The Beardstache: How to Nail the Stache & Stubble Look

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Don’t let the (stupid) name fool you: 

The beardstache may have a bad moniker, but this particular style of facial hair is a good option for guys who want a distinctive, classic and handsome look that doesn’t require much maintenance. 

Henry Cavill sporting a beardstache
[image: Featureflash Photo Agency /]

But while it can certainly complement – and even enhance – your good looks when done well, when done poorly it tends to have the opposite effect: 

Even the most put together and polished look will be brought down a few pegs if you don’t know how to nail the details. 

(And that’s especially true if you’ve been pretty traditional in the past, and haven’t experimented with this level of facial hair creativity.)  

To help you look your best while beardstached, in this post we’ll break down everything you need to know about the new trend, and go deep into some grooming and fashion tips that will help you get the best result out of your own beardstache style. 

The Ultimate Guide to the Beard Stache

A (Dapper) Deep Dive into this Killer Combo of Style, Stubble and Stache

What is a Beardstache?

Man's chin with beardstache
[image: engin akyurt / Unsplash]

One of the best beard styles for guys who like the bold statement of a mustache and the flattering coverage of a full beard, the beardstache is essentially a combination of the two: 

While the rest of the face sports some degree of facial hair (ranging from light stubble to a fairly heavy stubble beard), your upper lip has a full mustache that’s significantly longer and/or thicker than the rest of your beard. 

Some people argue that the beardstache is kind of like the facial hair version of the mullet, because it attempts to have its cake and eat it, too. 

But in my opinion, that sells the beardstache short.

What Makes the Beardstache Bad-Ass?

Black and white shot of man with beardstache
[image: Charisse Kenion / Unsplash]

The mullet is a monstrosity because it tries to do two different things at once: conduct business up top while throwing a party in the back. 

These ideas are contradictory, and their asymmetric nature is what makes the mullet feel so… unnatural. 

But the beardstache is a great look – and has become a particularly popular style in both traditional and social media in recent years – because it combines the classic style of two complementary facial hair styles. 

Beards are generally considered masculine and rugged, while a mustache gives off a certain rebellious, devil-may-care vibe. 

These two ideas complement each other nicely, which is why so many guys are drawn to the beardstache: 

It’s a reflection of their strength, while a mullet is simply a reflection of the fact that they have a terrible barber.

What’s the Best Beardstache Length?

Man's chin with beardstache and measuring tape measuring length of hair
[image: engin akyurt / Unsplash]

The best beardstache length varies depending on both your personal tastes and your ability to grow facial hair. 

But it tends to work best with short beard styles, because a really bushy beard makes it hard for the mustache to stand out. 

It’s often sported by hirsute guys who were blessed with plenty of facial hair follicles, and have a naturally thick mustache. 

But it’s actually great for guys with a patchy beard, because a thick moustache can detract attention and help hide the fact that the hair on the rest of your face is a little uneven.

What are the Best Face Shapes for a Beardstache?

One of the nice things about the beardstache is that it’s extremely versatile, so you don’t need the sharp shape of a narrow face in order to pull it off.

(Which is great news for those of us who don’t exactly have a cheek line that could glass.) 

There are two things that make the beardstache so versatile. 

Illustration of men's face shapes
[image: theodore popov / Shutterstock]

First, it can work with a number of different mustache styles (many of which are laid out in detail below), allowing you to experiment with the one that best suits your face. 

Second, you can also experiment with different styles or lengths of stubble growth for the rest of the facial hair.

Eventually, you’ll find the one that hides your imperfections, highlights your strengths, and works best with the natural curve of the face.

How to Grow a Beardstache

Growing a beardstache will obviously take longer for some guys than for others, but the good news is that it’s pretty straightforward.  

Follow the three steps below to achieve the best stylistic results and – crucially – avoid making one of the biggest mistakes guys make when first embarking on a beardstache.  

1. Grow a full beard
Man with full beard
The best way to grow a beardstache is to let your whole beard grow in, then trim back from there
[image: Kazi Mizan / Unsplash]

The best way to grow a beardstache is to start by growing a full beard. 

(Some guys try to take a shortcut, but keep reading to find out why that’s a bad idea.)

Give some thought to how thick you’d like your mustache to be when you’re done shaving and shaping your beardstache, then grow your entire beard out to that length. 

(We put together a whole post about how to grow a beard faster, which is worth checking out if you’ve struggled to grow facial hair in the past.) 

