There’s something mystical about a beard. Something… manly. If it’s done well, that is. A beard is a tightrope walk. If you nail it, it can do absolute wonders for your style. If you botch it, you’re going to look like a drunken teenage hobo. So it pays to get it right.

A lot goes into a beard. A beard is not just hair on your face. A beard is part of your overall look – a true extension of your personality. More importantly, it’s a particularly outward extension of your style. I mean, it’s sitting on your face. Anyone who talks to you will be looking at it. Anyone who kisses you will be touching it. If that weren’t enough, it’s a big time style hazard: anything that can get food stuck in it should not be considered lightly.

So, we wanted to talk about what makes a good beard style. Which one is good for your face type? Which beard is best for your sense of fashion? Which beard suits the season? Let’s find out.

In this Article

A Brief History of Beards

History of BeardsBeards have been around for a long-ass time. We evolved them as a secondary sexual characteristic, according to leading biologists. It’s a secondary characteristic because beards don’t directly play a role in reproduction. It’s considered a sexual characteristic, however, because it’s so damn sexy (kidding; it’s actually because it’s specific to one sex). Modern-day biologists have confirmed that beards play a role in sexual selection, and studies show that many women find men with beards more attractive.

Bears also have a strong historical tradition. In ancient Egypt, the highest-class citizens grew thin beards on their chins, dyed them a weird reddish brown color and braided them with gold – kind of like how Flava Flave probably would have done it if he lived in ancient Egypt.

In ancient Rome, however, having a beard pretty much meant that you were a dirty hipster. For instance, when L. Venturius and P. Licinius told M. Livius that he could come back in the city after being banished, they had him shave his beard as a symbol of cleanliness and restoration. That wasn’t always the case, though. Believe it or not, all Romans used to have beards, since no one had really told them about shaving yet. Then, a bloke named Scipio Africanus gave it a whirl, and everyone thought it looked so cool that it caught on. I guess you could say shaving was to ancient Rome what skinny jeans are to contemporary America.

Anyway, the point is: beards have a long and storied history, and they mean different things in different cultures. In today’s connected world, we tend to value individuality more than anything, making a good beard one of the many ways to define your style. Speaking of styles…

Our Favorite Cool Beard Styles

Ultimately, choosing a beard is a very personal thing. Only you know what fits with your style and personality. However, it’s always good to see a few awesome beards for inspiration. Below, we discuss some of our favorite beard styles, recommended trimmers and what you need to pull them off.

The Classic Full Beard (Clean)

How to make it work: The Classic Full Beard has almost always been in style. And there’s a reason for that. It’s easily one of the most versatile beards out there. It can work with nearly every style – from King Leonidas to Abraham Lincoln to Kimbo Slice. The Classic Full is one of the most flexible beard styles around.

The key to making this beard work is grooming. Just because it’s a full beard doesn’t mean it should be going every which way. A proper Classic Full is groomed and shaped regularly, and usually, part or most of the neck is clean shaven.

Another big part of this style is your hair cut. While can work with most styles, it pairs particularly well with a totally bald top, a close-cropped top or a slicked-back top. If you like to keep a full beard year-round, consider changing your hair cut depending on the season.

Recommended grooming products for this beard:

The Sea Captain

179144_1_600How to make it work: The Sea Captain is closely related to the Classic Full, but it’s a bit more nuanced – it fits a slightly tighter style niche. The Sea Captain has slightly shorter sides than the Classic Full with a slightly longer bottom. Because of this, it has the visual effect of lengthening the face. This makes it a good choice for guys with oblong or heart-shaped faces and a worse choice for lads with long faces.

This beard pairs wonderfully with hats. It’s great with a beret, baseball cap or winter hat.  It also go’s really well with a clean gelled and parted top, similar to what you’d find on Mad Men. However, the essence of this beard is in its sense of adventure, so bald or buzzed isn’t usually the best look for the Sea Captain.

Finally, and I’m sure you could tell this, but this style is perfectly suited for a nice, waxed, non-integrated moustache. If this is your style, don’t be afraid to go a bit crazy with your moustache. The Sea Captain can handle it.

Recommended grooming products for this beard

The Garibaldi

GaribaldiThe Garibaldi is tricky. It can be extremely tricky to craft, and you need the right hair for it, but if you pull it off, the effect is pretty powerful. This is a wide, full beard with a rounded bottom and an integrated moustache (meaning the moustache flows directly into the beard).

If you have slightly longer hair, this beard creates an excellent “lumberjack” look. It works with the hair down or pulled back. It also works well with medium-length, well-groomed wavy hair for a distinguished aristocrat. If you’ve got straight hair, though, this beard works best if you wear it long. And if you can’t grow a thick beard, this style probably won’t work too well for you.

Recommended grooming products for this beard:

  • Trimmer: Braun Cruzer 5 Beard Trimmer
  • Beard wax: Honest Amish Original Beard Wax
  • Shears: Revlon Barber Shears
  • Pro tip: Instead of trimming your heard with a shorter guard on the sides and a longer one on top, you can get that rounded look by using the same guard and length for most of your beard. Additionally, since this style works best with longer, wavy beards, don’t be afraid to oil more heavily than normal.

