The Balbo beard style is a traditionalist look, but one that’s gaining in popularity again. It’s named after the Italian, Italo Balbo, who happened to be the right-hand man to the Fascist dictator, Mussolini. The look was widely popular during the early 1900s and has managed to transcend its dictatorial roots. After all, Lenin wore one too, so Fascists can’t claim it wholly to themselves.
Regardless of that, it’s a classical look that can often denote maturity and sophistication. Its association with 20th ideological elites and older men have made sure of that.
Beyond that, it’s also incredibly versatile and works well with almost any face shape. Men with strong jawlines can use a lighter Balbo beard to accentuate their strong features. Round or heart-shaped faces benefit from heavier Balbo facial hair because it adds length to their face while creating a more pronounced chin.
More Specifically, What is the Balbo Beard style?
Balbo facial hair comprises a mustache with disconnected chin hair. It’s different from a goatee because the mustache and chin hair don’t connect. Typically, Balbo beards incorporate the soul patch as well.
The cheeks are usually clean-shaven but some stylistic variations pair it with extended sideburns or a chinstrap beard.
What Face Shapes Work with Balbo Facial Hair?
The Balbo beard styles are incredibly versatile and have different variations that can suit multiple men’s faces.
However, the men who should avoid Balbo beards are those with Triangular faces, Oblong faces, and Diamond faces.
Triangle and Diamond-shaped faces will have their jawlines and angular features overly accentuated by this beard style. Oblong faces tend to be longer and won’t benefit from the added face length and volume added to them.
Faces with rounded chins, such as Oval faces, Heart-shaped faces, and Round faces, will be able to pull off this look with ease. Depending on how it’s styled, the Balbo can add width to the chin and length to the face. These faces typically have weaker chins and benefit from the added pronouncement.
Square faces can pull off Balbo facial hair, as well, but should do so with more care. A sharper style with a more dramatic contour is best.
Growing a Balbo Style Beard
Balbo beards are styled best from a full-beard. They’re typically thicker beards and will generally require at least 4 weeks of full beard growth. You want to trim the beard first with either scissors but more likely electric trimmers before using a straight razor or electric shaver to sharpen the look.
Before trimming, clean your beard and brush it so the hairs are generally well-aligned. Trim your beard from the outside-in. Start at the sideburns and trim your cheeks, as well as your neck. Once that’s done, it’s time to shape your remaining hair into a Balbo.
Be careful and use a lot of precision to keep your beard balanced left-to-right. It’s always better to take off less than more, at least starting out. Trim the hair on your neck as close to your chin as you like it.
Your last step should be to trim the connector-hairs between your mustache and chin hair, rounding out both to your preference.
Balbo Facial Hair Variations
The classic, Italo Balbo beard has a mid-length pointed chin and a pyramidal mustache. Modern variations use different combinations of mustache and chin hair lengths to creating a wide array of looks.
The Chinstrap Balbo
The chinstrap Balbo continues to trim the hair off your cheeks but has the hair on your chin extend to the edges of your jaw. This works great to add shape to your face and accentuate your jawline.
Shaping Your Mustaches
As long as your mustache is disconnected, you really have free rein to shape it however you like. You can let a little bit of your connector hair grow around your mouth, which gives it more shape.
It’s even a good look to take it a step further and style it. Waxing your mustache will distinguish it, and the chin hair adds balance to the look. Go for gold with a handlebar mustache.
Shaping your mustache can work really well if you prefer longer chin hair too. This is a look perfected by modern-day hipsters, adding equal parts sophistication and style.
Trimmed, Office-friendly Balbo Beards
The Balbo beards add sophistication, but any beard you let grow in too much might not be appreciated in a professional setting. Fortunately, the look works well when trimmed closely. A stubble look at about 1/8-inch gives your face some distinction with a professional, manicured look. You can get away with a longer look, but the key part is keeping your chin hair and mustache at a uniform length with each other.