When it comes to keeping your beard looking its best, the good news is that, for most guys, a trim here and there at home, followed by some beard oil or mustache wax, is all it takes. But the key to a well-groomed beard is knowing the ins and outs of the style you’re going for. From full-on beard to goatee to traditional moustache, there are a wide variety of styles of beards for men, and each has its own quirks and guidelines.
Choosing a style of beard comes down to a few factors including the shape of your face, your hairstyle, and how much facial hair you can actually grow and where on your face. But first and foremost, it should be based on what you like. Whether you’re about to grow a beard for the first time or have been rocking the same style for longer than you can remember and you're up for a change, we’re going to walk you through the 10 styles of beards for men and how to wear them best. We’ll also throw in some grooming tips and hairstyle recommendations to take these beards for men to the max, but remember: You do you.
To help guide our journey through today’s modern take on beards for men, we hit up top New York City barber Jason Biggs of Babe of Brooklyn to share some insight into what makes a great beard work and how to keep your beard on fleek (we can say that for beards, right?), no matter what style you choose to sport.
Meet the Expert
- Jason Biggs is a barber based at New York City's Babe of Brooklyn.
Keep reading for all the ways to wear the 10 styles of beards.
One of the most popular beards for men, Biggs said the Royal is often considered a “starter beard,” as most men who grow their face whiskers start with this style. “It consists of a thinner mustache and a disconnected path of hair on the chin. Made popular by the Royal Navy back in the early 1800s, it was a way to let sailors maintain facial hair while also keeping their look clean-cut. Pair this style of beard with a nice long quiff for a classic look.”
Grooming tip: Biggs said that since the Royal is a shorter-style beard, you could get away with using your favorite daily face moisturizer to keep skin hydrated and your beard tidy and just shiny enough.
Defining exactly what a Goatee is brings us to some muddy territory, but seeing as how we’re being as technical as we can, a true Goatee is a smaller beard located mostly on the chin and connects with the soul patch just under the lip. There’s usually no mustache, just a chin-bound beard that tends to elongate the face a bit. However, nowadays mustaches are more common.
Grooming tip: Keeping your Goatee in tip-top shape comes down to using your usual cleanser and moisturizer to maintain healthy facial skin around it and keeping the hairs tidy and shiny.
Van Dyke Beard
A hipster hallmark, the Van Dyke beard takes its name from the 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyke. Similar to a Royal beard, the Van Dyke involves growing both the mustache segment and the hair on the chin part a bit longer, giving you more to style. To keep with the hipster vibe, pair a Van Dyke with a fade and comb-over combo and a cup of small-batch artisanal roast.
Grooming tip: Mustache wax is what gives the Van Dyke beard its signature flair. Using a bit of wax, sculpt the mustache into wings that head upward at the end, then shape the chin portion into a neat little point. Try Proraso Moustache Wax ($12).
“Similar to a goatee, the Circle beard is meant to frame the mouth and jaw area by creating a circular shape around the mouth and jawline while leaving the cheeks clean-shaven. Some would say a circle beard is not a beard at all but more of a centerpiece for your face. Either way, it’s the perfect style to pair with a shorter haircut like a skin fade for a clean summer look.”
Grooming tip: “A good beard balm would be most effective with this style in order to moisturize the skin beneath and add a nice luster.” Try Babe of Brooklyn No. 1 Original Beard Balm ($35).
“In a Balbo beard style, the mustache is disconnected from the lower beard line and has the ability to be kept long or short. This beard is perfect to accentuate a full mustache and a clean look on the cheeks. Think Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man for a reference. A Balbo would work well with a more defined and pronounced jawline as well as a more square-shaped hairstyle.”
Grooming tip: Biggs says this one is easy to maintain. “Just rub on some beard oil of your choice and you’re good to go!” Try Bevel Beard Oil ($14.95).
Short Boxed Beard
Probably the most common beard for men, the Short Boxed beard is what happens when you let your facial hair grow naturally and clean it up periodically by trimming along your cheeks and jawline for a neat edge. As far as length is concerned, the Short Boxed looks its best when it's kept neatly trimmed as well, usually between a half to three quarters of an inch long, but don’t bother digging out a ruler to measure. Just keep it at the length you think it looks best.
Grooming tip: The Short Boxed beard is easily well kept with a bit of beard oil in the morning to add some shine to the surface.
Chin Strap Beard
The Chin Strap takes its name from its sportswear counterpart and consists of a well-manicured look that closely outlines your jawline. Biggs said the Chin Strap is ideally paired with a longer hairstyle because it creates a nice contrast between long and short hair.
Grooming tip: “Because this style of beard frames just the lower portions of your face, a good daily skin cleansing routine would alleviate any irritation or redness around the exposed areas of the face.”
“All aboard for this fresh and fun style. Inspired by its anchor-like shape, this beard consists of a full mustache and a disconnected lower beard that’s similar to the Balbo beard, however, the Anchor style often doesn’t connect the beard to the sideburns, providing a multiuse style that’s goes well with both long and short hairstyles.”
Grooming tip: A little beard balm does the trick by helping to maintain the shape and sophistication of the Anchor beard.
Otherwise known as “scruff,” Biggs said the 3-Day Stubble is ideal for guys who want the look of a beard but aren’t ready to commit to the full style. “The 3-Day Stubble is less of a style and more of a time saver. If you like that in-between haircut look (which many men do), letting the stubble grow back for a few days can help pull off a neat yet low-maintenance look.” He says the 3-Day Stubble works great with a fade, as it accentuates the contrast from long to short hair, but since it basically traces the angles of your face, it could go well with any hairstyle.
Grooming tip: Just follow your usual skincare routine to keep the skin beneath your 3-Day Stubble in tip-top shape.
Forget those naysayers who claim a mustache isn’t a beard—this fortuitous patch of hair just above the lip can work wonders for individuality and self-expression. “The classic mustache—simple and plain—remains a staple for style enthusiasts to this day. From Charlie Chaplin to Tom Selleck to Freddie Mercury, a mustache can truly embody one’s style. The whiskers above your lip can really help show your personality, whether you have a full mustache or a pencil-thin ‘stache.” Biggs says you can pair a mustache with basically any type of hairstyle, but a short crop yields a clean, yet dramatic look.
Grooming tip: “A nice mustache wax adds a vintage finish for those looking to re-create a great look from the past.”
What's the best way to style a beard?
It will depend on how long or short your beard is. For shorter lengths, you can generally get away with using your daily moisturizer (although some beard balm won't hurt either). Longer beards will require a product like a beard oil or mustache wax and maybe even a bit of grooming (think: beard comb—heated or not).
How do I know which type of beard suits me?
Your face shape, hair density, lifestyle, and, of course, your personal style, are a few factors to consider when determining which type of beard is best for you. For instance, if you don't want to spend too much time grooming your facial hair, go for a low-maintenance option like a scruffy beard. A goatee is also pretty versatile and can help to elongate a rounder face.
How can I style a patchy beard?
Keeping your beard short will tend to be the most flattering since a longer length may only serve to highlight patchiness. A little bit of stubble is always attractive (even if it comes in patchy), but a chin strap beard is another option.
How often do I need to trim my beard?