110 thoughts on “Moustaches, goatees, and beards

  1. Mustaches say, “Sure, I’m ugly, but in a kind of badass way.”

    Goatees say, “Yes, I’m in a frat, and no, I’m not yet over the grunge movement. Also, my penis is very, very small.”

    Beards say all sorts of things, depending on their nature. However, nothing a bead could ever say would be as offensive as what mustaches and goatees say.

  2. I remember when I was 11 I said I wanted a goatee when I grew up. Now I’m not so sure.

    Doesn’t the devil have a goatee? And don’t forget Hitler’s mustache!

  3. It’s pretty easy to draw a distinction between moustaches, goatees and beards. I personally think the biggest rookie mistake is misidentifying a soul patch as a goatee.

  4. Had a beard for a long time but it was too hot in the summer – about a year ago I shaved it down to a Zappa. Wife hates it :)

    I hate shaving – in a perfect world I’d go Neanderthal…

  5. Beards > goatees > moustaches.

    I might be a bit biased, as I’m the proud owner of a beard. And moustaches are making a sort of hipster comeback, but I’ll leave that to you if you think that’s a good thing or not.

  6. I’ve had a beard since July. I wasn’t totally convinced of the usefulness of said beard until I ran a half marathon in 20 degree, windy weather this past weekend.

    Me thinks a Moustache or goatee would not have afforded the same level of comfort.

  7. Moustaches are facial hair above the mouth (generally) and below the nose. A Goatee is facial hair in the “chin area.” Combining a moustache and a goatee one seamless mass of facial hair is called a Van Dyke. Connecting a goatee to your sideburns is a Beard. Connecting a van dyke to sideburns is called a Full Beard.

    I could go on, but that should cover the basics. Judging by the photo on the happy cog site, Jeffrey, you appear to sport a Van Dyke, while I am currently wearing a Full Beard.

    And Rob Weychert is the proud owner of what I’ll call the Chin Habitat. Small pre-Columbian civilisations could be found in that mass…

  8. I’m not too wild about goatees…
    I am not a big fan of moustaches
    Beards are itchy, often I realize I am sporting one… but just because I am too lazy to shave every day… =)

    However, I’ve always wanted to grow a door-knocker.

    No, they are not the same.

  9. To me, mustaches are reserved for ironic indi-flop main-streaming front-men playing bad renditions of mediocre 80s music.

    Goatees are for hockey players or teenagers obsessed with facial accessories.

    Beards are for good writers, hippies who haven’t discovered razor technology, and handsome guys like me.

  10. Moustaches: You can wax them, brush em and look like a porn star in em. Some people can get away lookin’ cool with a Moustache, but not many. Moustache wax should come with a monocle.

    Goatees: Some people can pull these off and generally they seem to more accepted form of facial hair at the moment. I reckon if facial hair was fashion the designer would say: “Zee goatee is the essence of Beard. It has the shape and depth, but without the heft.”

    Flavor Saver: That stupid little triangle or wedge below the lip. Many advertising people I’ve met have them as do some Jazz musos.

    Sideburns: These when combined with some goatees and flavor savers can have mixed results. Some people should not be allowed side burns.

    Beards: Beards can be respected. They can make a 23 year old look like he’s in his thirties. Wise men, folk musicians, hippies and thinkers have beards. The most amazing beards are the on people that have completely straight facial hair, bikers and muppets have them.

    I do feel sorry for the guys of this world that cannot grow facial hair. Little fluffy clumps never look good. I also feel sorry for people that look like they’ve become chimps when they haven’t shaved in a week. Must be a combination of head shape, features and hair. Weird.

  11. I wear a beard (with mustache). Sometimes I am tempted to trim it into a goatee because I know it would make me look younger/hipper … but that is the rub … any facial hair that still requires shaving (I am talking to you mustache and goatee wearers and guys with beards that don’t follow your natural hairline) involves a level of vanity that I’m personally uncomfortable with.

    Being clean shaven can be about not liking facial hair. A beard can be about not shaving. Anthing else is can only be about achieving a look.

  12. beards are much easier to maintain, so long as you don’t mind the klingon cheekhair and scratchy neck stuff

    goatees are like the worst of both worlds, all the annoyances of shaving and still the scratchy itching feeling of prolonged presence of facial hair (or maybe the best of both if you’re really into neurosis)

  13. Man, I wish I could grow either! I’m 31 and I’m just not blessed with proper facial hair – not so little that I can avoid shaving though :(

    For once, just for once I would like to have a moustache – it’s ugly as hell, but who doesn’t want to be cool in that 70’s Tom Selleck way?

