You want to look like the dapper lumberjack, virtuous Viking, or just upgrade your sex appeal? You need to grow a beard, pal. This trend of growing beards has solidified and is here to stay without a doubt, so let’s figure out the right beard for you, and tell you how to grow it out and style it accordingly. We’ll also answer some of your burning questions on beard-related topics, so you can be a full-fledged bearded gentleman in no time.
The Irish Goatee – This is also known as a disconnected goatee, where the sides of your lips don’t connect to the chin hair. In a traditional Irish goatee, you’ll also see a slight bit of disconnected soul patch hair. The only difficulty with getting this look is ensuring symmetry on both sides. It’s also best to pluck any hairs that grow directly beneath your lips (minus the soul patch) to give a cleaner look.
Full Circle Goatee – This doesn’t follow any rigid lines, it simply surrounds your lips and comes in a full circle around your chin. Traditionally, these are worn without any soul patch hair and maintain a rather clear top chin area.
Low Goatee – This goatee only has hair on your chin and a little bit of soul patch. Clear lines should be distinguished from the sides of your mouth going downward in a straight line, giving a much more sophisticated and intentional look.
Strip Goatee – Take the prior example of the low goatee, but thin it out even more. It becomes narrower and connects to facial hair traveling up your chin, nestling into the soul patch area. You keep no mustache hair, and generally pluck or closely shave all other areas to give this look prominence.
Chin Strap – These are outdated, but we had to give them an honorable mention. Chin straps are when you simply have about a one-inch thick strip of hair running from each to ear. For a real chin strap, you don’t have any mustache hair or soul patch hair whatsoever.
Anchor Beard – A funny little title for a classic beard. An anchor beard s when you have a combination of a chin strap, strip goatee, but you also keep the stache. You’ll notice it looks just like a nautical-themed anchor icon when you look in the mirror.
Short Boxed Beard – Allow one to two weeks of facial hair growth, and get ready to shape it. A short boxed beard is essentially a goatee with a chin strap: you want to keep the soul patch and anchor strip, but shave the cheeks and neckbeard to give it a clean look. This is excellent for gents with round heads, helping to give some rugged definition.
Simple Stubble – This one can be tricky, and believe it or not, stubble does require some attention to detail to make it look just right. You’re going for intentional, not a look that says you just didn’t shave because you just didn’t care. Three days of growth (or a maximum of 2mm on your beard trimmer) that runs along everywhere but your neck. It’s always best to keep the neck nice and clean. If your hair grows in patchy, you might have to use some beard oil or some good old patience as it forms properly.
Gunslinger – We’re getting into older styles here, but the gunslinger was made famous by James Hetfield in the late 80s and early 90s. It’s essentially a disrupted short boxed beard, where you shave the chin area to produce a mustache that travels down, and meets strips of hair that run up your jawline to your ears.
Mutton Chops – Similar to the gunslinger, mutton chops are traditionally worn a lot longer. The mustache is optional (though recommended), but the star of the show is facial hair growing down to your chin, with a disruption in the middle. Standard mutton chops are usually about 6mm long to give some definition.
Chisel-Point Beard – This is something that takes ages to grow and shape properly, but when all is said and done it’s worth the trip. Even if you have coarse hair that you often find unmanageable, this can work for you. Keep the sideburn area short (3mm), trailing to a longer beard along your jawline, and finally the longest point below your chin. If you cut it appropriately at the bottom with a straight scissor cut, you’ll notice it has a small flat head area in the center like a chisel.
Angled Beard – Similar to the chisel-point, the angled is designed to maintain a straight arrow-tip point at the base of the chin. These can be tricky, and an experienced barber can help you out before you decide to take the reins at home. You’ll want it shorter on the sideburn area, slowly lengthening until you get to the bottom of your chin. This helps create a much more defined jawline or the appearance of one.
What’s the Secret to a Great Beard?
It has to compliment your features. We’ll tell you how to choose the right one in a moment, but first, this is what it should do for you. We weren’t all born with Channing Tatum jawlines that scream masculinity, which is where a nice solid beard can come in to help us out.
Depending on what works best with your face, a beard can create angular lines and create an aesthetic element of a defined, rugged jawline. Since many men don’t actually have this underneath, it’s like a secret weapon to instantly improve your sex appeal.
