All You Need to Know About Beard Styles for Black Men
For black men (and men of all races), having a beard or other facial hair style can add some much needed style to your look. Not only that, but beards also simply exude masculinity and are probably one of the sexiest fashion accessories you’ll find. There is no doubting that beards are definitely “in” right now, but deciding which style suits you best comes down to the shape of your face and the look you’re going for.
There are plenty of beard styles for black men that are popular at the moment, but not all styles look great on every man. Therefore, to help you out in your search for the ultimate bearded look, we’ll use this article to discuss the best beard styles for black men and what it takes to achieve them.
The Best Black Men Beard Styles of 2016
#1 Goatee, Circle Beard & Van Dyke
Probably one of the most timeless and classic beard styles for black men, the goatee and its various incarnations have the ability to help shape the face and accentuate your best features. All three of these popular goatee styles help draw attention and focus to the mouth, which can act as a subtle hint to remind others of your sexiness.
Although we’ve previously covered the differences between the various goatee styles, we’ll repeat them here just so you’re in the know. Basically, a true goatee consists only of hair directly on the chin, whereas a Van Dyke is more of a separate mustache and true goatee combination (where the two are not connected). Finally, a circle beard combines both the goatee and mustache in a full circle (or square) of hair that surrounds the entire mouth. All three of these are popular beard styles for black men, being worn by celebrities such as Kanye West (circle beard), P. Diddy (usually a Van Dyke, but sometimes a circle beard) and Ludacris (Van Dyke).
The good thing about all of these styles is that they tend to require less maintenance than many others, as most goatee styles can still look slick even with a bit of stubble on the cheeks. Choosing between the three is really a matter of how your facial hair grows and what you think looks best, so don’t be afraid to experiment, as there are a ton of excellent goatee styles that look fantastic on African American men.
- Recommended beard trimmer: Norelco Multigroom All-in-One Grooming Kit
#2 Chin Strap
This is another one of the more popular black men beard styles, but also one that’s a bit harder to pull off, as it requires more constant maintenance and upkeep to stay stylish. In recent times, this style has been popularized by a number of black and Latino baseball stars, including David Ortiz and Melky Cabrera (who both sport a wide chinstrap).
In simple terms, the chinstrap beard is exactly what it sounds like, a strap of hair that runs along the chin from ear to ear. However, when it comes to wearing the chin strap, you’ve got quite a few choices, depending on how thick or thin you want the strap to be. While many black men prefer the wider chin strap (which could basically be described as a full beard minus the mustache), many others prefer the look of a pencil thin chin strap. Either way, if you’re willing to do the work to keep your cheeks and neck free from stubble, you can be rewarded with a style that screams manliness. In truth, that’s really the only issue with this style, as it requires almost daily trimming and shaving to keep it looking its best.
While a true chin strap only includes hair along the jawline (read: no mustache), there are also a huge number of famous black men sporting a thin chin strap and circle beard combination, such as Ice Cube or 50 Cent, while LeBron James and others often go for the chinstrap and mustache combo (where the two are not connected, as in the Van Dyke).
- Recommended beard oil: Leven Rose Beard Oil and Leave In Conditioner
#3 Soul Patch & Chin Strip
The soul patch is another popular facial hair style for black men and one that looks excellent alongside a shaved head. This is probably about as minimal as you can get with facial hair, as the true soul patch refers only to the small patch of hair directly below the bottom lip. Another popular variation is the chin strip (not to be confused with the chin strap), which is basically an elongated soul patch that extends down to the bottom of the chin.
In truth, the soul patch is probably one of the harder styles to pull off, as it’s definitely not something that looks good on all men. Therefore, if you’re considering this style, you may want to think about pairing it with a mustache, as this helps to make the soul patch not stand out so much. Not only that, but mustaches typically look great on a huge range of black men and are always a popular choice.
#4 Five O’ Clock Shadow & Stubble
Probably the easiest (although some would say laziest) of all black men beard styles is the five ‘o clock shadow or permanent stubble. Men like John Legend have perfected the art of the five o’ clock shadow, which is carefully crafted to make it look like you’re always slightly in need of a shave, which makes plenty of people think that you’re so manly that you simply can never keep your face clean shaven.
This style is a great choice for those who can’t or are unwilling to grow a full beard, especially the former, as the overall stubble helps to hide any patches where your hair might not grow in fully. Either the five o’ clock shadow or permanent stubble require fairly constant trimming, but the good thing about them is that you can simply put the guard on your beard trimmer and go to town, unlike goatees or other styles that require more careful trimming to stay looking their best.
To achieve the five o’ clock shadow look, we recommend going for three or four days without shaving. Then, all you’ll need to do is grab your trimmer and the shortest guard and use it to go over the entire face every day or two. The permanent stubble look is basically the exact same thing, except the hairs are generally kept slightly longer, which is why this style only needs to be trimmed every two to four days (depending on how fast your facial hair grows).
#5 Full Beard
There was a long time when only a small percentage of black men ever went with the full beard. However, this is one style that has really started to grow in popularity in more recent times, with men like Rick Ross and Questlove often seen sporting rugged full beards. Still, this is another one of those styles that’s not always so easy to pull off, as it takes a man with the right shape of face and the right facial hair to do it.
- Recommended Beard Balm: Wild Willie’s Beard Butter
Typically we would recommend this style for men who either have stronger facial features or a rounder face, but the biggest factor is whether or not your facial hair grows in thick and full enough to actually achieve a full beard. If it does, then why not give up shaving for a few weeks and see what it looks like. After all, you can always trim it down to any of the other styles on this list if you’re not happy with the look. You may also decide you want to go with something more along the lines of the chinstrap and mustache or chinstrap and circle beard combination, but the only way to know is to let it grow.
Still, if you do decide to go with the full beard, it’s important to invest in a high quality beard trimmer, as you’ll probably want to fade the sides and under the jawline, or else you risk looking like you just don’t give a damn. The key to the full beard is to learn exactly how to keep it trimmed so that it continues to look rugged and manly, without making you look like a lazy slob. Fore more details on whether this is the beard for you and how to maintain it check out this article.
Important Info For All Beard Styles
No matter what style of beard you decide to go with proper shaving and trimming is essential to making it look good. There are some essential how tos including how to shave your cheek line and neck line with a beard as well as the necessary products including picking up one of the best beard trimmers, a premium beard oil or the perfect beard balm, and a quality safety razor or if you can’t handle the safety razor, at least on of the best disposable razors.
At the end of the day, there are a huge number of black men beard styles that can look excellent, so in truth, our list is probably only the tip of the iceberg. You can find tons of pictures of beard styles for black men online (including the excellent Black & Bearded Tumblr exploring the beauty of black beards), but whatever style you choose, it’s important you put in the work to keep it trimmed so you stay stylish.
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Prim & Prep Editors are a team of male grooming experts in their respective fields, including Karl Schmidt (Beards / Facial Hair), Ben Rose (Shaving / Body Grooming / Skincare), and Ethan Stone (Men’s Style). Their work has been featured on many prominent men’s publications including AskMen, Men’s Health, and GQ. Be sure to check out the review process for details on Prim & Prep’s product review methodology or contact them below.