Have you noticed an increase in the number of men sporting facial hair lately? It’s not just your imagination.
The popularity of facial hair has skyrocketed in the last decade, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Why would it? With studies showing that facial hair can make you more attractive (see claim: “There was also a significant main effect of facial hair (Table 1), with heavy stubble being most attractive “), reduce acne flareups and give you a career boost, it makes perfect sense that men are suddenly growing beards in droves.
Which Facial Hair Style Is Right for You?
If you’re going to jump on the beard/facial hair trend, it’s important that you choose the right style. Here are the best facial hair styles and who they look best on:
Stubble was once the bane of working men everywhere. Now, the 5 o’clock shadow look is a classic facial hair style that treads a fine balance between clean shaven and bushy beard.
If you struggle to grow your facial hair, well-groomed stubble is a smart choice. Not only does it look good on nearly every man, it’s easy to maintain. With some regular shaping and trimming, you can appear effortlessly cool every day.
Style Tip: With light stubble, always remember to apply a men’s moisturiser on your skin daily. This facial hair style tends to make skin dry and flaky.
Bold and stylish, the Balbo style beard is on the rise. Named after Italian aviator and Blackshirt leader Italo Balbo, this trendy beard style is now sported by famous men such as Christian Bale, Robert Downey Jr. and Kit Harrington.
This beard style features facial hair along the chin (without sideburns), connected by a moustache. The lower lip should be clean shaven, except for perhaps a small bit of hair called a soul patch.
Style Tip: The Balbo is a stylish choice for any man, but it looks best for men with square, round and heart-shaped faces. If you already have an elongated face, this style will make it appear too long.
A close relative to the Balbo beard, the Van Dyke was named after 17th century Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyck. This beard often evokes a sense of power and control by those who sport the style.
While the Balbo also features a disconnected beard and moustache, the difference between the two is that the Van Dyke beard does not extend along the jawline. Rather, it is centred on the chin, soul patch and moustache.
Perhaps the most well-known example of this beard style today (apart from Van Dyck) is Marvel’s Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.
Style Tip: Shave your entire face before growing out your beard for the Van Dyke. This will ensure that your hairs grow out evenly. Also, keep in mind that you will need to style this look each day to achieve the clean lines and distinct edges that the Van Dyke is known for!
There are few styles more masculine and marvellous than the full beard. However, this is probably the trickiest style to achieve.
First, there is the issue of genetics. Some men simply can’t grow a full, lustrous beard. The other issue is your workplace.
While there may not be an official dress code at your office, some industries are more conservative. Sporting a full beard could negatively impact your career in this case.
Similarly, full beards have been shown to make men appear older (see claim: “…perceived age rose with increasing amounts of facial hair…”) than they truly are. If you want to appear younger to remain competitive at work, skip the facial hair entirely and invest in a good anti-aging serum for men instead.
Style Tip: Just as you would shampoo your hair, a full beard requires regular washing to keep it clean. You can use your shampoo or conditioner twice per week on your beard to keep it healthy and tidy.
If the full beard style is a bit too much for you, dial it back with a lustrous yet tame short beard. Like the full beard style, the short beard evokes the manly, lumberjack impression while keeping things neat and well-groomed.
This style usually works for all men who can grow a decent beard. Even short beards will look bad with patches! Keep in mind that while a short beard may not require as much maintenance as a full beard, it still needs regular trimming and shaping to keep it looking sharp.
Style Tip: When you have decent amount of facial hair, using beard oil is a must. Beard oil will keep the skin underneath your beard moisturised, prevent beard dandruff and help you tame flyaway hairs.
The faded beard is a facial hair style in which the beard fades down as it nears your chin. While you don’t need to grow a big, bushy beard to achieve this style, you do need to grow enough on the sides to emphasise the taper.
Because this style requires precision to trim, it’s best reserved for men who have patience. The last thing you want is to rush through a faded beard trim and make one side look unbalanced.
Style Tip: Don’t forget to tidy up your moustache. A lot of men forget to trim their moustache hair when they have large, tapered beards. Keep it neat and tidy by trimming it in a nice, clean line.
Moustaches are typically connected to the beard, but many men are rocking the disconnected moustache these days. This intentionally separated style works brilliantly for men who struggle with patchy beards.
The disconnected moustache looks effortlessly stylish with a short-boxed beard style, chin strap beard or goatee. Consider pairing your disconnected moustache with an anchor beard like Michael Ealy does below:
Style Tip: You don’t need to do a full disconnect to achieve a well-groomed look. A lightly disconnected moustache can create subtle lines which look stylish with a goatee.
Not every style is a good fit for your face shape or your lifestyle. Before you choose a facial hair style, consider your face shape as well as how much effort you want to put into maintaining it each day.