Facial Hair Styles

Copyright 1997-2007 by John Cawley III. This document may be freely copied, distributed and archived provided it is copied entire and unmodified and this copyright statement remains intact.

Last modified: 2010.21.20.Wed. The current version of this document is available at http://www.thistlehaven.net/J3. Direct comments and/or questions to j3@pobox.com.







Facial Regions


Base Facial Hair Style Categories

Facial Hair Styles:














Chin-Whiskers-Mustache Combinations









Why bother splitting hairs about facial hair style terminology? Good question. This started as a small terminology issue: was it proper to say that I had a goatee (which included my mustache), or to say that I had a goatee and a mustache? Simple question, and I thought I knew the answer (the goatee and mustache are distinct), but it was surprisingly hard to find a fairly definitive answer.

Well, one thing led to another, and the application of the knife of intellect got a little out of hand, and this document, which makes a mountain out of a molehill, resulted. If you want to keep the beard sacred without dissecting it, you probably shouldn't read any further.

This is an attempt to define a little more clearly different facial hair style categories. I am by no means an authority on the subject; I am just trying to note and organize sources, from popular usage to dictionary definitions. If you have any constructive comments or unnoted facial hair styles, email me at j3@pobox.com and I will try to incorporate them.

Facial Regions

This section, in actuality, just makes this page read more pretentiously. If you don't like terminology, feel free to skip to the next section.

The first issue was marking off areas of real estate on the face. Even some regions of the face were problematical to name accurately. The following is the list I came up with.

epilabial or upper lip area:

the area of the upper lip, below the nose

sublabial or the lower lip area:

the area of the lower lip, above the chin; most men have thicker hair here medially (at the center) and it gets thinner laterally (towards the edges of the mouth)


the area to the sides of the mouth where the lips meet, extending for about a quarter inch; this area is sometimes used to connect mustaches to beards

preauricular or sideburn area:

the vertical "sideburn" region that extends and inch or two in front of the ears

buccal or cheek area:

the area of the cheeks, behind the synlabial area, in front of the preauricular area, above the mandibular area

mental or chin area:

the area of the chin, below the sublabial area; does not include the mandibular area -- ie just refers to the chin area a little wider than the mouth, not the rest of the jawline area

mandibular or jawline area:

the area along the line of the jaw on either side of the chin (but not including the chin area)

gastromental or double-chin area:

the area between the chin and the throat, or alternatively the area between the two mandibular areas; this is the area referenced by the phrase "double chin" when it is flabby and flappy, but there doesn't seem to be a good name for it (not even a good medical term) when it is healthy; this is a constructed term that means "belly of the chin"; try the accent on the second syllable

suborbital or the below-the-eyes area:

the area below the eyes, extending to the upper buccal area; high beards rise to this area; contrast with "infraorbital", which is the area immediately below the eyes

Base Facial Hair Style Categories

The next sections will get into more specific details of facial hair styles, but this section breaks them into general categories.

I distinguished facial hair styles on four criteria:

My primary criteria was area, from which three primary facial hair style categories derived:

From these three primaries, three secondary dual-area categories, one combination category, and one tri-area category derived:


"Mustache" in the US, "moustache" in British usage, ultimately from (via Italian and French) Doric Greek "mustax", the upper lip.


General Mustache

General mustache: a general mustache covers the area of the upper lip (though it may cover less in the case of a "Hitler" style mustache); it can extend past the outer edges of the mouth or remain within those boundaries

US Military Mustache

(US) Military mustache: per Army and Marine regulations, a mustache is permitted as facial hair, but it must not extend past the outer/lateral edges of the mouth, and it must be trimmed such that it does not extend past the upper vermillion of the mouth (ie it cannot hang over the edge where the upper lip changes from flesh-colored to lip-colored); cf Army Regulation AR670-20

Brit Military Mustache

(British) Military mustache: saw this style called this in a book; I think it must mean British-style "military"

Fu Manchu

Fu Manchu mustache: popular name for this style; the inner/medial areas are kept relatively short, while the outer/lateral lip regions are allowed to grow and droop

