Beards and mustaches are everywhere now, right? From celebrities to baristas and random people on social media. Some rock beards, others a killer ‘stache, and then there are the lucky ones who’ve mastered the art of both. Looking at the various styles and how creative people are with facial hair, you probably want to compare beard vs mustache to decide what’s the best look for you? Today, I’ll share my thoughts, and the pros and cons of each iconic facial hair style.
The short-and-sweet summary of my opinion is:
- The beard is best for people with the genetics for growing thick facial hair and who can keep up with maintenance needs.
- A mustache is ideal for people who prefer fewer maintenance responsibilities and have trouble growing facial hair due to genetic restrictions.
But, of course, it goes so much deeper than this. There are multiple things to consider, such as personal preferences and the various styles. Plus, there is the chance that you look good in both and have fun maintaining a full face of hair.
I’ll highlight the benefits and cons of beards and mustaches, plus all the considerations you should make before settling for a style. So, let’s get to it, starting with the key differences.
Mustache vs Beard: Main Differences
We’ve put together this helpful chart so you can see the differences between mustaches and beards at a glance.
|Mustaches grow between the upper lip and nose.
|Beards grow on the cheeks, jaw, neck, and chin.
|Mustaches have less hair and provide much less coverage than beards.
|Beards cover a wider area and, therefore, have more hair.
|Mustaches have limited styling options but there are several different types.
|Beards have more styling options since they offer more coverage.
|Many teenage boys can grow mustaches,
|Many men cannot grow a full beard until their mid-20s or even 30.
|Mustaches can grow faster.
|Beards can take time to cover all parts.
|Mustaches grow short.
|Beards grow long.
|Mustaches are less likely to cause dry skin.
|Beards are more likely to cause dry skin.
|Many people see mustaches as symbols of sophistication and masculinity.
|Beards are a symbol of masculinity and strength.
There are several differences between a mustache and a beard, starting with the definitions. A mustache is facial hair that grows between the nose and upper lip.
On the other hand, a beard is facial hair that extends to the cheeks, jaw, neck, and chin. Here are some other differences.
Mustaches only grow on the upper lip, appearing narrower and offering less coverage.
On the other hand, beards cover a much larger area, resulting in a fuller and thicker look. The coverage can be light stubble to a long and full beard.
Mustaches have less hair, so they are easier to maintain. Trimming, shaping, cleaning, and styling can be less time-consuming.
In contrast, beards need more maintenance than mustaches because they are fuller and bigger. Therefore, taking care of a beard requires more time and effort.
Because mustaches have limited hair and coverage, they have limited styling options. However, there are many styling choices, which we’ll talk about below.
In contrast, beards offer a wide range of styling options since they have more coverage. You can trim a beard to create various looks and styles.
Most men notice their mustaches during puberty but only notice their beards growing past puberty and into adulthood. Also, many suggest that mustaches grow faster than beards since they cover less area.
Meanwhile, it takes a while for a beard to grow full and cover the cheeks, jaw, and chin.
Mustaches grow significantly shorter than beards, making hair less likely to dry out. On the other hand, beards have longer strands, so they are likely to dry out since sebum will have trouble reaching the ends of the hair.
Different cultures and societies associate facial hair with various qualities. Most cultures see beards as a symbol of masculinity, strength, and sexual prowess.
On the other hand, mustaches symbolize assertive masculinity, sophistication, and retro aesthetics
Mustaches: Assertive Masculinity and Sophistication
Mustaches are a fashion statement, and hipster men agree. They add character to your face and personality. Some even say that a good thick mustache keeps your upper lip warm.
While I cannot scientifically confirm that your upper lip will be warmer, I can tell you that mustache hair is great for you in other ways.
Advantages of Mustaches
Let’s take a look at the advantages of having a mustache.
The effects of ultraviolet rays from the sun can be mild to dangerous. While some people develop sunburns and discoloration, others can develop skin cancer from excessive exposure to UV rays.
So, if you work in the sun all day, you could develop severe skin damage and increased chances of cancer. Of course, you’ve got to wear sunscreen and a hat, and use other sun protection measures.
But did you know that one great thing about having a mustache is that it helps protect the skin underneath it from the sun.
