Facial hair styles are as widely varied and customizable as the men that wear facial hair. Men may choose among bushy facial hairstyles, styles that only cover the cheeks, or beards that only cover part of the chin. Some men enjoy cultivating lots of facial hair to keep themselves warm or as a matter of personal taste. High volumes of facial hair may also be simpler for some than maintaining a clean-shaven appearance. Those who prefer a neat, clean look also have many options for facial hairstyles.
Long, bushy beards are usually an option for men who work outdoors. Not only do these facial hair styles provide insulation, they can be styled. Men who like to participate in beard-styling contests may braid, curl, or sculpt their beards into wild and unique designs. Braids are also an option for men who like very long beards but don’t want to get the strands caught in machinery. Bushy beards may also be trimmed to about 2 or 3 inches (4 to 6 cm) long to keep the face warm while maintaining a tidy appearance.
Sideburns, also called mutton chops, are in a category of facial hair styles that seem to go in and out of vogue. English gentlemen in the 19th century often cultivated mutton chops, allowing the hair along the sides of their faces to grow in very thickly. They shaved their chins and mustaches, leaving only the hair on their cheeks. This style became popular again in the 1960s and 1970s, especially among younger people in the United Kingdom and Europe.
Some men like to play with mutton chops by shaving their chins and leaving their mustaches behind, often creating a very distinguished appearance. Others prefer to grow a full beard and shave away their mustaches. Beards in both styles may be grown very long or be clipped very close to the face. The only real rule for men's facial hair styles might be what their employers allow them to do.
In the corporate world, men’s facial hair styles must generally be very neat and tidy. Men who like some facial hair often shave away everything but a circle of hair around their mouths, keeping it very short. Other men may simply grow a mustache and comb it to keep it neat. Another option involves growing a little hair on the chin, and this is often called a Van Dyke beard. A tiny patch of hair left right underneath the lower lip is usually referred to as a soul patch.