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From heavy stubble to a full beard, here are the best beard styles for older men

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

Old man with a beard
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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.

Older man checking out his gray hair
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Do beards look good on older guys?

Whether beards look good on older guys depends on a number of factors. The following are some things to consider when deciding whether to grow a beard as an older gentleman:

  • Face shape: Some face shapes are better suited for beards than others. For example, a beard can help to balance out a round face or add definition to a narrow face.
  • Hair type: Not all beards are created equal. Some hair types are more difficult to grow and maintain than others. If you have thin or patchy facial hair, you may want to consider a shorter beard style.
  • Personal style: A beard can be the perfect way to express your personal style. If you’re the kind of guy who likes to dress in a sharp and put-together way, a well-groomed beard can help you to look your best.
Portrait of sporty mature man with earphones
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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.

The short boxed beard on George Clooney
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Ryan Gosling scruff stubble
Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images

What beard style makes you look younger

When choosing a beard style, it is important to consider your overall appearance and what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re trying to look younger, you may want to choose a shorter and well-groomed style (such as the heavy stubble beard, short-boxed beard, or the Balbo beard). Also, make sure to keep your beard clean and trimmed regularly.

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 beards 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.

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Mark 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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