Style Guide: The Infamous Chinstrap Beard
When you walk down the street, you’re likely going to notice one standout feature on a man’s face – his beard. With everything from full-on hipster bears to nicely-waxed and trimmed mustaches, the modern man is increasingly taking care of his appearance.
Man's ability to grow a beard is not closely related to testosterone, but numerous studies have shown that both males and females perceive those with a beard as older, stronger and more aggressive than others. And unsurprisingly, a dominant male can get more opportunities compared to his rivals.
A study conducted by the conveniently-named Nigel Barber found a relationship between how fashionable beards were and the number of men and women getting married. Surprisingly, it was found that when there were more men to compete for the eligible females, beards began to crop up on faces.
One of the most popular beard styles, at the end of 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, was the chinstrap beard. This trend started in Europe but continued to spread across the globe, gaining a lot of popularity in Russia and Japan. With the amount of beards cropping up in today’s fashion scene, it’s no shock that the chinstrap is surging in popularity.
What Exactly is a Chinstrap Beard?
The chinstrap beard is characterized by thin sideburns that closely follow the jawline and the chin, and are connected to a short beard and subtle moustache. If you want to go full-on with a thicker beard line, it’s advisable not to grow a moustache since it would end up looking like a full beard in the end. In this situation, you’re probably just going to be growing a beard.
This style rose to popularity once again in the early 2000s, when celebrities such as 50 Cent, Elijah Wood, and Leonardo DiCaprio could be seen sporting this look.
Why they settled on it as the accent mark for their facial fashion choice shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. When pulled off well, the chinstrap beard can be one truly badass look. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us. Let’s get down and dirty with the beard style details:
How to Grow a Chinstrap Beard
First things first – in order to nail the chinstrap look, you’re going to need to start with a good amount of hair on your face, running from your cheeks all the way down to your neckline. Yep, basically a full beard. Why? Because trying to trim facial hair into a style whilst growing it can be a bit of a nightmare. Unless you’ve wielded a mighty mustache or a beautiful beard before, it’s hard to predict how your hair will grow.
By letting it do its thing for a period of 2-3 weeks before trimming, you’ll avoid looking like you’ve had a bad grooming accident with a razor. While a moustache is optional for this type of beard, it often complements the look, so that’s something worth bearing in mind if you’re not averse to a little company on your upper lip, too.
It’s also worth remembering that this style works best for people with round faces (no surprise there – most styles do). If you’ve got a different face shape, we’re not saying this style won’t work for you. You’ll still be able to rock it, but it might take a bit more work.
If you are unsure of your trimming abilities, you can always go to your barber who will outline your chinstrap and ensure you will get the best-looking chinstrap beard for your face. It’s always good to practice though, so if you’re not risk-averse, it’s worth giving styling a shot yourself. Growing a beard is free, so why not cut costs on maintaining it, too?
Maintaining Your Chinstrap
If you’ve decided to go head-on into the chinstrap style, congrats. Once it’s in full bloom, you’re going to look pretty awesome. Now for the bad news.
Out of all of the styles you could have picked, the chinstrap style is probably one of the most maintenance-heavy. In order to keep it sharp and on-point, you’re going to have to book-in some grooming time on almost a daily basis. As well as a maintained length, this style needs clean lines that run tightly along the jawline, and the key to pulling this look off is to maintain it constantly.
Shaving and grooming your chinstrap every other day is a must, since sadly, this style of facial hair doesn't look very good once the hair starts to grow out. You’re also going to have to sculpt your jawline and your neck very carefully, as to maintain that straight line you’re going for.
Beard Trimmers are Your Best Friend
Don’t go it alone. In this situation, as with many others, beard trimmers are on your side. While some longer beard styles can be tackled rough-and-ready with a pair of scissors, the chinstrap isn’t one you want to take this approach with. Unless you’ve got the hand control of a Tibetan monk, in which case you go ahead.
There are a number of great beard trimmers on the market, but the Phillips Norelco has basically got what you need. With adjustable heights to help you work-out a nice gradient on your jawline, as well as waterproofing for the man on the move, it’s a great piece of kit. As a bonus, it’s also not going to break the bank.
If you’re looking for a more confident styling experience, the Phillips Norelco will go a long way to helping you achieve your style.
How to Shave Your Chin Strap Beard
Let’s get started. Although it’s a precise process, attaining the chinstrap style isn’t an overly long one. Here’s what you need to know about how to shave your chinstrap beard:
1. Clean your face well with warm water. We mean it – you’re going to be cutting close to skin, so you want to remove any dirt and grime (no offence) to reduce the chance of irritation.
2. Trim in a rough outline around your facial hair to mark the shape of the style, cutting tight lines along your neck and down your cheekbones.
3. Apply some shaving cream and tackle the remaining stubble with your shaver or razor.
4. Shave only parts of the face that have cream, leaving a strip of hair.
5. Try to avoid taking too much hair off the strap itself.
6. Make sure that your chin strap is straight, then rinse your face with water.
Care and Grooming
In order to keep your beard soft and pleasant to touch, you will need two essential ingredients – quality beard oil and also a quality beard balm. Keeping your chinstrap soft to the touch and beardruff-free doesn’t take long, so us dudes really don’t have any excuse:
After your morning shower, ensure that you’re completely dried-off. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that oil doesn’t get on well with water, so you’re going to want to make sure that your beard is nice and dry. I usually put a low heat on my hairdryer and gently comb through my beard. In addition to removing any excess water, you’ll also be able to get it in the right shape more easily.
The amount of oil to add in depends on the length of your beard. For a chinstrap, however, you’re probably not going to want to use more than a few drops. Take them into your hand and massage them until evenly distributed, then add it into your facial hair. The key to achieving the most benefit from a beard oil is making sure it reaches the underlying skin too and you can achieve this by gently combing it through.
Rookie Mistakes that You'll Want to Avoid
Unless you read into the topic before tackling facial hair head-on, you’re probably not going to find out about these any other way than through personal experience. I’ve been through it and I don’t want you to have to do the same, so here’s the lowdown:
Don’t use hair products on your facial hair. It might seem logical, but it’s a slippery slope. Many shampoos contain harsh chemicals that are suitable for the tougher scalp, but really aggressive on your face. It’s a slippery slope that usually goes a lot like this:
- You start using regular head shampoo on your beard
- Your skin gets dry and you start to get the dreaded beardruff
- You buy some standard dandruff shampoo
- Your skin gets dryer
- You give up and go clean-shaven
If your chin strap is getting long enough to warrant its own wash routine, there are loads of great beard shampoos on the market that are both safe for your face and able to clean and soften as they go. Your best bet is to pick one of these up instead of chancing it with regular hair products.
So, there you have it – everything you need to know about growing that badass chinstrap you’ve always wanted. As always, stay tuned for our latest updates on social media, subscribe to our email list to keep in touch, and we’ll see you again soon.