2. Trim the non-mustache part
Man trimming his beardstache
[image: Dean Drobot / Shutterstock]

Once your facial hair has grown in thick enough, use a good beard trimmer to start trimming down your cheeks and jaw, and roughing in your preferred mustache style. 

Remember to start small and use a high-numbered guard, so you don’t take too much off too early. 

While most guys tend to like a short, faded beard with their beardstache, some actually look better when they combine it with long beard styles. 

But you won’t know until you get started, so the best way to find the perfect style for you is to take a little extra time and start with the highest guard number, then move down slowly until you find the best length of beard to suit your style and face shape. 

3. Perfect the mustache 

Once your mustache is roughed in, use a good grooming tool (like the multi-headed beard trimmer we recommend below) to shape your mustache into your preferred look and style.

Pro Tip:

Resist the urge to start with the ‘stache

A lot of guys try to take a shortcut by continuing to shave the rest of their face regularly, then just letting their mustache grow in. 

But there’s at least one good reason to start with a beard, then pair it back. 

Kip in Napolean Dynamite
When you start with the stache and let your stubble come in later, the results can be… less than ideal
[image: Fox Searchlight Pictures]

Even if it’s not your favorite look, a full beard will make you look like a mature man who people will take seriously. 

And even if your hair grows slow, all of the stubbly in-between stages between a bare face and a full beard still look great.

By contrast, if your mustache takes a long time to come in, you could spend weeks walking around with a wispy bit of short hair dotting your top lip. 

Rather than looking like a respectable man, this will make you look more like a creep who shouldn’t be allowed within 50 feet of a school yard. 

Which is why it’s usually a (very) good idea to aim for a full beard right from the jump.

The Best Beardstache Styles

As mentioned above, one of the things that makes the beardstache so versatile is that it can be grown in combination with a wide variety of both mustache styles and stubble lengths. 

You may have to experiment a bit until you find the combination that’s right for you. 

But to help you get started, here are a few of the most popular beardstache styles, which will give you a sense of what options are available.  

The Bald Beardstache 

Bald man with short beardstache
[image: Kichigin / Shutterstock]

The “bald with a beard” look has long been a classic among guys with a little less on top, so it’s no surprise to see that they’ve also embraced the beardstache. 

The key to pulling off the look is making sure there’s a clear distinction between the stubble on your face, and any stubble or residual hair on the top of your head. 

If your facial hair and your head hair are the exact same length, your beardstache will look less like an intentional choice and more like the consequence of lazily foregoing proper facial hair maintenance. 

Pro Tip:

My colleague Ryan Harris has put together lists of both the best electric clippers for shaving your head, and (for those who are a little more old school) the best razors for bald head shaving

Check them out if you want to find the best products for keeping your dome dapper and smooth.  

The Short Beardstache

Man with short beardstache
[image: KULJEET PUNIA / Unsplash]

I know what you’re thinking, but the answer is no:

The short beardstache isn’t exclusive to guys who are vertically challenged.

Instead it’s when you keep your stubble pretty closely cropped. 

It works best for guys with dark hair, whose stubble will still be quite visible even when kept pretty short. 

The Beardstache with Long Hair 

Man with beardstache and long hair
[image: christian buehner / Unsplash]

Alright, alright:

This isn’t a single beardstache style, per se.

Technically you can rock any mustache or stubble style with long hair. 

But combining the beardstache with long flowing locks gives it an even more rebellious vibe that helps distinguish it from the more streamlined and subdued type of corporate beard you see on a lot of guys nowadays.  

The Handlebar Beardstache 

Man with handlebar beardstache
[image: Dollar Gill / Unsplash]

The handlebar mustache is one of the most classic and distinctive mustache styles. 

It requires both a lot of grooming and some solid mustache wax to get right, both of which signal that you’re a man who’s extremely intentional about his look.   

Combining the handlebar with the beardstache means sporting a little stubble underneath, which helps you look a little tougher and more rugged, sending the message that while you may be dapper, you’re not a dandy. 

The Horseshoe Beardstache 

Man with horseshoe beardstache
[image: Jose y yo Estudio / Shutterstock]

The horseshoe mustache works great for the beardstache for one very simple, and very impactful, reason:

Because it’s already so damn rugged.  

Long a favorite of cowboys, bikers and other tough customers, it arguably looks better with stubble than without, making it a great choice.  

The Chevron Beardstache 

Man with chevron beardstache
[image: Featureflash Photo Agency /]

The chevron mustache is arguably the most classic mustache style, and the most popular. 

