Vintage Beard & Mustache Styles

Updated: March 6, 2024
Antique photos showing men's grooming habits - their beards, mustaches, and other types of facial hair.

Did you know that at times in which there are more women than men - that is, when there is a smaller chance that a man will find a mate - beards become more fashionable? It's not that women prefer facial hair on men, it's simply that men with beards are perceived as older and more powerful than men without beards or mustaches. Those traits are more desirable to women. Just like a deeper voice, facial hair has been a way to attract women when competition is fierce.

The names for beards and mustaches have been as numerous as the styles themselves and have changed through the centuries. Have you heard of the Balbo? Popular among 19th and early 20th century German men, it was a type of Van Dyke beard with small variations. In the 19th century, a full beard - without a mustache or neck hair - was sometimes called a "lion's mane." The "chinstrap beard" was created by sideburns connected to each other by a narrow line of hair along the jaw - so called because it resembled a helmet strap harnessed to a man's chin. Popular in the 19th century, muttonchops were connected by a mustache, but no chin hair. It was also called a "face shelf". And in 1911, a fictional master criminal sparked a fad - the "Fu Manchu" mustache. It was a thin, narrow, mustache that grew downward in two very long tendrils from the upper lip, with the tapered, pointed ends hanging past the jawline. And the handlebar mustache, popular around the same time, used mustache wax to create tapered ends that flared out and sometimes were worn in loops.

More recently, the "goat patch" - hair growing from the chin directly beneath the mouth - was meant to resemble the hair on the chin of a goat. It has also been called a "chin puff" or "chin strip". A variation of this, the "soul patch" - the area just below the lower lip, not including the hair over the chin - is also a recent addition to the list. And a goatee is a generic term for hair grown on the chin but not the cheeks - it may also include a mustache.

There have been many, many other variations of male facial hair of course. And you'll see some contemporaneous versions of these personal expressions of "maleness" through the centuries on these pages. If you're male, perhaps you'll be inspired to create your own version!
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