How to Shave Different Facial Hair Styles
From mustaches, to goatees, to different beard types, here is a simple guide on how to properly shape, trim, and shave the various facial hair styles.
So, you’ve decided on a particular style of facial hair. Considering there are infinite options out there—and not just the one you are able to grow from scratch, without any notion for shape and style—well, you are owed congratulations for picking your next facial hair style. But, how will you go about shaving and shaping this style? That requires a minor amount of research (often done by finding a celebrity or model with your similar face shape, who has the facial hair style in question).
And if you’re unsure yet of what will flatter you most, we recommend assessing the shape of your face, and understanding what will complement the geometry, along with what you can realistically grow (given your whisker proliferation, or general lack thereof). This is most pertinent when it comes to growing beards. The general rule of thumb is that oval shapes can wear just about every kind of beard style, while round and square shapes should try to achieve more length, and oblong or rectangle shapes should try to grow more outward. Diamond and triangular shapes can aim for a squared-off look. Anything to soften harsh angles and create as much symmetry as possible is usually what looks best on every guy. But there are always exceptions!
As for mustaches, goatees, and shorter beards, it’s really a matter of trial and error to see what looks good on you, especially since it comes down to personality—and whether or not a particular mustache or goatee suits your personality.
Hopefully with the following guideposts, you’ll be able to wear the best version of each style, even if it’s not the most flattering look for your handsome face.
Beard neckline: While every beard requires different means for trimming, angling, and styling, one universal thing is where to draw the beard neckline. You want to imagine a “U” shape connecting the backs of both ears, and meeting at a point just above your Adam’s apple. Use two fingers, placed above the apple, to determine this spot. Shave everything below this U, including behind it on the backsides of the jaw. You can use a trimmer on the lowest, unguarded setting, or your bladed razor blade of choice.
Faded neckline: If you want to fade the beard neckline, or even the cheek lines, then use a guard length half that of your beard length, and trim a half centimeter into the hair. You can even increase the length to a ¾ and trim inwards a full centimeter, then cut the length in half to trim the outermost half centimeter. Essentially, you want to create a steady grade (and one that is naked-to-the-roving-eye). Once your beard gets longer than, say, a half inch or more, then you might want to focus on clean lines only, since the fade won’t be noticeable (Or, if you try to make it noticeable, it will be too long and gradual to look flattering).
Square beards: If you have an especially round face, or a “weak” jaw structure (for lack of better term), then the most flattering beard on you will have defined, straight edges, and won’t round until further down the bottom of the beard. This will help elongate the face. You want to keep the sides of the face trimmed short, so that you don’t build volume at the top of your beard, and allow it to grow down, accumulating volume as it does. Every time you trim, use a beard pick to detangle the beard, then use a comb to coach it into place. Snip at any long, stray hairs, and use beard balm to keep the squared-off shape.
Angled beards: The rules of cheek-hair maintenance are the same here as they are for square beards. Keep whiskers light on the cheeks, and emphasize the bulk at the bottom of the face. This is optimal for narrow face structures. You’ll need to eyeball a diamond-shaped angle into the bottom sides of your beard; basically, you’re going to carve a “V” into the bottom of it, from some uniform point on both sides below each jaw bone. While this should be slow and steady, the most importance advice we have is to pick out the beard after you finish trimming, and then trim away any particularly long hairs before coaching it back into place and re-trimming the same V shape. With balm, finish off the style to hold it in place and prevent strays.
Clean up cheeklines: If you grow a long beard, then eventually the neckline becomes a non issue. It disappears behind that nest. But you must always maintain clean cheek lines. (That is, the borders of your facial hair that creep into or over the cheeks.) Don’t let sparse cheek hairs deter you from growing a full beard, either. There are plenty of men who have low cheek lines but big, full beards (or even short, full beards). The best thing you can do, though, is embrace the sparseness and clean up any patches that are still there. That’s what helps give you a distinct, intentional style, instead of implying that you’ve just let it all grow out without any say in the matter.
Style/shape tips to consider: If you want to play with different beard styles, you can play with different volumes under the chin, or consider snipping the “bridge” between the mustache and the chin, or even breaking the space between the sideburns and starting the beard underneath the ears. Try growing a fuller mustache but a shorter beard, or even vice versa—or attempt any of the mustache styles below paired with your beard at any length. You have so many options available to you, and sometimes the only way to know what works is to try everything once. The worst that can happen is you trim it all down and start over again. For shorter styles, that’s not such a risk, either. It’ll all be back within a month!
Bigger ‘staches need sculpting: If you want to rock something prominent like a walrus or a big handlebar mustache, then get yourself some mustache wax and a mustache comb. Even an unruly walrus mustache can benefit from some direction and control, so that it doesn’t sprout outwards; the idea is that it covers the lip like a curtain, so make sure of it. As for handlebars, they need to have movement and high hold, so that wax and comb are imperative for the styling. You can use a pen, your pinky finger, or toothbrush base to achieve the curl at the ends of the handlebar.
Lose the sideburns: if you have a standalone sideburn, then shave your sideburns—unless “porn star” is what you want to achieve.
Try snipping into the philtrum: One way to give your mustache shape and style is to create a natural “part” down the center, not unlike the one that most of us have atop our heads. You’ll need a couple weeks’ worth of growth to do this, though. If you have an even longer ‘stache yet, then it might part with a comb and a little twizzle wax. But, if it’s short, then try trimming a tiny triangle into the philtrum (that divet between the base of the nose and the top center part of your lip). Just a teensy, tiny triangle (drawn with a detail trimmer or a careful, steady hand with a safety or straight razor) gives the base of your mustache the appearance of direction—one side flows to the right of the teensy triangle, and the other side flows the opposite direction. You can conversely try this with an upside-down triangle at the top of the mustache, but try it at the base first, which tends to look a little more natural. Even if it’s just a couple weeks long, the mustache should look like it’s “moving” to both sides, and can even benefit from a little bit of wax to help cement this impression.
Width and chin depth: With goatees, the best rule of thumb is to keep whatever natural width you have at the sides of your mustache. Eyeball that strip of hair that connects your ‘stache to your beard (if you have it at all), and use that as your straight line downward. If you keep this all connected, then follow the line down underneath your chin. Round the jaw and create a small “U” to connect one side to the next. Use two fingers from the bottom point of your chin. The base of this “U” will meet at the base of these two fingers. If you lack the sharp jaw features and have a cascading neck, then just stick with a simple, symmetrical shape (try to match the base of your goatee to the same curvature as the mustache above the lip).
Broken goatee: If you want to trim this bridge between the mustache and beard (or if you lack it altogether), then you can more or less follow the above advice to achieve a totally different look. If you have defined facial structure, though, then let the underside of your chin fill in a little bit more, and even fan out a bit to the sides. (Maybe a half centimeter wider than the mustache on either side.) Draw a wider “U” under the chin using the same two-finger method above from the sides of this base. You can keep the chin fuzz as filled in or sparse as you like. This goatee style emphasizes the breakage between the mustache by offsetting the weight, and giving a fuller base—almost like the goatee version of a VanDyke beard. (Of course, you can also shave a shorter base if you want to play with contrats in the opposite direction. Again, that breakage and separation from the mustache allows for you to toy with different weights, lengths, and fullness around the chin. Ultimately, there are no rules!)
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