So, you’ll have less chance of ending up with skin damage and sunburns on your upper lip area. That can reduce your risk of skin cancer.
And while we’re talking about cancer, we will point out that growing a mustache in November is a wonderful way to participate in Movember, a worthy movement to raise awareness about testicular and prostate cancer.
Facial symmetry is a key criterion in aesthetic attractiveness. And humans are naturally drawn to symmetrical faces due to evolutionary instincts that link facial quality to good health.
Many people transform once they grow facial hair. Mustaches can help you look more attractive by creating more facial balance. You can also use a beard to make your jaw have more of a square shape and more prominent look.
A mustache or beard can also make you feel more confident, and this can improve your quality of life.
You may find yourself feeling more self-assured at work and in your social life.
Many guys like growing mustaches instead of beards because they’re easier to maintain. You won’t have to spend as much time caring for it.
In most cases, you’ll just need a comb, facial hair wash, moisturizer, and a couple of products, such as mustache wax. You will also have to get it trimmed sometimes (or you can learn to trim it yourself).
Trimming and styling a mustache is quicker and easier than trimming and shaping a beard.
Versatile Styling Options
Sporting a mustache gives you access to various styling options.
While upper lip hair doesn’t grow as long as beard hair, it gives you enough hair to find a signature look. Maybe the Tom Selleck ‘stache is what you have in mind. Go for it!
From the bold horseshoe to the sophisticated pencil-thin mustache, you have plenty of options to choose from.
You could keep your lip warm with the chevron or try the classic handlebar. You can play around with the design until you find the ideal style.
Do you have a scar, birthmark, or something else on your upper lip that you want to cover? A mustache can get the job done.
Disadvantages of Growing A Mustache
For all their benefits, mustaches do some disadvantages. We’ll explore them here.
Food and Drink Gets into It
A common problem is the food you eat and the drinks you consume leaving debris or stains in your ‘stache. Food particles can get entangled in your facial hair, and drinks (such as soda) are notorious for leaving stains.
Also, if you don’t regularly groom and trim your mustache, it may get too long and even make it difficult to eat without making a scene.
Itchiness and Discomfort
Growing facial hair isn’t as easy (or comfortable) as it seems. In fact, many people experience discomfort and itchiness.
Some men don’t like the feeling of facial hair on their skin. Plus, the skin under the hair can get dry and itchy.
Stereotypes and Perceptions
Unfortunately, mustaches do carry certain stereotypes. The specific stereotypes depends on the kind of style you choose.
For example, if you have a mustache that is associated with a specific historical and cultural figure, it will probably change how others perceive you.
You’ll also have to think about where you work. Some professional settings have guidelines and rules about facial hair and grooming.
So, make sure you find out whether your workplace has any rules about mustaches and beards before you decide to grow one.
Some places are more accommodating about beards than about mustaches.
Some people have trouble keeping up with their mustache cleaning and grooming. Hygiene becomes an issue as food and drink can hide in the facial hair, triggering odor and an untidy look.
And let’s face it – not everyone is ready to keep a mustache guard in their back pocket.
Beards: Masculinity and Strength
Most people agree that beards are attractive primarily because they signify strength, masculinity, and other positive traits.
In addition, men who can grow beards appear more confident because they feel more confident.
Growing a beard can improve your self-esteem. People notice and find you attractive because confidence is essential for attraction. Below are some other benefits of growing a beard.
Advantages of a Beard
Now, let’s discover the advantages of having a beard.
Some guys grow a beard to attract a partner, while others do it for warmth! A full beard can add a layer of protection to the face, keeping you exceptionally warm during winter.
In fact, the longer you grow it, the better it will insulate your face. So, if you have trouble wearing a scarf, consider a beard!
Protection from Sun Damage
A beard also offers a layer of protection that can help to prevent sun damage.
Research shows that growing a beard can reduce the risk of developing sunburns and severe skin damage, such as skin cancer, on the lower face.
Yes, a beard can make you look more mature.
However, the skin underneath your beard may remain more youthful than it would otherwise. It provides protection that can protect sun damage, which helps to preserve skin elasticity.
Helps Allergies and Asthma
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, you should be on the front lines of growing fur on your chin.
