"To shave, or not to shave - that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to
suffer the nicks and cuts of outrageous grooming, or take a stand against the bareness
of face and by opposing, grow hair - moustache and beard."
With apologies to the late Mr. Shakespeare (whom by evidence of portraiture was
fond of facial hair himself) I decided to make a little joke of what is for some people a
fairly serious subject. Through the span of recorded history, facial hair on men has
gone in and out of fashion so often that it is often difficult to track. Facial hair on men
has at different times been a symbol of virility, maturity, social standing, non-conformity, counter-cultural identity, and just plain personal pride.
And the question of whether or not men look good with facial hair or without it is one
that often gets a different answer from every person asked. The topic has both
proponents and opponents, and these individuals' views on the subject range from the
genial to the fanatical.
The extent to which some women are obsessed with the hair on their heads is
nothing when compared to the level of obsession some men have with their facial hair.
While generally speaking, most women prefer a clean-shaven man, many women (and
many more men) find facial hair to be very attractive. And the up-and-coming
generation of young men (those in their late teens and early twenties) seem to have
founded a renewed interest growing and grooming unique facial hair designs.
Even with this massive influx of new and updated trends in men's facial hair, we
have to remember that there is rarely ever anything new under the sun. All the current
facial hair styles have their origins in a handful of basic styles. You could even argue
that by looking at a man's facial hair as having three basic areas - the upper lip, the
chin, and the sideburns - all men's facial hair styles are simply variations and
combinations on the same themes.
Here are some basic styles of men's facial hair and a description of what makes
The Chin Curtain: This is a style of facial hair that is often seen
in the media whenever video footage of America's Amish
community is shown. The style is marked by facial hair grown only
along the lower portion of the face at the chin and following the
jaw line. While many Amish men still wear traditional chin
curtains, modern variants are seen that are trimmed into ultra
thin lines and even patterns along the jaw.
The Goatee: The goatee has been a popular style throughout
history, and has been seen in countless variations all along. It is
characterized by its confinement to the chin area. It can be worn
close-trimmed, or grown long and full, sometimes combed and
clipped into geometric shapes. Modern variants tend to be close-trimmed and can cover the entire area below the bottom lip, or
simply the chin itself.
The Goatee with Moustache: By adding the moustache to the
goatee, you end up with a different look that has as much variety
as seen in the regular goatee style. This too has been seen in
long and close-trimmed variants, and shaped to be more square
or rounder, depending on the shape of the wearer's face. And like
the goatee-only version, is modernized by close-trimmed and thin variants.
The Soul Patch (or Small Beard): The Soul Patch is most readily
identified as a style popular among the beatniks and jazz artists
of the 50s and 60s. In earlier periods, the soul patch was called a
'small beard' for obvious reasons. It is characterized by its
confinement to the area just below the lower lip. It has been
seen trimmed short, or grown long and groomed into varied
shapes. Modern versions are often trimmed short and narrow.
The Handlebar Moustache: This is one of only two moustache styles
chosen to include here. Moustaches as a whole are simply variations on a
theme, styled and trimmed full or thin. The handlebar moustache is
characterized by the fact that it must be worn long enough to curl the ends
of the moustache upward. This is usually achieved and maintained through
the use of specialized styling wax. Modern moustache styles tend to be
close-trimmed and worn thin.