It’s probably safe to say that we are currently living through a golden age of goatee styles. This facial hair version has definitely seen its ups and downs since it was invented hundreds of years ago (yeas, you read that well enough). It was even renegaded as a facial hair style only suitable for dads and middle aged men back in the 90s and 2000s. But now the goatee is receiving a whole lotta love from more celebrities than you could possibly think of.
Why? What caused this sudden falling in love with chin hair? Let’s look into the history of the goatee, how many styles there are, how you can style your goatee, and what celebrities have been photographed wearing it on the red carpet. Scroll all the way to the bottom!
What Is a Goatee?
Before we can dive right into all that info, however, we need to establish a basic thing, to make sure we’re on the same page. What exactly is a goatee?
Let’s hear the word of an academic on the matter. Namely Christopher Oldstone-Moore who wrote the book Of Beards and Men: The Revealing History of Facial Hair. He also studies beards and masculinity at Wright State University.
According to him, there is no one accepted concept of goatee. In general, a goatee must be a partial beard that absolutely has to cover the chin. In other words, some areas of your face must be shaved while others have to be clean.
Of course, there are variations, as we are about to see ourselves below, when we tackle types of goatees. But, in general, Christopher Oldstone-Moore divides this type of facial hair between a full goatee and a Van Dyke.
The full goatee is also called a circle beard and, as the name suggests, is a circle of beard around your mouth and chin that cannot be disconnected. The Van Dyke is just a mustache and a small beard on your chin not connected by any hair. If you grow your Van Dyke pointier and longer, then it’s called an imperial. And that’s where we fall down the rabbit hole of goatees. Therefore, it’s best we leave it here for now.
The History of the Goatee
As you might have expected, goatee styles have a very long and intricate history that takes us back hundreds of years. Let’s try to go through it swiftly but exhaustively.
Yes, the name ‘goatee’ does come from a goat. It represents the hair the billy goat grows under its chin. Therefore, you can win the next bar bet your make. Consequently, this is the reason why one of the Greek gods called Pan is painted with a goatee on. He was the god of shepherds. It might also interest you to know that this image of Pan leaked into Christianity later on to form the picture of Satan. That’s why Lucifer as we know him in our common understanding also has a goatee. However, these are all modern depictions of what we now think these imaginary beings might have looked like. There is absolutely no historical reason to believe the Ancient Greeks depicted their gods with a goatee or that they wore goatees themselves. Goatee styles do not appear in the ancient world at all.
The Van Dyck Goatee
The first time the goatee really became a facial hair style of interest to the masses was in the 17th century. The man responsible for the hair madness was none other than Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck. He painted himself a lot, since selfies were not available at that time. We can clearly notice he wore a rudimentary version of what we now call the van Dycke goatee.
As his self-portraits traveled through Europe, men all over the continent took to the look and began to wear goatee styles themselves. It was a version of travelling Instagram if you will. Of course, the small beard was named in the painter’s honor.
However, because fashion is quite fickly, the goatee was dumped as a trend by gentlemen and aristocrats by the 18th century. It was only worn in not so polite circles and even more by soldiers. It made its way to the famous Three Musketeers, in Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, and even in the Wild West. Buffalo Bill had a goatee. Therefore, this facial hair style became associated with forceful and even violent people.
Goatee Styles in the Modern Age
After that, goatees disappeared altogether for a very long time. Of course, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a wild Buffalo Bill supporter out there who grew a goatee and dreamed of saloons in the desert. But they were not mainstream anymore.
Goatee styles saw a quick resurgence in the 1940s when jazz musicians and some representatives of the Beat generation wore a type of very small mustache and beard. We all know that the 70s were all about the thick mustache, so there was no room for the goatee.
But things got more complicated in the 90s. Goatees came back into style in a really big way for the first time since the 18th century. Everyone was wearing them and they haven’t stopped.
Specialist Christopher Oldstone-Moore believes it’s because goatees are a very safe bet to take as far as facial hair goes in today’s social climate. A man that walks around completely shaven has nothing to say. Most men are totally shaven because they have to do that for work, where they must meet an office dress code.
At the other extreme you find the men who choose to grow full beards. They want to send a message. They are rebelling against the past decades which were quite hairless in the facial region. Therefore, a goatee places men right in the middle, where they can sit comfortably without being bland but without having a message to send either. As it turns out, goatees have subtle psychological differences no one knew of.
Most Popular Types of Goatees
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-known types of goatees that you could grow according to your facial type.
1. The pure goatee
This one is also called the goatee without a mustache. Evidently, you will have to shave your upper lip every day along with the rest of your face, except the chin. What you are left with is just a very small patch of beard that sits under your lip that does not connect with anything else. Primarily because the rest of your face is shaved clean.
2. The full goatee
We’ve already touched upon this version a little. It’s the classic style that you can see most often on the street or worn by celebrities. As far as goatee styles go, it’s a very straightforward circle of facial hair that must run interrupted around your mouth and down to your chin. You get the choice of filling in the circle on the beard or shaving it and having a hollow classic goatee.
3. The pretty boy goatee
This style is very similar to the one above. The only major difference here is that you need to trim it back as much as you can. So, while the classic goatee allows you to grow out your hair as much as you want, the pretty boy asks you to trim it down until you are left with only the lines that form your beard and mustache. It’s more of a goatee outline if you will.
4. The Landing strip goatee
You have probably already guessed why this is called a landing strip out of all the goatee styles. But let’s go over it anyway. This is the version in which you have to shave the hair on your chin until you are only left with a long, narrow, and straight line that goes from bellow your bottom lip to your neck. As if you had a landing strip for airplanes on your chin. The rest of your face has to be neatly shaved.
