The Walter White goatee will forever be considered an iconic symbol of one of the greatest TV shows of all time.
Breaking Bad chronicled the astonishing transformation of a man pushed to his limits. His facial hair played a large role in developing his character and turning the image of a seemingly normal-looking man into a global pop culture phenomenon.
This article is a celebration of this often overlooked aspect of his image. His goatee should be revered, relished, and reproduced whenever possible.
Having said that, it’s an extremely simple style. There’s nothing unique about the way in which Walter trimmed his goatee. But it’s the way in which he wore it. The meticulous symmetry, the overall swagger, and so on.
I’ll talk through a couple of frequently asked questions first. Then, I’ll dive into a step-by-step tutorial on how to trim this glorious style. It’s simple, sleek, and stylish.
Let’s get to it.
What Exactly Is The Walter White Goatee?
Walter White’s Goatee is essentially a Full Goatee. But before we elaborate on that specific point, what exactly is a “goatee”.
A goatee is any style that is composed of hair on the chin but not on the cheeks. Most people are pretty aware of what one looks like. However, they probably aren’t aware of just how many variants there really are.
Fortunately, they don’t need to worry about that with Walter. His goatee is about as simple as it gets.
The Full Goatee consists of a connected chin beard and mustache encircling the mouth. Walter White’s goatee varied from time to time, mainly in how it treated the soul patch.
The soul patch is the tiny patch of hair that lies immediately beneath the lower lip. At times, his soul patch was neatly defined and isolated. But sometimes, it was allowed to seamlessly blend into the chin beard beneath it.
The Full Goatee differs from the most traditional definition of a “goatee”, which refers to a style consisting of a tuft of hair on the chin and nowhere else.
But by more modern standards, a Full Goatee that incorporates a mustache is certainly worthy of being called a goatee. The only principle that needs to remain sacred is the absence of hair on the cheeks.
What made his goatee stand out so much was how striking it looked against the backdrop of a shaved head. But we’ll come on to that shortly. It also always appeared to be neatly trimmed and very symmetrical – essential to the overall aesthetic.
When Does Walter White Grow A Goatee?
At the end of Season 2. It can be seen in the finale, as Walt’s life becomes increasingly and overwhelmingly enveloped in a life of crime.
His change in appearance is integral to his character’s development. It reflects the transformation of his personality and a shift toward a nihilistic moral outlook.
Prior to this, his facial hairstyle was a straightforward Painter’s Brush mustache. The exact reason behind his change in style isn’t explored in the series.
A plausible theory is that he wanted to counterbalance the appearance of his bald scalp. Another is that he wanted to change his outward appearance to dissociate his immoral actions from his former self.
Was The Goatee Meant To Make Walter White Look Evil?
Goatees have long been associated with a certain dark energy. In the media, goatees have been used to signify a character as evil or untrustworthy.
The exact reason behind this, and why it works, is unclear. There’s a theory that humans tend to interpret downward-facing triangles as being threatening. This would provide an explanation for traditional goatees, but not so much for Full Goatees.
However, it’s no secret that Full Goatees are also used to differentiate good from evil in popular culture.
This is another possible reason why Walter White had a goatee in Breaking Bad as his character became more and more morally dubious.
Did His Baldness Make The Goatee Look Even Better?
Baldness and facial hair have gone hand-in-hand for a very long time. It’s a combination that just works.
There’s just something about the way in which a beard can counterbalance a bare scalp that rarely ever fails. It’s a simple way to produce a glorious aesthetic.
But goatees, in particular, tend to work extremely well with a bald head. One reason is that goatees act to elongate the chin.
Scalp hair is often used to adjust the shape of the face. It’s a commonly used stylistic device – changing your hair can change the overall face shape to make it more appealing. Bald men don’t have this benefit.
A bald scalp can make a face look more round overall. So, facial hair can be used to alter the face shape instead. When a goatee elongates the chin, it can make the face appear less round and more oval-shaped overall. This is generally considered more appealing.
To summarize, yes, goatees work extremely well with a bald or shaved head. If you want to learn more, read my article on the best goatees for bald heads.
How To Trim The Walter White Goatee
Here’s the fun part. You’re about to learn how to trim a neat, stylish, yet simple Full Goatee just like the man himself.
It’s a brief, straightforward, step-by-step routine that will never steer you wrong.
It’s always a sensible idea to start a trimming and shaving session by exfoliating. This is despite the fact that the very word itself often makes the eyes roll.
Exfoliating refers to the process of removing dirt and dead cells from the top layer of skin using a physical scrub. It takes 30 seconds to do but can have a profound effect on the grooming experience.
