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Why You Can Only Grow A Goatee: 4 Simple Fixes

July 31, 2023
Why You Can Only Grow A Goatee: 4 Simple Fixes

There are many, many men who ask this question, and often do so out of sheer frustration. It’s usually yelled out with a combination of confusion and anger. But it’s time to face the problem head-on. So, why can you only grow a goatee?

Because the two components of the goatee – the chin beard and mustache – are very often the thickest areas of facial hair.

They have the potential to make the relatively patchy and thin cheek hair look almost absent. Often it’s not the case that you can’t grow any hair on the cheeks. It’s just that it’s very thin in comparison to the goatee area. 

Although this is usually the answer to the question, it probably isn’t of much help to you. There’s actually a good chance you probably realized that for yourself. Big deal, right? 

It’s true that very little can be done about the distribution of a man’s facial hair. Unfortunately, to a certain extent, you’ll have to make do with what you’re given. Some men may just have extremely thin and patchy cheeks. 

Having said that, it’s important that you’re allowing your facial hair to fulfill its potential. There are different ways of doing this, including ways of giving it a bit of a boost or makeover. 

I want to first delve a little deeper into why some men can only grow a goatee. After that, I’ll talk you through some tips and tricks to try and tackle the situation. 

By the way, click here if you want to see my favorite beard grooming tools and products of the year.

Simple Fixes For Men That Can Only Grow A Goatee

These fixes do depend on the degree of your problem. Some men may have no hair at all on the cheeks, although this is less common. Most men reading this will most likely just have very thin, wispy or patchy hair on the cheeks relative to the goatee area. 

Bear this fact in mind as you read through the following solutions. All of them may not apply to you, but there’s a good chance that at least one of them will refer directly to you. 

1. Grow it out longer

Make sure you’re giving that beard a chance to grow to its utmost potential before reaching for that blade and swiftly trimming it down. 

It’s true that different parts of the beard grow at different rates. Yes, it’s often the case that the chin beard and mustache (the goatee components) grow faster than the rest of the beard. 

They may be storming ahead leaving the sides trailing desperately behind. 

But it’s a good idea to try and grow the whole thing out a bit before coming to any conclusions. If you have a tendency to trim the beard quite frequently, give things a bit more time to see if the patchy sides fill themselves out. 

It may not work for everyone, as there’s a good chance that the sides will still be thinner and patchier than the goatee. But it’s certainly worth a try. 

If the sides do eventually fill out, you’re suddenly presented with options. You can then trim the goatee shorter to try and make the entire beard look more evenly distributed. 

2. Give it more time

Trust me, this is different from the last point (albeit in a subtle way). The last point referred to allowing the beard to grow a few weeks, or even months longer than you may be doing currently. 

This point is about allowing your body to gradually mature with age. 

It’s more of a plea to avoid getting frustrated with lack of progress, and knowing that things will change over time. Believe me, the way you look now will not be the way you look five years from now. 

It can be quite astonishing just how much a human face and body can change over such a short period of time. 

By bearing this in mind, you’ll become less impatient and more understanding. There’s a reasonable chance that by giving your body time to mature, those cheeks may gradually start to fill in. 

This is mainly a message to younger men, but usually isn’t wise to put an age-cap on change. After all, why does nose hair suddenly start to erupt out of our nostrils when we’re well into our 50s?

Give it time – allow the beard to ripen gloriously with age.

You may one day wake up, look in the mirror, and be pleasantly surprised by just how much non-goatee hair you’ve got staring back at you. 

16mm beard example
From 123RF

3. Try artificially darkening the cheek hair

This is more of a solution for men with patchy or thin cheeks, as opposed to completely bare cheeks.

Like I said, patchy is more common than bare, when it comes to cheeks. It’s quite likely that you’ve got cheek hair and it’s just a lot thinner than the goatee area. 

This can be interpreted as only being able to grow a goatee. 

