By Adam Hurly.
Think back to all of the ways you’ve ever worn your hair—crew cut, undercut, bowl cut, high and tight, man bun. It took a minute to find the right cut for you, right? The same rule of thumb should apply to the hair on your face. Whether you're the type of guy who can grow a full bushy beard in a single week or struggles to get your mustache to meet your chin hair, there's a way to make every facial hair situation out there look its best; it's called beard shaping, and it's exactly what it sounds like: chopping away at the follicles on your face to make your beard look most optimal.
Take Lebron. It’s no surprise that he's better at bearding than everyone else—he had one at age 12. Look how styled it is. He’s a true beard opportunist—taking the time to shave and sculpt. This classic look disconnects the mustache from the beard, and kind of looks like a grown out chin strap that steadily graduates into the side burns, while marooning a small soul patch under his lip. Even when he grows this style out, it looks dapper, because he’s keeping everything neatly manicured, like hedges.
If you'd prefer to stick with a buzzer—honestly, razors are a lot of work—we've got a few examples of deliberate, well-executed celebrity inspo for you.
Dev grows his mustache full, but he can’t grow hair directly on either side of his narrow goatee. It’s really unique, almost like the beard version of a Van Dyke mustache. Assuming you can grow yours a bit thicker in the middle of the chin, just try trimming equal spaces beneath the outsides of the lips, and graduating it up towards the ears. You don’t need to connect the mustache to the cheek hairs. In fact, even though it works on patchier guys like Dev, it might be better on you to disconnect the mustache.
Hugh is inventive with his beard. Sometimes he’s Wolverine, sometimes he’s got a roided-out goatee (you can skip that one), and sometimes he lets it all grow into a glorious shrub. Our favorite twist, though, is that the space above his chin is less dense than the rest. See how it is sparse compared to everything else on his face? Or maybe it’s intentional, and he trims it shorter. For you, it could be!
Zac’s got enough going for him, so it’s no tragedy that he can’t grow a full beard. He still knows how to showcase that which he can grow. If you’ve got a full beard and want to mimic his look, just disconnect your mustache from the beard. You can disconnect the chin from the soul patch if you feel so inclined. Between Efron, James, and Zayn Malik, we’re smelling a soul-patch comeback.
This story originally appeared on GQ.
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