If you have a strong chin
A stronger chin can accentuate your face, and you can still wear a beard without hiding it. "If you want your strong chin to show, keep the sides of your beard shorter and leave the middle a bit longer, but short enough to highlight your strength," says Genevieve Bochanty, who works in Brand Experience at The Art of Shaving. "If you want to mask it a bit, keep the sides a little longer and the chin hair long enough to smooth out the area." Anu Cherucheril, Recruiting Resource Specialist for Great Clips, Inc. and former Great Clips stylist for 8 years, adds that balance is key. "If someone has a really strong chin, a stylist might recommend keeping the hair length on the cheeks longer than on the chin to balance the prominence out," she says.
If you have a larger nose
Larger noses lend themselves well to a lot of facial hairstyles, but growing out a mustache might not be the best choice. "If your nose is prominent, it may be wise to avoid a mustache, as it would frame the nose, accentuating its size," says Cherucheril. "If your nose is on the wider side, a short beard would keep your head from looking too big. If your nose is long and lean, some length could help balance it." Bochanty adds that the color of your beard also becomes important when you have a larger nose. "If you have a dark thick beard, this will highlight your nose as a prominent feature depending on its length," she says. These are other surprising myths and facts about your hair.
If you have bushy eyebrows
To prevent strong eyebrows and a beard from overwhelming your face, make sure to have proportion in mind when you decide on your facial hairstyle. "It is best to trim up the eyebrows a bit so that your face is not overtaken with hair, especially if you have dark hair," says Bochanty. "Then, make sure your beard hair is neat and trimmed so it has an intentional look versus a hair-gone-wild aesthetic." Anu Cherucheril recommends picking one feature to focus on. "If someone has a strong brow it may suit them to also have some length in the beard to keep things in proportion," she says. "One might opt for a shorter look to draw the eye to the eyebrows." These are the grooming tweaks all men need to look (and smell) their best.
If you want to accentuate your lips and chin
While many stylists don't love the soul patch facial hairstyle, there are some positives to it, namely that it can highlight the lips and chin uniquely. "I personally am not a fan of the soul patch because there isn't anything natural about the shape—they typically have harsh sides," says Cherucheril. "I would certainly say that the client should really like the shape of their lips and chin, as soul patches accentuate them."
If you've got a square jaw
Having the hard lines of a square jaw can make wearing a beard look easy. If you want to highlight your jawline, make sure not to cover it up with too much hair. "Square shapes are generally the most flattering for a "masculine" look and can usually look great with everything," says Cherucheril. "Stylists are always trying to give the illusion of structure, so when someone has it, our job is easy!" Bochanty adds that keeping the style tighter on the sides will help accent the square shape instead of drowning it in hair, leaving you looking sharp. Upgrade your office style too, and you might even earn a promotion.
If you have consistently dense facial hair
If your facial hair is full and dense, the rugged 5 o'clock shadow look might be for you. "Five o'clock shadows look great on men who have the same hair density throughout their face," says Cherucheril. "They're a favorite of mine when paired with a clean neck. Sparse hair has a tendency to look undone or dusty." While face shape can definitely dictate what style may suit you best, you ultimately will need to rely on your beard growth for which styles you can sport. Men with patchy beards may never be able to achieve one certain style and should make sure they work with their beard hair growth and not against it. You cannot will hair to grow where it simply won't. However, you can make sure you promote healthy hair growth by using beard oils, beard brushes, beard wash, and conditioner. The better condition your beard hair is in, the better you can shape and style your beard," says Bochanty. "You can definitely look at your face shape and have a thought of how you would like your beard to look. But it really comes down to growing it out so you can understand your growth potential. At that point, you can really start exploring shaping possibilities."
If you've got smaller facial features
Smaller facial features can handle longer and shorter styles of facial hair, and stylists are quick to recommend both. "Work with your face and keep the style shorter and well-maintained," says Bochanty. "Long bushy beards could take over your face." Still, Cherucheril adds that petite features on a face can handle a little length. "Smaller features can often handle longer length in the sides of a beard, or go higher on the cheek to add some real estate!" she says. Don't miss the clues your beard reveals about your health.
If you aren't sure
If you don't know where to begin when picking a beard style for your face, there are several factors to consider. "A man should think about what's appropriate in his work environment and clothing look," says Cherucheril. "Daily maintenance is something to keep in mind as well—are you willing to clean your neck up every day? How about defining a goatee or mustache? A client has to be honest about upkeep to keep their shape looking its best." If all else fails and you're still stuck, the 5 o'clock shadow is a timeless choice that works on most people. "Five o'clock shadows can be rocked by any face shape. It's more about keeping it neat, short, and intentional," says Bochanty. "You don't want to look like you're trying to grow your beard out."
Before you head to the barber
There are a couple of guidelines that can help all men with their facial hair. The first: Proportion and balance are keys to enhancing a man's facial structure. "One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to bring pictures into the salon," Cherucheril says. "Find someone with a similar face shape and hair texture to get a real feel for what's attainable. Stylists love photos because hair 'language' is often lost in translation. What a customer calls 'long' could be seen as 'short' to a stylist, but visuals speak to everyone." Switching up your beard—or growing one in the first place—is a great way to change your look without breaking the bank, and it really can change the frame of the face. "Experimenting is fun, and I encourage men to try different looks and go with what feels good," Cherucheril adds. "Don't forget to care for the skin and hair with moisture, conditioner and serums can keep things tidy and looking healthy." And if you don't like the look, just wait—facial hair grows back!