  14. I favour the tuft under the lower lip – a la Dizzy Gillespie – and otherwise known as the King’s Beard; at least in those circles frequented by Facial Hair Afficionados!

  15. Mustaches are difficult and rarely look good on a person. Especially when you sport only a mustache. For me, mustaches are reserved either for cheesy actors in bad adult movies or for stars in bad remakes of classic 80ies TV series. On a side note, why does playing an undercover detective apparently dictate that he has to wear a porn-star mustache?

    According to this list I’m sporting a Norris Skipper. Good to know that name…

  16. Sometimes I think back of my personal pre-facial hair days. This is usually when I wipe my nose with my wrist, a day or two after my last shave, and give myself carpet burn. :(

  17. A question, while a bit dumb, would be perhaps more suitable here… “Moustaches, goatees and beards – are they the same?” – since you’d like us to discuss it…
    And perhaps include some other form of facial hair, so as not to discriminate minorities – sideburns, whiskers, anyone?

  18. You wear none of the three, so why are we discussing?

    If you want us to discuss your Van Dyke, let us know.

    BTW, am I the only one to wonder why this page is titled “freddie mercury”? I assume it’s because Mr. Zeldman is jealous of his big full mustache?

  19. You wear none of the three

    My beard last summer. My beard last week. Previously (from about ’88 on) I sported a goatee. At least, I thought it was a goatee. It was a van dyke? My world is collapsing.

    I don’t want to discuss my anything. I want to hear what you think.

    As far as I can tell, full beards have made a comeback. Trimmed, not Rabbinical (although Lincolnesque flowerings also appear).

  20. First of all I’m surprised by the numbers who seem to grow facial hair frequently. Don’t really know why because it includes me !

    The refrence to freddy mercury has reallly made me think. I find it strange how growing “that” sort ot moustache just seemed to have stayed mostly in the gay circles, certainly here in the UK, unless of course you’re some sort of Tom Selleck Fan.

    Growing a goatee at one time was very old man beatnick, then became very fashionable again in the gay circles, but I guess also with a number of Rawk singers and public at large.

    So it seems as though its OK for some styles to cross over into different cultures and not others. Who the hell has ever worn a hitler tache? (OK fine – Ron Mael out of the band Sparks)

    There definately is something in the semantics i.e. meaning of facial hair.

    I seem to alternate clean shaven, Goatee (maybe 1 week in 3), Full set (once in a while). As for Moustaches, well it kind of looked fine on me when I was 15 in the 1970’s but I really wouldn’t want to go there now !!

  21. I’m personally a bit anti-beard/’stache at the moment due to the overwhelming preponderance of imported indie hipsters sporting them in Montreal. That said when I get to the right age to wear a cravat unironically, I might rock the David Niven look…

  22. Goatees say, “Yes, I’m in a frat, and no, I’m not yet over the grunge movement. Also, my penis is very, very small.”

    I can assure you, this – especialy the latter – is just not true ;-)

  23. You could write a these paper about this. I see beards as being practical and economical, and people that have them are typically set in their ways and dogmatic.

    Goatees: kind of lame — it’s like a face mullet. It’s like saying I’m an adult and a baby at the same time — not for everybody, but on Kevin Smith fans, they’re face mullets.

    Moustaches: you have to have (or want to have) confidence to rock those. You aspire to be or are in control (cops). Or you’re a total character (John Waters) or an eccentric artist (Dali).

  24. Wait, Tom Selleck isn’t gay?

    I have a beard out of sheer laziness. I trim it down to stubble, let it grow for 2-4 weeks depending on just how lazy I am that month, then trim it down again. Luckily, other than a few strays, my facial hair grows in a well formed pattern so I can look like I maintain my beard with about 3 minutes of work every few days.

  25. subdivide into ‘desired’ and ‘necessitated’

    I desire a full beard. Social necessity (yes, self-induced) dictates that I shave on occasion.

    However, a different necessity (an upper lip the length of a caravan to Timbuktu) requires a mustache.

    I’m more concerned about the extensive misuse of beanie caps in modern society.

