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What is a Chinstrap Beard?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 21, 2024
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A chinstrap beard is a style of facial hair in which a person grows a line of hair along his jaw line running just along or just under his chin. Typically it resembles a chinstrap on a helmet, as it falls along about the same place that such a strap would rest when wearing a helmet. This similarity is what gives the style of facial hair its name. The chinstrap beard will typically extend from one side of a person’s face to the other, often joined to the hair on top of his head by sideburns.

This style of facial hair was especially popular during the late 18th and early to mid 19th century throughout the world, though it gained special preference in Europe, Russia, and Japan. The chinstrap beard was also popular among some people in America and can be seen occasionally in pictures from that time period. Through the latter half of the 19th century and through most of the 20th century, the style had gone out of popularity and was seldom seen in the Western world. The mid to late 20th century in the United States (U.S.) especially seemed to establish a negative association with beards as being unseemly, and so professional men typically preferred to appear clean shaven.

In the early 21st century, however, a version of the chinstrap beard came back into popularity. The more modern version is typified by a thin, well-groomed line of hair along the chin and jaw line that is kept very neat and precise through shaving and grooming. This style of beard has been seen on celebrities, especially athletes, for whom it provides a stylish flair without getting in the way. Because of the positioning of the beard along the jaw line, it can also have a fairly slimming effect on the face and so is popular among larger men as well.

Though sometimes confused with the chin curtain, the two styles of facial hair are distinct. The chin curtain is similarly grown along the line of the jaw and chin, but the curtain is not kept short and is instead allowed to grow longer and cover the chin as well. Chin curtain style facial hair is most commonly associated with U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and married Amish men. The chinstrap beard is most distinctly different in that the chin is kept shaved when wearing a chinstrap beard, but the chin curtain is allowed to grow up onto and cover the chin.

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Discussion Comments
By JessicaLynn — On Oct 16, 2011

I had no idea this beard style had such a long history. I kind of thought it was a modern invention, to tell you the truth. It's amazing how things come and go out of fashion.

I also think it's funny that facial hair isn't considered "professional." I feel like as long as your facial hair is neat and trimmed and there aren't crumbs in it, it should be fine for work.

I know actually that some business still don't consider facial hair professional. A friend of mine used to work for a big company and they had a lot of rules about facial hair in their office dress code.

By sunnySkys — On Oct 15, 2011

@starrynight - I think you're right. A chinstrap just wouldn't look right on a very skinny guy.

I've noticed a trend recently: the chinstrap stubble beard. Anyone else seen this? It's basically the beginnings of a chinstrap beard, but people seem to be doing it on purpose. I have one friend who purposely trims his chinstrap beard so it's just a little bit of stubble. He thinks it makes him look "manly."

By starrynight — On Oct 15, 2011

I think a chinstrap beard looks really nice on some men. I have a friend who has a chinstrap, and it really suits him. He's a bigger guy, and it has a slimming effect on his face, just like the article said.

I think this style is actually best for bigger guys. I have another friend who is rather skinny, and he tried the chinstrap beard for a little while. The chinstrap was very unflattering on him. It just made his face look way too skinny!

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