The stubble goatee has adorned the faces of heart-throbs ranging from Leonardo DiCaprio to Colin Farrell. It’s subtle and simple elegance is made all the more appealing by how easy it is to achieve.
The versatility of this beard has made it one of the most easily recognizable in the world. It’s hard to think of a context in which it wouldn’t look sophisticated.
Many men have a poor understanding of what a “goatee” actually refers to. They also have trouble trimming and grooming a goatee due to a poor routine and technique.
I often hear complaints of it “taking too long”. But this doesn’t need to be the case.
You’re about to learn exactly what you need to know about the glorious stubble goatee. You’ll learn what it actually is, and then how to trim, groom, and maintain it effortlessly.
Strap in. Get comfortable. You’re going to love this.
What exactly is a stubble goatee?
At this point, it would be useful to break the stubble goatee style down into its two core components – stubble, and the goatee.
Stubble is not a style. Stubble is a length. It simply refers to facial hair of any sort that is very short. Specifically, less than 5mm long.
Although there has been plenty of debate among bearded men, stubble has been proven to be the most attractive beard length. This is predominantly due to its low-key masculinity, as well its neatness and versatility.
It can be broadly divided into light (1-2 mm), medium (3mm), and heavy (4-5mm) stubble. The length you choose is based on personal preference, experience, and experimentation. But we’ll come onto this shortly.
Now let’s talk about the goatee. Just bear in mind that a stubble goatee is simply a goatee in which the hair is very short (<5mm).
When assessing a style and deciding whether or not it falls within the “goatee” category, the following point must be remembered.
In a goatee, there is hair on the chin but not on the cheeks.
There are many variants of the goatee, but the two to get to grips with are the “Pure Goatee” and the “Full Goatee”.
The Pure Goatee consists only of a small chin beard. Facial hair under the lip and on the chin, with no mustache and of course, no cheek hair.
The Full Goatee is far more common and more recognizable in the modern age. It is the style that first comes to mind when the word “goatee” is uttered.
In this style there is a similar chin beard, extending only as far as the corners of the mouth on each side.
But there is also a mustache that extends downwards past the corners of the mouth and connects to the chin beard beneath.
As it is the most popular, what you’re about to learn how to trim is The Full Goatee. If you do want to convert it into a Pure Goatee, simply trim and shave off the mustache. Easy.
How to trim a stubble goatee in 8 steps
What you’ll need
A Mirror – Apologies for pointing out the obvious. But you need one. As always, a handheld one would be ideal for visualizing and trimming the neckline if you’ve got one.
An Electric Beard Trimmer – A high quality, cordless, stubble trimmer such as The ConairMAN Super Stubble guarantees a sharp and even trim. The premium blades glide effortlessly across the skin. Size settings between 0.4mm and 5mm in increments of 0.2mm allow for very intricate control.
An Electric Shaver Or Manual Razor – Once you trim the outline of your goatee using the beard trimmer, you’ll want a smooth shave everywhere outside it. In other words, on the cheeks and the neck. This will produce the sharpest-looking results.
Moisturizing Shaving Gel – If using a manual razor for shaving, this is essential. Trying to shave dry will lead to irritated skin, nicks, cuts, and an uneven shave.
Face Scrub – Exfoliating before the shave is a secret technique used by seasoned shaving veterans. It’s a great way to get an ultra-close shave. It takes barely any time at all but can transform the results.
Post-shave moisturizer – Shaved skin is particularly dry and angry. Moisturizing is crucial to keeping the skin barrier healthy.
Beard oil (optional) – Yes, this works for stubble too. Rubbing this in after you’ve finished trimming will give it a nice shine, and also soften it.
It’s time to walk through exactly how to trim a Full Goatee in the simplest and quickest way possible. Doing it this way will guarantee an even and symmetrical trim.
Step 1: Grow it out or trim it down
The first step is to get all of your facial hair to a workable length before trimming the stubble goatee.
If you’re a clean-shaven or almost clean-shaven man, this means growing it out to a length approximately 2mm longer than the length you ultimately want for your stubble goatee.
This will allow the slower-growing hairs to blossom before trimming it down, leading to a less patchy appearance.
