Different styles of beards convey different looks; a man can appear rugged, sophisticated or wildly eccentric depending on the type of beard he chooses to grow. French beards are a family of beard styles; although there are a few different varieties, all typically include a mustache and a goatee of some kind. A few celebrities, including Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp, have popularized French beards in recent years.
Classic French Beard
The classic French beard is much like a full beard, but with the cheeks shaved. Sideburns extend to envelop the jawbone to the chin, at which point a fuller goatee takes over. It is almost always paired with a mustache, and the length of all the hair should be fairly closely trimmed, not loose or flowing. This is a standard French beard, and is similar to a "chinstrap" paired with a mustache.
Johnny Depp is almost entirely to thank for the popularity of the "French pirate" beard style; although this beard is also often associated with artists and actors. The French pirate always includes a mustache and a goatee ; occasionally a French pirate includes a soul patch, which is a bit of hair just below the bottom lip. The cheeks and jawline below the cheeks should be shaved.
The royale is a style of French beard that consists of only a mustache and a long, thin soul patch below the lower lip extending to the chin. Neater and more closely trimmed than a classic French beard, the royale looks cleaner since more of the face is shaved and left smooth.
This is a more eccentric French beard, mostly due to the length of its whiskers. An imperial beard consists of a lengthy tuft of whiskers from the chin, trimmed to a point, coupled with a mustache and a soul patch. Some hold that the imperial beard should be specifically paired with a handlebar mustache, while other beard aficionados differ on this point. This is the least common and most eccentric type of French beard due to the length of the chin whiskers.
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