The decision to grow a beard means a lot more than simply putting a stop to your shaving regimen. Finding the right style for your face shape is essential. A goatee does not work for every man. Neither does a long billy-goat beard.
And so we focus on small faces (i.e., those men with finer features and a lower hairline). “Having a smaller head is not uncommon,” says barber Shorty Maniaci of Mystic Hair in San Francisco. “You might have a smaller cranium — the proper name for the skull bone — and you might have a hairline that comes far forward, making your head look smaller. But to make it a ‘small head,’ you might just have fine features too.”
If you have a small head, this means you might have a smaller face, which means less surface area — less for people to see. So the most important thing is to not grow too much facial hair and hide what you got. Minimalism is the key here.
“You simply don’t want too much,” says Maniaci. “Maybe sideburns, but short or maybe medium length.” Sideburns are a good option because they give the face definition and style, without distracting the eye from your mug.
A disconnected goatee also works. “That’s when the moustache and the hair below the chin don’t touch. It’s two separate areas of facial hair,” says Maniaci. “The most important is the vertical hair on your chin, which lengthens the face and makes it look more proportional, maybe even bigger.”
Minimal Moustaches and 10 O’clock Shadows
Whether it’s paired with the disconnected goatee or on its own, your moustache should be thin. This way, it’s more of an accent mark on your face — a stylish add-on rather than a thick bar of facial hair. “A thinner moustache really adds balance,” says Maniaci. “A popular style right now includes thicker at the center — right between the nose and lips — and then slowly tapering out toward the outside edge of the mouth.”
Whatever you do, let a lot of skin show through. Maniaci recommends a new take on the 5 o’clock shadow that’s popular among barbers: what he calls the “10 o’clock shadow.” This is about 2 days worth of stubble. Don’t shave for two days. Then take a beard trimmer and clip it down. “Make sure you can see the skin through the hair,” he says. “It’s less hair than a beard, but can give you a lot to work with.” If your hair is thick and is difficult to see through, make sure to shave your cheeks clear lower than usual — almost to the jawline. And keep your neck shaved high up — almost to the very bottom of the chin. You don’t want an outline or a chinstrap; it’s really just a manicured beard.
By Aaron Krach for Style + Tech For Men
Aaron Krach, former grooming editor of Cargo magazine, is a writer and editor based in New York City. His work has appeared in InStyle, Out, and TimeOut New York, as well as on Esquire.com.