What was once synonymous with lumberjacks and unemployed slackers has now become a true signifier of style. We’re speaking, of course, of the mighty beard, and the many beard styles for men to choose from. Not only that, but there are sub-categories like goatee styles, shadow beard styles and side beard styles to consider. Consequently, determining which beard style works best with your particular face shape can be a downright intensive process, so much so that you might be inclined to just sit back and let those hairs grow freely. Let’s call that beard style the “Idle Man”. Doesn’t sound very engaging now, does it?
Assuming you’d like to emanate with a little more intent, be prepared to get crafty with the beard trimmers and grooming oils, both of which will help you maintain a palpable sense of vision. But before you even get started, check out our list of best beard styles for men below. Each one is time-tested and pre-approved, thereby granting you automatic entry into a worldwide club that seems to be growing by the day. Presenting the 14 best beard styles for men.
Full Beard Styles
Wildly popular among men from all walks of life (perhaps because it’s the easiest to cultivate), the full beard is exactly what it sounds like, i.e. a facial hair style that retains a uniform profile and includes a moustache. While a full beard might sound like less maintenance, you’re still expected to groom and condition, lest you come off as some dude just looking for an excuse not to shave. Read on for some of the best full beard styles you can deploy.
The Shadow Beard
In a previous era, the presence of stubble usually meant you forgot to shave, but nowadays you can rock that shadow beard with some genuine style and precision. And while there are a handful of shadow beard styles to choose from, they each share a baseline aim for consistency. To achieve said consistency, you’ll want to regularly maintain your stubble beard using a beard trimmer on a daily basis.
The Professional Beard
There was once a time when a beard of any style might have been seen as a symbol of revolt within a corporate environment. Those days are more or less gone, but that doesn’t mean you can stroll into the office looking like the fourth member of ZZ Top just yet. Instead, opt for a professional beard (aka the “corporate beard” or “short box beard”). It’s a short beard style of uniform length, with tight, clean edges at the cheek and neckline, and no stray hairs sticking out.
The Natural Full Beard
Ubiquitous amongst hipsters, the natural full beard is less a facial hair style and more a full blown lifestyle. To be clear, we’re not just talking about letting your beard hair grow unchecked. By contrast, a properly executed natural full beard requires regular grooming and conditioning, along with a genuine instinct for facial hair style. That said, this is the best beard style for men who do in fact want their beards to keep growing, letting it achieve a natural volume and length. Whether that means growing the beard for a full year (aka the “yeard”), two years (aka the “tweard”), or forever (aka the “terminal beard”) is up to you. Again, what’s most important is that you trim and condition while you go, retaining a clean and purposeful profile. This is one of the best beard styles for a round face!
The Verdi Beard
A good looking full beard style if you can pull it off properly, the Verdi involves pairing a well-groomed beard with a shorter, trimmed moustache. The beard should grow just beyond the jawline, while the neckline usually stays clean.
Another cool beard style that’s somewhat tricky to pull off (perhaps due to its perennial association with 70s porn stars), the beardstache entails growing the moustache slightly longer than the full beard. This style–which goes best with beards of short length–tells others that you’re a man who’s not afraid to distinguish himself.
Partial Beard Styles
Contrary to the full beard–which runs ear to ear and consists of a moustache–a partial beard plays freely with space. Also, the stache is optional. Here’s a list of some good looking partial beard styles.
In the simplest sense of the concept, a goatee entails facial hair that extends from the corners of your mouth down to your chin, with an adjoining moustache commonly thrown in for good measure (aka the “circle beard”). A truly versatile beard style, the goatee can either make you the sharpest guy in the room or the one guy in the room who still thinks it’s the 1990s. Suffice to say, you shouldn’t just grow a goatee haphazardly, but work overtime to find a goatee style that best suits your face. Pull off the right goatee style and you’ll put every retro stereotype to shame. Fail to pull it off and you’ll do the exact opposite. But hey, if it’s good enough for a modern-day Robert Downey Jr., it’s assuredly good enough to qualify as one of the best beard styles for men.
Now more popular than ever, the sideburn beard style has facial hair running exclusively down the back of the jaw on either side. In other words, you grow out the sideburns while keeping everything else clean-shaven (with the moustache being optional). Think Robert Shaw in the original Jaws movie and you’re heading in the right direction, which might help explain why this particular beard style is frequently employed by blue collar types. Grow those chops out even more and you end up with a Wolverine beard, which is commonly viewed as the quintessence of side beard style. Just remember to keep any lingering hairs out of those earlobes.
The Whaler Beard (The Shenandoah)
Omnipresent in Amish communities (where moustaches are commonly viewed as symbols of violence), the whaler beard (aka the “Shenandoah beard”) grows long and full from the jawline but never comes paired with a moustache. Should you decide to go with this beard style, don’t forget to trim and condition on the regular, unless of course you actually want to be taken for an Amish person.
The Van Dyke
Not to be confused with a goatee, the Van Dyke beard style involves a pointy moustache and then a pointy patch of hair at the chin. It’s a cool beard style if you’re say Johnny Depp, but odds are you’re not Johnny Depp, which makes this style a risky bet at best. If you ask us, you should grow the hair out a little more and trim the moustache, achieving what’s known as the “Balbo”.
Grow out your thick moustache so that it’s hanging down around the mouth on both sides, then throw in a dense patch of hair just above the chin (aka a “soul patch”). Bang! You’re rocking a Zappa beard.
If you have the genes for it, then you might very well be capable of growing a quality moustache without the need for an adjoining beard. However, it takes more than just genetics to pull off a good moustache–you’ll also need confidence and vision. If you are indeed ready to take the plunge, here are some of the best moustache styles currently rocking faces around the globe.
The Horseshoe Mustache
If someone ever says the words “horseshoe moustache” and you’re struggling to conjure a visual, just remember the name: Hulk Hogan. The Hulkster usually paired his with a sideburn beard, and odds are he’s still rocking the look to this day. The horseshoe moustache is also popular among bikers, so if you have plans to join the local gang, consider growing one of these babies first. According to the experts, the easiest way to achieve a horseshoe moustache is to grow out a full beard and then shave away the excess hair on your chin and jaw. Next, let the moustache grow for about two months, making no adjustments to it, lest you risk disturbing its balance. When that time is up, visit your favourite barber and let him (or her) take care of the rest.
The Handlebar Mustache
Perfect for all the gents out there who simply love to fiddle with moustache hair, the handlebar moustache is achieved when a thick moustache curls upward at both ends. If this is the look you’re going for, then a holding product like moustache wax is mandatory. Apply the wax to both ends of the moustache, twisting each end until it holds in the upright position. Voila! You now look like Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs of New York. If you want to sustain this aesthetic, daily maintenance is required.
“I am the walrus”, John Lennon once sang. Ironically, his own late 60s moustache was usually too thin to qualify as a bona fide walrus moustache. Had he wanted to go full walrus, he would have grown those follicles out to a thick, full bush that drooped over his lips. Should you have the DNA for it, you can pick up where the great Beatle once left off, growing a voluminous walrus moustache of your own. The best part is that you probably won’t need a holding product to keep those thick whiskers in place unless of course, you want to enhance that stache by way of extra styling.
Straight, narrow and long, the Fu Manchu moustache is a bold style, to say the least. It starts above the mouth–where the two sides of the moustache don’t connect–and then drops evenly below the chin. Is it one of the best beard styles for men? Probably not. But it could just be exactly what you’re looking for.
Looking for something else entirely? See how well your haircut pairs with your beard or check out our ULTIMATE guide to caring for your beard!