Fact Checked

What is a Goatee?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

A goatee is a beard style in which a tuft of hair is grown over the chin. The style’s name is most likely derived from its similarity in appearance to the hair that protrudes from the base of a male goat’s chin. Often the word goatee is mistakenly used to label other beard styles, such as the Vandyke — a mustache and separate chin tuft — or the circle beard — a connecting mustache and chin tuft. Unlike the styles for which it is commonly mistaken, however, a true goatee does not incorporate a mustache.

An individual who would like to grow a goatee should start by modifying his normal shaving routine to allow the hair beneath the chin to develop. Facial hair growth rates vary from person to person, but after several days the area should begin to fill in with whiskers. Once significant growth has been achieved, a manual or electric razor can be used to shape the hair. For a neat appearance, the beard’s edges typically are symmetrical and should not extend beyond the smile lines.

A neatly trimmed goatee.
A neatly trimmed goatee.

After the goatee has been grown and shaped, it requires some maintenance to preserve its tidiness. An electric razor or beard trimmer can be used as needed to keep the tuft at its desired length. The rest of the face should be shaved as normal. In addition, the wearer should monitor the beard’s shape; if its edges begin to become uneven or overgrown, it can be reshaped using a razor.

A goatee is a type of beard that includes hair growth over the chin.
A goatee is a type of beard that includes hair growth over the chin.

Along with regular trimming, goatee maintenance also requires attention to cleanliness. Falling food particles can easily become trapped within a beard; thus, the facial hair should be inspected following meals and combed if necessary. As with any area covered by a dense growth of hair, the skin beneath the beard can become dry, resulting at times in visible flakes of dandruff. To discourage flaking skin, the wearer can wash his beard with anti-dandruff shampoo, followed with a moisturizing conditioner if desired.

Within the goatee style, the wearer can customize his beard to suit his personal tastes. For a less polished look, he might avoid carefully shaping the beard and instead allow its edges to form naturally. Alternatively, the wearer might still edge the beard but allow its whiskers to grow until they extend below the chin. These hairs can be left to develop freely or can be trimmed to form a blunt or pointed tip.

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Discussion Comments


@kaifish - I'm old enough to remember when you couldn't have facial hair at work. Of course that has all changed today, but it seems like people are tying a scruffy face to a scruffy character. I proudly wear a goatee though.


In movies, the character wearing the goatee or other facial hair is often the bad guy. It is interesting that culture has developed that way, especially for styles more extreme then the goatee.

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    • A neatly trimmed goatee.
      By: ArenaCreative
      A neatly trimmed goatee.
    • A goatee is a type of beard that includes hair growth over the chin.
      By: Peter Polak
      A goatee is a type of beard that includes hair growth over the chin.