Handlebar Mustache

Handlebar mustache: an industrial-strength, biker-version of the Fu Manchu

Hitler/Chaplin Mustache

"Hitler"/"Chaplin" mustache: style worn by Adolph Hitler and Charlie Chaplin; sort of an upper-lip version of the soul patch

Dali Mustache

"Dali" mustache: exotic style worn by Salvador Dali


Chin Whiskers

Chin whiskers: also called a "poets' beard"

Soul Patch

Soul Patch: a small area below the lower lip that does not reach to the chin; experienced a rise in popularity in the second half of the 90's; sort of a lower lip equivalent of the "Hitler"/"Chaplin" mustache; also called an attilio

Soul Patch

Horseshoe: a goatee that extends up the sides of the mouth but does not meet above the lip; as seen on the television show Becker

Chops or Burns

this type of style goes by many names:

historically, sideburns were worn long in the period 1840-1849, even longer 1850-1869; they expired for a "clean-shaven look" during 1900-1959 (God forgive us), then made a comeback 1960-1999



Sideburns / Chops / Dundrearies: broken into legal and illegal class 1 and 2 lengths here

Mutton Chops

Mutton Chops or "Elvis" whiskers: refers to extra large/long sideburns; (since their are two of them, would they be "Elvii"?); called Picadilly weepers in Britain

Reverse Goatee

Reverse Goatee: chops in the extreme -- essentially everywhere a circle beard is not


Lamb Chops: usually a little on the thin side, and they make a right angle turn across the cheek


F-Sideburns: for the gentleman that wants to wear lamb chops but doesn't want to give up the lower part of his sideburns; the lower portion may or may not make a bend forward on the face; compare to "F" chin curtain below

Wolverine Whiskers

Wolverine whiskers: as worn by Wolverine of the comic book X-Men; distinguished by their length (outwards from the face)


Chin Curtain

Chin curtain: facial hair runs from hairline, across the chin, to hairline; this looks "Amish" to a lot of people since it is a popular style among them

Chin Curtain

"F" chin curtain: lamb chops plus a chin curtain; the chin curtain is usually kept on the thin or light side; compare to "F" sideburns above


Franz Josef

Franz Josef: facial hair runs from hairline, across upper lip, to hairline


A la Souvarov: distinguished by the distinct mustache-lambchop junction


Circle Beard

Circle Beard: although commonly referred to as a "goatee" in popular usage, "goatee" actually only refers to the chin-whiskers portion; also called an "oval goatee" or "California goatee" (thanks to Kristen Jepsen for this term); has kept a core of die hard enthusiasts over the years (eg Uncle Sam, Mephistopheles, Buffalo Bill Cody, Colonel Sanders), but has experienced a surge in popularity during the 1990s; I have seen the term "Van Dyke beard" sometimes refer to this, though it is also used to refer to other styles, such as a chin curtain with unconnected mustache


Unnamed: unnamed circle-beard style seen on Russian in Bond's GoldenEye


Unnamed: unnamed circle-beard style seen on Wes Craven's The Wishmaster; note that the beard is not connected via sideburns to the hairline; per the November Beard Club's picture sheet, this would also be called a "Hollywoodian"

Chin-Whiskers-Mustache Combinations

Goatee with Mustache

Goatee and mustache: goatee plus mustache; note that if the two meet, they form a circle beard instead

Roman T

Roman T style a stiletto beard plus a horozontal pointed mustache; also called a Napoleon III Imperial

Autolycus style

"Autolycus" style Autolycus, King of Thieves, from the Hercules/Xena world, wears this style; equivalent to a mustache plus a soul patch


Cathedral Beard

Cathedral Beard: older style beard, distinguished by its outward sweeping shape; worn frequently by clergy at the time; also called a bishop's beard and a broad beard

Spade Beard

Spade Beard: older style beard, distinguished by its board-like shape; worn frequently by military men at the time

Stiletto Beard

Stiletto Beard: older style beard, distinguished by its shape, sweeping down to a point; even more narrow and pointed is the needle beard

Ares Beard

"Ares" Beard: worn by the god Ares, as appeared on an episode of Xena, Warrior Princess; equivalent to a circle beard plus lamb chops that connect