Another reason is to allow you to see how your facial grows in a slightly longer form. In this style, this is particularly important in the mustache area, on the chin, and around the mouth.
So for example, if you want your stubble goatee to be 3mm long, grow your stubble out to around 5mm before starting the trimming process.
It can be difficult to estimate stubble length as a beginner.
In general, 5mm of growth (heavy stubble) takes the average man around 10 days to grow.
3mm (medium stubble) will take approximately 4 days and 1mm (light stubble) around 1-2 days.
Of course, the rate of growth can vary greatly from one man to another. But this is a good guideline to get you started.
If you’re a longer-bearded man, this means trimming it down to 2mm longer than the length you want to end up with. This is easier. Just grab your beard trimmer and trim down to the required length all over.
Step 2: Exfoliate the skin
I guess you could say this step was optional, as it isn’t essential to the trimming of a stubble goatee.
But the reason this step is included in almost all of my tutorials is that it revolutionizes the shaving process and takes around 30 seconds to do.
Exfoliating simply refers to removing any oil, dirt or dead skin cells above the top layer of the skin.
This layer impedes the razor blade because it mattifies the bases of the hair. In other words, it clogs them up and leads to friction during the shave.
Removing this layer will lead to less irritated skin after the shave, and also a closer shave. The outcome is that it feels and looks better overall.
Step 3: Trim the whole beard down
Grab your stubble trimmer and set it to the length you want to go for. Whether it’s light (1-2mm), medium (3mm), or heavy (4-5mm), it’s worth trying out.
If you’re unsure as to which stubble length you want, that’s fine. Simply trim down slowly in 1mm increments until you find a length you like.
That’s the beauty of starting from a length longer than what you’d like to end up with.
It also allows you to vary the length of the stubble slightly in different parts of the stubble beard. For example, with the stubble goatee, the two main areas are the mustache and the chin beard.
Your mustache may be slightly thicker than your chin hairs. In which case, you could trim the mustache down approximately 0.5 – 1mm shorter than the chin hairs to allow for a more even-looking goatee.
Just be sure to trim everything in this step. The neck, cheeks, chin, and mustache to around the same length, allowing for the slight variation mentioned above. This needs to be done before we outline the goatee.
When trimming, remember to vary the angle of the trimmer. Go up, down, left, and right. This is because beard hairs grow in multiple different directions. To catch as many hairs as you can, vary the angle.
Keep the skin taut as you trim to catch the more elusive hairs.
If as you trim you find that you aren’t catching any hairs at all, your probably using a stubble length setting longer than the actual stubble you currently have.
The area immediately under the chin can be a little tricky to catch. A simple tip is to gently pull the lower cheeks upwards. This brings the hairs under the chin into view temporarily, allowing you to trim them.
Step 4: Trim the entire neckline
The neckline is the border between your beard and your neck skin. Neck stubble can look very unkempt, and removing it is a foundational concept in stubble shaping.
A well-defined neckline can give great definition to the jaw when sculpted properly.
In a stubble goatee, the neckline is very short and doesn’t extend past the levels of the mouth corners. But at this point, I recommend trimming the entire neckline from earlobe to earlobe, even though some of it will be removed in subsequent steps.
This is the best way to ensure your neckline doesn’t end up too high or too low. Trying to trim your goatee neckline at this point can be pretty difficult.
A neckline that’s too high can lead to an undesirable double-chin effect. If your neckline is above your jawline, you’ve done something wrong. To avoid this, find and trim your “ideal neckline” by following these steps:
- Tilt your head up. Have a look at your whole neck and the stubble that overlies it.
- Take your second and third fingers and position them horizontally above your Adam’s apple. The point immediately above the top finger is exactly “two-finger widths” above your Adam’s apple. This point is crucial, as it marks the lowest point of your neckline. Either mark it out in your head or use a pen/eyeliner to physically mark out it.
- Visualize a U-shaped curve running from earlobe to earlobe, passing through this point you just marked out. Usually, I recommend that the curve should slant upwards in either direction, roughly following the angle of the jaw. But as most of it will be trimmed off later anyway, this isn’t essential, so don’t spend too much time on it. Doing it this way will just ensure that your ultimate goatee neckline is not too high or too low.
