The ‘shaved head with beard’ look has been popular for a little while, but the trend is definitely getting more and more popular.
With celebrities such as The Rock and Jason Statham helping to make the bald-and-bearded look sexy, it might be something you’re tempted to try – especially if your hair is thinning.
In this guide, I’m going to tell you exactly why a beard is one of the best looks for bald guys. I’ll explain your style choices, and teach you how to maintain your new look.
Should I grow a beard with a shaved head?
Growing a beard when you have a shaved head is one of the best ways to improve your look. Having no hair on your head is too uniform – adding a beard breaks up the look, but it’s important to choose the right beard style to complement your skin tone and the shape of your face.
It may seem like a sweeping statement to say “you should always grow a beard with a shaved head”. The fact is, the majority of bald men will look better with a beard because it adds contrast to the face.
If you have pale skin, your hair usually provides this contrast but if that’s not an option, a beard is a great way to avoid the same tone all over your head.
The same is true if you were clean-shaven but had a full head of hair – having half of the face/head shape hidden behind hair can hide some of the bumps and unevenness. So if the head is shaved, you may as well hide the other half with a beard or at least a partial beard. It also just breaks up the same tone all over.
If you’re in the process of balding, it can be a good idea to start growing a beard before shaving your head for the first time. Your head, underneath your hair, is going to be a lighter skin shade than the rest of your face.
While you let the scalp catch up with your natural sunlight tan, you can hide some of the rest of your face with a beard so it’s less obvious.
In fact, getting a tan is one of the other best ways you can improve your look if you shave your head. The other is to put some muscle on. If you’re striving to look your best then adding a beard and hitting the gym will all make a huge difference.
Dressing well will accentuate all the above, so make sure you keep up with the latest fashion tips for bald men.
Finally, a tan will help avoid you from looking ill. If you’re naturally pale-skinned, getting some color into your skin will again reduce the contrast between the skin and what’s left of your hair. However, don’t forget the importance of sun safety – here are some top tips for tanning a bald head.
But you shouldn’t just let your facial hair grow wild and hope for the best. Even wild-look beards need taming, and you should pick the beard that best suits your skin and the shape of your head.
It’s also worth stating – not everyone can grow a beard. If that’s you, then this whole guide’s a little redundant for you, I’m afraid. Although you could opt for a beard transplant – while less common than a hair transplant, they do exist.
How to pair a beard with a shaved or bald head
The first step in pairing your shaved or bald head with a beard is to grow your beard out to see what you’re working with. Let it grow for around a month – this will show you where you have your hair growth, where you need to trim, and how thick a style you’re going to get.
It’ll probably play a part in choosing your style too. If you don’t have the thickest beard, you aren’t going to want to go for a full beard – some form of goatee is probably going to work better. In fact, I wrote a full article about the best goatee styles for bald men, including two to avoid at all costs!
Once that’s done, always make sure you treat your beard with oils or beard butter before you start trimming and shaving it, and make sure you comb as you go.
Treating it beforehand means you’ll see how the beard will look as you continue to maintain it – because yes, you’re going to need to use beard oils or butters to make sure your beard stays healthy and neat.
If you don’t do this before you trim it into shape, you’re not going to get an accurate reflection of how it looks.
Once you’ve got the beard grown in, it’s time to start trimming it into your chosen shape. For this, you’ll need a good quality beard trimmer.
Men’s Health recommended this as their best all-round beard trimmer:
Panasonic Multi-Groomer Trimmer for Beard, Hair and Body
- 39 trim length settings with 3 attachments
- Corded/cordless operation
- Ultra-sharp stainless-steel blades to cut quickly for efficient grooming
- Slide-up precision trimmer adds detail to beards, mustaches, and sideburns
- Up to 50 minute cordless use
- Ergonomic design: Rubberized grip provides total control
- Easy to clean in seconds under running water
If you aren’t trimming it into a specific shape, and you’re going for the full beard look, you still need to trim it. You’ll want to focus on three areas:
- The top line – the line of the beard from the sideburn to the mustache
- The back line – the vertical line of the beard down below your ear
- The neckline
When trimming the top line, you’re just looking for where the beard starts getting thick and then trimming away any straggler hairs above that. Aim to make sure you keep it relatively uniform on both sides.
