It used to be a really polarizing trend—either you loved it, or it never was your thing—but facial hair has undeniably been having its moment. The past few years, especially since the No-Shave November/#Movember movement for cancer awareness, have seen more and more men embrace nature’s course.
Some say a heavy amount of it denotes edginess; others think it’s off-putting and scraggly. However way you see it, chances are (if genetics permits) you’ll have to deal with it at one point in your life, so best know how to work it in style! Read on for a rundown of common facial hair looks and some tips on how to wear them:
10 Popular Facial Hair Looks
A clean-shaven look will always have a special place in the hearts of significant others everywhere, as there isn’t any itch factor to deal with. That said, it’s a look that has some corporate perks as well: Some say that having a clean-shaven, beardless appearance is more advantageous when applying for jobs, especially in conservative work settings. Regardless of whether your motivation is for work or play, no facial hair looks best on men with sharper features or who don’t need much definition.
Stubble can be quite the crowd-pleaser, depending on how deliberate it looks. Walking into the office with an unintentional, stayed-up-all-night 2-o’clock shadow might look unkempt, but an even, allover patina of stubble can seem, on-point. The gateway drug of beards, experimenting with some light stubble for a week or so can help you feel your way into having more (or less) facial hair. This can also be the end of the road for you, and if so, just make sure your jawline is around the same density as your moustache for a neater look.
Like stubble, a mustache can vary from pencil-thin to overly flamboyant, depending on personal preference. If you’re less hairy, stick to a well-groomed kind that’s only as long as it is thick. For thicker-haired dudes, another popular, more decidedly hipster version is the full handlebar. The key to sporting any ’stache? Confidence and some proper grooming tools, which can range from regular soap and water to actual mustache wax.
4. Thick and Groomed
If you have the power to grow a thick and luscious beard, there’s no excuse not to give this style a try! With a beard this thick and full, it’s important to keep it well groomed and trimmed for an even look. Try to trim it every 2-4 weeks, depending on the speed of your hair growth.
A chin beard can be a great compromise for guys who want to be more aggressive with their facial hair but have limited options. Maybe you have a strict grooming code at the workplace or even just want to reinforce a weaker chin, as is with rounder facial shapes; a goatee—which essentially is just a shorter, more sharply-manicured beard—can help make everyone happy. Connect it to your ’stache for a sleeker appearance. Look into beard softeners, which can help men with thicker, coarser hair make life easier for those they nuzzle. We love the softening effects of SheaMoisture Maracuja Oil Shea Butter Beard Balm.
Sideburns, or the hair strips you have that extend from your hairline to the front of each ear, have the power to make or break your look. More aggressive sideburns—thicker, longer, heavier—give an Old World feel to your overall vibe, whereas thinner, neater sideburns look younger and more modern. The most democratic way to wear them is via a subtle taper that stops a couple of inches before the beard starts; otherwise, ask your barber to blend them into your stubble at your next hair appointment for a more seamless transition.
7. Full Beard
Facial hair that’s fully connected to your sideburns and completely covers the chin and jawline area is a full beard. It usually has a more rounded shape and takes anywhere from two months to a year to grow in. Some men with wider faces prefer a full beard that’s tapered to a point in the center—aka. a ducktail beard—but otherwise, a natural, trimmed look that follows your jawline flatters most face shapes.
8. Long/Terminal Beard
No, it’s not called going full magician. A long, full beard that grows to the maximum your genes allow is referred to as a terminal beard. Beards are measured in months, not inches, and this, my friend, is the ultimate exercise in patience. Be conservative with trimming. A little off the bottom after the first month will do. Yes, you will look shaggy for a while as it can take years to grow in a decent, respectable terminal beard, but as the name suggests, once in, you’re set for life. Go do you!
9. Grown-Out Beard
Opposed to a full beard or a thick beard, the slightly overgrown beard is in its own lane. This beard is perfect for those trying to look a little more casual. Some guys just don’t want to commit to a grooming calendar as closely as a well-groomed beard requires, and that’s cool. Don’t get us wrong, this length still requires a trim, so that the ends don’t get too scraggly or unkempt.
10. Thinner Facial Hair
Noticing a difference in density between your facial hair and the hair on your head? Some people have more reddish or light-colored facial hair compared to the rest of their hair, which can also contribute to the thinner overall appearance of their scruff.