When you choose an outfit for the day, you’re conveying to the world an image you’d like to project. Whether you’re a budding business mogul or a creative free spirit, everything from your glasses to your socks can help you convey that. Think of your facial hair as the most important accessory you own, highlighting your facial features (or disguising them) to help you express yourself.
We’re big believers in frequent change, particularly when it comes to hair. If you’ve been blessed with a lush facial hair type, take the time to do some research and try a creative or classic style. To help inspire your next beard decisions, we’ve rounded up 10 beard styles to try this year. You’re going to want to see these.
With a steady hand and a trimmer—or the expertise a trusted barber—you’re bound to love how these beard styles look.
5 O’Clock Shadow
We’ll start with the easiest of facial hair looks: the 5 o’clock shadow. Named for the stubble upstanding businessmen have a habit of growing by dinner, this look involves just the barest hint of facial hair. That makes it optimal for men who struggle to grow much more than peach fuzz or those cursed with patchiness.
Instead of mourning your inability to grow a full lumberjack-style beard, embrace what you do have. As an added incentive, this “shadow” can help place emphasis on your jawline, creating the illusion of a well-defined chin.
Second Day Stubble
Once you’ve passed your first morning without shaving, you’ve moved from a mere hint of facial hair into stubble territory. Hovering around a quarter of an inch in length, these short beard hairs provide the same jaw-flattering effect we discussed before. However, the short length can is often bristly and sharp.
If your romantic situation is such that you’re likely to be getting close to another person’s face on the regular, you may want to choose a longer beard style.
You already know all about faded haircuts for men, which means it’s time to incorporate that same technique into your beard. Instead of keeping it all one length, your barber will gently taper the hair closer to your scalp right around the sideburns. If you already have a fade from the top of your head, it only makes sense to blend the two into a cohesive look.
Be warned, though: This is a look that requires regular maintenance. The good news is you can make it work with almost any beard shape.
Haircuts come in all shapes and angles, each one designed to echo the lines of your face. When it comes to beards, nothing is more important than creating a shape that mimics your jawline. That’s why we love the boxed beard, a squared-off look that’s most often seen on the red carpet.
Whether you decided to wear this shape in a short length or grow a more dramatic, longer boxed beard, this is a classic hairstyle that won’t fail you.
Longer beards are all about creativity and masculinity, which are both admirable beauty goals. Jawline beards, however, have a somewhat more simple purpose: To make your jawline look even sharper. This close-cropped style is appropriate for conservative offices.
Bonus tip: If you’re seeing gray sprinkled throughout your facial hair, the jawline beard is an excellent way to show it off. It doesn’t get much more distinguished than a salt and pepper beard.
Don’t feel like you have to maintain every single hair on your face just because you’re capable of growing it. A tapered beard is the facial hair that proves less is actually more. Instead of grooming your natural beard, your barber will taper it into a more stylized shape. If you’re a man who’s serious about his edges and regular hair appointments, the tapered beard may be a good fit for you.
Inexperienced men might allow their beard head to grow freely, but true sophisticates know that a beautiful beard should be precisely maintained—think of it as a kind of topiary that lives on your face. The most classic shape is the rounded beard, which features a gentle curvature along the bottom edge. If you’re feeling like a more customized shape is a better fit, talk to your barber about a ducktail (think pirate-inspired pointiness) or a French fork (two points to your beard instead of one).
Door Knocker Beard
If a goatee and a mustache merged into one facial hair style, you’d wind up with a door knocker beard. Unlike full beards, door knockers don’t provide quite as much coverage. That makes them ideal for men who either can’t commit to a full beard or can’t grow a full one. Note that facial hair styles with very precise shape will always require more at-home maintenance than their untamed lumberjack fellows.
Despite its admittedly hilarious name, the ducktail beard isn’t actually a style just designed for comedy. This sharply angled beard comes to a point just below the chin, accentuating your jaw and adding a hint of classic charm to your look. Although we’ve seen this style on middle-aged men in the past, a wave of younger stars have recently been embracing the look. If you’re able to grow a very full beard, the ducktail is worth trying.
In the past, most beards have been highly manicured and regularly moisturized. If you prefer a more laid-back vibe to your facial hair, it’s perfectly acceptable to let your natural texture run wild. To make sure you’re still sneaking under the dress code at work, make sure you’re regularly washing and detangling your facial hair.