How to Shave Your Beard Into the Proper Shape for a Goatee

by Lindsey Robinson Sanchez

Consider this: the versatile goatee, beloved by men who want a bit of groomed facial hair without the commitment of a full beard, gets its name from a trash-eating barnyard animal. Whether bushy or wispy, the goatee is supposed to mimic the tufted beard on the chin of a he-goat. While a goatee is essentially just a chin beard, many men wear variations on the style with a mustache and a bit of hair just below the bottom lip (i.e., a soul patch), which creates a balanced look around the mouth.
Creating the look requires shaving the hair off the cheeks and jawline, leaving a patch along the chin.

Items you will need

  • Beard shampoo
  • Beard comb,
  • Clipper or trimmer
  • Razor (safety, straight or electric)
  • Aftershave
Step 1

Wash and dry your facial hair, using beard shampoo. Comb the hair so that it falls neatly in one direction. Wet hair stretches slightly, so trying to trim a goatee while it's wet can cause a scraggly, uneven line.

Step 2

Look straight into a mirror with your chin lifted. Envision two lines on your chin, about a half inch to either side of the corners of your mouth. These lines mark the edges of your goatee. If your goatee is too wide or too narrow, it will look unbalanced and won't connect properly to a mustache. At this point, decide if you plan to keep a mustache. It won't affect the shape of the goatee on your chin, but it will determine what hair you will keep and what you will shave off.

Step 3

Remove the hair from your cheeks and jawline with a clipper or a razor, leaving the hair on your chin intact and your sideburns intact (if you have them). Shave with the grain, or growth of your hair, since shaving against the grain can tug your skin and cause irritation. You can also leave a quarter-inch to a half-inch strip of hair on either side of your mouth to connect your goatee to a mustache.

Step 4

Shave any stray hairs from your neck up to two inches behind the tip of your chin, on the underside of your chin. Your goatee should hug the underside of your chin, while shaving any higher than this will create an unbalanced look.

Step 5

Check the edges of your goatee. Sharp, square edges add definition to a round face, while rounded edges soften angular features or a square face.

Step 6

Splash your face with aftershave to avoid razor rash and ingrown hairs. Maintain your goatee by trimming and shaving any stray hairs two to three times a week.


  • If you have very thick or coarse hair, lay a warm towel over your face for several minutes to soften the hair and make it easier to shave. Follow the natural growth of your facial hair--it's more aesthetically pleasing to be clean-shaven than patchy. If you have trouble growing a full mustache, for example, consider shaving your upper lip bare to showcase the full goatee on your chin.


  • If you have persistent, irritated razor rash or infection from ingrown hairs and shaving nicks, consider visiting a dermatologist.

References (5)

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images

About the Author

Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.