As an Amazon Associate, Modded gets commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Short beard styles took a backseat to the lumberjack-style hipster beards in the 2010s. However, a majority of guys don’t have the genetics to pull off such a beard. Most of us need to make due with what we have. With that in mind, we compiled a list of the best short beard styles for men in 2022. We’ll start with the basics then work our way to the more complex styles. Try one of these beards to revamp your look!
1. Short Stubble
The short stubble look is easy to pull off. Start with a clean shave and let your beard grow without maintenance until you achieve a balanced layer of short stubble. The sweet spot is three to four days for most guys, but feel free to adjust based on how quickly your facial hair grows.
Your beard’s lines might look more unkempt than you’re used to, but that’s an important part of the short stubble style. You want it to look natural and rugged.
2. 5 O’clock Shadow
You can take the short stubble style one step further (or backward, technically) with the 5 o’clock shadow. This style refers to an even more close-cropped short beard to hide facial hair patches and accentuate the jawline. Start clean shaven and let your beard grow in for two days, then clean up the lines on your cheeks and neck.
The result is a light beard that doesn’t jump out, but adds extra volume and definition to your face without overpowering your other features. It’s the perfect transitional style for young men with patchy beards that haven’t fully developed yet.
3. Short Boxed Beard
Once your stubble fills in, you can adopt the short boxed beard style. This style is perfect for guys who like the look of a full beard but want something less shaggy. You might have to trim your cheek and necklines every day to keep that “boxed” look, but it only takes a few minutes with a steady hand.
This style has enough volume to make your facial hair a defining trait, but it’s also short and symmetrical enough to complement your entire face.
4. Royale Beard
The royale has the least amount of hair of all the short beard styles on this list, but it’s no less stylish. All you need is a full mustache and a disconnected patch of hair directly over the chin. Let this patch grow to give the style more volume, and you have a royale beard. The name comes from male royalty who adopted the style across feudal Europe, especially France and Spain.
If you want to add another layer of sophistication to this style, let your chin patch grow past an inch so you can style it into a narrow point. This method is the traditional royale style that you often see in depictions of historical figures as ancient as the Egyptian pharaohs.
5. Classic Goatee
The classic goatee remains a staple among short beard styles because it takes the cheeks out of the equation. Cheeks are the most patchy and problematic areas for most guys’ beards, making the goatee a more widely accessible option than other styles. Let your beard grow to the desired length, then shave the cheeks and neck to leave a circle around your mouth and chin.
Goatees look different on each person. Some guys have thick hairlines connecting their mustache and chin hair, while others only have a thin strip connecting the two parts. If you have a wide hairline, you can make your goatee more pronounced or subtle by experimenting with its width.
We’ve all met at least one unpleasant guy with an ultra-thin chinstrap, but don’t let one negative experience ruin the entire beard style for you. The chinstrap is the perfect style for guys with strong hairlines who can’t seem to fill in their cheeks. As the name suggests, just let your beard grow along your jaw until it looks like a well-defined chinstrap. Make sure the strap is thick enough to avoid the stereotype we just mentioned.
This style supports your jawline like other beards, but it needs a little more maintenance since the hair is concentrated in one area. Make sure you keep your cheeks and neck clean-shaven to avoid compromising the look and creating an unintentional chinstrap/stubble hybrid.
7. Light Circle Strap
If you want to create a hybrid beard style, you can combine the chinstrap with the goatee to develop the light circle strap. Both hairstyle features are present, but you should keep them at a low length to prevent one from overpowering the other. Again, it avoids the often-patchy cheeks and focuses on the more dense parts of the beard, helping guys overcome poor facial hair genetics and find a look that works for them.
8. Balbo Beard
The Balbo beard is an excellent alternative for guys whose chin hair doesn’t connect to their mustaches. This style’s hairline comes naturally. Let your facial hair grow in without maintenance until you find your desired length, then shave the cheeks and neck to leave your chin hair and mustache behind.
This style is a statement about unfavorable facial hair genetics. Guys who rock the Balbo beard prove you can pull off an attractive style with limited options, arguably more impressive than any full beard style.
9. Van Dyke
The Van Dyke is a shorter, tighter version of the Balbo. Instead of letting your mustache and chin hair grow, keep it at a short length to make your beard look more clean. Guys who can grow full goatees can rock the Van Dyke too, but you’ll have to shave the attachment points on either side of your mouth fairly often.
This style is also perfect for guys with that singular patch of hair under their bottom lip known as the “soul patch.” This patch acts as a natural centerpiece between the mustache and chin hair that helps tie the Van Dyke together.
10. Mutton Chops
Mutton chops became popular in the mid-1800s thanks to prominent politicians and military men, and it has made a resurgence in the 21st century. This style once again takes the cheeks out of the equation and focuses on the mouth and jawline. Let your beard grow in for several weeks, then shave two areas: your upper cheeks and the hair directly over your chin.
The result should be a thick chinstrap connecting to your mustache, fully exposing your chin. Think of famous figures like Hulk Hogan and Ambrose Burnside. These men emanated masculinity in their primes, and their mutton chops beard style was one of the main contributors.
Find Your Short Beard Style
Just because you can’t grow a hipster beard doesn’t mean you can’t find a facial hairstyle that stands out from the crowd. You can opt for a simple stubble look, broaden your horizons with a goatee or push the boundaries with a pair of mutton chops. Don’t let suboptimal facial hair genetics stop you from trying one of these short beard styles!
Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.