Facial hair, like any piece of clothing, is part of your style. Not only is it one of the first things people notice about you, but it also conveys a certain personality or style. For those reasons, choosing a specific look is critical.
There are many, many beard shapes in today’s world, which means you can shape your facial hair in just about any way you like. That power of choice is always nice to have, but it can also be completely overwhelming.
Rather than leaving you at the mercy of nearly endless options, the following sections will outline some of the most popular beard shapes around today to help narrow down your choice.
More than Just Hair
There are several factors you need to keep in mind when looking for a new beard shape. Style is one of the most important (does the beard fit your face or appearance) but you also need to understand what tone you want to convey.
Certain beard styles give off a more relaxed appearance, while some are more rugged or smooth. All of those differences need to be considered when choosing new facial hair.
When analyzing the following list, you don’t just pick from the beard shapes that look cool. Rather, go for the ones that best suit you.
1. Circle Beard
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The first of the most popular beard shapes is the circle beard. This style, also referred to as the “standard beard” is something that easily blends in with everyday life. That is because it uses a combination of mustache and goatee to create a clean, softened look.
To grow this, you want to have a mustache that seamlessly blends right into a round goatee. Though most traditional goatees are pointed or sharp, this, as the name suggests, is circular so that it perfectly matches the mustache. If you want to achieve this beard, you first need to grow quite a bit of hair on your mustache and beard. Though you might be tempted to shape it right away, it is better to hold off and let everything grow in.
Once you have enough hair in the required areas (which you judge by looks) you next have to shape it. There are two ways you can go about this. You can either go to a barber or you can do it yourself. That decision is vital, and comes down to personal preference as well as budget.
You don’t need to pay money to create a good circular beard, but the shape is important. That task is quite simple for any barber. However, it is also easy enough to do on your own. It takes a bit more time and patience if you take that route, but don’t feel too overwhelmed by this style.
This is one of the most common short beard shapes. It is tidy, neat, and overall clean. That makes it a perfect choice for men who don’t want to fuss with their hair too much or who work in a setting where an unruly beard wouldn’t make sense.
2. Short/Medium Stubble
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Following up the circle beard is stubble. Stubble is a distinct look that has been popular for years and years. In fact, it may be the most iconic beard look of all time.
The reason for that is it is one of the best ways to have facial hair without coming on too strong.
Big or bushy beards, while a distinct style in their own right, can be a little overwhelming. They are immediately noticeable and make a large statement right away.
Stubble gets around that by enabling you to have a slick, stylish beard that doesn’t quite jump out as much. Where large or long beards serve as the centerpiece of your face, stubble merely complements your style.
Stubble is also one of the easiest beard shapes to achieve. Though many of the more involved beards require a lot of set up or maintenance, stubble is easy to grow and simple to take care of when it comes in.
To grow stubble, you want to let your hair come in naturally over the course of a few days. Once your face has enough coverage, you then tidy it up by trimming any areas where you don’t want a beard.
That shaping gives you a lot of versatility, which is one of the main draws of this look. You can be tough and rugged, or sleek and stylish. There are many choices with this style.
3. Van Dyke
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Not to be confused with a traditional goatee (which we’ll cover below) the Van Dyke is a distinct and truly distinguished beard style.
This popular shape comes from and is named after a Flemish painter who lived during the seventeenth century. It has taken on various forms over the years, but it is one of the most popular beard shapes because of how unique it looks.
Many people choose the unique beard/mustache combination to stand out among the crowd. While something like the circular beard helps you blend in, this is for those who want to stand out.
Growing this beard is a bit trickier than some of the other options. First, you have to wait until your facial hair grows to a longer length. Then, once you have enough to work with, you carefully shape the beard into an inverted T.
Don’t be too hasty with this step. Always take your time, and be sure to use a sharp, precise razor.
As the Van Dyke is such a distinct style, you need precision to make it work. Do not just use any old razor when deciding to go with this shape. Rather, ensure you’re using something you can rely on.
Once you have the proper tools, shave the hair on your cheek, neck, and sideburns to create a pleasant V shape. Be sure to leave the mustache alone.
