Short Beard Styles Trending in 2024

Feb 01, 2024

Header image of a man with a short, well-kept beard

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Short beards took a backseat to the lumberjack-style hipster beards in the 2010s. However, many guys don’t have the genetics to pull off such a look. While looking like a mountain man is a dream, you have to work with what you have on your face. With that in mind, here’s a list of the best short beard styles for men, from the basics to more complex styles. Try one of these beards to revamp your look.

1. Short Stubble

A young man with 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. The sweet spot is three to four days for most guys, but feel free to adjust based on how quickly your facial hair grows. Experts say it grows about half an inch monthly, depending on your genetics. 

Your beard’s lines might look more unkempt than you’re used to, but that’s an important part of stubble beard styles. You want it to look natural and rugged to make it more appealing. 

2. 5 O’Clock Shadow

You can take the short stubble style one step further 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 with a clean-shaven face and let your beard grow 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. Sometimes, a thin beard is what you need to look your best with facial hair. 

3. Short Boxed Beard

Man sporting a short boxed beard

Once your stubble fills in, you can adopt the short-boxed beard style. This is perfect for guys who like the look of a full beard but want something less shaggy. You might have to trim your cheeks and necklines daily 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 compliment your entire face. The short-boxed beard is pretty common for guys wanting to grow facial hair without overdoing it and making their face too itchy. It’s also a decent style if you want to look nice for special occasions without shaving everything off.

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. You only need 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 you often see in depictions of historical figures as ancient as the Egyptian pharaohs.

5. Classic Goatee

A classic goatee beard

The classic goatee remains a staple among short beard styles for men because it takes the cheeks out of the equation. Cheeks are the most patchy and problematic areas for many beards, making goatee styles a more widely accessible option than others. 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.

6. Chinstrap

A tight chinstrap beard

Everyone’s met at least one unpleasant guy with an ultra-thin chinstrap, but don’t let one negative experience ruin your entire beard style. The chinstrap is perfect 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. Ensure the strap is thick enough to avoid the stereotype.

This style supports your jawline like other beards but needs more maintenance since the hair is concentrated in one area. 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 low 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

A short Van Dyke goatee

The Van Dyke is a shorter, tighter version of the Balbo. Instead of letting your mustache and chin hair grow, keep it short to make your beard look cleaner. Guys who can grow full goatees can also rock the Van Dyke, 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. Soul Patch

The soul patch is a small section of facial hair just below your lips but above your chin. Most guys growing this facial hair look like they have a tiny square of hair beneath their mouth. Soul patches work for guys who don’t have much facial hair but want to embrace the look. 

This style became popular in the 1990s and early 2000s, especially in rock and metal bands. They were also in popular media, with Howie Mandel and Apollo Ohno popularizing the look. However, you must go back to the mid-20th century to find the origin of soul patches. Jazz musicians grew them out because the facial hair made brass instrument mouthpieces more comfortable on their mouths. 

Soul patches are excellent because you can pair them with short beards, stubble beards or whatever facial hair you wear. Just ensure your soul patch is even so it looks good. Use a ruler to divide your face down the middle of your nose if necessary. Your soul patch should have equal length on either side of the ruler — if not, the changes you need will be evident.

11. Anchor Beard

Try the anchor beard if you want to take the goatee a step further. These styles are mostly the same, except anchor beards feature stubble on both cheeks. Get rid of the neckbeard to clean up your facial hair and make your face look slightly more professional for this short beard style. 

Why is it called the anchor beard? Your mustache, chin and soul patch work together to create an anchor on your face. You’ll want to grow out these three areas while trimming your cheek hair to perfect the look. This facial hair approach is excellent for short beard styles because it’ll anchor your exquisite looks.

12. Mutton Chops

Mutton chops became popular in the mid-1800s thanks to prominent politicians and military men, and they have made a resurgence in the 21st century. This style removes the cheeks from the equation and focuses on the mouth and jawline. Let your beard grow for several weeks, then shave two areas: your upper cheeks and the hair directly over your chin.

The result should be a thick chin strap 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.

13. Pencil Circle

A pencil circle beard, with extra hair grown along the jaw

Pencil circle beards resemble goatee styles, except they take a different approach by going thinner. For some, circle beards are the next step down from goatees, but the pencil version looks sharper with its clean look. This style is easiest if you grow all your facial hair to your preferred length. Then, shave your face clean except for your mustache, chin and the handlebars connecting the two.

The pencil circle beard is a terrific choice if you want thin facial hair but still need to look well-groomed for a special occasion, such as a date or a job interview. Beards have become more accepted in professional work environments, assuming you maintain a nice one. 

14. Ducktail Beard

A man with a short beard, approaching a ducktail

If you need a short beard style, consider altering ideas from medium-to-long beards for inspiration. For example, the ducktail beard may be medium-length to some, but you can easily make it shorter with your trimmer.

As the name suggests, your beard will look like a duck’s tail. The facial hair’s design intends to look like a triangle because that’s how a duck’s tail forms at the end of its body. You’ll have flexibility here with cheek hair and stubble because you can go clean or leave a little on the sides. However, you shouldn’t go past stubble because you want the ducktail beard to be the star of the show. 

15. Faded Stubble Beard

Faded stubble beard

People typically prefer clean-shaven faces over bearded styles for class and sophistication. How many guys with beards do you see on TV? There aren’t many because of preconceived notions. How can you change the tune and improve your facial hair with short beard styles? Consider the faded stubble beard for a classy look without shaving everything off. 

This choice is one of the best stubble beard styles because of its well-groomed appearance. However, it’s slightly more complicated to achieve because you’ll need to fade your beard. Fading can be challenging if it’s your first time, so consider asking a barber to show you how it’s done.

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 for men.

Originally posted Apr 27, 2022 – Updated Feb 1, 2024

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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.