If you do have some cheek hair, even if it’s thin, sparse, and patchy, there are a couple of things you could try. Once again, these may not be practices you’d want to undertake. But it’s definitely worth mentioning them just in case it piques your interest. 

A simple way to make patchy cheek hair look thicker is to darken it. Although it may seem like a hassle, some men will be willing to go through with it. 

Beard dye is a potential option. There are many beard dyeing products on the market today – some natural and some artificial. Some of them are more temporary, and some more permanent. 

I won’t go into it in detail here. Here’s a full article on how to dye stubble in case you’re interested. 

Just know that darkening patchy and thin cheek hair may be a reasonable way to make it appear thicker and more even with the goatee. 

Of course, skin staining is a problem. It’s important to take steps to minimize it, as well as quickly removing it if it were to occur

Keratin hair fibers are another way of making that cheek hair appear thicker. These are tiny little fibers that latch onto the hair shafts and instantly make it look thicker. It’s artificial, it’s temporary, but it can be effective. 

They’re of vegetal origin, and usually resistant to wind and rain. Be warned, however, that as with most products, heavy rain will be its downfall. 

Once again, you do need some cheek hair for this to work, although it can be a very small amount. If you’re interested, Toppik (Amazon Link) is a pretty big player in this space. 

Another “cheat” is to try lightly brushing some mascara over the patchy or thin cheek hair. Ensure that the shade you use is consistent with your natural shade and the shade of your current goatee. 

This is probably the quickest and least invasive method of trying to darken the hair. It can also be very effective when done correctly. 

Hopefully, by now you get the point that the aim isn’t to grow the hair on the sides any quicker or thicker. This simply isn’t possible, no matter how many “miracle cures” are marketed to you. 

It’s easier (and usually cheaper) to simply try and make the cheek hair you do have look thicker and more uniform with the goatee. This should lead to a more evenly-distributed looking beard overall. 

4. Embrace the style

This may not be what you want to hear, but it’s important to put it out there. Yes, the goatee may be all you need. 

There are so many phenomenal goatee styles to choose from that you may be better off without the cheek hair in the first place.

For example, the goatee with chinstrap, or the goatee without soul patch. There are so many that I would find it hard to summarize it in a short paragraph. Click here if you want to read my other goatee articles. 

If your goatee doesn’t connect and there’s a distinct gap in between your chin beard and mustache, this isn’t a problem either. In fact, this is a relatively common problem. 

There are plenty of disconnected goatee styles to choose from, such as the Van Dyke.

My point is that it isn’t necessary to continually wish for beard hair you may not even need. Playing to your strengths is an integral aspect of effective men’s grooming. If you can only grow a goatee, why not focus on it, accentuate it and make it the best it can possibly be? 

The beauty of it is you won’t ever need to worry about patchy cheeks ever again. You won’t ever have to worry about bare cheeks ever again. 

It shouldn’t ever concern you because that hair isn’t even needed. All you’ll need to do is shave it off now and again to keep the goatee looking nice and neat. Keep the goatee looking well-trimmed, with tightly defined borders and a nice, symmetrical shape. 

The goatee is one of the most versatile and universally accepted beard styles in the world. It’s hard to find a context or situation in which it wouldn’t look good. 

Trust me – give it a try and experiment with it. You may eventually land upon a goatee style you absolutely love. 


There you have it. Some quick and simple tips for men who can only grow a goatee. Hopefully, I’ve given you a better understanding of why this frustrating phenomenon occurs. 

The main take-home message from this article would be to not allow facial hair to become a source of frustration. It has the benefit of being very disposable. In other words, we could trim it one day and know we’d get it back soon. 

This leaves so much room for carefree experimentation that it should never be stressful or frustrating. There are plenty of different styles to adopt no matter what the distribution of your facial hair is. 

Not all beards need to be large, thick, and evenly-distributed.

In fact, this is relatively rare. Most men do have patchy spots, some awkward phases, and some dry phases. 

It’s just important to remember this to get you through the difficult parts. Things get better with time.