While clean-shaven will always be a classic, the year of the beard is still going strong, as evidenced by the ever-growing lineup of leading men sporting all kinds of facial hair. Out of these famous men with beards, some appear to be effortless—a simple three-day scruff that adds contrast and definition to their face—while others rock looks that require a bit of grooming and upkeep to stay in shape.
And since it’s only natural to take inspiration from these bearded heroes, we hit up two of the industry’s top experts—celebrity barber Rich Mendoza and celebrity groomer Benjamin Thigpen—to find out what makes each of these beards work and how to get the look for yourself at home.
So chin-strap yourself in and let’s take a wild ride through the top 20 famous men with beards.
Meet the Expert
- Rich Mendoza is a celebrity barber and the owner of New York City's Filthy Rich Barbershop.
- Benjamin Thigpen is a celebrity groomer who has worked with Kieran Culkin, Jeff Goldblum, and Zachary Quinto, among many others.
Yes, the photo is old (erm, classic) but Tom’s signature Magnum P.I. walrus mustache was the springboard for generations of onscreen beards to come. In fact, according to Mendoza, the style is back in action—so much so that the kids nowadays are calling it the “Tom.”
How to get the look: A weekly trim and a little mustache wax to hold everything in place should be all you need to keep your "Tom" in top shape.
The legendary crooner sports a well-groomed circle beard that features a trimmed mustache and longer chin portion. But what really stands out, Mendoza says, is how well-groomed his skin is.
How to get the look: Keep your face feeling fresh and moisturized with a good after-shave balm, which will also help to avoid irritation and razor burn.
Brad's signature goatee first grabbed our attention back in the "Legends of the Fall" days, and the movie star still wears it with the same flair today. What makes it work, according to Mendoza, comes down to the fact that he keeps it trimmed all around, so it touches the top of his lip just enough to not get in the way.
How to get the look: The key to getting a Brad Pitt-worthy goatee right is deciding how best it will frame your individual face. For some guys, a standalone goatee is a perfect fit. However, if your goatee somehow seems a bit “off,” Thigpen recommends leaving a little stubble on the rest of the face so it doesn’t look so raw.
“LeBron is looking good and ready for anything with this fresh fade and clean short, boxed beard,” Mendoza says. The thickness of James’ beard defines his jawline and it’s just long enough to make a statement, although he keeps his mustache slightly shorter to prevent it from overgrowing onto his top lip.
How to get the look: A beard brush will help all the hairs to lie flat and smooth, and following up with a light beard oil will add a healthy sheen.
“David Beckham hands down has a cool beard,” Thigpen says. “It's unruly, grows in thick, and blends into his sideburns which essentially blends in with the hairstyle on his head.”
How to get the look: Looking to beard it like Beckham? You’re in luck—just let it grow a bit, au naturel. “When you have this color and type of beard I always say let the grays poke through a little bit," says Thigpen. "Get in the sun and allow your beard to have some different tones, which can really sculpt and give more definition to the look." A regular trim and some beard balm for shape won’t hurt, either.
“Drake goes to great lengths to always look well-groomed with this extended goatee,” Mendoza says. It also helps that his beard volume is so perfect, it practically looks painted on. A trim along both cheeks drops the beard line below his natural cheekbones and angles the mustache at a slight slant for a nicely detailed, precise look.
How to get the look: The key to making such a precise beard work for you is to first consult with your barber, who can recommend where to trim and by how much to ensure an optimum fit for your face. For some, it’s higher on the cheeks while for others, like Drake, dropping the beard line and showing more skin creates an ideal silhouette for the face. A little beard oil on the daily adds a healthy shine.
Here, Henry Cavill rocks a Garibaldi beard, wide and full with a rounded bottom and attached mustache, paired with textured and gelled hair for a look that’s both dressed up and casually messy at the same time.
How to get the look: “Normally I am all for an unkempt hairstyle and an unkempt beard, however, this is where I would introduce a beard balm,” explains Thigpen. “It will keep those unruly hairs at bay while at the same time moisturizing the beard.”
Glover has a free-flowing, medium-length beard that he makes look oh, so effortless. It also helps his style go from retro to modern cool, depending on what he’s wearing. If all beards were that versatile.
How to get the look: “I would trim a tiny bit of the hair hanging over the upper lip but you have to be careful not to be too groomed with an unkempt beard,” says Thigpen. “Otherwise, it would look funny if you had a perfectly cut mustache lining your upper lip with a wavy beard elsewhere.”
Jake makes effortless look easy with an overgrown haircut and full box beard. “People are opting more for this typical beard over the clean-shaven look,” Mendoza says. And the good news is, not only is it trendy at the moment, but it basically works for every face shape.
How to get the look: As far as the length goes, it’s mostly a matter of letting it grow to a length you like and that suits your look. But the longer it gets, the more you ought to add some beard oil or beard balm to zhuzh it up a bit.
Dev’s full anchor beard suits his face, although Thigpen usually recommends going a bit shorter for the sake of definition. “Dev Patel has a great beard," he says. "I personally would trim this down a full guard to define his facial features more, but this unkempt look works because of the carefree, tousled hairstyle that he has.”
