Beards are having a real cultural moment right now. In fact, much like the term "metrosexual" refers to a man who likes to indulge in self-care, men with distinctive beards also have a unique word to describe them - "lumbersexual" or as we refer to them at Kingly Beardz as “Beardsmen”
Beards grace the cover of romance novels and magazines. Celebrities who have spent the majority of their career clean-shaven are suddenly sporting facial hair. And in the real world, everywhere you look - from coffee shops to nightclubs - it seems like every other man has grown out their beard.
But there's more to beard types than meets the eye. Whether it's shaping your beard with wax and balm for a fuller look, wearing mutton chops, or rocking what some call "the winter beard"—beards come in many different shapes and sizes!
For many men, beards mean more than just a style choice they make. They are an identity, a lifestyle—and almost every shape has its own name to describe it, not to mention specific standards that need to be kept to in order to be considered an example of that type of beard.
To assist in making that choice, here are ten of the most popular styles men are wearing today.
To begin beards are often classified as either a Full Beard or Stubble Beard. Now Let's jump in.
1. Full Beard / Stubble
A full beard starts at the chin and extends upward to the bottom of the mouth and cheekbones. A full beard typically includes a mustache, sideburns, and a goatee. It can be styled with wax or balm.
Stubble is a style where you have the hair on your face and neck trimmed short. Stubble is most often worn by men who are actively growing their beards out. Stubble can look soft or be styled with product to get a more sculpted look.
2. The Chin Beard
A chin beard is a style where hair from the sideburns goes down to the jawline and then up to the lower lip. In order for this style to work, you must have mustache hair on your top lip as well as soul patch/chin hair - both of which are typically trimmed short in length. This type of beard is best grown out for a few months in order to ensure the right look.
3. Soul Patch / The Balbo / Italo Balboa
A soul patch is a small bit of hair on the chin. It typically starts about an inch below the bottom lip and then extends down to the area above the chin. It can be styled with wax or balm, much like many other beard styles.
The Balbo is a variation that features a soul patch on the chin and hair that extends back along the jawline. Rather than a natural outline, the Balbo is styled with balm or wax to achieve the intended look. The Balbo can either be soft, or styled to appear thicker and fuller.
Italian military pilot Italo Balbo - well-known for crossing the Atlantic during World War I - wore a version of the soul patch that is a bit fuller and slightly pointy. When he returned to Italy after the war, many Italians began wearing them as a patriotic gesture. The style became popular and was soon nicknamed after him.
4 Circle Beard / Chinstrap / Van Dyke
A circle beard is a style that is similar to a goatee. You can think of it as a goatee with a chin strap. Circle beards are typically shaved off below the jaw and then trimmed short or grown out for 4-6 weeks to make it look natural.
A chin strap is another narrow variation that features hair on the jawline. This beard style often has a slim shape, which may extend to the throat and go up to the ear. It is typically styled with beard wax products. Chin straps should be grown out for a month or longer to achieve the appropriate look. It is similar to the chin beard but thinner and more narrow (like a strap lol).
Yet another narrow variation is the Van Dyke, a beard that starts from the sideburns and extends to the chin and includes a soul patch. It typically has a slender shape, and the outline can be left natural or styled. It is often paired with a stylish moustache.
The Van Dyke beard is named after Sir Anthony Van Dyke, a popular portraitist in the 17th century who had a similar beard.
A goatee is a style that includes hair on the chin and extends up to the level of the lip. Typically, a goatee will feature a mustache but nothing on the cheeks and sideburns. A goatee is typically styled with wax for a thick, full, intentional look.
The origin of the word "goatee" is disputed. One theory is that it is derived from "gato," a Spanish word for cat. This refers to the resemblance of a goatee to the head and whiskers of a cat, especially when up close.
A second theory is that the term "goat's beard" was used in medieval Europe to refer to solitary whiskers on either side of the mouth - which is similar to the style known as a goatee today.
6 Boxed Beard
A boxed beard is a style where the hair on the chin and cheeks below the mouth is grown out. A boxed beard can either be purposely styled, or it can be left natural. A boxed beard typically mimics the look of a box - hence the name. Boxed beards are easy to maintain and grow out, which makes them popular among men who do not want to shave their facial hair.
7 Mutton Chops
Mutton chops are a style of facial hair that begins at the bottom of the cheek and extends down to the jawbone. They typically have a distinctive wide shape, which can be either natural or styled.
The name "mutton chops" is derived from the word "mutton," which is a term for sheep meat. This points to the appearance of mutton chops being similar to the shape of a sheep's jawbone.
8 The Royale Beard
The royale is a style of beard that starts from the neck and extends up to the bottom lip. It has a triangular shape, with hair on the chin area. The front of this beard meets in a point at the middle. Royale beards are usually shaped with either beard wax or balm.
The royale beard style is named after the French word for "king." This is because it mimics the shape of a king's beard, which was often styled in this way.
9 The Garibaldi
A Garibaldi is a style of beard that has hair on the chin and cheek area. It typically starts from the neck and follows the shape of the jawline. The outline for this beard can be left natural, or wax and balm can be used to shape it.
The name "Garibaldi" is due to the similarity of the beard to Giuseppe Garibaldi. Garibaldi was an Italian general who wore his beard in this style.
10 The Winter Beard / Bandholz Beard
A winter beard, sometimes called a Bandholz beard after Beardbrand founder Eric Bandholz, is a style of facial hair where the moustache is joined to a full beard. However it is important to groom the moustache and beard in such a way that the moustache is still distinct. A winter beard does not have a length restriction but rather is allowed to grow freely.
The wide range and considerable variety in the popular styles of beards today ensure that any man who wants to grow one out will be able to find a style that works for his face shape and personality. It might take some experimentation before he settles on the style of beard that feels like "him." After all, a beard is not like a set of clothing that gets changed every day - it's a commitment. It takes time to grow one out and do the necessary upkeep to keep it looking sharp.
Also, since a beard covers the part of the body most people look at first - the face - it's important to consider first impressions when choosing a style, and settle on one that is not only flattering but feels representative of his personality.
Once you've decided on a style its important to choose the right beard balm or oil. These come in many different scents. Not sure what scent is most you? Then try our Discover Beard Butter or Discover Beard Oil set. Each set comes with 8 samples, 7 scents and 1 unscented. To help your beard stay clean and healthy we've included a bar of our famous Beard, Face, and Moustache soap that Beardsman are raving about. Pick up your Discover Sample Set today.
Whether a man is a celebrity or just a regular citizen, and whether he is sporting the lightest of five o'clock shadow stubble or a full lumberjack-style winter beard, one thing is for sure - beards are enjoying the most cultural ubiquity they have for years, so it is sure to be in style.