It reduces obstruction and subsequent irritation as the blade glides across the face. This leads to a more even trim, a closer shave, and a less red face.
2. Trim the entire beard to goatee length
What this means is that the entire beard you’ve got at the moment will need to be trimmed down to the same length.
This is despite the fact that a lot of it will eventually be shaved off anyway. For example, the cheek hair and neck hair. The reason you trim everything down first is that it makes it so much easier to carve out your goatee outline in the next step.
You’ll need an electric trimmer for this step. If you haven’t already got one, check out the Philips Norelco Oneblade QP6520/70 on Amazon here.
Once you’ve decided upon your eventual goatee length, set your trimmer’s adjustable length setting to it and start trimming.
You don’t need to worry about perfecting the cheek hair and neck hair, as you’ll eventually be shaving it off anyway. Focus on honing in on the mustache and chin beard.
It’s OK to vary the length a little, as this actually makes the facial hair looks more even in length overall, funnily enough. For example, the mustache is often thicker than the chin beard.
Trimming it just 0.5mm shorter than the chin beard can actually make the two components look more evenly distributed overall. This is something to experiment with.
3. Sculpt the goatee outline
I guess you could call this the main event – it’s time to trim the goatee.
The secret to effective goatee trimming is sculpting a natural-looking shape. Men often fall into the trap of trimming a goatee that’s too narrow. They do this because they feel as though the sides should be vertical.
This is often too narrow and leads to a very small and ineffective goatee.
A more effective way to trim would be to allow the sides of the goatee to follow the curve of the mustache downward.
In other words, think of the goatee sides as simply a natural extension of the mustache. Follow this curve downward toward the jawline and you’ll be golden.
Once you’ve visualized this outline, start trimming and edging it using the naked blade of the electric trimmer. In other words, with no attachments.
After you’ve trimmed the outline of the goatee, trim everything outside it using the naked blade again. This should include the cheek hair and neck hair.
Pay some attention to the soul patch as well. It’s very reasonable to simply trim the few stray hairs either side of it to neaten it up.
Alternatively, you may want to trim it into a circle or rectangular shape to isolate it from the chin beard. Another option would be to remove it altogether to leave a box-like appearance to the chin beard.
This is completely up to you, and another glorious thing to experiment with over time.
4. Carve the neckline
Goatees are a neat, small, and tidy style. There’s no room for untidiness. Sure, certain goatee variants are a little more forgiving. For example, the goatee with stubble allows for a little bit of – well, stubble, as you’d expect.
But with almost all goatee styles, neck stubble has to go. The best way to do this would be to define a well-constructed neckline and trim / shave everything underneath it.
The neckline of the goatee should be at the correct height. Not too high and not too low. A good rule-of-thumb would be to set it at two finger-widths above the Adam’s Apple.
Once you’ve visualized it, once again, trim it with the naked blade as well as all of the hair that lies beneath.
By this point, what you should be left with is a neatly-defined goatee outline and neckline. Walter White himself would wear this goatee with pride.
But he wouldn’t be done yet.
5. Shave for perfect results
Although the naked blade of a trimmer can be very effective, it’s best used for outlining, edging, and trimming down to very short stubble.
If all you do is trim using the naked blade, you’ll usually be left with around 0.4mm worth of stubble. Although this is minimal and hardly noticeable, to really get the best results you’ll want to shave over the areas outside the goatee outline.
In other words, shave the cheeks and neck. Shaving cuts the hair as close as you can get to the skin. Because of this, it can irritate the skin quite a lot if not done properly.
Be sure to use shaving gel if using a manual razor, shave carefully, and avoid double-strokes. Keep the skin gently taut to avoid little cuts.
You can either use an electric shaver or manual razor – this is mainly down to personal preference as well as budget.
6. Moisturize well
As I mentioned, shaving can be very irritating to the skin. You’ll want to moisturize well each and every time you do it. It can reduce redness and soothe irritation.
It’s an excellent grooming habit to get into. Skincare is an essential component of goatee grooming and worth adopting early for the best results.
There you have it. Everything you’d need to know about the glorious facial hairstyle of a fantastic television character. Walter White is known for many things, but his iconic goatee has definitely become one of his least expected trademarks.
You’ve learned what type of goatee it was, when he grew it, and potentially even why he grew it. If you were interested in trimming one for yourself, hopefully, the tutorial above came in useful as well.
Goatees have the benefit of being incredibly versatile, easy to maintain, and sleek. If you are interested in learning more about them, check out my other goatee articles. There’s so much more to them than you might have initially thought.
Some of the most famous faces in the world are adorned with Full Goatees. They truly are timeless and considered one of the few universally recognized and accepted styles.