First impressions are lasting. Everything from your body language to your clothing to your voice can affect how a person perceives you. Although it may seem judgmental, its a fact that our society makes associations between these surface level aspects of your personality and the deeper inner workings of your being. And gentlemen, your facial hair is no exception. The way you groom (or dont groom) your beard and mustache is a clear indication of not only your personal habits, but your attitude toward yourself, the social culture you identify with, and even your age. So know what youre getting into when you shave it clean, grow it long, or “˜creatively shape it into something not found elsewhere in nature. Lets start full-on and move through to the nude.
The Full Beard ““ This can go a few different ways. A full beard that is consistent and well-trimmed passes in the workplace, on the big screen, and across cultural lines these days. It can read as masculine, strong, religious, or dignified. Sporting the full beard tells the world that you love having a beard so much that you are choosing it as a focal point of yourself. But when the full beard gets scraggly, it crosses a line. A long, unkempt, or patchy beard is just not worth it. A bad beard suggests ambivalence and if you dont care too much about yourself, what makes a stranger think youll care too much about them? If youre going to keep the beard, men, keep it neat.
The 5-oclock Shadow ““ That “I shaved yesterday and just woke up looking like this” look is hot among Hollywood actors, hip professors, and the lazy. It is absolutely acceptable and even attractive when it is kept trimmed just off the face and paired with a tidy haircut. But remember, it is the beard that showed up at 5-oclock this afternoon, not five days ago. Keep it short. This look tells your friends, family, colleagues, and those fortunate enough to accidently run into you on the street that youre rugged but not sloppy, that you are modern but not overly concerned, and mostly importantly, that you know who Ryan Gosling is.
The Goatee ““ Intentionally sculpting your facial hair into a circle that surrounds your upper lip, lower cheeks, lower lip, and chin takes an amount of concentration and purpose that is commendable. However, the goatee is a dated look that made its mark in the mid-90s and quickly fizzled out as dads, dentists, and acoustic rock stars adopted it. Sure, the goatee was stylish, courageous, and you could still show off those cherub cheeks while sporting it. But those days are gone and the goatee tells those around you that youre having a hard time coming to grips with that fact. Embrace the future!
The Mustache ““ We all know that older gentleman who has had a mustache his entire life and who, if he ever shaved, we wouldnt recognize. We also know that 20-something-year-old with the mustache who is hilarious and hip and could or could not pull this look off for maybe just one more month. If you do decide to try on the Burt Reynolds of facial hair, know who you are and what you want out of life and just own that.
The Chops ““ Sideburns are tricky. They are classic and masculine, but too big or too bushy and they go tacky real quick. Elvis was considered a dreamboat and many presidents have been put into power rocking cheek fringe. The key to modern sideburns is to keep them as straight as your razor blade and keep them trimmed to about a quarter of an inch long. You want to look stylish, not grizzly.
The Bare Naked ““ The freedom that comes with shaving your entire face is parallel to that which comes with not shaving at all. When you bare all, you expose your face in all its natural glory to the entire world. You give your upper lip a break. You give your partners upper lip a break. Ultimately, you express your confidence, your impeccable grooming habits, and a sense of formality that other facial hair styles may not quite emit. When freshly shaved, you tell the world that youre a pretty cool guy who is on top things.