Jake Gyllenhaal’s mountain man beard might be long and bushy, but he keeps it combed, expertly trimmed and healthy-looking. When dealing with facial hair at this length, maintenance is key to avoiding an overgrown and unkempt nest full of woodland creatures.
If you’re going to sport a voluminous afro, follow Questlove’s (of The Roots) lead and grow a full beard to help balance out the look and avoid looking like you’re wearing a hair helmet. His beard emphasizes his strong jawline, anchoring his incredible hairstyle and bringing the entire look together.
There’s nothing worse than a man with over-plucked, barely-there eyebrows. Drake’s thick but tidy brows properly frame his eyes, without looking overdone or overgrown. Gentlemen, don’t forget: There should be two.
You might not understand what the Swedish Chef has to say, but his mustache is perfectly clear. The Chef’s ’stache strikes a delicate balance between his bulbous nose, gaping mouth and wild eyebrows. If you have large features, dainty facial hair will only serve to make things look larger.
Breaking up is hard to do, but funnyman Russell Brand does it in style. His recent split from pop star Katy Perry has left him with a dastardly, pirate-worthy beard that gives him a brooding look — an appropriate style for a recent divorcé, if you ask us.
Best Performance by a Goatee and Mustache Duo: Kanye West
Kanye West keeps his mustache short, expertly trimmed and narrow to avoid adding weight between his nose and lip. Instead, he turns the focus to his goatee, which emphasizes his strong chin and jawline.
When you’re a rock ’n’ roll icon, you can pull off any look, but Kravitz keeps his beard short, trimmed and only slightly wild. The beard slims down his round face and balances out the roundness of his hairstyle, while highlighting his mouth and lips (not a bad thing when you’re a singing front man).
When you’re a smooth soul singer, you need facial hair that will complement your gentlemanly style while upping your game. John Legend’s perfect short stubble adds a dash of roughness to his boyish face — but not enough to scare off the ladies.
And our awards for most dubious facial hair styles go to …
Maroon 5 front man Adam Levine has perfected the art of the stubble — and that’s the problem. It’s almost too perfect. Stubble is meant to look accidental, to sport an air of, “I woke up looking this good.” Levine’s stubble is so evenly trimmed and shaped that it appears overworked. He could use a lesson from Lenny Kravitz.
When teenage girls proclaim their undying (undead?) love for you at every turn, sometimes you need to don a disguise just to get a little peace. Nothing can change your look quicker than a beard. Unfortunately, Edward’s — I mean, Robert’s — beard looks awkward on his boyish face and drains away his usual good looks. A perfect disguise, indeed!
Nick Burnsis one of the leading grooming writers in the country. He has contributed to numerous publications, including GQ, Esquire, Details and The New York Times, and is co-author of The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face. This is his first article for Men’s Life Today.