  26. Are you just blogging to blog at this point? C’mon, man. I know it’s Friday and all, but you’re wasting bandwidth.

  27. From a ladies perspective…
    I think Earl is making the mustache cool again, but I’ve always had a thing for the Magnum PI look.

    A 5 o’clock shadow is very sexy, but once it turns to scratchy stuble it’s gotta go.
    goatees…not so much.

  28. In the recent Borat fandangle, a hat-wearing gentleman accosts the great moustachioed by equating all bushy, black moustaches with evil Isalmists. If you look around the crowd, there are lots of moustaches but not of the black variety.

  29. Hey, this does seem to be an entirely guy discussion, so I’ll put in my femme-ish view….

    My dad sported a mustache, but then again, he started in 1957 to look older than his 19 baby-faced years. All I have now is photos, but I think it looked good on him, and obviously Mom thought so. ;)

    Had a hairdresser for a long time who had the “Amish” and that was disconcerting. When my husband does it, I give him the evil eye.

    Speaking of whom, I like him very much either entirely clean-shaven or with a van dyke.

    All forms of facial hair look good on somebody as far as I’m concerned. But not all forms of facial hair look good on any one person. Wearing a form that doesn’t become you is a sign of low self-awareness.

  30. I’ve had every kind of beard, stache, goatee, vandyke and soulpatch known to man as well as all manner of sideburns – no burns, long shaggy ones that lurked under my long 70’s hair like sleeping possums, Shatners (pointy!) and currently halfways (they stop mid-ear). What’s important to a good beard is not only coverage but chromatic consistency, which is why I’m clean-shaven at the moment. I’m half way to gray and it just looks ridiculous, so shave I must. Oh, and mustaches are just plain dumb. Please tell that guy in The Killers he looks a right knob.

  31. All kinds of beards can look good on men – but only if they include a moustache. Beards that only cover the chin, leaving the upper lip clean-shaven are definitely wrong: they make you look lopsided in a vertical sort of way.

  32. Another female perspective:

    They all have their place. None of these are “sexy” in and of themselves, no more than any of them are “heinous”, “hippy”, or “ugly”. They all depend on the guy sporting the ‘do. While I admit to liking the feel of a good close shave against my skin during a kiss, I usually like the way a guy looks when he’s all scruffy from having missed a shave. But it definitely depends on the guy. Whatever he’s got going on, he’s gotta wear it like he owns it.

    I remember a guy telling me the sexiest thing in the world on a woman was confidence. I feel the same way about men–facial hair over the lip, under the chin, on the cheeks or utterly absent, I’m looking for the man under the smile.

    Y’all can say “mustaches say this” and “goatees say that” all you want. But I’m gonna let the attitude to the talking.

  33. How much ice can you put in a soda before it stops being soda?

    thanks, another of life’s unanswered questions for me to lose sleep over.. :)

  34. Wow… fun discussion. I grew my facial hair to look older in the early nineties so my clients would stop asking me when my boss was going to show up at the meeting (I looked 16 at 26); I had a goatee when it was somewhat hip to have one (till about ’95, in my estimation), then I switched to the full beard. Now I am 43, so I am trying to look YOUNGER these days, so I am clean shaven most of the time, cept when I’m lazy.

    I’m of the opinion that mustaches are NEVER cool, no matter how hip you are, unless you are from certain parts of asia or the middle east. Are they “uncool” enough to be cool? NO.

    Goatees to me are what ponytails are to aging record executives: retro. You might as well wear flannel and move back to Seattle… it’s OVER, stop embarrassing yourself by trying to recapture your early-90’s dot-com bublle glory. Just try something else, because all your 20-something staffers are snickering behind your back. You don’t want to look like an extra on WKRP in Cincinatti, now do you? Nuff said. Oh, and Oakleys aren’t cool anymore, either, even Bluetooth enabled… LOL

    Peace, Fred

  35. Surprising in these comments is the animosity toward moustaches, which I have always considered to be the primary facial hair affectation.

    Of course, I’m an old man of 56.

  36. I had a boss who grew his goatee under his chin to neck.. it was hideious. since it wasnt really classified, i named it “weird beard”.. which spawned his nickname “weird beard”… he was a tool.

  37. To be honest I always considered a moustache to be a separate entity from a beard, in that they can exist independently. That is to say, you can have a moustache and a beard on the same face at the same time (but IANAB). Taking this theory back to the book cover for a mo(ment): since the full face is not visible in the picture, and assuming the /. reviewer has no other evidence, the only proven facial hair is the moustache. QED.

