Whether you’re aiming to look like a proper gentleman or a rugged outdoorsman, your facial hair is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. But before you start slathering on the beard oil, it’s worth considering how exactly you’re going to shape and style your beard.
A carefully shaped beard that’s styled according to your face shape can complement your features, add shape and dimension, and enhance your face’s natural proportions. But a poorly-styled beard that doesn’t keep your face shape in mind can look unkempt or unflattering instead. Here’s our ultimate guide to figuring out the best beard for your face.
First up: figuring out your face shape
The very first thing you’ll need to do when finding the right beard shape for you is to determine the type of canvas you’re working with – or in other words, the shape of your face! To do this, you’ll need a measuring tool like a ruler or a measuring tape. Tip: you can measure your face directly, but you might find it easier to take a picture of yourself looking straight at the camera and measure the picture instead. Or, you can look directly at the mirror and trace your face with a dry-erase marker, and take measurements from there.
You’ll need to take four different measurements across their widest points: your forehead, your cheekbones, your jawline, and down the center of your face from the center of your forehead to your chin. You’ll also want to take into consideration the kinds of features your face has (is your jaw round or sharp? Are your cheekbones prominent?) From here, you’ll be able to determine your face shape based on your proportions and general facial features.
The main face shapes are the following:
If the measurement of your cheekbones and face length are very close and are wider than your jawline and forehead, your face might be round. People with round faces also tend to have rounder chins and softer features.
Oval faces are slightly longer than they are wide. The foreheads will be slightly wider than the jawlines, which are rounded.
For square faces, you’ll find that the face length, cheekbone, jawline, and forehead measurements are all fairly similar. You’ll also notice sharper and more defined facial features, especially in your jaw.
As the name suggests, a heart-shaped face (sometimes called an “inverted triangle”) will be the widest at the forehead measurement and features a narrower pointed chin.
If your face length is the largest measurement of your face, while your cheekbones, jawline, and forehead are all fairly similar, your face is probably oblong.
A diamond-shaped face will measure longest in face length, and both the forehead and the jawline will be smaller than the cheekbones. Diamond-faced individuals will also have pointier chins.
The Best Beard Styles For You Depending On Your Face Shape
Once you’ve determined your face shape, you can move on to shaping your beard! Remember, the point of knowing your face shape is to determine the best way to bring balance to your entire face.
Best beard shapes for round faces
If you have a rounder face, it’s best to avoid adding more width to your cheekbones and jaw with lots of hair bulk, so you’ll want to keep your sideburns fairly short and well-trimmed. Depending on your features, you might also want to veer away from styles like the Chin Curtain that highlight the roundness of your jawline. If you have the ability to grow an especially excellent beard, you might benefit from choosing a more angular beard style like the Duck Tail or the French Fork to create the illusion of sharper features.
Best shapes: Medium or long full beards with short sides, duck tail, Garibaldi, French Fork
Best beard shapes for oval faces
Oval faces are highly versatile and well-balanced, meaning that they can work well with virtually every beard style. You can keep it simple with a classic style like a full beard or stubble, but you can also experiment with fun styles that are harder to pull off like the Verdi, French Fork, and Duck Tails.
Best shapes: full beard, Verdi, French Fork, Duck Tails, Garibaldi, etc.
Best beard shapes for square faces
If you have a square face, you are probably also lucky enough to have sharp features and a chiseled jawline to cut glass that begs to be shown off. So partial beard styles like goatees, circle beards, and anchors are great here -- they’ll allow you to grow great facial hair without obstructing your best features!
Best shapes: Goatees, circle beards, anchor
Best beard shapes for heart-shaped faces
Heart-shaped faces tend to boast a widow’s peak and are generally wider in the forehead than the jawline, which means that the best beard shapes will add volume and shape to the lower half of your face. Aim for fuller beard styles, which can help balance out your wider forehead.
Best shapes: Full beard, French fork, Verdi
Best beard shapes for oblong faces
If your face is already long, as it is with oblong face shapes, your ideal beard shape shouldn’t add even more length. Instead, choose a shorter style of facial hair to add dimension without exaggerating your proportions.
Best shapes: Short beards, stubble, anchor
Best beard shapes for diamond faces
Diamond-faced dudes will likely have a sharper chin and wider cheekbones, so the goal here is to keep the bulk off of the middle of your face while filling out the jawline. This means that fuller styles are a great option as long as the sideburns are kept shorter and well-maintained.
Best shapes: Anchor, full beards, Garibaldi
Other things to know about shaping your beard
Here are a couple more rules of thumb for shaping your beard according to your face shape:
Consider your natural beard texture
For example, if your beard tends to grow fairly bushy and your face is round, you’ll want to be especially conscious of keeping your sideburns well-trimmed to avoid adding extra bulk and accentuating your wider cheekbones.
Keep up with routine grooming maintenance
When it comes to facial hair, routine at-home maintenance is key! Keeping a good trimmer on hand and learning how to use it can make all the difference between a scraggly, scary beard and a sexy one in between trips to the barbershop.
Don’t forget the hair on your head!
Pairing your well-shaped beard with an unkempt haircut can completely throw off the look. On the other hand, keeping your hair neat and styled can bring out the best in your facial hair and help balance out your entire handsome face.
Clean, well-groomed facial hair that properly accentuates your handsome face can make a world of difference in your overall appearance. Taking some time to evaluate your face shape and determine your best features can go a long way in helping you find the perfect beard look for you.