It might be tempting to mess with, but you only want to shape it after the beard is done.
Also note that the beard here is not attached to the mustache. As a result, it can be worn in various ways. You can go with a straight look, or you can have a bit more fun with something like a handlebar.
4. Chin Strap
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Another popular shape is the chin strap. This style, as you might imagine, is where your beard runs in a thin line down from your sideburns across your chin. This covers the entire jawline in a way that frames or accentuates your face.This beard is extremely common for a few reasons.
First, it is easy to shape and maintain. As there is only one strip, all you need to do is let your beard fully grow in and then shave away everything that isn’t on your jawline. That will leave you with the strap-like look you’re going for.
In that same vein, there are only two steps you need to upkeep your strap. The first is to simply shave your cheeks and under your neck whenever hair grows in. This helps maintain a clean, sharp appearance.
Next, it is important to thin your chin strap when it gets too bushy. Though the rest of your face will stay hair-free, your strap will continue to grow. Just go over it with a hair trimmer every week or two to keep it in line with your side burns.
The final decision to make when choosing this beard shape is how thin or thick you want your strap to be. This largely depends on your own personal look. Try both and see what you prefer.
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The Goatee has been one of the most classic beard shapes for years, and for good reason. This look can be used or shaped in many different ways, giving it an edge over more permanent or fixed beard shapes. Versatility is a great aspect for all facial hair, but few offer as many styles at the goatee.
This shape appears like a circle beard, but there are a few key differences. Most notably, there are many ways to wear it. Where the circle beard has one style, the goatee’s mustache and beard are not connected.
That separation is important because it gives you various options with the look. You can let both pieces grow out to give a bold, firm look, or you can trim them both down into a tight package. Each choice conveys a different tone or feeling.
In addition, you also have the option to mess around with the length. Short goatees give an intelligent, reserved look, where long goatees can be more distinguished or unique. You can wear both connected as well.
As a final note, goatees are also great to shape along your face. The pointed and round looks are both extremely sharp, which means you don’t have to worry about the style not matching you.
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Tight and trimmed beards, though sleek, aren’t for everyone. Sometimes, it is better to go with a shaggy or more unkempt look. If that’s you, then the Garibaldi is a good choice.
This popular beard shape is perfect for people who do not want to bother with their facial hair too much, as well as those who want a messier, casual appearance.
To grow a good Garibaldi, you first need to let your beard and mustache grow out for about four months. Once that’s done, you then need to give it form by trimming the edges and bottom to give it a rounded look that keeps it in line with your face.
In this way, the beard will have the texture you want without being too unruly.
This shape goes hand-in-hand with the mustache, which you want to keep the same length as the beard.
It is also important to trim your mustache so that it stays tidy. You can let it grow out a bit, but you want the focus of this shape to be on your beard.Following those steps will give you a strong look with a laid-back, natural appearance.
7. Full Beard
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The final popular beard shape in this guide is the full beard. All beard shapes or styles say something about the person wearing them, and the full beard is perhaps the manliest option out there.
The decision to grow a full beard is not something to be taken lightly. It is not that they are difficult to grow, but rather that they make such a strong statement.
If you want your beard to be the main focus of your outer appearance, this is the way to go.
When it comes to this shape, the most important aspect is grooming. Many people grow full beards by just letting their hair come in every which way, but it is important to work with your face.
A shaggy full beard is a good look in its own right, but for many people it is best to cut it down to a diamond or triangular shape. That helps accentuate all of your facial features.
To achieve this look, wait roughly six weeks until all of your hair grows out to an appropriate length. Then shape or cut as needed.
Beard Shapes for Every Face
Every beard style, regardless of what it is, says something about you. All of the beard shapes listed above convey a specific message, and it is important to know what those are when choosing a brand-new look.
Picking a beard can be extremely daunting. Rather than just trying something out, it is always a good idea to get a base line to work with.The seven beard shapes in this guide are popular for a reason. Not only do they look good, but they also give off a certain air that the wearer wants.
While you don’t always have to follow each style exactly (there is something to be said for making it your own) this guide is a good starting point.