Not all facial hair is created equal. Each style has its own distinct personality indicators. Here's a handy guide to help you know what people are thinking about you the next time you step out with serious face bush.
Full-On Scraggly Beard
Who's rocked it? Hacksaw Jim Duggan, ZZ Top, Joaquin Phoenix, Wizards
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like Joaquin Phoenix, you are creative and unpredictable.
If growing a beard was a video game, this would be expert mode. It takes a very specific kind of man to pull it off. He has to be extremely comfortable with his station in the world because getting a new girl or a new job is a serious challenge with this kind of growth. It's worth noting that some guys grow this type of beard when they're unemployed (like Conan) or if their team is in the playoffs. Those beards are only temporary and shouldn't be categorized until they're trimmed back to their natural state. True wearers, though, will be unpredictable for better or worse.
Neatly Groomed Full Beard
Who's rocked it? Kenny Rogers, Bob Vila, Dos Equis' "Most Interesting Man in the World"
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like "The Most Interesting Man In The World," you’ve seen it all and are at total ease with your place in the world.
Keeping a full-grown beard in check takes close attention to detail. Neglect it too much and it quickly slips into Full-On Scraggly Beard territory, which a man of this caliber avoids at all costs. The full beard is a distinguished look, which explains why it's so popular with college professors and other highfalutin types. Beards tend to make a guy look older, so you can be certain the wearer isn't clinging to his youth. That kind of wisdom indicates that a person with a neatly-groomed beard is someone who probably has a few stories to tell, especially if there's some gray in it.
Tightly Trimmed Goatee
Who's rocked it? 1990s MLB players, men who follow NASCAR, Larry the Cable Guy
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like Larry the Cable Guy, you are willing to experiment in life.
The tightly-trimmed goatee is often worn reluctantly. It has the ability to add character, shape, and definition where there may not be any, which is often the case for men with chubby faces or gentle chins. Of course there are plenty of exceptions (like Dwaye "The Rock" Johnson), but in the end this style shows a lack of commitment to facial hair in general. It's often a gateway to a full beard later down the road or the wearer will eventually lose interest and shave it all together. Either way, this facial hair style is for a man still figuring out his own face.
Who's rocked it? Cast members of Jersey Shore, men who actually spend time at the Jersey Shore, Chris Daughtry
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like Chris Daughtry, you know what you want and are willing to do what you need to get it.
The chinstrap isn't so much about the way it looks. Rather, it's something done to prove just how much a guy cares about the way he looks. The chinstrap takes meticulous grooming. Both the shaved areas and the hair need to be trimmed with hyper-accuracy otherwise it can quickly slip into neckbeard territory, which is unacceptable. Because of this, chinstrap wearers are generally very concerned with their appearance. It's not that they're vain, per se (though the overlap rate is high), but it's a clear indicator that physical appearance is of key importance.
Who's rocked it? Tom Selleck, Rollie Fingers, Ron Burgundy, Mario and Luigi
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like Tom Selleck, you are very confident but don’t take yourself too seriously.
More often than not, if you encounter a young man with a mustache, he's grown it ironically. It's common among hipsters, bet-losers and other men who don't mind sporting a facial hair style that many consider "creepy." But, because of that, you can usually assume the wearer is a fair sport who doesn't mind some good-hearted ribbing. It's also sometimes indicative of a person in a transitional period. For instance, the mustache is arrived at when a man decides to trim his beard, or a teenage boy is trying to work up to a manly beard. Either way, you shouldn't expect a mustache to endure on a person's face for a long period of time unless they're a holdover from the time when mustaches were considered more "cool" and less "creep."
Who's rocked it? Elvis, Neil Young, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Rockabillies
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like vintage Elvis, you are a throwback to a previous generation. You also know your way around a toolbox.
A big set of sideburns bridges the gap between traditional hairstyle and facial growth. Generally speaking, it implies a guy cares so much for his own hair that he wants it to keep going down onto his face. This indicates that the wearer is a confident person, as if they're saying, "My hair is so awesome, it needs more space on my face." Because of its retro-appeal, it can also imply that the guy sporting the chops is a bit of a throwback who may subscribe to a lifestyle from the past. It's common in the hot-rod world, so there's a decent chance a guy with a set of chops can rebuild a carburetor with the best of 'em.
Who's rocked it? Joey Greco, Howie Mandel, guys from the '60s who also wore berets
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like Howie Mandel, you are creative but afraid of commitment.
The soul patch is widely regarded as the lowest form of facial hair, and for good reason. That tiny patch of hair shows almost total lack of commitment, which indicates the person is likely creative in nature, but also unreliable. It's often found on people who work jobs that don't allow facial hair, but they like to push the boundaries just a little. That indicates a rebellious streak, but not a deep one. As a personality indicator, it has much in common with a single earring.
Who's rocked it? Ryan Gosling, Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like Colin Farrell, you project an aloof appearance but in reality, you pay attention to detail.
Closely monitored and trimmed stubble indicates confidence. While the wearer will likely project an outwardly laid-back manner, it's likely that every aspect of their look and personality is carefully considered. They're usually up on trends and style, making them good wing men when out. They also aren't likely to be in relationships, as girlfriends and wives tend to discourage scruff.
Who's rocked it? Al Pacino, Elijah Wood, any guy after a bender
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like Elijah Wood, you are still maturing and enjoy having a good time, no matter what day of the week it is.
The five-o'clock shadow is often worn like a badge of honor by guys who have spent the whole night cavorting. But, it's rarely a good look. The wearer is often one who believes that they look a lot better than they do. There's a general sense of delusion, especially if they wear it to work or to an important event. They often know that they should shave but still don't, indicating that they're not in their most reliable state. It's best to give these guys some space and approach them after stubble has been shaved off, unless you feel like offering up a bunch of high-fives and listening to exaggerated stories about the previous night.
Next: Are you Tom Brady or Brad Pitt?
Who's rocked it? James Hetfield, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, Ian Scott, other metal heads
Verdict: If you wear your facial hair like James Hetfield, you are rowdy and willing to do anything for attention.
Often associated with hard rock music, the chin beard is a strong indicator that the wearer will be unpredictable with a proclivity for rowdiness. This may appeal to some, but will likely mean an intensity that's difficult to handle for long stretches unless you too wear a chin beard. If the chin beard is long enough to be braided, this effect is amplified. If it's also dyed, then the chances of this person having a rowdy and rebellious personality are almost 100 percent. It also indicates a thirst for attention, which can stem from insecurity or just the lust for fame.