The secret is getting a good look, and then maintaining it with proper care. You know why beards came back into style? We finally had the right products to help us take care of them, so they don’t get all dried out and looking like straw. Maintaining your beard can be simple, but first, let’s help you determine what beard will look best on you.
How do I Pick the Right Type for Me?
You have to understand what face shape you have, first and foremost. Putting a rounded beard on an already killer jawline is actually going to lower your sex appeal, and diminish the lines of your body. If you’ve been hitting the gym, then you’ve heard about the perfect V-shape that all guys are looking for. It’s because it’s angled, rugged and defined, which is what we’re going for with your beard. Let’s determine your face shape so you can make a solid decision.
Different Face Shapes Explained, and How They Affect Your Beard Type Choice
There are five main face shapes. You’ll find articles that list seven or nine different ones, but some of them are a bit of stretch and can be grouped together with other face shapes.
Round – Not the best, but definitely workable. The truth is, with a round face shape you’ll be able to utilize just about any face shape and make it look good. That being said, there are some that will look better than others. You’ll want to stay away from beard styles that are designed to round out a face with sharper features, and instead, attempt to elongate your jawline.
For a round face shape, try using either the Irish goatee, low goatee or strip goatee.
Square – You won a small corner of the genetic lottery on this one. Square face shapes are by far the most aesthetic, and give subliminal messages to the fairer sex that you’re a dominant male. You’re already setting the right tone if you can pick the right beard.
Don’t go with anything that’s going to round out your face, and make sure to keep hair at a uniform height.
For a square face shape, try using either the simple stubble, angled beard or strip goatee.
Oval – Oval face shapes can look a bit lanky, so you want to go with something that accentuates your sharp features. You can bend the rules of some of these beard styles by keeping the short hair growth on your upper cheek area and shaping it accordingly.
For an oval face shape, try using either the simple stubble, angled beard or full circle goatee.
Diamond – You look refined already, so you’re able to work with a ton of different styles. Having a diamond face shape is one of the best possible outcomes you could get, so don’t be afraid to play around with a few different styles. There are far more options open to you.
For a diamond face shape, try using either the chin strap, low goatee, or anchor beard.
Oblong – It just sounds bad, doesn’t it? Oblong heads don’t necessarily look like anything other than a head. We defined the other four types with basic shapes or descriptions, but oblong heads are sometimes a bit long or a bit wide and are kind of the wildcard of face shapes. Don’t worry, there’s a beard type for you.
For an oblong face shape, try using either the chisel-point beard, angled beard, or anchor beard.
Now It’s Time to Talk About Actually Styling It
If you’re not going to the nearest barbershop for your initial facial hair shaping, then you have to learn to steady your hand and handle it in the mirror. Buying a top quality beard trimmer is going to be your best bet, and save you a ton of money over the course of its first year of use. It’s not like a haircut where you can skip it for a few months; facial hair grows in quick, so you need to be quicker.
You should opt for rotary shavers to handle the short stubble if you’re keeping to a thinner beard style. A triple rotary blade helps cut close to the skin without causing irritation or ingrown hairs, so long as you keep the blades nice and sharp.
But when it comes to styling it, you’re going to need a little setup. We recommend getting a small countertop makeup mirror to help out when you’re trying to get that perfectly straight line around your chin area. Start by shaving the areas that you don’t intend to keep, depending on what style you picked. You can take hair away, but you can’t put it back. We’ll refine this area a little later.
Next, use a beard angling tool or a straight ruler. For certain beard types, a styling tool is a must, but if you’re going for something straighter like a chin strap, you can use a standard ruler to help guide your blade.
Once you’ve outlined your beard, flip on the guard to the appropriate size. You want a uniform height to your facial hair (unless you’re growing your beard out), which will help it look properly styled.
Lastly, using your electric razor, gently cut with the grain along the areas you’ve selected. Pull your skin taut to prevent snagging hairs that you intended to keep.
But I’m Growing My Beard Out, How do I Style It?
If you’re trying to go full Viking, you’re going to have a few more trials along the way. Fear not, we’ve got everything covered. We recommend first going to a professional barber to get your beard shaped properly the first time. While you’re there, ask your barber how you would go about cutting it properly at home (provided you like the way it comes out).
