OK, crying ‘peak beard’ earlier this year might have been a touch hasty. But what’s clear is that – while we’re not all clamouring to get clean shaven – beards are definitely lessening in bulk.

Ahead of the new year, we asked our go-to hair experts to forecast the changes in facial furniture. So, what’ll it be, sir?

The Shorter Long Beard

Beards of a bushiness to rival Rasputin’s are, like the Russian mystic, dead and buried. Which is a godsend for those of us who always thought you looked a bit ridiculous with them anyway. Instead, our sources are predicting that 2016 will see a calmer, more controlled version come to the fore.

“The shape [of this shorter take on the long beard] follows the face’s shape,” says Adam Brady, Ruffians Barbers’ Trend Expert.

“Also, the lines on the cheek are sharp in order to contrast with the full, natural and unpredictable growth below. Finally, the bottom of the beard lies up to two inches below the chin.”

Men's 2016 Beard & Facial Hair Trends - The Shorter Long BeardIllustration by Leon Bowers for FashionBeans

Who’s It For?

The hirsute. “This style only works if you have extensive facial hair growth,” says Brady. “It’s a good way of concealing a smaller chin, a double chin or elongating a rounder face – but if you have a longer face, choose a beard that’s a bit shorter.”

How To Get It

Miracle-Gro. Just kidding. You’ll need patience primarily, because – as the longest of the facial hair styles on this list – it could take few months to grow to the required length.

“Just make sure that during this time, you don’t remove any weight or hair from the interior of the beard (especially underneath between the chin and neck),” says Brady. “It’s this hair that will eventually form the foundations and support the full beard. And only trim the lines on the cheeks if they are growing too high up.”

Once you’ve grown your beard and shaped it to suit your face, remember that care is key. “Use a moisturising beard shampoo [once every few days] to help the beard retain its moisture, otherwise it could flake and cause beard dandruff,” warns Brady. “While damp, run beard oil through it with your hands to keep it moist.”

For a more thorough styling, and to iron out any madcap kinks or curls, you could paste. “Apply a hair paste to your damp beard and blow dry on medium power while brushing to relax the beard’s hairs. Not only will this make your beard appear longer, but it will also make it easier to shape and style.”

Shorter Long Beard Guide Products


The Short Beard

Looking for something that sits between the follicular statement of a full beard and the subtlety of stubble? Or maybe you like having a beard but your boss isn’t so buzzed about it? Then get shorty.

“Big beards take a lot of grooming, which takes time and care to maintain – especially the shape and fullness,” says Daniel Davies, General Manager, Pall Mall Barbers. “Shorter beards, however, are often easier to care for.”

“[A shorter beard] is a versatile look that can slip in with most hairstyles, and appear smart and rugged at the same time,” says Brady. Which is good news if you’ve been flouting employee conduct codes with a fuller style.

“The shape follows the face’s angles, and the beard is kept close to the cheeks, with the hair measuring around 1cm long. As the beard approaches the chin, it is left ever so slightly longer, in order to elongate the face and give the beard a better, more masculine shape.”

Men's 2016 Beard & Facial Hair Trends - The Short BeardIllustration by Leon Bowers for FashionBeans

Who’s It For?

Good growers, as it were. While a shorter beard won’t require you be the facial hair equivalent of Fabio, you’ll still need ample coverage.

“You need to be able to grow a full face of hair for this, as you want to avoid any patches and uneven lines,” says Brady. “In terms of face shape, generally speaking, this style is achievable and adaptable, and one we’ll be seeing plenty of in 2016.”

How To Get It

As the wise (bearded) man once said: “a watched beard never grows”. Or something like that. So you’ll be happy to hear it shouldn’t take much longer than a month to lay the foundations for this one.

It does, however, require upkeep once in full bloom. “You’ll need fortnightly trims, done either by your barber or at home with a set of decent trimmers,” explains Brady. “You’ll also need to keep your skin in good nick, so make sure you exfoliate and moisturise around the beard, and that you use a beard oil to keep the hairs hydrated.”

Bonus tip: “For extra definition above the cheeks, use a set of detailers to get a nice sharp line,” says Brady.

Short Beard Guide Products

PALL MALL BARBERS Beard Oil Sandalwood & Clove - click to buyJACK BLACK DOUBLE DUTY FACE MOISTURISER SPF20 - click to buyGillette Fusion ProGlide Styler - click to buyRemington MB320C Barba Beard Trimmer - click to buy

The Moustache

Long derided as the preserve of John Waters and 1970s porn stars, the moustache – thanks to initiatives like Movember and a general backlash against the ubiquity of beards – is set to make a triumphant return in 2016. And the decision isn’t so much whether to wear one, but how to wear it.

“Leaving your hair to grow more pronounced on the upper lip provides contrast and shape,” says Brady, whether you choose to juxtapose it with an otherwise clean shaven face or a well-groomed beard.

Men's 2016 Beard & Facial Hair Trends - The MoustacheIllustrations by Leon Bowers for FashionBeans

Who’s It For?

