There aren’t many facial hairstyles as gloriously simple as this one. Growing, trimming, and shaping it really couldn’t be any easier. You’re about to learn exactly what you need to know about soul patches.
It may not be as common as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a loyal legion of followers.
You’ll learn what it’s all about, whether it’s the style for you, as well as answers to some very common questions about this timeless style.
Let’s get to it.
What Is A Soul Patch?
The soul patch is a small tuft of facial hair that lies immediately below the lower lip.
It can exist on its own with no other hair on the face. Or, it can exist as part of a broader style, such as a goatee with a soul patch or a mustache.
Wearing a lone soul patch became popular in the 1950s, particularly among American jazz musicians and other artists such as beatnik poets.
Because of this, it often gives off an artistic and creative vibe. This is one reason some men are still drawn to the aesthetic.
Plus, it’s incredibly easy to maintain. Having to trim and shape a single, small patch of hair really isn’t difficult.
How Long Does It Take To Grow A Soul Patch?
On average, it’ll take 10 to 14 days to grow a soul patch.
This is assuming you want it within that popular heavy stubble range. It’s long enough to be very noticeable, but not so long that it’s too in-your-face or tough to maintain.
If you wanted a more subtle soul patch, you could go for one in the light stubble range (1-2mm) instead. This would take less than 3 days to trim.
To sum that all up, it really depends on how long you want to grow it. But if you want the easiest and most common option, go for heavy stubble.
Are Soul Patches Attractive And In Style?
Soul patches are generally considered attractive but are no longer in style. They had their heyday in the 1960s but have been in a gradual decline ever since.
But that doesn’t mean that some men aren’t still drawn to wearing a single, lone soul patch under their lip.
They value the artistic and classic aesthetic, harking back to an era where art and facial hair were so intricately linked.
Yes, some women feel the same about the soul patches as well.
But it wouldn’t be wise to deny the fact that some would consider soul patches a bit old-fashioned or even pretentious now.
But at the end of the day, who cares? If you enjoy the look, try it out.
Alternatively, try it out as part of a broader style. For instance, rock a full medium stubble beard but shape that soul patch to perfection within it.
Alternatively, rock a Van Dyke or different goatee style, but really hone in on the soul patch and make it obvious.
You don’t necessarily have to grow and maintain just the soul patch and nothing else. But if you wanted to, definitely go for it.
What Do Soul Patches Say About A Man?
A soul patch says that a man isn’t afraid to express his appreciation for a previous era. It also says that he may well have an artistic and creative side himself.
On the other hand, it may not say anything at all. Some men just like the look of a soul patch and there’s really nothing else to it.
It may say he values ease-of-maintenance when it comes to facial hair. He may not have the time, patience, or energy to actually groom a full beard which is understandable.
Other practical things a soul patch could say about a man might also include a dislike for the feel of a freshly-shaven lip. This is pretty common with trumpet players, for instance, who often don’t like the instrument rubbing against a shaven lower lip.
2 Soul Patch Variations To Know
A soul patch may be a small tuft of hair, but it can come in a variety of different shapes. Here are a few to know about.
1. Long Soul Patch
A long soul patch is a strip of hair that extends from the lower lip vertically down to the tip of the chin.
It’s important to distinguish this from a goatee. A goatee is where you’ve got hair on the tip of the chin, but not extending from the lower lip.
If the hair originates immediately below the lip, it’s a soul patch.
A long soul patch may not be for everyone because it isn’t as subtle as simply having a tiny patch of hair below the lip.
Having it extend downward makes it more obvious. This may be exactly what you want and is a good way to make a simple style a little more noticeable and interesting.
2. Triangle Soul Patch
As the name would suggest, a triangle soul patch consists of a patch of hair immediately below the lower lip that is shaped in the form of a triangle.
The last picture is a great example of one.
Once again, it’s an interesting way to stand out from the crowd when it comes to styling a soul patch.
However, it’s definitely less subtle than a simple circular or oval-shaped soul patch. This is something to bear in mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some other commonly asked yet rarely answered questions on soul patches.
Is The Soul Patch A Beard Or A Goatee?
Soul patches are a beard style, not a goatee. While soul patches consist of hair that originates beneath the lower lip, goatees consist of hair on the tip of the chin.
Goatees can exist with soul patches (again – check the last image for an example of this). However, they are not the same thing.
Feel free to check out my goatee articles to find out more about them.
What To Do If Your Soul Patch Won’t Grow
If your soul patch won’t grow, the best course of action would be to choose a facial hairstyle that doesn’t require one.
There are plenty of beard styles that don’t have soul patches. These include goatees without soul patches.
Unfortunately, there are many men who simply can’t grow a beard under their lip. Although many look for a miracle fix, it’s often just simply to do with genetics.