You don’t need to be precise to the exact quarter-inch, but you do want to be careful not to go too much lower on one side.
With the back line, you’ll probably be trimming away a bit more hair as it will likely be growing back around the back of the neck.
Don’t aim for a vertical line, but trim away some of the hair going too far back towards the underside of the ear and keep the line straight, angled back slightly towards the neck.
Then with the neckline, you definitely do not want to trim to the jawline, but you do need to neaten things up a little.
Aim for about a finger’s width above the adam’s apple, and then trim anything below that. This will help keep an even shape to the beard.
Once you’ve done that, look for any thicker patches, often found under the chin. Using a guarded trimmer, or being very delicate with the trimmer held away from the skin, thin these out a little to keep them even with the rest of the beard length.
Beard styles for shaved or bald heads
There are a lot of options for beard styles, and they don’t all work for everyone.
Again, you’re limited first up by your ability to grow a beard. If your hair is thick and full, then you’ve got more options. If it’s patchy, you’re going to want a shorter style to avoid it being obviously uneven.
Skin tone does play a small part, but it depends on your hair color too. If your skin is a darker shade, and your hair is a lighter color, then any patchy parts are going to show up more in contrast, and a thinner beard will look even thinner again.
It’s less obvious with fair skin and darker hair since the hair tends to blend together more.
But most important is the shape of your face.
If you have a round face, you’ll likely want a longer, thicker beard to help elongate the shape – it’ll make you look thinner. Choosing a shorter beard will highlight that you don’t have a defined chin.
And the opposite is true if you have an oblong/rectangular head. If you have a longer beard it’s going to really emphasize that, so aim for something that is thick but shorter to help soften that look.
If your head is more square, you want to avoid a thicker beard – keep a closer trim to avoid widening the face too much.
And if you have a more diamond or angular face, with a pointed chin, a thicker beard can help to cover that more and create a more rounded look to your head.
The best way to combine a beard with a shaved or bald head: fading
When you’re maintaining a beard with a shaved head, you have the option of either going all-out with the beard from the area it begins, or you can try fading.
It’s pretty self-explanatory – fading is where the hair from the beard blends into the hair on the top of your head. If you don’t have any, then it means the beard gets gradually shorter as it transitions into the shaved area.
This only really matters at the sideburns. You don’t need to fade your beard into your cheeks, it’s only at the sideburns where it can look a little odd if it ends abruptly.
You can achieve this with a beard trimmer – try to get one with different grades for the guard. Then just use the guards to gradually trim the sideburn until it fades into the shaved head area.
Again, as I’ve already said, make sure you do this with the sideburns combed and oiled – so that they lie naturally before you trim.
And then as you continue maintaining your beard, pay particular attention to keeping these sideburns trimmed to maintain the fade.
Where should my beard start with a shaved head?
Picking a starting point for your beard – the part of your face where it begins to grow – isn’t straightforward. It varies depending on your face and your beard style. Most thicker beards start around the middle of the ear but with a longer head, consider starting lower to reduce thickness.
It also varies depending on your head hair too. If you aren’t completely bald, and you still have hair around the sides of your head, then you’ll want the beard to fade into that.
But if the head is completely shaved, then the face shape and beard style will force you to think about a starting point more.
With thick full beards or stubble, you probably want to start around the middle of the ears.
But thick beards can be overwhelming if they start too high, so you may want to make sure you fade them into that mid-ear area, so the higher parts of the beard aren’t too thick. This helps with extending the face shape if your head is more rounded.
For longer heads, you might want to start the beard a little lower or use a style such as a goatee. That way you aren’t adding even more depth to the head again.
