Facial Hair Styles 101

For some guys, facial hair is an afterthought. For others, it’s a creative way to play with their image. Facial hair can be used to heighten strong features and even to cover up flaws. Whatever the case, it needs to be well-kept and managed. Here we present an introduction to common beard and moustache styles. Though countless facial hair styles exist (who would have thought), the choice is a very personal one. These styles are presented to get you better acquainted with some popular options and help you put your best face forward.

Five o’clock shadow

Five o'clock shadow - Credit: iStockphoto.comThe five o’clock shadow refers to the growth of hair that appears late in the day after clean-shaving your face in the morning. Closely related styles include light and heavy stubble, in which hair growth is continued for one to several days, depending on how quick growth is. This style is easily maintained with a beard trimmer. Not only can this rugged look add definition to faces with softer bone structure, but you may never need to pick up a razor again.

Circle beard Circle beard - Credit: iStockphoto.com

The circle beard, also known as the “door knocker,” is achieved when a moustache and chin beard are connected along the sides of the mouth. Guys often confuse this with the Van Dyck, a moustache worn with a goatee that is not connected. While it can add length to a round face, it can also add weight if not properly cared for. Avoid heavier growth with regular trimmings.

Goatee Goatee - Credit: iStockphoto.com
Technically, the goatee refers to hair growth on the chin only, resembling that of a goat. Nowadays, however, it is common for guys to refer to the Van Dyck -- a moustache worn with a chin beard that is not connected -- as a goatee. This can be a good option for rounder faces because it adds length and width. Guys with lighter-colored, finer hair may find it challenging to develop a pronounced goatee.

Balbo Balbo - Credit: iStockphoto.com

The balbo is similar to the Van Dyck, in which a mustache is worn with a goatee but is not connected. In this style, the goatee is shaped to form an upside-down T. To achieve this look you’ll need to grow your beard out for a few weeks, shave off the sides, and then shape using a trimmer. An alternative version of the balbo is to wear it without a moustache.

Chinstrap Chin strap - Credit; iStockphoto.com

Resembling a chinstrap, here the hair extends downward from the sideburns along the jaw line, connecting at the chin. This style is kept trim and can be worn with or without a moustache. Not to be confused with the chin curtain, a version in which the beard is longer and covers the chin, this style is common in R&B and hip-hop culture. It can help create a jawline and frame the face.

Soul patch

Soul patch - Credit: iStockphoto.comThe soul patch, also known as the “flavor saver,” refers to a small growth of hair under the lower lip. It can include a bit of hair above the chin, but generally does not. When worn narrow, neat and trimmed, it is acceptable for daily wear. When more pronounced, however, this style should be limited to younger guys with an alternative street style. To achieve this look, shave the entire face, except for the hair under the lower lip, for several weeks.

Mutton chops

Mutton chops - Credit: iStockphoto.com Mutton chops consist of sideburns that are grown long to extend to the corners of the mouth, with the moustache and goatee shaven off. A commonly associated style is the “friendly mutton chops,” in which the sideburns ultimately connect to an integrated mustache. Sideburns a la mutton chop are best maintained with an electric razor. Because this style is atypical, it’s best suited for guys in an artistic line of work.

Chevron Chevron - Credit: iStockphoto.com

If the chevron has you thinking of men of the 1970s, you have the right idea. This classic style consists of a full, wide moustache that generally hangs slightly over the upper lip. Worn thick, this look reads masculine but dated. Updating this style involves paying close attention to length, so be sure to keep unruly lengths under control with weekly trimmings.

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Horseshoe Horseshoe - Credit: iStockphoto.com

Resembling an inverted horseshoe, this style consists of a full moustache with growth vertically extending down from the corners of the lips and ending at the jaw line. It is often confused with the fu manchu, where the vertical extensions are downward-pointing and extend beyond the jaw line. This look is a nod to the Old American West and can be a fun, alternative moustache style (depending on your profession, of course).

Hipster Trends We Hate - Credit: Tawny Rockerazzi/Flickr.com

If you thought that the handlebar was reserved for Mario and Luigi, think again. This style’s popularity is on the rise thanks to hipsters and beatniks. Here, the moustache is grown bushy and long enough to achieve upward-pointing ends. Since the pointed ends are achieved by the use of products, such as styling wax, the look is high-maintenance. Depending on your personality, handlebars can be worn large or small, though today’s version veers towards the latter (a modern-day take on the barbershop quartet look).

Pic credit: Rockerazzi/Flickr.com

Full beard

Full beard - Credit: iStockphoto.comThe traditional full beard style consists of growth along the upper lip, chin, sides, and is connected to the sideburns. The moustache is generally integrated, but can be styled. While this is a good option for guys with weaker jawlines, it may not be appropriate for conservative environments or girlfriends who prefer a softer touch. Associated styles include the garibaldi, a wide, full beard with a rounded bottom, and the verdi, a shorter version with a prominent mustache.

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