You could give it more time. Sometimes patchy areas in beards do fill themselves in as the years go by and you mature.
But overall, there are so many great facial hairstyles that don’t require soul patches that it’s honestly pointless to sit around feeling disappointed about not being able to grow one.
Can Firefighters Have Soul Patches?
In general, no – firefighters cannot have soul patches. The majority of fire departments generally prohibit facial hair due to potential interference with safety masks.
There may be some stations that are more lenient, and so you should allow for some local and regional variation in policies.
In addition, those who work in direct action against fires (as opposed to a different departmental role) are more likely to be instructed to clean shave and be soul-patch-free.
Overall, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that most firefighters would not be allowed to have one.
How Long Can A Soul Patch Really Grow?
Technically a soul patch can only grow as long as the length between the bottom of the lower lip and the tip of the chin.
This is really the only part of your face that can accurately be called a “soul patch”.
Any hair that extends beyond the tip of the chin should more accurately be called goatee hair and not form part of the soul patch.
Soul patches often flow downwards into the goatee and so do become one and the same.
What To Do If Your Soul Patch Doesn’t Connect To Your Beard?
If the soul patch doesn’t connect to the rest of the beard, the most attractive option is to exaggerate the disconnectedness. Shave and trim around the soul patch to really isolate it and make it stand out.
This may not be ideal for a lot of men who want their soul patch to connect and flow seamlessly into the rest of the beard.
But unfortunately, it’s very common for the area around the soul patch to be bare or patchy, despite the rest of the beard looking thick and lustrous.
You could try growing your beard out longer to see if this area catches up. Alternatively, you could give it a few years to see if this area fills itself out as you get more mature.
But in general, the best option for patchy beard areas is to style it out. Choose a style that completely removes the need for this area altogether.
In this instance, it would mean shaving any stubbly or patchy hair that you may have immediately around the soul patch to really isolate it and make it stand out as part of a broader facial hairstyle.
How Do You Make The Soul Patch Thicker?
Ways of making the soul patch look thicker include growing it longer, brushing it regularly, and even dyeing it to make it look darker.
Growing it longer is often the simplest solution to a thin or patchy soul patch.
Bare areas tend to fill themselves out as you give the beard more time to grow before trimming it down.
Brushing the soul patch with a boar bristle beard brush will train the hair to lay flatter, straighter, and downward. This makes it look thicker despite not actually causing any increased growth.
If your soul patch hair is particularly light in color or simply a similar color to your skin, you could make it stand out by dyeing it a darker color.
Again, this may not increase the amount of hair you’ve actually got but does usually make it look thicker if it’s done properly.
Should You Keep Or Shave And Remove Your Soul Patch?
When growing a full beard, you should keep the soul patch if you want a more natural look. If you’d rather have a noticeable box-like appearance to the chin area, consider shaving and removing the soul patch instead.
This will be down to personal preference. Most men growing beards do choose to keep the soul patch hair as it makes the whole beard look fuller overall.
In addition, having hair beneath the lower lip (i.e a soul patch) does give the chin strength and fullness. For men looking for an easy way to make their chin look more “masculine”, keeping the soul patch might be an easy way to achieve it.
However, beards without soul patches do have a very modern edge to them, and removing it may well be a great way to stand out from the crowd.
What To Do If Your Soul Patch Curls And Grows Upwards?
The small proportion of men whose soul patch tends to curl and grow upward into their mouth should strongly consider shaving their soul patch altogether.
Not only is this an annoying thing to experience, but it also rarely ever looks good.
The feeling of soul patch hair curling into your mouth isn’t going to be pleasant. This is one of the rare instances where getting rid of the soul patch would definitely be wise.
What Should You Do If Your Soul Patch Sticks Out?
Simple ways to stop the soul patch sticking out would be to trim the hair shorter and brush it downward with a boar bristle beard brush on a daily basis.
Although trimming it shorter should do the trick for most men, some men may actually benefit more from growing it even longer.
There may be a frustrating awkward period in the middle, but growing it longer can actually eventually lead to the soul patch hair laying flatter. This is due to the weight of the longer hair pulling it down.
It’s worth trying this if simply trimming the soul patch hair shorter isn’t enough to stop it from sticking out.
Brushing the soul patch hair regularly should also prevent it from sticking out as it trains it to lay flatter.
Stopping beard hair from sticking out is an art in itself.
There you have it. Hopefully, everything you could want to know about this classic facial hairstyle.
There’s beauty in its simplicity. It’s easy to grow and easy to maintain.
It may not be for everyone, but most men should try a soul patch out at some point in their lives.
Because it’s so easy to grow and also so easy to remove. There’s very little commitment necessary. You could test it out and remove it if you don’t like it, all within the space of a couple of weeks.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.