The Complete List of Men’s Beard Styles

Oct. 312023

By Rudy's Grooming Club, Darien, CT

Beards are more than just a fashion statement. Behind their bushy exterior is a rich history full of culture and meaning. Each beard style reflects a trend, a rite of passage, or a brief moment in time that still lives on today. Whether you’re new to growing a beard, or a veteran of the game, Rudy’s Grooming Club is here to guide you through the top 15 men’s beard styles. 

The Stubble Beard

Often grown by accident, stubble beards convey a rugged yet clean-cut look. Stubble beard styles like the 5 o’clock shadow started to become more popular in the late 20th century. Stubble beards can range from light to dark, and go exceptionally well with oval face shapes.

Depending on the rate of your hair growth, growing a stubble beard is relatively simple: after a clean shave, allow your facial hair to grow for about 2 to 5 days, depending on the speed of your hair growth and the type of stubble you prefer. 

The Full Beard

When it comes to beard styles, full beards are what most people probably think of. They’ve been around forever, spanning across various cultures as symbols of wisdom and masculinity. Full beards are simple and straightforward, consisting of large amounts of facial hair that cover the cheek lines, chin, and neck, often accompanied by a mustache. 

Growing a full beard can take weeks, or even months to accomplish. It requires patience and commitment. Applying beard oil or balm for conditioning and hydration can help keep your full beard looking as robust as possible.

The Circle Beard

The circle beard, often mistaken for the goatee, combines a rounded goatee with a mustache to form a continuous loop or "circle" around the mouth. As one of the short beard styles on the list, circle beards serve as a fashionable middle ground between a clean shave and a full beard. 

In order to grow a circle beard, you’ll need to grow out your full beard, and then shave the hair from your cheeks, jaw, and chin. Use a beard trimmer to shape your beard and trim any excess hair to reach your desired length. 

The Goatee Beard

The goatee dates all the way back to Ancient Greece and has since been a fashionable choice among intellectuals and artists. Famous actors like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Robert Downey Jr. have been rocking goatees on the red carpet for years.  

Like goats, goatees feature facial hair on the chin and are sometimes accompanied by a mustache. This type of beard is great for men who experience patchy beards, as well as those who have a square face shape.

The Short-Boxed Beard

The short-boxed beard is a short beard style that offers a more understated look than a full beard. It has become a popular choice for professionals seeking a balanced look that suits both formal and casual settings. 

The short-boxed beard covers the jawline, chin, and mustache area in a square shape. To grow one, you’ll want to let your facial hair grow out to a light beard length, fade the sideburns into the beard, and trim the beard along the cheeks to create a clearly defined line. 

The Anchor Beard

The anchor beard, a close cousin of the Van Dyke beard, has been one of the most popular facial hair styles for centuries. As the name suggests, it resembles the shape of an anchor, and features a rounded goatee across the jawline, accompanied by a mustache and a soul patch. 

When growing an anchor beard, make sure that the mustache doesn’t connect with the goatee. The cheeks should be kept clean-shaven or with a light stubble to clearly feature the anchor beard’s shape, but feel free to grow your beard out on your neck.

The Van Dyke Beard

Often mistaken for an anchor beard, the Van Dyke beard was named after the 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck. Famous historical figures such as General George Custer and modern movie stars like Pierce Brosnan have embraced the bold look.

The Van Dyke beard style combines a goatee with a detached mustache above the upper lip. Unlike the anchor beard which is rounded at the chin, the goatee for the Van Dyke is pointy at the bottom. The mustache can also be curled at the ends to create an iconic look.

The Balbo Beard

Named after Italian aviator and politician Italo Balbo, the Balbo beard style is another great option for men who have patchy cheeks. The Balbo is characterized by its trademark floating mustache that’s disconnected from the beard, combined with a soul patch beneath the lips.

Those growing Balbo beards can do so within about four weeks or more of steady beard growth. The cheeks and neck should be completely shaven and the beard lines can be bushy or neatly trimmed. 

The Imperial Beard

Feeling royal? Dating back to 19th-century Europe, the Imperial beard was a regal style adopted by the noble class. Emperor Franz Josef is one of many in the upper class who wore the look, signifying his power and status. 

Growing out an Imperial beard requires an extra long mustache that twirls upwards at both ends in an almost cartoonish handlebar. The mustache can be mixed with either a pointed or rounded beard that extends from the lips and down past the chin. 

Mutton Chops

Mutton chops are one of the more rare men’s beard styles on our list. John Quincy Adams had mutton chops, but you’re probably most familiar with the X-Men character Wolverine, who popularized the unique look in Marvel Comics and later on the big screen.

What makes mutton chops such a striking look is that the chin is the only part of the face that’s left completely shaven. Essentially, mutton chops are a thick full beard and mustache with long sideburns that surround a cleanly shaven chin in the middle. 

The Soul Patch

Soul patches gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s among beatniks and minimalists. The name “soul” was attributed to the beard style because Jazz musicians like Dizzie Gillespie adopted the look, particularly jazz flutists who found having a soul patch gave them extra comfort while playing.

The process of growing a soul patch isn’t the hard part, it’s maintaining it. Let your beard grow out, then carefully shave all of your facial hair except for the area directly below the lip to bring out that soulful look.

The Chin Strap

The chin strap beard earned its name because of its resemblance to the chin straps attached to helmets worn by football players. The chin strap has clearly defined lines that run down from the sideburns and across the jawline. 

Chin strap beards should have neat, well-defined lines, keeping the cheeks, and lip areas cleanly shaven. They can be accompanied by a light goatee or mustache, but if they’re too dark, it will look more like a full beard than a chin strap. This beard style generally works great with coarse, dark hair.

The Verdi Beard

Named after the 19th-century Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi, the Verdi beard combines the rugged masculinity of a full beard with a sophisticated, clean-cut mustache to match. It has a similar look to the Garibaldi beard style, having the option to grow a fully rounded beard.

To grow the Verdi beard, you’ll want to grow out a full beard. Neatly fade the hair on your cheeks into your beard along your sideburns and chin. Most importantly, let your mustache grow out fully separate from your beard, and avoid trimming the ends.

The Garibaldi Beard

In the 19th century, Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi was a central figure in the unification of Italy. In the 21st century, he has a beard named after him. Similarly to the Verdi, the Garibaldi features a fully rounded beard that’s tied together with a mustache.

But unlike the Verdi beard style, where the mustache is fully grown out, the mustache on the Garibaldi is neatly trimmed. Other than the mustache, this long beard style requires little upkeep around the cheeks and neck.

The French Fork

Finally, the French fork. This unique beard style gained popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries among the French nobility before spreading across Europe. Today, the French fork is most recognized as the beard worn by Johnny Depp in his role as Jack Sparrow in the Disney franchise Pirates of the Caribbean

This one-of-a-kind beard style consists of a goatee, sometimes grown into a ducktail, that is split into two separate strands or “forks” below the chin. Shave your cheeks and jawline, leaving behind the forked goatee and a mustache to complete the ensemble. 


We’ve just traveled through history and across the world, exploring the origins of the most popular beard styles that men continue to adopt today. Beards have forever been an intimate way for men, both rich and poor, famous and down-right regular, to express themselves and their values. We hope this article helped you find the best beard style for you. 

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For more expertly curated content, keep an eye on Rudy's Grooming Club blog. We aim to be your trusted source for all things related to men's grooming!

For more expertly curated content, keep an eye on Rudy's Grooming Club blog.
We aim to be your trusted source for all things related to men's grooming and fashion.

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