How To Compare Beard Styles

Beard style

Many men believe that sporting a beard will make them appear more masculine and attractive. Since there are a wide range of beard styles to consider, it's best to choose one that will flatter your features.

Full beards give a rugged appearance but should be well-shaped so as not to appear unruly and should not show any sparse patches. Another very popular beard style is the goatee and mustache, also called a Van Dyke. It's an excellent choice for men with good hair growth above the lip and on the chin, but too weak on the cheeks to support full beard growth. It's recommended that you start with a full beard, then trim down to an oval-shaped goatee and mustache. For an extended goatee and mustache, allow the growth to continue all the way around the lower chin to the ears.

An artistic variation of the goatee and mustache combination is the balbo, in which the goatee is shaped to look like an inverted letter "T." Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame was a fan of the chin strip and mustache style of beard, yet another goatee-mustache variation. Trim the goatee into a vertical mustache shape on the chin, tapering the end into a point. The chin strip can also be grown by itself with the upper lip kept bare. Or the goatee can be grown by itself with no mustache on the lip, with the hair rounded out at the bottom of the chin and the width of the goatee matching the width of the mouth.

The smallest variation of the goatee style of beard is called the soul patch or the mouche (the French word for fly). This is a small square patch of hair grown immediately under the lower lip but one that does not extend down the length of the chin.

The chin curtain style of beard is the style favored by Abraham Lincoln. It's a style in which the hair is grown fully around the chin line but the cheeks and the upper lip are kept bare. Shape this style by growing a full beard and then shaving away everything from a strip of beard running from ear to ear.

There are two styles of mutton chop beards for men who prefer an old-fashioned style favored in the 19th century. Mutton chops are achieved by letting sideburns grow down the chin just to the corner of the mouth where a vertical line defines the end of the chops. A variation of this style called friendly mutton chops utilizes the same growth pattern for the hair, with the difference that the sideburns connect to a mustache, with the center of the chin kept clear of any beard growth.


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