Throughout history, facial hair in men has served as a powerful cultural symbol for communicating masculinity, sexuality, youth, maturity, and even divinity. From Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln to Charlie Chaplin, Elvis Presley and George Clooney, facial hair is widely regarded as a defining factor in a man’s personality.
A 2013 study confirms what before was only supported by historical and popular knowledge. When scientists asked both men and women to rate photographs of men based on facial hair, it was found that facial hair aesthetics strongly influenced the perception on men’s physical and social attributes, such as attractiveness and parenting abilities.
The importance of facial hair motivates men to learn more about different styles to groom themselves to be more attractive in pursuing their romantic and professional goals. With new technological advances in facial hair transplantation, men are more empowered to explore self-awareness and adapt their goals to the facial hair style they want.
Below are 11 facial hair types and their usual personality associations. The list serves as a reference to increase your style appreciation and to help you in your quest for self-development. Which of these can perfectly describe you?
1. Light Stubble
Characteristics: Athletic, Spontaneous, Enduring
The stubble appeals to many women because it exudes active lifestyle and athleticism. The style slims the face as it highlights the cheekbones. If some hair stray too high on your cheeks, shaving or trimming them will bring back the polished ruggedness to the look.
There is minimal maintenance required, but don’t let it get out of hand as the desired effect can be defeated. The stubble look is sometimes called the five-o’clock shadow, in reference to how hair looks at 5 P.M. after a few hours’ growth from the morning.
2. Scruffy or Heavy Stubble
Characteristics: Laidback, casual, likeable
The scruffy has facial hair long enough to be visible, but short enough to reveal skin underneath. Latest trends appearing on men’s magazines such as Esquire, GQ, and Details exhibit subtle variations on the scruffy.
However, uneven gaps in facial hair can compromise this look. Donning the scruff requires leveled hair growth to achieve its natural image, so if you are having problems with patchy hair growth, explore restoration procedures which are increasingly becoming popular. Simple maintenance is required every two or three days to prevent the relaxed yet tidy appeal from becoming disheveled and unkempt.
Characteristics: Spirited, contemplative, sentimental
Shakespeare had tried the goatee, as did Brad Pitt and Kobe Bryant. The goatee style and its length variations have been worn by diverse men, including other influential figures such as Malcolm X and Kurt Cobain.
Did you know that the name “goatee” has as its reference the hair on a goat’s chin? Modern takes on this style commonly pair it with a mustache. It nicely adds length to the face, while the absence of hair on the cheeks makes the jawline appear softer while still retaining grit.
4. Full Beard
Characteristics: mature, family-oriented, dependable
The full beard has historical weight because of its religious associations. Holy figures from different religions usually have full beards. In its modern usage, however, the word “beard” is a general term that includes most facial hair styles, except the mustache.
Hair growth is essential for men who want to put on a full beard. As the style requires packed hair growth on all available areas of the face, hair loss in men’s beard is a problem. If such is the case, men have the option to seek free consultation in reputable treatment centers. The full beard is attractive to women because it connotes qualities such as good parenting and strength.
5. Crusader Beard
Characteristics: scholarly, determined, protective
The crusader beard is a younger version of the full beard. As the full beard can be a tricky look to pull off, the crusader beard is a great alternative. The style still requires some attention as your grow it. Defined fullness is achieved by limiting facial hair to cheeks, upper lip, and chin. Allowing the hair to extend a little beneath the chin can also be attractive.
Characteristics: Bold, secure, decisive
What distinguishes the mustache from other styles is the facial hair specifically grown on the upper lip. The 1960s and 1970s saw the rise in popularity of the mustache with the Beatles and Hippie movement. Men who wear the mustache are deemed confident and empowered. Beard scholar Allan Peterkin suggests that the mustache also signifies virility and male potency, where hair loss in men can convey the opposite effect. There are different types of mustache, but variations are mostly on the upper lip and sometimes on the chin.
7. Demi Chin Strap
Characteristics: sensible, forgiving, experimental
If you are a sensible man unafraid to experiment and discover, a demi chin strap can be the style for you. Conventionally, the chin strap is a thin hair strip that goes from the sideburns down to the chin. A demi chin strap makes the strip less harsh while still accentuating the jawline.
If you’re concerned with the question, “What about the gaps in my beard?” the demi chin strap can work. But if the gaps are too noticeable due to hair loss, then the look can go awry. Hair loss has different causes so it’s best to discuss this with a medical professional. Some men use the chin strap to conceal the fact that they do not have much facial hair, but it won’t work for those with striking hair discrepancy.
8. Handlebar Mustache
Characteristics: pleasant, traditional, calm
Think of old-fashioned southern gentlemen. The handlebar mustache is a style that turns heads—in a good way. Compared to the regular mustache, the handlebar mustache has longer ends that are flared out. The ends are kept in place with twirling gestures and a styling product. A cousin of the handlebar mustache is the wingtip style, which dispenses with the looping of the ends.
Characteristics: active, informed, passionate
No list of facial hair styles is complete without the sideburns. Everyone knows the style thanks to Elvis Presley, who is one of its iconic representatives. Men who wear sideburns generally like to have fun and are active in social causes. A more elaborate version of the sideburns is called the mutton chop, which resembles the protruding bone of a meat cut. Abraham Lincoln is a popular figure associated with the mutton chop.
Characteristics: Preppy, disciplined, sharp
Being clean-shaven does not have anything to do with age; it’s got everything to do with your personal approach to style. Even men who identify themselves with facial hair goes for the clean-shaven look every now and then. Usually associated with youth, the style exudes neatness and charm. Daily shaving is required to maintain the look, so discipline is a must.
Characteristics: Off-beat, adventurous, forward
The term “hipster” is a recent invention. It may mean a number of things, but in relation to facial hair it combines different styles to create a personalized interpretation. The hipster style can be a mix of chin strap with mustache and some hair on the chin and below the lower lip. It allows you to creatively blur the distinction among facial hair styles.
Facial hair style says a lot about who you are. Knowing the different styles can lead to better self-knowledge, a necessary feat to make yourself a better you.
Facial hair style is reflective of the general importance placed on hair growth. Hair loss in men—be it related to their scalp or parts of their face—can have negative effects not just on aesthetic perception but also on social life. Should this be your concern, know that medical procedures such as hair transplantation and hair loss restoration in men’s beard are worth exploring given the technology available.
Social judgement based on facial hair is a reality, but remember that nothing is fixed and final. For it is you who will ultimately figure out and decide how to style your life, career, and goals.