5. The Van Dyke
This is the goatee that started it all, so it’s probably best if you keep to the classic, to honor this style’s legacy and history. It’s a variation of the classic, if you will, in the sense that you still have to grow a mustache and hair on your chin. It’s just that they can never meet or connect.
In fact, more than just for the esthetics, the Van Dyke is perfect for men who cannot grow a complete circle when it comes to hair in that area. If you have gaps, they will never be seen.
6. The anchor
This is actually a version of the Van Dyke. Therefore, you can think of it as a Van Dyke which was allowed to go wild. So, if you want to get it, start with a Van Dyke and grow your hair out until it starts to reach your sideburns, but doesn’t connect with them.
It’s called an anchor because of the unusual combination of facial hair. You have a long and thin horizontal mustache, a soul patch under your bottom lip that has overgrown, hair hugging your chin in a curved way plus a landing strip connecting the latter to the soul patch. If you put all of those together you’ll see they resemble an anchor.
What Are the Best Goatee Styles for Me?
Now that you know what the most popular goatee styles are, let’s see which one would suit you best. Of course, the number one criterion you should always have in mind when choosing your version is the type of face you have.
- Round faces: classic goatee without a mustache, an anchor goatee, or soul patch goatee styles.
- Square faces: a simple goatee with a mustache, a goat patch or a handlebar mustache with a chin puff.
- Diamond faces: a handlebar mustache with a chin puff, a simple goatee with a mustache, or a petite goatee.
- Triangular face shape: a goat patch or anchor goatee styles.
- Oblong face shapes: a handlebar mustache with a chin puff, a Van Dyke, a classic goatee, a soul patch, a goatee with a chin strap.
How to Grow a Goatee
The first thing you need is a lot of patience. It may sound like a cliché, and we’re sure you’ve already heard it if you have been trying to grow a beard or let your hair grow long. However, it’s as true as possible. There is nothing you can do about it. There are no hair extensions you can get, no vitamins you can take, and surely no magic oils you can rub on yourself to make it grow any faster. Of course, you can always wear a fake beard, but that might get you into trouble at work.
In the first few stages of growing your goatee, it will come in patchy until it starts to fill in completely. Apart from that, if you’ve never grown a beard before, prepare for it to feel very itchy.
Try to apply a little beard oil because it helps relieve some of the itchiness you feel. Plus, it will help your facial hair come in straight, smooth, and soft. Not to mention you will smell wonderful all the time.
Here’s an extra tip – don’t try to shape your goatee immediately as you see the first hairs coming out. Let it grow first and then shape it as it comes along. It’s a fantastic style to experiment with. If you’re not satisfied with what you’re seeing, you can always change it into something else. If not, don’t worry! It grows back very easily.
How to Style a Goatee
Always keep in mind that you need to trim and shape a goatee on a regular basis. Without that, it will start to look very messy and more like an unkempt beard than any goatee styles we know.
Therefore, try to create a grooming routine for yourself and stick to it!
Define the edges of your goatee. Clean them with a straight razor before you can proceed to any other steps in your grooming routine. If you want, you can also use an electric razor. In fact, use any tool you feel comfortable with. There is no right and wrong in this process.
Once you’re done with the shape of the goatee, move on to the rest of the face, which should be clean shaved.
Your mustache should be the last step on the list. Make it the same length as the rest of the hair on your face. As far as shape goes, it depends on the goatee styles you have chosen.
Celebrities Wearing Goatee Styles
As mentioned in the beginning, there has been no shortage whatsoever of famous men sporting a goatee in the last few years. So let’s see which one you can use as an inspiration.
First of all, we can definitely take a quick peak across the pond to our dashing British friends. Actors Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Hardy have all been spotted wearing the famous goatee.
Tom Hardy went for the rugged goatee style. It matches his personality as well as some of his movie roles. Not to mention how well it looks with his facial structure and his hairstyles which vary from short slick backs to crew cuts.
Benedict Cumberbatch went for a pretty boy goatee that simply adorned his chin while his outstanding cheekbones were still the stars of the show that is his face. By wearing a goatee, he created a lovely balance and gave some weight to his elongated face.
Hiddleston’s goatee is a classic one, bushy and soft that encircles his entire mouth and chin. It works fantastically well with his chiseled good looks, as Tom is almost a Disney prince with his square jaw and hollow cheeks. The goatee also gave us a great shot at seeing his natural hair color which is light blonde. This means that the actor typically dyes his hair darker for his movie roles.
More Celebrities Wearing Goatee Styles
It would be impossible to talk about celebrities wearing goatee styles without mentioning Leonardo DiCaprio. He absolutely loves to pair his Ivy League gelled haircut with a messy side part with a scruffy goatee.
The same goes for Brad Pitt who has worn a goatee many times throughout his life and career, both when he was young and now in his middle years.
Still, one of the most famous goatee styles of all times belongs to none other than Ironman himself, Robert Downey Jr. The actor donned a goatee when he started portraying the famous superhero because that’s how the avenger was drawn in the comic books. However, soon enough Robert Downey Jr. wore a goatee in real life as well. Now it’s almost impossible to tell where Tony Stark ends and Robert Downey Jr. begins.
What do you think about goatee styles?
Are you thinking about jumping on the trend of goatee styles or are you more of a beard guy? Let us know in the comment section below which celebrity is your favorite and why!