The Wild Man (aka The ZZ Top Beard)

190818_1_600The Wild Man is not a difficult beard to maintain. It just needs to be washed and trimmed slightly once in a while. However, it can be very tough to pull off. When you decide to rock this beard, you’re making a decision to walk the line between ultra-stylish beard guru and… dirty hobo troll that scares everyone.

Along those lines, close and hair are more important with this beard than with most others. This beard must be part of a finely crafted image, or it will fall apart. And there are pretty much two was you can go with it: you can either (1) go full-rock or (2) pair the Wild Man with an ultra-clean style, using the beard as a point of interest (think fitted dress pants and suspenders).

Recommended grooming products for this beard:

The Ol’ Standby: Stubble

This one seems simple, but stubble is in right now – and for good reason: it’s very easy to maintain, and it fits into a wide variety of styles. Additionally, you can grow, shave, and regrow stubble in a week or two, making it a lot more versatile than many other beard types.

Stubble usually gives you a good balance of cleanliness and messiness, which you can usually alter just by changing your hair. Personally, when I have a good growth of stubble, I’ll wear my hair chunky and messy on the weekends – then, I’ll wear it gelled and parted to the office. There is just a lot of flexibility. As an added bonus, you often don’t need beard oil if you use a good face moisturizer.

Recommended grooming products for this beard:

The Ahab

clooney6This one is making a come back. The stubble has been in for so long, and the the “messy” beard look was out for a while. However, now, men are able to sport these with a clean haircut and just make it work wonderfully. This is for a man who doesn’t necessarily view shaving as an art but rather a chore. The Ahab is stylish, sexy, and trendy as hell right now.

This beard works on a ton of different levels. I would say the only place this wouldn’t work completely is in a corporate job. This beard screams style and creativity. It works with most hair styles, and it will add tons of character to your current style.

Recommended grooming products for this beard:

  • Trimmer: Philips Norelco QT4000
  • Shears: Equinox Professional Razor Edge Beard Shears
  • Beard shampoo: Bluebeards Original Beard Wash
  • Pro tip: You can let the beard start to grow on your neck. The purpose of this beard is to be a good balance between clean shaving and messy. So this beard will require maintenance. Bust out the shears and trim up the nose and mustache area. Every now and then clean up your neck. You can rock this beard, but don’t let it get out of control.

 The Professor

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 27th Anniversary of Sports Spectacular, Century City, Los Angeles, America - 20 May 2012This beard is called the professor because it’s distinguishing. It has a mixture of stubble and a really cool mustache. This style takes a particular set up. It’s important to have a good hair style to accommodate the beard, and even though this beard involves a significant amount of stubble, it’s actually grooming intensive.

To properly sport this beard, you have to keep your mustache longer than the beard. You have to keep the beard at a stubble. You also have to make sure your mustache isn’t too long.

Make sure you have some shears to trim up the mustache when needed, but make sure you have a good ratio throughout the beard.

Recommend grooming products for this beard:

 The Chinstrap

rylan-clark-facial-hair_zps71e35068I know, I know. You must be thinking “chinstrap? what are we, high school baseball players?” The truth is, if you wear it right, the chinstrap can work very well for you.

The trick is to keep it well groomed and most certainly grow the mustache with it. If you don’t have the mustache with it, it can get very bro, very quickly.

Additionally, you need a great hair style with it. The more you rely on hair gel, the worse this beard is going to look. Try either a buzz cut or high and tight.

Recommended grooming products for this beard:

  • Trimmer: Wahl Beard and Mustache Trimmer
  • Razor: Merkur Double Edge Razor #34C
  • Face moisturizer: Jack Black Face Moisturizer
  • Pro tip: Pay close attention to what we said at the beginning. Make sure you’re prepared to do a bunch of maintenance with this beard. You’re going to need to keep it low, clean, and keep your face moisturized. This beard can work. It may sound strange, but you’ll need to plan ahead. If you have some success with it, drop us a comment and let us know! Beard management is the name of the game with this particular style.

The Californication:

tumblr_l5zklobjR91qzpegpo1_500The Californication can sometimes be viewed as a hipster beard. This is because  it can be a little messy, it requires some stubble to truly pull it off. But it works. It’s a good looking beard when the right person pulls it off.

You basically have to let the goatee go, then manage your stubble to compliment the goatee. It’s a hybrid beard, but it’s a beard. The trick with this beard is balance. You want to be able to manage your stubble without being tempted into chopping at your goatee. Don’t get me wrong, the goatee will take some maintenance here and there but not much. Also, this can turn from hipster to brawler very fast.

It’s not going to go with all facial types and body structures. You don’t want to sport this beard with an graphic t-shirt . Make sure you accessorize well, and the beard should work out for you.

Recommended grooming products for this beard:

  • Trimmer:Wahl All In One Trimmer
  • Shears: Tweezerman Stainless Steel Facial Hair Scissors
  • Pro tip: This style is all about management. You literally need to manage your beard’s messy style. It’s a bit hard to comprehend, but once you get the hang of managing one half of your beard and not the other, it should be pretty easy to contain it from there. Also, try it with a beanie cap or a high and tight hair style. This is a much different style than some of the ones we have mentioned, but when it’s pulled off correctly, it works well.