Facial hair is a funny thing: you spend years praying, hoping and willing it to grow with little to no effect. Then, at whatever point your testosterone eventually kicks in, the floodgates open and you’re suddenly faced with the daily struggle of rocking up to the office not looking like a wookie.

But while getting to grips with razors and beard trimmers is par for the course, what’s often missed out on the boy-to-man syllabus is how your new face hair sits with the stuff on your head. Don’t be duped into thinking the only important question is ‘to beard or not to beard?’ – there’s an art in striking the perfect balance between the hair on your chin and your noggin.

To help guide you through the minefield that is finding the right facial hairstyle for your hair, we sat down with Adam Brady, Ruffians’ resident trend expert, to talk us through the finer points.

FashionBeans: Which should you decide on first? Your head hair or your facial hair? And why?
Adam Brady: “Well, that depends on what your strength is. If you’ve got a great head of hair, don’t let it go to waste because you’d like a beard; conversely, if you’ve got thinning hair that you want to draw attention away from, decide on a beard style that suits your face and grows well, and then choose an appropriate hairstyle.”

What about different colours? What if I’m greying on top but my beard is fully black or brown? Should I dye my hair, or simply embrace it? Similarly, what if I’ve dyed my hair a bolder colour e.g. blonde? Are there certain head hair-facial hair combinations that work and others that don’t?
“For us in the industry, there’s nothing more beautiful than naturally multi-coloured head and facial hair. Some people spend thousands of pounds a year trying to replicate what you can do naturally!

“However, as you’ve mentioned, problems can arise if you’ve already dyed your hair – like dark roots emerging through bleaching, or a peroxide job looking mousy ginger, there are certain colour situations which won’t work too well. Avoid dying dark hair a lighter colour, and try to match your head hair to your beard hair, if you’re using artificial colouring – unless you’re making a statement of course.”

If I’m bald or thinning on top, is that all the more reason to try to grow a beard?
“It’s all about confidence. If thinning hair on your head is worrying you, you should try growing some facial hair as this tends to give confidence to most blokes. However, if your facial hair doesn’t grow too well, it might add insult to injury, so [in that case] perhaps it’s not the best idea.”

Which facial hairstyle is best for a buzz cut?
“It depends on how the individual’s facial hair grows.

“Generally though, getting a buzz cut runs the risk of looking a bit ‘eggheady’, or lacking in contours/textures, so a bit of stubble or a very short beard is a good way to give a bit more spice to the look, and to bring out the more rugged, military quality of the cut.”

Men Buzz Cuts/Shaved Heads and Facial Hair That Matches

Which facial hairstyle is best for short hairstyles, like a French crop?
“This is quite a conservative hairstyle usually suited to more formal working environments. With that in mind, it’s probably best to be clean-shaven for this look.”

Men Crew Cuts and French Crop Hairstyles and Clean Shaven Face

Which facial hairstyle is best for medium-length hairstyles?
“This is where it gets interesting, and you have more options with your facial hair. Anything can work here from a clean-shaven face to a long beard; but try to strike a balance i.e. if you have thick, shaggy dark hair, don’t grow your beard too much – it’s overkill.

“We’ve seen beards get shorter this year, and hair has been choppy and textured – put the two together and you’ve got a well-balanced look, which embraces the best of both worlds.”

Men Medium-Length Hairstyles With Short Beards/Facial Hair

Which facial hairstyle is best for long hairstyles?
“Once you’ve moved from mid-length hair to long hair, it’s best to make sure you’ve either got a very masculine/square bone structure, or that you have a beard, otherwise you may run the risk of looking quite feminine.”

Men's Long Hairstyles With Facial Hair That Matches

Want to know which hairstyle works for your face shape? Check out our dedicated guide.