Whereas certain mustache styles tend to be associated with a particular place or era, the chevron is about as timeless and universal as mustaches get. 

Plus it’s versatile – for instance, it can be paired with a soul patch or other goatee styles to form a Van Dyke beard – which is why guys like Henry Cavill and fellow actor Jamie Dornan can be seen rocking it with the beardstache. 

The Walrus Beardstache 

Man with walrus beardstache
[image: Albert Dera / Unsplash]

A bigger, bushier version of the chevron, the walrus mustache is just as distinct and eye-catching as the handlebar, but for different reasons. 

Where the handlebar looks highly intentional, the walrus kind of looks like you just let your chevron run wild for a few weeks, which is basically how you grow one. 

 As with the horseshoe, it works great with the beardstache because it’s already kind of a badass style, which only looks more manly with some stubble. 

The Beardstache Goatee

Man with beardstache goatee
[image: Gursimrat Ganda / Unsplash]

The beardstache goatee occurs when a guy sports a goatee, but intentionally trims it so that the hair on his lipper is thicker than the hair on his chin, so his mustache is more distinct.  

Then he stops shaving his cheeks and the rest of his face, letting some stubble grow in and surround the goatee. 

If you’re a little nervous about the boldness of the full beardstache look, this is a good in-between option.

Having a (shorter but still noticeable) goatee under the mustache reduces its impact, making the whole look more similar to a regular beard.

The (Glorious) Henry Cavill Beardstache

Henry Cavill in Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Henry Cavill in Mission: Impossible – Fallout [image: Paramount Pictures and Skydance]

The Henry Cavill beardstache is a thick, full chevron mustache paired with stubble that’s dark enough to be noticeable, but not thick enough to really be considered a beard on its own. 

It’s a rugged, manly look that turned a lot of heads. 

Named after the actor who infamously sported the look in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the Cavill beardstache looked great, but today it’s best known as the mustache that cost a movie studio millions of dollars

While Cavill was shooting Fallout and sporting the beardstache, Warner Bros. began reshoots for Justice League after Joss Whedon stepped in to replace Zack Snyder. 

But since the two movies were produced by rival studios, the Fallout producers wouldn’t let Cavill shave his mustache to reshoot his scenes as Superman. 

As a result, Warner Bros. was forced to spend millions trying to digitally remove the ‘stache in post-production, only to be (justifiably) mocked by the media for the weird, uncanny-valley results. 

Other Famous Beardstache Examples

While Cavill’s beardstache is both the most famous and the most expensive in movie history, it’s hardly the only one in Hollywood. 

Actor Jamie Dornan with short beardstache
Actor Jamie Dornan rocked a short beardstache in The Siege of Jadotville
[image: Netflix]

From A-list actors to famous athletes, a number of other actors and celebrities have rocked a variation of the beardstache over the years. 

Here are just a few of the famous faces that have sported the stache and stubble combination. 

Jamie Dornan
David Beckham
Tom Selleck
Christian Bale
Keanu Reeves 
Hugh Jackman 
Jon Hamm

The Best Tools for Beardstache Grooming

Like all facial hair styles, the beardstache looks best when it’s well maintained. 

(And that’s particularly true during the warmer summer months, when a lot of guys choose to keep their facial hair a little shorter, thus necessitating more shaves.) 

Below are a few of our favorite grooming tools that will help ensure your beardstache looks its best, along with a bit of insight from other guys to help explain what makes each product so helpful. 

Hatteker Beard Trimmer

Hatteker Beard Trimmer
  • 4.3 Stars
    • 14,650 Reviews
Promising Review: 

I only started growing facial hair about 8 months ago and had been using a cheap trimmer and it was not cutting it. 

Purchased this trimmer and was shocked at the difference. I have only used it a few times but it’s way better than my previous trimmers. 


Check Price ➤

Dr. Squatch Crushed Pine Beard Oil

Dr. Squatch Crushed Pine Beard Oil
  • 4.5 Stars
    • 829 Reviews
Promising Review: 

Fantastic product. Smells great and really conditions my beard. Makes it nice and soft and controls the fly aways.

– Chad S.

Check Price ➤

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More Advice on How to Look Your Bearded Best:

Banner image: Jose y yo Estudio / Shutterstock; Illustration: Irreverent Gent

About the Author

Geoff Hayes

Resident Irreverent Gent beard expert Geoff Hayes is a Toronto-based writer, baseball fan and craft beer aficionado (though not always in that order).