Last updated: September 14th 2016 Beards have long been a symbol of manliness and have since been used as a creative form of self expression or as a debonair way to stand out in a crowd or to impress a mate. But they can also be a practical way to cut down on razor burn, cut down on grooming time or as a natural way to protect your face from the sun. There are many styles of beards to choose from, depending on your hair growth and face shape, and most are easy to achieve and maintain at home. If you are looking to try a cool new beard, consider these trending beard styles for 2015.

The Shadow

Channel your inner James Bond, David Beckham or John Legend, with the barely there beard. The shadow is supposed to create the illusion “I woke up like this.” There are three rules to rocking the perfect shadow: 1. Make sure you can grow a full enough beard so that it doesn’t look patchy. 2. maintain a good haircut and nice clothes to avoid looking unkempt. And lastly, 3. The softer your facial features, the shorter the shadow should be and vice versa.

To maintain this look, experts recommend trimming your beard daily using the lowest setting on your beard trimmer. They also suggest softening your stubble regularly with hair conditioner to avoid pricking your partner.

The Stubble

For a slightly more rugged look, try the stubble. The stubble beard is a slightly longer version of the shadow and features light whiskers on the upper lip and cheeks and slightly thicker hair on the chin, think actor Bradley Cooper.

To achieve this look, wait 1-3 days before shaving, then trim the upper lip, sideburns and chin every 2 or 3 days with a beard trimmer. Condition the hair regularly to soften the stubble.

The Short Boxed Beard

The short boxed beard is a trimmed beard and mustache that covers the whole jawline and upper lip. This is a great option for those who prefer a strong beard style but do not wish to go full beard. This well sculpted look is shaved down to within a couple of inches of the jawbone from the top and shaved underneath the neck to the base of the jaw for clean, solid lines. This look is often preferred by professionals who wish to maintain a put together look.

To maintain this look, shave above and below the beard line as well as the lines on both sides of the face every 1-2 days, and keep the hairs oiled to maintain a sophisticated look.

Man of the Hour Goatee

The goatee is a great alternative to a full beard, think Hugh Jackman, Idras Alba and Brad Pitt. This classic look earned Hugh Jackman the reputation as the man of the hour.

To achieve this look, experts suggest allowing your beard to grow out for at least one week, then create the shape with a beard trimmer. Start with a straight line down from the corner of the mouth. It is up to you whether you wish to connect your mustache or not. Begin at the bottom boarder line of the chin bone. Once the shape is carved out, finalize the look with a wet shave.

Shave your neck and cheeks on a daily basis to avoid having an awkward looking beard, and keep the hair short for a modern look.

The Chin Strap

The chin strap is a precise lined beard that expands across the jaw line. This style is best when it matches the line of the jaw, especially on strong featured guys like Chicago White Sox Melky Cabrera. As a general rule, the wider and rounder the face, the thicker the strap should be.

To maintain this look, lines should be cleaned at least twice a week and hair trimmed to the face. Avoid allowing your beard to grow too long, because it can quickly resemble that of Abraham Lincoln’s.

The Long but Neat Beard

The full beard is the beard of all beards. The key to avoiding the scuffy look is to keep it tamed. It may take anywhere from 6 months to a year to achieve a long, thick healthy beard of hair. Keep it neat by trimming the neck line and cheek and trimming unruly hairs.

Experts suggest using a facial cleanser once a day, followed by balm or beard oil to keep the hair flowing and to soften the skin underneath. The longer the beard, the more care you should be giving to washing your face.

Maintaining Your Beard

The key to sporting a cool beard is to keep it neat at all times, unless you are going for the caveman look, in which case, go for it!

In addition to keeping your bear trimmed, your facial hair and skin should be washed and moisturized on a regular basis to keep your hair and skin soft and smooth (beard conditioner).

Once you have the beard that’s right for you, it is important to have the right tools on hand to help maintain your look. Some good tools to have on hand include mustache scissors for trimming your beard, mustache and unruly hairs and a good pair of trimmers or a razor for keeping the rest of the beard together. You may also want to consider investing in different attachments for achieving different styles and beard lengths as well as adapters for trimming ear and nose hairs to further enhance your look.

There are many different styles of trimmers to choose from, including rechargeable battery operated, power cord operated and even ones that can be used in the shower. When selecting a beard trimmer, be sure you select one that is right for your face.

References

Beard Institute. (2014). The Manliest Cool Beard Styles of 2015. Retrieved from http://www.beardinstitute.com/beard-grooming/styles/

Men’s Journal. (2015). The Best Beard Styles, and How to Get Them. Retrieved from http://www.mensjournal.com/expert-advice/the-best-beard-styles-and-how-to-get-them-20140403/the-extreme-beard