Why? Growing a beard helps prevent dust and pollen from entering the respiratory system.
Like nose hairs, beard hairs act as a filter to catch and prevent particles from getting in your airways. So, prepare for pollen season in the most stylish way possible: with a beard!
Growing a beard helps you feel more masculine and confident. A good beard can even make you look more attractive, whether due to evolutionary instinct or pop culture influence.
Most people perceive bearded men as masculine and strong. So, if you want to feel more confident in your looks, consider growing a beard and finding your ideal style.
Helps Prevent Infections
Growing a beard means finally putting the razor down and avoiding small cuts to our neck, cheeks, and chin. In this way, it can reduce the risk of infections.
Also, having a beard can even help you avoid catching a cold during the winter.
Viruses travel faster in colder conditions, but if you have some neck hair to keep you warm, you could avoid a week of the sniffles.
Disadvantages of Growing a Beard
As great as having a beard can be, there are some disadvantages. Keep scrolling down to read them.
Unfortunately, growing a beard means you are more likely to develop acne.
You are more prone to breakouts because the hair traps oil, bacteria, and dead skin. You can help to prevent this problem by cleansing your beard and the skin underneath it every day.
If you have a beard and it is causing acne, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your beard and skin clean and hydrated.
If the problem continues, we recommend visiting a dermatologist.
If you are prone to scalp dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis), chances are that a beard will give you facial dandruff, too. It triggers itchiness and flaking, which can affect your look.
You can also use a 1% hydrocortisone cream. Make sure to follow the product instructions. If the problem continues, ask a dermatologist for advice.
Taking care of a beard is more challenging than it looks. You need to wash, groom, and style it every day.
Plus, you have to get it trimmed (or trim it yourself) on a regular basis.
If you’re serious about having a beard, you need to put together a good grooming kit.
Beard vs Mustache Comparison: Which is the Best Style for Me?
The choice between a beard and a mustache (or deciding to have both) primarily depends on your preferences. Still, there are some factors you could consider to help you narrow down the choice.
The shape of your face greatly affects what kind of facial hair looks good on you. For example, if you have a round face, a long goatee helps to elongate the chin, creating the impression of a longer and more oblong face.
On the other hand, a long face is ideal for a chevron mustache since it breaks up the face vertically for a more balanced look.
People with oval faces have managed to pull off either look– you would look good in a horseshoe mustache and a full beard that clings to your natural face shape.
Growing a full beard will be challenging if genetics are in the way. Your genes play a significant role in determining how thick and long your facial hair can be.
Therefore, if you notice that family members have no beards (and not by choice), there’s a chance you may have trouble growing a full beard.
The same might even apply to a mustache.
However, growing a mustache is usually easier since it has less coverage and, thus, less hair.
So, if you have doubts about your facial hair capabilities, maybe try for a mustache first.
Ask yourself how fastidious you are with personal grooming.
Remember, having a mustache, and especially a beard, is a time investment every day. You need to clean and groom your facial hair.
If you don’t want to spend extra time every day on grooming, take that into consideration when deciding whether you want to grow a mustache or beard.
Mustaches are easier to care for than beards. So, if you’re a more low-maintenance guy, you might want to stick with upper lip hair.
Finally, consider your comfort in a beard or mustache. You may find mustaches less intrusive than beards during growth, eating, and drinking.
So, if you often suffer from irritation due to hair growth, you will have an easier time with a mustache.
Similarly, consider how a mustache fits your desired image and personal style. What do you feel most comfortable and confident in?
Some feel more confident in beards as they are more mainstream.
On the other hand, you may feel confident in a mustache because it adds more character and connects with a specific cultural or historical era.
Beard vs Mustache: Final Verdict?
There will probably be no end to the age-old debate of ‘beard vs. mustache.’ After all, both facial hair styles offer unique charms and challenges.
So, picking one comes down to your face shape, the kind of maintenance it needs, and how comfortable you feel in each specific style. Whichever you choose, the goal is to look and feel confident, hopefully in time for Movember!
Michael Morris is the head writer here at Rough and Tumble Gentleman. He's got a ducktail beard and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's married to the woman of his dreams and lives in Brooklyn, NY.