Deciding to grow a beard is one thing. Deciding on the beard length is another animal. Finding the right beard length is tricky. There are some celebrity men out there who get this right. Think Ryan Gosling, David Beckham and Idris Elba. They keep their whiskers closely cropped and moisturized at all times. But, then there are guys like Casey Affleck and Shia LaBeouf, whose long beards are scraggly and unkempt. You hope the look is in preparation for a role, but in reality, they just don’t care. You want to avoid the latter aesthetic and go for the Gosling effect. In case you’re not convinced, here are a few things to consider when mulling over possible beard styles.
Short Length, Low Commitment
There are three beard styles that involve a relatively small time commitment: the tailored beard, the short beard and stubble. You can achieve a tailored beard after 2-4 weeks of growth. It covers your entire face but never gets longer than a centimeter or two. It’s perfect for guys with strong jawlines and also beneficial if you’re trying to slim out a rounded mug or add some depth to a little chin.
The short beard occupies the space between stubble and the tailored beard. It takes little more than a week to grow, but it works best for guys with even growth. If you’re one of the guys with patches and spots, this look will only accentuate them. For stubble, just go without shaving for a few days, and it’ll grow in. Stubble is the perfect solution for guys with round faces who want to dramatize their angles.
Beard grooming tips for these styles are relatively easy. Trimming once or twice a week will help you keep things in order. In most cases, your normal moisturizing and exfoliating routine will work fine for this level of growth. Only with the tailored beard will you need a little bit of beard balm or beard oil to reach deeper.
If you’re in it for the long haul, you can end up with a more substantial beard style. The following two styles—long beard and full Gandalf—are more about the beard and less about your face. To maintain your desired features, you’ll need to use some more aggressive maintenance techniques.
The long beard reaches its full potential after roughly 2-3 months. This beard is a long-term project. Like the short beard, a long beard looks best on guys who have even facial hair growth. You’ll need to let it grow with minimal trimming for quite some time. If you have a lot of patchy growth, you’ll have to put up with a rough look for a long stretch. Long beards also work great for guys with small chins.
The full Gandalf, also affectionately known as the Rip Van Winkle, can take anywhere from 6-8 months of unhindered growth to blossom. This is a style reserved for the most confident and stylish men, typically free from conservative environments.
Just as these beard styles take more effort to grow, they also require more involved care. Every 2 or 3 days, you need to lather up with a beard shampoo soap for a deep clean that also encourages healthy growth. Choose soothing options like a peppermint beard shampoo to clean out the dirt without stripping your whiskers of their natural oil. Moisturizing is also key. Beard oil (try a peppermint & tea tree beard oil) will moisturize your beard as well as the hidden skin down below. It’s also great for styling your beard, something you’ll spend a great deal of time doing with the full Gandalf.
Deciding on the perfect beard length is ultimately a matter of trial and error, but you’ll find the above hints extremely helpful from the get-go.