Face shape is everything. An exaggeration? Maybe. But probably not. It’s pretty important when it comes to facial hair; stubble is no exception.
You’ve probably seen enough “best (blank) for (blank) face shape” articles on the internet by now to make your eyes water.
If you were going to stop at one, though, let it be this one.
As a proudly stubbled man, it’s essential to know why certain stubble styles suit some face shapes more than others.
You can use this basic but crucial information to your advantage. You’re about to learn it in the best and most effective way possible.
Let’s get to it.
Why Face Shape Matters When It Comes To Stubble
Stubble hair can be used to draw attention to certain aspects of your face while taking attention away from others.
The stubble style you choose should, therefore, partly depend on your face shape and how you want to adjust it.
Oval faces are typically considered the most aesthetically “desirable”, but this isn’t always the case.
There are plenty of men who may prefer a longer and stronger chin instead.
Although stubble is short facial hair (< 5mm long) and isn’t quite as versatile when it comes to adding length to the chin, it can still be used to draw attention to it.
Having more stubble on the chin relative to the cheeks (like with a goatee) has the effect of adding prominence and strength to the chin.
This is just one example of how stubble can impact face shape and can be used to your advantage.
It would be better to explain this concept further by using practical examples and referring to actual face shapes.
Best Stubble Styles For Round Faces
Here are a few fantastic stubble options for men with round faces.
With these face shapes, the jawline isn’t usually well-defined. In addition, the cheekbone distance and forehead-to-chin distance are similar lengths.
1. The Full Stubble Goatee
As I mentioned, goatees are great for adding prominence to the chin.
This is very appealing when it comes to round and square face shapes as the chin isn’t usually well-defined and might even be “weak”.
A Full Stubble Goatee consists of a connected chin beard and mustache where the hair is of stubble length (< 5mm).
As with most goatee styles, there is no hair on the cheeks at all.
Having stubble on the chin but not on the cheeks draws the eyes to the chin and lower jaw. This effect is subtle but surprisingly powerful.
It’s simple, stylish, and effective.
If your chin beard and mustache don’t connect, don’t worry. This is a pretty common problem.
Simply leave them disconnected – it’ll still look great.
2. The Goatee With Chinstrap
I do love this style – it’s pretty simple to shape out of stubble and a great way to stand out a little when you’ve got a round face.
It consists of a Full Goatee (as described above) with the deft addition of a connected chinstrap.
A chinstrap is a strip of facial hair that runs from one ear to the other. It can be “thick” or “thin”, but always runs along the entire length of the jawline.
It works well with a Full Goatee because it doesn’t just add prominence to the chin – it adds definition to the whole jawline as well.
Although it’s a relatively easy stubble style to maintain, it does require slightly more intricate trimming.
3. The 5 O’Clock Shadow
OK – this style would work well with any face shape. But it’s a great option for men with round faces because of contouring effects.
A 5 o’clock shadow is a very short length of stubble, usually around 0.5mm in length.
It’s named after the shadowing effect you see on the stubbled face of a working man at the end of a long day.
I’m not referring to this accidental stubble.
What I’m referring to is the intentional trimming of this length of stubble by a man who wants to take advantage of its benefits.
Trimming stubble this short is effective because it subtly darkens and shadows the middle and lower portion of the face.
In other words, the cheekbones, the chin, and the jawline.
This shadowing effect makes these prominent facial structures look sharper and more defined.
This is perfect for men with round faces, where these features are typically more curved and less well-defined.
Although most stubble lengths are good at defining and contouring, shorter stubble lengths are generally better.
Longer stubble can sometimes obscure facial bone structure more than it defines it.
Best Stubble Styles For Long Faces
This mainly refers to triangular and rectangular face shapes where the forehead-to-chin measurement is greater than the cheekbone distance.
When choosing a stubble style for long faces, you need to take care not to add too much prominence to the chin. This will usually have the effect of elongating the face further.
1. Heavy Stubble
Achieving balance is crucial when it comes to longer face shapes. You want a relatively equal amount of stubble distributed across your face.
Having stubble on your cheeks is preferred because it adds balance to the stubble on the chin and doesn’t let it draw too much attention.
Some might argue that the simplest way to take attention away from the chin would be to pick a style that doesn’t have any hair on the chin at all.
Unfortunately, there aren’t many styles without hair on the chin that would be considered in-style or attractive these days.
A classic heavy stubble beard with hair on the chin, cheeks, and mustache works well because it adds balance in all directions.
The hair is usually around 4-5mm long. It’s short enough to be considered subtle, but also long enough to potentially obscure and soften some of the sharper and pointier features of a face.
2. The Goatee With Stubble
If you were intent on rocking a goatee, the Goatee With Stubble would be a better option than a regular one.
It’s important to understand how it’s different.
A “stubble goatee” (like the ones I described earlier) consists of a goatee with no hair on the cheeks. The cheeks are completely shaven.
A “goatee with stubble”, on the other hand, consists of a Full Goatee with shorter stubble on the cheeks.
In other words, the hair on the cheeks is significantly shorter than the goatee hair (chin and mustache area).
The cheeks aren’t completely shaved.
Although the chin is still pretty front-and-center, it doesn’t take over. The stubble on the cheeks is able to add some balance and draw some of the attention.
It’s a great option for goatee lovers with longer faces who don’t want the chin hair to take over.
Best Stubble Styles For Oval Faces
If you’re fortunate enough to have what could safely be described as an oval-shaped face, there aren’t many stubble styles that wouldn’t work for you.
Essentially, any of the styles I’ve described in this article would work.
1. Any Classic Stubble Beard
If simplicity is your aim, it doesn’t get any better than a straightforward, no-nonsense classic stubble beard.
Classic stubble consists of hair on the chin, cheeks, and mustache.
Essentially, if you were to simply grow your stubble out without trimming or maintaining it, you’d have a classic stubble beard.
It’s true that the distribution of a classic stubble beard doesn’t necessarily need trimming or shaping in order to achieve it.
But a poorly maintained stubble beard shouldn’t ever be considered a “style”. It’s simply an accidental beard with no intention or purpose behind it.
The key to an effective and impressive classic stubble beard is proper stubble grooming and maintenance.
Trim it down to your desired stubble length regularly and define the borders (neckline and cheek line).
Proper maintenance will ensure the classic stubble beard looks intentional every single time.
2. Mustache With Stubble
All men should be encouraged to take risks with their facial hair, regardless of the shape of their face.
But men with oval faces have the benefit of versatility. There are simply more styles that just work for them – there’s no doubt about it.
A slightly bolder stubble style that may be well worth trying is the mustache with stubble.
As the name very explicitly suggests, it consists of a mustache style of some variety, surrounded by a glorious layer of stubble.
The mustache hair is usually significantly longer than the surrounding stubble. It’s the difference in length that makes the mustache stand out.
The style of the mustache can be anything. In the picture above, it’s a handlebar mustache with the typical curled up edges.
It’s the perfect choice for mustache lovers looking for a way to stand out just a little more.
A mustache with no other hair on the face whatsoever may not be the preferred option for some men. They don’t want it to draw too much attention.
Keeping some stubble on either side of it is a nice, subtle way to share some of that attention.
Your glasses, your hat, your hairstyle. The shape of your face should play a role in many of your style and grooming choices.
Stubble styles are no different.
Once you’ve got a vague idea of what styles best suit your face, take advantage of it. Use that knowledge to shape the perfect stubble.
It’s helpful to think of there being a perfect style already out there for you. Your job is simply to find out what it is through extensive and rigorous experimentation.
That’s the fun part – enjoy.