Magicians. Fred Durst. Guys who like energy drinks, 4×4 pickup trucks and wearing their baseball cap back to front. Let’s face it, the list of notable goatee proponents doesn’t exactly read like a who’s who of people to take your grooming cues from.
This precisely-groomed beard style have long been the subject of ridicule, but if you’ve often toyed with the idea of trying one out yourself, don’t let that put you off.
In spite of the stereotypes, goatees aren’t all bad. In fact, they provide a solid facial-hair option for both those who struggle to grow a full beard and those with rounder or less sculpted faces. They can add definition and balance out proportions. They can make patchy facial fuzz appear thicker.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt have been wearing them for years, along with other modern style icons like Tom Hardy and Idris Elba. What they all know is that goatees are, in fact, surprisingly versatile and help you look like a badass – if you get the styling right, that is.
What Is A Goatee?
In the broadest sense of the word, a goatee is a style of beard that incorporates hair on the chin and usually the upper lip, too. There are various goatee styles but the common thread that unites them all is some level of hair cover on the lowermost section of the face, usually around the mouth.
Most goatee styles are short beards that are meticulously sculpted, but they can also be longer and you can try different types to find the right beard for your face shape.
How To Trim A Goatee
In order to get a goatee, you’ll first need to shave one in. That means growing whatever facial hair you have out for anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months, depending on the style you’re aiming for. Once you have the right length, shave away hair on the cheeks, sideburns and wherever else it isn’t needed in order to outline your goatee.
The next step in achieving the perfect goatee is to trim your beard into shape. A good beard trimmer is essential for this part.
Opt for something with a variety of different cutting lengths. That way you can blend parts of your goatee if necessary or even just alter the length if you feel like a change.
As a rule of thumb, the longer the face is, the wider the goatee should be. The goal is to achieve balance. A lot here depends on style but for a full goatee aim for around a centimetre out from each corner of the mouth and trim down, following an invisible straight line to just underneath the chin.
Use the inside of your jawbone at your chin as a guide for when to stop at each side, then shave anything below the invisible line that joins both points.
If this is proving difficult, there are actually goatee-shaping templates out there that can be placed on the face and shaved around. Kind of cheating, but we won’t tell anyone.
How To Groom A Goatee
Achieving the perfect goatee doesn’t end with your beard trimmer skills. To really make it work, it’s important to keep the hair and skin nourished, too. Beard oil isn’t just for full beards so invest in some even if the only hairy part of your face is your chin. This will keep the hair soft and healthy, while ensuring the skin beneath it isn’t blighted by dandruff.
7 Goatee Styles Every Man Should Know
From all-time classics to quirky alternatives, these are the goatee styles every man should know about.
The Full Goatee
Consisting of a connected moustache and beard combination, shaved into a loosely circular shape around the mouth, the full goatee is the classic choice when it comes to growing a little beard.
Favoured by the likes of Brad Pitt, this style can be worn long or short, but we’d advise going for either the former or somewhere in between. Too long and you risk looking like the newest member of Metallica…unless, of course, that’s the look you’re going for. Face shape-wise, pretty much anything goes, but rounder faces, in particular, will benefit from the angular aspect.
The Van Dyke
David Beckham, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr and countless other A-listers have made the Van Dyke goatee their signature facial fuzz at one time or another. Looking at it, it’s not difficult to see why. This shapely style is composed of a disconnected moustache and a beard on the chin, which can be worn long or short.
As far as goatees go, this one is very tasteful. It also has a nice way of bringing the face to a point, which is great if you’re not blessed with the Hollywood bone structure of some of its celebrity wearers.
The Anchor Goatee
Even if you hadn’t seen a picture of an anchor goatee, you could probably make a pretty solid guess as to what it looks like from the name alone.
The classic anchor is one of the few goatee styles that does away with the moustache entirely, opting only for hair on the chin. However, if that idea doesn’t appeal, it can be combined with a handlebar moustache. Steer clear of this one if you have a long or heart-shaped face, though as it will add length to the face and could have the unwanted effect of making the chin look extra pointy.
The Stubble Goatee
Playing it safe probably isn’t the worst idea when experimenting with a goatee for the first time and a stubble version is a good way to test the water without going full Hell’s Angel.
The stubble goatee is exactly the same in terms of shape and style as the full goatee, the only difference being the length. The clue is in the name with this one, because instead of growing out a full beard and then shaving it into shape, you’ll want to do the same thing but with somewhere between a 5 and 10-day stubble.
The Royale Goatee
One of the most problematic facial hair areas in terms of coverage is what we call the ‘connectors’. These are the bits of hair that join the moustache to the rest of the beard and a lot of men struggle to grow them. If this sounds familiar, it could be the reason you’ve avoided growing a goatee in the past.
Luckily, the royale goatee by passes this problem by doing away with the connectors altogether. It’s essentially a full goatee with the hair at the corners of the mouth taken out, making it a perfect option for those who struggle with patchy growth.
The Pencil Goatee
Immortalised by Craig David and avoided by everyone else ever since, the pencil goatee is one of the more controversial facial hair styles, but there’s still a case to be made for it.
A big, thick goatee can look disproportionate when slapped on a small, thin face. That’s where this low-profile variation comes into play. We’re not saying it needs to be ridiculously thin, just enough so that it doesn’t look overbearing. Start of big and gradually trim inwards until you reach a width that looks good.
The Goatee With Stubble
For some, a goatee will be too precise or bogged down in connotations of doormen and bikers. But if it suits your face shape you can also combine it with stubble for a more subtle look. It’s a failsafe combo that is particularly good for patchy growth and works on most face shapes, too.
To get this one right, the moustache and hair on the chin should be longer that what you have on the cheeks and neck.