards. However, most anyone can train their beards to fork or use products to help the process. Those who grow it must be worthy of the respect the beard demands.

Robert Downey Jr. and his Balbo beard

The Balbo beard

The Balbo beard is one of our favorite stylings for older and younger men alike because of its creative takes from all styles. Formed from a long or short beard, the Balbo sports a heavy mustache disconnected from the beard. The chin and jawline mimic a Donegal but are not connected to sideburns. This beard style demands a lot of upkeep, but it looks great when executed properly. If you’re going to mimic a look that is popular in culture, you could do a lot worse than Tony Stark.

A sign of the times

There you have it; no need to let your age hold you back from trends that will keep you up with the times. These are the best beard for older guys that can and will elevate your style. Remember, the type of beard is only the beginning; the next step is learning the right products to maintain it, or you will inevitably end up looking like a caveman.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark D. McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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