Even though beards are currently in fashion, that doesn’t mean you can get away with anything. Some beards will garner you compliments and even a few requests for a touch. Others will cause people to cross to the other side of the street when they see you coming. The beard can be your greatest friend or your greatest enemy. If you’re thinking about growing out your beard and want to be fully aware of the possible fashion landmines, we’ve taken the time to assemble this list of the most egregious beard faux pas.
The Top 9 Bad Beards to Avoid Before getting to the bad beard, it should be noted that all beards are subjective. One man’s scraggly, down-to-his-knees beard could be something he’s worked his whole life for. It could be a symbol of his individuality and his proud disregard for social norms. To others, such a long, scraggly beard could strike fear into their hearts and cause them to question the man’s sanity.
Keeping this certain level of subjectivity in mind, here are the top 9 – or bottom 9, depending on your perspective – bad beards to stay away from, in no particular order.
The Sans Mustache Beard
Let’s face it. There’s something strange about a beard that’s missing a mustache. We can debate the merits of a lone mustache all day long, but if there’s any time and place for a mustache, it’s with a beard. It’s the one time the mustache can exist without being the center of attention.
Another unfortunate side effect of the Sans Mustache Beard is that it looks oddly like a head of hair. If you’re bald, you especially want to avoid this style, as it might appear like your head is on upside down.
In closing, if you’re going to grow out a beard, allow the mustache in on the fun. It so rarely gets to come out with becoming the focal point.
This might be a controversial pick, but the goatee is an extremely difficult beard to pull off. After all, who looks to a goat for fashion advice?
Not since the Old West have men been able to pull off a goatee in large numbers. One of the biggest problems is when men attempt to over-manicure the goatee, to the point where it looks too unnatural.
What few goatees will still work in the modern area are those that have some support among their fellow follicles. If there’s some stubble going on around the goatee, then the goatee is able to achieve a certain distinction.
Without the stubble, the goatee looks too much like you’re a sloppy eater.
The Nothing but Chin Beard
Even worse than the goatee is the nothing but chin beard. As its name suggests, this is the beard where only the chin is covered with hair. As of yet, there has not been a single human being, living or dead, who has exhibited sufficient evidence for the existence of the nothing but chin beard. It neither keeps your face warm nor does it accentuate the face.
The last people to sport the chin beard with any semblance of confidence were the Egyptian pharaohs, but without any photographic evidence, it’s difficult to determine how well they pulled it off. It comes up short in every major beard category. In fact, it can hardly even be considered a beard. If anything, it’s more of a missed spot – a really big one.
The Chinstrap Beard
It’s been said that the American writer, Henry David Thoreau, was the first to sport the chinstrap beard. Or, at the very least, the first person of notoriety to do so. Of course, it’s important to remember that he spent most of his life out amongst nature, far away from his fellow humans.
Now, I’m not necessarily insinuating that Thoreau’s chinstrap beard was so blatantly unpleasant to the eyes that he couldn’t show himself in public, but in some ways I am.
The best beards have a look of naturalness to them. Beards that are overly done send out the wrong message and counteract the very appeal of the beard. The chinstrap is one of the major offenders in failing to look even remotely natural.
In most cases, it looks like the face is an EtchOSketch and the chinstrap is all the black fuzz that’s fallen to the bottom.
The Wave Beard
In case you’re not familiar with the wave beard – and I envy you – this is what happens with the sideburns fall down the jawline, but pick back up at the last second and meet at the mustache. In other words, it’s a beard with the chin and mid-neck areas completely shaved.
While this beard gets some creativity points, there is a general unpleasantness to its unusual formation. Rarely has this beard been seen since the Civil War era, and rightly so.
That era gave us many of our finest beards and sideburns, but the wave beard was an exception. However, it should be noted that it remains possible for older men to pull off the wave beard, as the formation works better with white hair.
The Snake Oil Salesman Beard
This beard is particularly notable for being from an entirely different time and place. And even there, it was looked on with contempt and uneasiness.
With its mustache that ends in a twirl, as if a young lady was just tied to some train tracks, and its pointed chin hair, this beard means only trouble.
To a select few, this beard could be a symbol of amusement and good-naturedness, but for the average person walking by you in the grocery store, they’re probably going to report you to the manager for shoplifting.
The Half a’ Beard
What’s most problematic with the half a’ beard is its perfect symmetry, which makes one a tad uneasy. No beard is so perfect that it ends directly at the top of the mouth, all the way across. It’s as if there’s some kind of invisible barrier that prevents the beard from growing beyond a certain point.
For any beard to work, it needs to have an organic look, even if you spend all day trying to get it just right. The half a’ beard isn’t fooling anybody. Unless you’re obsessive-compulsive and have a thing for straight lines, this beard must be put to bed, once and for all.
The Stringy Beard
Once of the most important lessons that any beard grower can learn is when to quit. If your beard is too thin and patchy, it can become stringy as it gets longer.
This creates an odd look that is anything but appealing. In fact, it almost looks like your beard is unhealthy and rotting away. You don’t want a zombie beard, do you?
Bald and with Beard
If you happen to be bald, you may consider making up for that fact by growing a thick, luscious beard. You’ll allow your face to do what your head cannot. This is a big mistake. While a small portion of the population might enjoy a bald man with a beard, there’s something a little topsy-turvy about it. The two looks simply don’t complement one another, like bowties and baseball caps.
If you’re bald, it’s best to accept that fact and put an end to your hair growing days altogether. There’s no shame in it. In fact, it takes a man of a strong constitution to resist growing a beard when his hair won’t grow elsewhere.
Bad Beards Can Ruin the Best Face It doesn’t matter how good-looking you are. A bad beard can derail everything. Growing a beard is a lot like dealing with fire. If you’re responsible and know what you’re doing, a beard can be a valuable asset to your overall image.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, on the other hand, you’re better off scrapping the beard idea altogether. The bad beards listed here make up only a fraction of the countless number of bad beards possible.