- Using the trimmer’s naked blade (i.e shortest length setting), outline this line and trim all the hair that lies beneath it.
Step 5: Trim the goatee edges
It’s time to start sculpting the piece de resistance – the stubble goatee itself.
The goatee will be outlined using the naked blade of the trimmer, then sharpened up later on using a shaver.
Just to re-cap, The Full Goatee consists of a chin beard connected to a mustache. The facial hair encircles the mouth, which is why it’s sometimes called a Circle Beard.
An important rule to remember is to initially make the goatee a little wider than you’d first expect. This way, you can always narrow it down afterward, instead of overshooting and making it too thin to begin with. Follow these steps to ensure you follow the best practice:
- Follow the curve of your mustache down towards your chin and past your neckline on either side. This is a basic, yet natural-looking outline for your stubble goatee. It almost creates a triangular shape for your goatee, from your nostrils down to the chin.
- Using the naked blade of your beard trimmer, outline this shape. Be sure to always maintain symmetry. Remember to trim down past the neckline.
- Try to make the edges sharp and neatly defined, including the jawline area.
- Then, trim everything outside this line you’ve outlined.
- This is your stubble goatee in it’s rawest form.
Step 6: Shape the mustache
The mustache is, of course, any hair you have above the upper lip.
The key to keeping it neat is to first make sure any hairs hanging over the upper lip are trimmed. It’s often forgotten, but an essential part of any beard trimming routine.
To do this, you can either use a pair of scissors or your beard trimmer. Scissors are often recommended for mustache grooming but do require a little more dexterity.
If you are using a beard trimmer, be sure to perform very short cuts so as not to trim into the body of the mustache itself.
After doing this, turn your attention to the upper border of the mustache. The main objective here is to prevent the mustache from getting too close to the nostrils. The danger is that the mustache can look like an extension of your nose hair, which is definitely not a good look.
Making very tiny trims immediately beneath the nostrils can provide enough definition to correct this issue. If you don’t have this problem, ignore this step.
Step 7: Shape the soul patch
The soul patch is the small patch of hair immediately beneath the lower lip. Full Goatees usually work best with the soul patch intact.
Giving the soul patch more definition enhances the look even more. Because this area is so small, it’s quite tricky to do.
The way to do it is to remove any stray hairs either side of the soul patch, within the goatee itself.
Keeping the skin taut, remove them with very short trims using the naked blade of your trimmer. You may need to use the edge of the blade to ensure you don’t cut into the other parts of the goatee.
If you aren’t comfortable doing this due to fear of trimming too much, don’t worry. It isn’t essential but can really make that soul patch pop.
At this point, it’s worth deciding whether you want a sharp, horizontal upper border to your chin beard. This would lie just beneath the soul patch.
A lot of men prefer to keep their chin beard natural as it’s such a key component of the goatee. It’s something worth testing out.
Step 8: Shave outside the borders
Now it’s time to get as close a shave as possible outside the borders of the stubble goatee. In other words, on the cheeks and neck.
Been clean-shaven in areas you don’t want any hair is the strongest way to give serious definition to the areas you do want hair.
The device you use isn’t as important as the technique. You can either use a manual razor (cartridge or safety), or an electric shaver (foil or rotary).
If you’re using a manual razor, lather up the areas you’re going to shave with a moisturizing shaving cream or gel. You can even use it to outline the borders of your stubble goatee to minimize the risk of you shaving any of the goatee itself.
One of the benefits of using an electric shaver is that you don’t need to use the shaving gel.
Either way, remember to keep the skin gently taut, avoid re-strokes, and shave with the grain to minimize skin irritation.
There you have it. You’ve just crafted yourself a fine-looking stubble goatee, my friend. The main reason it’s such a good style to learn is that it can give your facial hair journey a hint of variation without being too overwhelming.
Its versatility will serve you well in almost any situation or context, and the beauty of it is it doesn’t take very long to trim.
The first couple of tries may take you a little longer, but once you get to grips with the routine it’s really no trouble at all.
Do you have any tips or tricks for the stubble goatee? If so, be sure to leave a comment down below!