It’s easy to see why we love our facial hair: For the younger among us, chin fuzz is a signifier that we’ve reached adulthood. For the portly among us, a beard-defined jawline can feel slimming. For the lazy among us, a perma-scruff’s a hassle-free way to get our Clooney on. Yet for all the reasons we love facial hair—like the attention it gets from the fairer kind—there are plenty of things no man should ever attempt with his beard. Read on.
Worn squiggly, thin and manicured, and the chinstrap evokes long-forgotten memories of Nsync (sorry, Timbo). Worn thick and unkempt, and it recalls your suburban, white rapper cousin. And believe us, you don’t want to be either.
The lip-to-chin goatee
A goatee’s never a great idea, but it’s perfectly acceptable if you’re a minor-league hockey coach, a thirty-something high-school teacher, or a youth pastor. But a filled out goatee—that thicket of hair that runs from lip to mid-throat—is only acceptable if you’re a 1997-era snowboarder, Jimmy from Breaker High, or Fred Durst. And believe us, it’s never acceptable to be Fred Durst.
The pencil-thin mustache
The crisp, lip-hugging ‘stache was a key component of John Waters’ signature style. Ditto for Prince. Here’s what we’re getting at: Unless you’re an androgynous eccentric with a pet white tiger, you probably can’t pull off the pencil-thin ‘stache.
The soul patch
You might think your soul patch makes you look like a jazz musician. Or a Jamiroquai fan. Or a new-age, enlightenment-minded healer. That’s fine, but the rest of us think you’re taking style cues from Chester the Cheetah.
The nü-metal braid
A grown-out beard isn’t particularly sightly—if you’re growing one, be prepared for granola Jesus and ZZ-Top comparisons—but we’re not classifying it as a crime. Grooming your facial hair, too, is highly recommended. However, you can take both too far—and if you’re braiding your beard, you’re telling the rest of us that you’ve quit your job, travelled to 1996, and joined Korn. So, if you’re rocking facial dreads, forget the slap bass. Try shaving instead.
The Fu Manchu
It looked great on Confucius. But here’s the thing: You’re not Confucius.
The Hitler stache
Sure, ex-Boston Bruins coach Dave Lewis proudly wore one of these. But if you’re using him—or Charlie Chaplin—as your rationale behind rocking this little piece of facial bigotry, then you’ve got some pretty big issues. If you don’t know why the Hitler ‘stache is a no-no, then we can’t help you.