Learning the shape of your face can be very important when choosing the style of beard best suited to you. Though it may sound trivial, and though you may have your ultimate style of beard in your mind’s eye, it’s important not to overlook how much your facial structure can influence and be influenced by beard type.
This will generally only apply to shorter beards – longer beards will tend to subsume your face shape anyway, to a large degree, giving you fewer options. However, to get the perfect short beard, knowing your face shape and the style that will best suit it could make or break your personal style.
It’s also important to take note of how your beard grows. If you would best suit a goatee or chinstrap but have thin growth on your chin, you may need to reconsider. If you want a full beard around the cheeks but your hair simply doesn’t grow here, the same: you will need to rethink things.
But what are these face shapes? And how do you choose your beard based on them?
Common Face Shapes
Generally speaking (and this is very general) there are seven common face shapes. Of course, we are all different. Many of us will have traits from more than one from this list and some of us won’t recognise ourselves in this list. However, the majority of people will fit the templates below at least in some form.
The Oval Face
An oval face is rounded at both top and bottom. However, to get its oval shape and differentiate itself from a rounded face (see below), it will also be quite long. It is the most commonly seen face shape.
There will be little jawline definition on an oval face, but this lends itself incredibly well to beard styling. Most beard styles will work on an oval face and will help to compensate for the less well-defined jawline.
The main thing to bear in mind when styling a beard for an oval face shape is consistency of length. Every area will want to be consistent and stray hairs should be dealt with- scruffiness is easy to come by with an oval face (of course, this could be your goal, in which case crack on).
If you have an oval face shape, experiment. Try any and all types of beard. You’re in a good position to do so without looking foolish, so have some fun with it.
The Round Face
Round faces don’t necessarily need to be complete circles (though this can be the case). They are just generally rounded, with softer, less pointed jawlines than other faces and less differentiation between jaw and cheeks.
A beard style that is longer at the bottom will work well with a round face- it will give it the definition that it naturally lacks. Sideburns and cheeks should be kept short to help emphasis this, whilst chin and even neck whiskers should be grown out.
In large part, we’re talking about goatees and chinstraps, here. However, any beard style that grows long at the bottom without taking up too much space at the sides will work well- think Hemingway or even Dumbledore. Triangular beards are also a good bet (DiCaprio in Django Unchained, for a bit of uncomfortable grandeur).
The Square Face
Square faces are shaped like, well, a square: all rectangles at the corners and straight lines and strong jaws.
Square faces will tend to better suit more hair on the chin and a little less on the neck and cheeks. This will keep the face from looking too bulky, over-emphasising the natural square.
Carefully grooming the neck will be a priority, keeping the neckline sharp and tidy. So too will keeping the sideburns and cheeks neat and short: use trimmers every few days to keep the length in check.
Good styles to suit a square face include the goatee, the anchor beard, the chinstrap or even the Abraham Lincoln look (a Shenandoah) for something really bold.
The Diamond Face
Diamond faces are generally dominated by sharp, high cheekbones. A square-ish chin with hair on the chin kept relatively short and thick is best. Avoid letting the chin beard portion get too pointy as this will overemphasise your face shape, making you look more like the Simpsons’ devil than anything else!
The Oblong Face
Oblong faces are long and slightly squared off at the top and bottom (as opposed to the oval face, see above). They will generally be best suited for beards that bring a little fullness to the sides with too much at the bottom. As with many of the other entries in this list, a good beard should de-emphasise the face’s natural bone structure, complementing it rather than emphasising it.
Keep the neckline short and well-groomed, go for very little on the chin, and grow out the cheeks and sideburns. A full, thick beard will work very well, as will variations on Mutton Chops or even Noddy Holder style sideburns.
The Heart Shape
Heart shaped faces are a little like round faces. However, they will tend towards wider foreheads with a definite taper towards the chin, finishing at a point. They are marked by a slender jawline with the cheekbones and foreheads being their widest points.
Full beards work really well on heart shaped faces. They help to fill out the slender jawline and what can be something of a weak chin, giving the face a far more substantial and quite angular look.
Now all you need to do is look in the mirror and judge what kind of face shape you have. Are you a diamond or a square? Is your face round or oblong? It should be fairly easy to tell- though if you need an objective opinion, maybe ask a friend (preferably one known for blunt advice…)
Armed with this knowledge, you can pick the best beard for you, one that will look cool and classic, that will really bring out the best of your features without marring anything.