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What Is the Difference between a Goatee and Beard?

By Kelly Ferguson
Updated May 21, 2024
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The terms goatee and beard are used to describe facial hair styles. The simplest difference between a goatee and a beard is that, while any facial hair beyond a mustache can be qualified as a beard, a goatee is a specific type of beard. In general, a goatee is simply a tuft of hair covering the chin area, similar in appearance to the beard found naturally on some species of goat.

Goatee and beard wearers often trim their facial hair styles differently despite the fact that the general look of the style is the same. For instance, some goatees are longer, shorter, wider, or pointier than others. Beards in general have a huge variety of different shapes and sizes, ranging from full, fluffy beards with complete sideburns to a few days' worth of stubble to pencil thin beards that line the edges of the jaw, and everything in between. Goatee and beard enthusiasts may try several different slight variations on styles until a style is found that perfectly suits the facial structure and personality of the wearer. Guides about trimming facial hair can often provide inspiration to wearers to try new styles and experiment with variations on a favorite style.

The goatee in its simplest form does not usually include a mustache or any other facial hair patterns besides the area covering the chin, although some men do wear a goatee with a mustache, often even connecting the two around the sides of the mouth. Others simply stick to the tuft of chin hair, which can be worn as a large patch that extends over the entire chin or a smaller patch that covers only a portion of the chin. Beard variations commonly include shaving or trimming the sideburns, connecting a beard with a mustache, and trimming the beard to different lengths.

Generally, men who wear their facial hair in a specific style need to perform regular upkeep to keep the hair from growing out and beginning to look scruffy and unkempt. Goatee and beard trimmers can be used to keep the facial hair growth under control at the edges of the style without accidentally removing too much or too little hair, while also keeping the beard trimmed to a desirable length without removing too much hair and reducing the beard to a stubble-like appearance. A regular razor is often used to remove the hair from larger areas such as the cheeks, sideburns, and neck, where the skin should look and feel smooth.

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Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On Apr 23, 2013

I personally prefer a full beard to a goatee any day. I respect everyone's choice but a goatee looks very funny on me. I look like a teenager who can only get hair to grow on his chin.

I think a full beard is more masculine. If there are no bald spots on the face and if the beard is nicely trimmed, I think it looks great. I also get a lot of compliments when I have a beard. I've never had a compliment with a goatee.

By discographer — On Apr 23, 2013

@fBoyle-- Goatee is a chin beard like the article said. I'm sure you know what a full beard is, it's when you grow everything out together. A circle beard is a goatee plus a mustache.

You should go with the one that's easiest for you and that suits your face the most.

A full beard and a circle beard are a lot of work. They require regular trimming. A goatee requires regular trimming and shaving too but since it's a small amount of hair, it's much easier to keep it up.

By fBoyle — On Apr 23, 2013

What's the difference between a goatee, a circle beard and a full beard?

I'm trying to decide which type of beard I should grow but the terminology is confusing.

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