The starting point is going to affect the balance of the beard vs. the head, but you don’t always want a 50/50 balance between the head and beard. It goes back to your face shape, and whether you’re trying to make your head seem longer and thinner, or you’re looking to soften more angular features.
If you’re really not sure what is best, try looking up famous bald men with beards who have a similar facial shape to you, and seeing what you think looks best. Then you can just copy that.
Tips for Successfully Pulling off the ‘Shaved Head with Beard’ Look
If you don’t put any care or thought into your beard, you aren’t going to pull off the look. It might look OK, but it definitely won’t be as stylish as it should be.
So once you’ve followed all the steps I’ve covered above for choosing the right beard style to suit your face, you then need to do the following:
- Maintain the style
It’s important that you maintain the style. You don’t trim it into shape once and then let it get wild. If you’re shaving your head, make sure you’re trimming your beard just as often.
Obviously, you’ll know how much your beard is growing and it does grow at different rates for everyone, but avoid letting the odd straggler hair build-up – keep it neat.
- Employ good hygiene habits
Facial hair is not always healthy – it often traps food and skin flakes, and bacteria can grow in beards that are not properly maintained. So make sure you comb your beard regularly and wash it every day.
You also want to wash the face underneath the beard too, so look for a facial cleanser as well as a product to clean the beard.
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Gel Cleanser for Men
- Effectively removes debris, dirt, and oil with a non-drying cleanse
- Revives and awakens skin while preparing it for a comfortable shave
- Gives tired-looking, dull skin a fresher, healthier appearance
- Removes dirt, surface oil, and impurities without over-drying
- Paraben-free and Alcohol-free
You can use regular shampoo, or buy beard shampoo if you prefer. Beard shampoo will have more of a moisturizing effect, but you can achieve that with separate oils too.
Viking Revolution Beard Wash & Conditioner Set
- Hydrates, cleans, and softens, giving your beard shine and life.
- No Itching or irritation
- Deeply cleans and nourishes
- Natural sandalwood scent
- Made with our top beard oil for the deepest moisturization
- Keep the beard healthy
Beard hair is not the same as the hair on top of your head, and you do need to keep it moisturized. Most people use either beard oils or beard butter for that.
Grave Before Shave Leather/Cedarwood Beard Butter
- Leather/cedarwood scent
- Helps condition the skin underneath the beard, aiding in itch relief and beardruff
- NO beeswax, providing less drag when brushing to stop hair pulling and minimize damage
- Large 4 oz. container
- Contains only the finest oils that are used in all Grave Before Shave products
One last tip – if you’re struggling to find the right beard look for your face, or you don’t know how to maintain it, visit a barber or a stylist.
They aren’t just there to cut hair – a good barber will be able to work on your beard too, and they can give you tips on maintaining your particular look.
Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of!
Famous Bald and Bearded Men
There are many famous men who have pulled off the bald and bearded look. Some of them have had the style from a younger age, like Pitbull, Common, or US soccer star Tim Howard.
Others have changed to the bald look from a shorter hairstyle, like Dwayne Johnson, Taye Diggs or Jason Statham.
And then some men have embraced their age and receding hairline by adding a beard to their look as a later addition, such as Bruce Willis and Mike Tyson. I mentioned both in my article about bald celebrities with beards.
If you’re balding or considering the shaved head look at all, I would really recommend growing out your beard and seeing what you have to work with.
Everyone should be free to be themselves and not look a certain way because it was recommended to them online. But there are certain aesthetic elements that add contrast to the face, take the focus away from a bald head, and give a healthier appearance.
There is no shame in jumping on the bandwagon and rocking the shaved-head-with-beard style. It’s on trend, it looks great, and the right beard can perfectly complement your facial structure too.
And don’t worry if you don’t have the thickest, fullest beard hair – stubble or a goatee can be just as effective as a longer, thicker beard. Any kind of beard, with a tan and some added muscle, can completely revolutionize your look.