  38. yeah, what’s with the ‘stache animosity? or, maybe it’s just about ‘coolness’, which I don’t worry about when I’ve got on my leather flat-hat, dark shades, and blue suede shoes (my usual performing outfit)

    (yes, I do wear more than that; those are just the critical elements . . . )

  39. Hahaha – Very good Zeldman. Only you could pull this tangent into a 70-odd message debate!

    Anyways, to quote your reply from before:

    Ah, but a moustache that is part of a beard or goatee has a different semantic than one that stands alone.

    I suppose it may have, but that still doesn’t change the name we should give it. You mentioned semantics, so I’m clearly going to have to use web design for my analogy here.

    Consider a blank web page, with nothing but the word “Hello” in [h1] tags. Obviously, that text is a h1. Now, you can take the page and put all the bells and whistles in the world around it, but at the end of it all, the Hello text is still just a h1.

    The name “moustache,” ([h1]) should still apply. The semantic of it may have changed, but the object itself hasn’t.

    (As a side note, if the analogy is true, then I have incontrovertibly proved that the moustache is the core content of the beard. The rest is just superfluous decoration! :D )

  40. i named it “weird beard”.. which spawned his nickname “weird beard”… he was a tool.

    I should note that said nickname also refers to this delightful fellow, one of the most amusing inhabitants of John Bellairs’s fictional universe.

  41. A clean shaven friend of mine, artist, fashion affecionado and boldly homosexual indie scene insider, very feminine in his way, moved close to that little public park there because there were these big dudes hanging around “with those beautyful black mustaches” always ready to rumble in the public park toilet or behind some bush after dark…

    Moustaches can be an ironic statement of virility showing wits, irony and self consciousness (Magnum, Freddy, Chaplin) or a scary indicator of suppressed sexual desires leading to egomaniac tyranny, hate and murder (Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein).

    So actually nothing to categorically joke about but often a f****** serious matter…
    Beards and goaties are a totally different ballgame. We should let the ladies decided how to handle those matters.

  42. kissing a man with facial hair, is almost the same and gives me a red nose. the difference is with oral sex. mustaches are nice and tingly. beards give a diffused feeling, because they scratch every where, but a goatee really hit’s the spot.

    I luv goatees


  43. All the people in their late 30s to late 40s wear Van Dykes. I’m so sick of seeing everyone that age with them, especially since they went out in the 90s.

    Goatees and sideburns are 90s also. Mustaches are 70s/80s.

  44. Moustaches can be an ironic statement of virility showing wits, irony and self consciousness (Magnum, Freddy, Chaplin) or a scary indicator of suppressed sexual desires leading to egomaniac tyranny, hate and murder (Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein).

    So actually nothing to categorically joke about but often a f****** serious matter…

    Wow. Well I for one will never look at facial hair in the same way again…

    And in the interest of humanity, I’m going straight to Tescos to upgrade my razor to a Mach 3. I’m taking no chances with tyranny! :o

  45. I couldn’t imagine Santa Clause without a beard, kinda makes you wonder what he’s hiding under there…. or maybe he’s just a Unix system admin in the off season.

  46. In reply to Jeff on the subject: Jeff Croft said on December 6th, 2006 at 9:54 pm:

    Goatees say, “Yes, I’m in a frat, and no, I’m not yet over the grunge movement. Also, my penis is very, very small.”
    Beards say all sorts of things, depending on their nature. However, nothing a bead could ever say would be as offensive as what mustaches and goatees say….

    Goatees are what chicks like best in foreplay if you get my meaning, in preparation for the “big penis” rather than the small one. It’s not about the small penis – so you’re wrong.

    Sorry to say.

    Sydney, Australia.

  47. …however, I’ve had a Van Dyke (‘stache connected to goatee w/soul patch) for years – call it a goatee, I feel obligated to correct. Really it’s just an excuse to not shave as much. But some take this seriously, holding facial hair contests, including a recent best of show for the fashionably hirsute here in NYC.

    One guy’s famous for a full beard on half his face. He’s a professional archer. I can’t find a name or pic – anybody know?

  48. Seems to me that when a person’s hair is trimmed with an electric razor it is considered shaved…… therefore I suggest that anyone who sports facial hair that is trimmed with a razor is stiill shaved…

    I think facial hair looks best when allowed to grow long and shaped….