We’ll leave the cutting to you, but there’s something else that needs to be brought up, and that’s beard care. The longer the beard, the more than goes into maintaining it properly. We’re going to break down a full regimen of beard care, starting with the most essential.
Beard Oil – This little magic number goes on your beard after you’ve showered and dried off. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but hair is nothing more than a collection of dead skin cells and keratin. That means that the longer your hair is, the less likely it is to be brimming with oils and vitamins all the way through. That’s where beard oil comes in. It’s an absolute daily necessity if you let your beard get about 5” or longer.
Beard oil commonly contains 100% all-natural (and sometimes organic) ingredients. The skin beneath your beard is sensitive, and nearly every guy has a higher chance of getting some form of skin irritation here. That’s why it’s extremely important to go with natural products, which nourish your skin rather than harm it. Beard oil needs to be distributed throughout your beard to lock in hydration, and for that, you’ll be using the next two items on our list.
Beard Comb – Beard combs are the ultimate tool for distributing beard oil throughout your glorious face mane. A quality beard comb will be made with sandalwood or occasionally stainless steel, but you should avoid using plastic beard combs at all cost.
They’re breeding grounds for static electricity, and do little more than making your beard look completely disarrayed. Apart from distributing oil, it helps to move around the base of your facial hair near the skin, which helps to lift dead skin and promote a healthy environment for your beard.
Beard Brush – A beard brush is actually very different from a beard comb. You’ll find that the handles are commonly made of similar material, being sandalwood, but a beard brush uses bristles to unknot and generally separate your beard hairs. When you shop for a beard brush, don’t be alarmed: you’re going to see a lot of 100% boar hair or horsehair brushes, and that’s just what you want.
Plastic bristle brushes are weak and tend to fray at the ends rather quickly, whereas boar or horse hair is naturally rigid and sturdy. These pull through your hair while both being gentle and getting the job done, and can really help tame an unruly, wiry beard. For the best results, comb through the bottom of your beard, and brush through the top.
Mustache Wax – A short, stubby mustache is going to stand out, and we don’t mean in a good way. Your stache is naturally going to get longer to accommodate the thick look of your full mane beard, and it needs a little bit of TLC as well. Mustache wax helps keep it away from your lips, (especially helpful when you’re trying to eat), but also styles it and keeps it appropriate for the workplace. The great thing about mustache wax is that 90% of all brands use all-natural products, so you won’t have to sift through a million types to find an all-natural solution.
Beard Shampoo – Beard shampoo and your standard hair shampoo are far from similar. Your beard is covering skin that’s been regularly washed throughout your entire life, and now you have to combat oils and dead skin that pops up from time to time. Beard shampoo helps retain proper pH levels, hydrate your beard instead of just stripping away its natural oils, and generally comes with a light but masculine aroma to add to your cologne.
Beard Balm – There’s one problem that a lot of guys face when growing out their beard: itching. Nothing is less attractive than just digging into your beard and scratching away, which is where beard balm comes in. Most of the products we’ve mentioned serve multiple purposes, and beard balm is the Jack of all trades when it comes to beard care.
Once again, manufacturers tend to stick to all-natural ingredients, which helps beard balm soothe itchy, irritated skin. Rubbing a dab of balm through your beard not only eliminates itching within minutes but it also dually acts as a moisturizer to hydrate your skin and keep your facial hair from drying out.
Should I Use These Products With a Short Beard?
Even if you’re just growing out an inch of facial hair, you can still benefit from a touch of beard oil, and using a proper beard brush. To get an ultimately aesthetic look, you want to train your facial hair to grow in the same direction. From constant brush strokes, you can train your facial hair to look and behave exactly as you imagined it. It just takes a bit of diligence.
As for beard oil, the essential oils and minerals commonly found in it will only upkeep your beard. Excess oil will be absorbed by the skin, and as long as you’re not lathering it on there, it shouldn’t cause any acne or irritation. Just be sure to follow the directions and expected use instructions on your beard oil container.
On Your Way to a Better, Bearded You
It’s a good time to play around with multiple styles and see what’s going to work. Try out fuller beards to begin with, and pedal your way back to shorter styles so you can see what you like. From styling to hair and skin care products and everything in between, this is all the information you need to grow a beard with confidence and look like a stellar gent while doing it.