How to get the look: The anchor style beard is pretty much something you’re born with, but with the right razor tricks you may be able to achieve it on your own.
Chris’ tapered beard starts out short on top and gently builds to a still-short, but thicker-volume beard toward the bottom that frames his face and adds a rugged look. It’s also not completely uniform in color. “One thing I noticed is that he has a couple of different colors in his beard,” says Thigpen. “Warm light brown tones, some grey, and some medium brown tones.” It’s easy and effortless and suits his overall look, whether he’s playing a rustic pilot or traipsing down a red carpet.
How to get the look: Keeping such a low beard well-groomed can be tricky, as that length can prove to be uncomfortable for some. Mendoza recommends using a stubble balm to do double duty, moisturizing skin while keeping beard hair shiny and healthy.
Idris Elba’s nicely trimmed box beard is given a whole new level of dimension thanks to its salt and pepper color. Different from simple gray, salt and pepper adds such a distinguished look and helps frame the face.
How to get the look: Aside from keeping your beard at the optimal length for your face, Mendoza recommends using a razor to get a clean look at both the top and bottom of your beard, in order to maintain the shape.
Chris’s signature full beard is simple and elegant, and lends itself well to a polished look, especially when paired with slicked-back hair and kept well-oiled. “Chris Evans seems to dye his beard but it works for all of his looks,” explains Thigpen. “He keeps it the same consistent tone as the hair on his head. Warm dark brown with red tones... is bound to happen when brunettes do full grey coverage.”
How to get the look: If you’re up for dyeing your beard, Thigpen recommends using a foam formulation, and leaving it on for only a quarter of the recommended time at first. “The point is not to overdye beard hair because it will look too fake. It's really a trial and error situation because you don’t want to completely take away grays, but rather just diffuse them and have them blend with the rest.”
It’s funny how Zac Efron didn’t become known for his bearded looks until the rest of his style went a bit wild. “Zac is clearly trying this new look with the frosted hair and extended goatee,” Mendoza says. Although some guys would opt for a less dramatic transition between hair and beard, if a bolder style suits you, go for it.
How to get the look: Although his beard is on the thicker side, Zac clearly shaves the upper portion on his cheeks as well as underneath on his neck, which keeps the otherwise daring look from getting scraggly.
“I have a lot of clients that have a beard like Chiwetel Ejiofor, where hair grows slightly higher onto the cheeks like most men,” Thigpen says. You can take the razor route and attempt to shave it lower on the cheek, but it grows back fast, and you’ll notice it as soon as the next day. So why mess with it? “Chiwetel’s facial hair is thick, and I particularly like it because you can dress up or down with this look," adds Thigpen.
How to get the look: To trim or not to trim? If you’ve got a full-cheek beard, Thigpen has some words for you: “Rather than fight it, I say own it,” he says. “If you have some random hairs that grow higher than usual, just use nose hair scissors and rest the blades right up to the skin to cut those individual hairs.” Mendoza adds that with a beard of that length and volume, beard oil is a must.
“Jason Momoa is a great example of what I like to call ‘perfectly unkempt,’” Thigpen says. “It is scraggly yet conditioned, trimmed a bit over the upper lip yet also owns the patchiness while allowing his prominent chin hair to be the defining focal point.”
How to get the look: Despite his wild style, Momoa’s extended anchor beard is definitely moisturized, and possibly even colored. To get the look, invest in a good quality beard conditioner to keep hair soft, manageable, and healthy-looking.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson’s two-tone beard is as unique, effortless, and distinguished as the man himself. What’s essentially a goatee features a trimmed mustache and grown-out lower portion around his chin, where the hair goes almost completely white.
How to get the look: Signature Kangol hat aside, the best way to score Jackson’s look is to grow a goatee and play around with the length until you have a style that works.
As far as famous men with beards go, this is one grand beard from the silver fox himself. “George cannot go wrong with this salt and pepper full beard,” Mendoza says. “He owns the whole salt and pepper look.” Clooney’s beard is cut low on the cheeks with just enough volume to balance out his salt and pepper hair for a well-rounded look.
How to get the look: Mendoza recommends a beard comb to keep the hairs in place and dapper.
“This full boxed beard on Ricky Martin works by giving him a new look from the normally clean face he dons,” Mendoza explained. The low shaven cheeks show a little skin that promotes a youthful face, while the deep brown of the beard adds strength and definition.
How to get the look: Mendoza recommends a beard brush to get every hair laid flat, which creates a sleek look with strong lines.
According to Mendoza, Riz is sporting a mash-up of styles: Full beard meets half-Hollywoodian, which is a clever way of saying it’s a bit unruly but, paired with his clean buzzcut hair, creates a solid look that fits his face.
How to get the look: Riz’s beard comes down to growing it out to a certain length, then trimming it where you see fit, such as around the mustache area.
We hope our roundup of the top 20 famous men with beards has given you enough beardspiration to go forth and find your own unique look. Remember, as on-point as some of these styles are, only you can find the look that suits you best.