  49. they only sensible and infallible remark I can place here is that whether you cultivate/keep/grow/drag a mous, goatee or beard your girlfriend/wife or whatever will try to change it in anything else and later eventually ask you to come back to it…

  50. Just been relieved of my moustache and tickler following a hellish Movember. After 4 days I was ready to get rid of it all. Now gone, everyone says I look 5 years younger which would be great except that the addition of the mo & tick aged me 15 years! I’m trapped in a time warp.

    Never again….

  51. Goatees: worn by wanna-be-unique 20-somethings who shave their heads in order to try to look cool.

    Beards: worn by gentle-mannered intellectual men who sip their beer.

    Moustaches: worn by child molesters, NASCAR drivers, and good ‘ol boys.

    -he who stacks pork

  52. Moustaches just don’t make sense to me. I just can’t understand. They just don’t seem complete.

    Goatees, as has been said, is for guys who think they look cool.

    Beards…. have to be to cover an ugly face.

    Myself… I used to rock the goatee a few years back and a couple years before that I did the Jon B. beard around my jawline thing. Now, I can’t rock anything other than the soul patch. It’s just my style!

  53. Beards are the cheapest form of plastic surgery there is. Pity mine makes me look like I’ve dribbled food all over my face.

  54. Going bald on top, well a goatee is the way to go. To compensate.

    Then when the loss of hair creeps further into ones mind a full beard is needed. Then when the full beard doesn’t cut it any more, one would need to backcomb shoulder and back hair to make up for it.

    I have heard rumor its possible to back comb bum crack hair and stick it to ones head, but this can lead to neck problems.

  55. Am i the only girl to post here? :) Goats are hot, staches & beards really are not….sorry guys, just stating a personal opinion….

  56. When I was 20 I wanted a moustache so badly I actually tried gluing on a fake one. Later I used an eyebrow pencil to darken the wispy one I could grow. One day after I was 30 I noticed it was full and looked good. It made me feel sexy and masculine.

    On a trip to Hawaii when I was 37 I looked in the mirror and suddenly felt the impulse to shave it off. My wife had never seen me without a moustache, and when I emerged from the bathroom with it gone I felt naked in more ways than one.

  57. I am supried there are so many responces, and no one has mentioned beards.org! I have worn beards, a soul path, a van dyke, and goatie, and usually go for the I’m to lazy to shave this week look.

    And to

    Goatees say, “Yes, I’m in a frat, and no, I’m not yet over the grunge movement. Also, my penis is very, very small.”

    Most of the ladies I have dated like the Van Dyke look. I think you are thinking of guys with monster trucks on the small penis thing. Personal, I assossiate it with I just got out of prison, and if you keep looking at me I am going to kick your ass!

  58. Beards.org just scared the hell outta me……abd I almost always have some kinda fa cial hair….right now a goat.

    But i’m in a general let my hair do what it wants…..dreads too…just letting it be…

    that…and shaving is a pita.

  59. John,

    Thanks for mentioning beards.org. I’m coming in quite late on this discussion, but had recently noticed the referers from here in my site statistics. It was about time that beards.org got mentioned in the thread, as the webmaster — just a web hobbyist — owns a copy of designing with web standards and designed the entire site based on reading that book. The design is far from perfect, but it’s simple and it works. The entire site was valid xhtml 1.0 strict until I added the coppermine photo gallery script, which is valid xhtml 1.0 transitional. There were plenty of times when the css (cobbled together, admittedly) gave me such fits that I had to question why I was going to the trouble to get it all working as valid xhtml using css. Looking back, I still kind of question that, but I’m glad that it pretty much works and it validates! I understand and appreciate the value of web standards and wanted to support the cause, but it was quite frustrating at times.

  60. a little advice: whatever beard you happen to like, don’t try to position it using a table. I’ts both nonstandard and painful.

  61. As someone with all three I can say they aren’t the same but all three can be in one. I have a thin beard and technically there is a goatee in there and of course there’s a moustache on top. It’s the holy trinity of facial hair.

  62. When I was 20 I wanted a moustache so badly I actually tried gluing on a fake one. Later I used an eyebrow pencil to darken the wispy one I could grow. One day after I was 30 I noticed it was full and looked good. It made me feel sexy and masculine.

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