Not just Tom Selleck. Provided you have the wherewithal to grow one, and the patience to groom it, a moustache suits most men. And there are plenty of variations so you can tweak yours to your taste.

But do think about whether a moustache fits with your personal style before committing: “[A moustache is] probably going to work better with your look if you tend to dress yourself quite smartly – rather than wearing activewear and trainers,” says Brady.

How To Get It

Sit tight. Because this one’s going to grow on you. Literally. For about half a year. “The best way to grow a moustache is simply leaving it, for roughly 6-8 months,” explains Brady.

“Never trim above the lip; just train the hairs out to either side of the philtrum. You should use a moustache comb to straighten it out every now and then, and apply a wax to keep it in shape and glossy.”

Brady also recommends you regularly check in with your barber, not just for growing tips, but for pep talks, too: “A moustache can get quite annoying, and in the way of eating, drinking etc.”

If the prospect of a traditional ‘tache is too much, try softening the blow by framing it within an existing beard (above right). “It’s a modern take on an historic classic,” says Davies.

Moustache Guide Products

Pall Mall Barbers Sandalwood & Clove Moustache Wax - click to buyMURDOCK LONDON MOUSTACHE WAX NATURAL - click to buy81T BEARD AND MOUSTACHE COMB - click to buyPRORASO MOUSTACHE COMB AND BEARD BRUSH SET - click to buy


Consider yourself follicly challenged in the face area? Fear not. We expect designer stubble – the style of choice for discerning men including Tom Ford and George Clooney – to soar in popularity come 2016.

Men's 2016 Beard & Facial Hair Trends - StubbleIllustration by Leon Bowers for FashionBeans

Who’s It For?

Anyone who can’t (because of genetics or workplace-related reasons), or doesn’t want to, grow a beard. “Stubble also suits a fuller face and stops it from looking so round as shadow and definition are created by the lines you’ll be shaving in,” says Brady.

And it’s versatile to boot: “This won’t dictate your hairstyle as much as having an actual beard would.”

How To Get It

“Allow your hair to grow up until it gets itchy, and note where your hair growth begins, ends, is patchy or uneven,” says Brady. “Use the lines created by your bone structure to help guide where you want to keep the stubble, and wet shave everything else.”

“Use a good quality safety razor for the cheek lines. When shaving down the stubble to the desired length, use a set of beard trimmers (probably about 3mm-5mm) and make sure to sanitise the guards and the actual razor head after use, otherwise it could pick up bacteria and cause irritation and/or infection.”

Alternatively – and especially if you suffer from shaving rash – try a short stubble beard without lining, but tapering instead. “This suits guys that have a chiselled face which needs softening,” says Davies. “Fade the neck and cheeks in on a shorter grade to soften the whole of face.”

If you do swap wet shaving for a short stubble beard, then remember to care for your skin. “You should use an exfoliator to lift the hair,” says Davies. “This prevents ingrown hairs and should be followed by a good light moisturiser worked into both the face and the stubble.”

Stubble Guide Products

Muhle R101 DOUBLE EDGED SAFETY RAZOR - click to buyBaByliss for Men Super Stubble - click to buyMURDOCK EXFOLIATING FACIAL SCRUB - click to buyBaxter of california oil free moisturiser - click to buy


Sideboards, side whiskers, mutton chops. Whichever name you know them by, you’re probably at a loss as to why we’re suggesting you grow sideburns in 2016. But hear us out.

“It’s a classic,” says Joshua Gibson, men’s grooming expert at Sassoon. “Just think of football legend George Best, Bodie from the iconic 1960s TV series The Professionals or Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes.”

And it’s just the ticket if you’re itching to lose the beard in favour of something less hackneyed.

Men's 2016 Beard & Facial Hair Trends - SideburnsIllustration by Leon Bowers for FashionBeans

Who’s It For?

Not everyone, obviously. But from a face shape suitability perspective, sideburns are pretty egalitarian.

Sideburns suit most face shapes, and are especially good for longer faces as they broaden the appearance of the face,” says Gibson.

How To Get It

As ever, it’s about growth: about two weeks to be exact. Once you’ve got some decent coverage, shave your face and neck, taking care to leave a good bit of wiggle room around your sideburns. Then, trim your burns to the desired length and thickness (the thickness of your sideburns should be consistent with the rest of your hair) and either taper them or give them a clean bottom edge.

“The length of the sideburns should reflect how subtle or extreme you want the effect to be,” says Gibson. “It’s always best to reference your choice of length with a feature on the face such as the lip line or jawline. Small clippers, or detailers, are good for maintaining the length as the blade is small but sharp and ideal for outlining.”

“It’s best to get your stylist to do this for you,” says Gibson. “Especially if you’re going to change from a full beard.”

Mini Clippers, available at sassoon.com.

Mini Clippers

Final Word

Are you staying Spartan for 2016 or steering towards a more streamlined look? Or will you be giving the beard the chop altogether?

Let us know below.