Bearded men, do you ever find yourself in front of the bathroom mirror thinking, "If I just shave off my mustache, I'll look like a real Amish guy. That could be kind of cool?" Before you go and do that, let's take a minute, OK? There are many different ways to shape, sculpt, and shave your facial hair. The fact of the matter is, not all are created equal.
Read on for the most common facial hair options a guy has, ranked from least to most sexy. You’re welcome. And please don't shave off just your mustache. Abraham Lincoln didn't look good and neither will you.
Coming in last place is the toothbrush mustache, a favorite of old-world mustachioed men like Charlie Chaplin and... there was someone else too, right? Trying to remember?
For real though, even if it hadn't been forever tainted by a horrible dictator, this weird-looking upper-lip decor would be a definite no. And yet, some people still try to pull it off? You know, like that guy from college who insists he was "meant to be born in another time," tries (and fails) to pull off a bow tie, and refers to his watch as a "timepiece." No one likes that guy. No one liked that other guy. Chaplin was mostly cool, but still -- avoid this look.
17. Imperial mustache
Are you a religious cult leader? A mediocre children's birthday party magician? A 19th-century apothecary owner? No? Then maybe rethink this choice. And if yes? Still rethink this choice.
If you're not familiar with this look, an imperial leaves a strip of hair right in the center of the chin and long, sculpted sides on the 'stache. To the surprise of no one, Mel Gibson has rocked this look and scared many children, probably.
16. Soul patch
Sporting a soul patch greatly increases the likelihood of one or more of the following being true: having a "sweet pad" that happens to be the bedroom above your parents' garage, ownership of multiple lava lamps, taking showers with questionable infrequency, attempting to date high school girls well after you graduated, having an uncomfortably intense MMA obsession, owning (and still listening to?) multiple Hoobastank CDs.
Didn't Billy Ray Cyrus rock a soul patch at one point? Yes, yes he did. Unlike chokers and overalls, the soul patch is one relic of decades past that did not make a comeback. Leave it in the '90s where it belongs.
15. Dutch beard
Wearing a Dutch beard is for a guy who took vintage cool a little too literally. He doesn't do Apple products because they're too mainstream. He is for sure a Samsung user. He looks like Honest Abe (and not in a good way).
This low-hanging chin strap will make you look crazy Amish, even if you’re carrying around a Nokia X827152. It is gross. Please don't do this.
14. Fu Manchu
This one is for pseudo alpha guys who probably once took steroids, but are starting to get flabby. It's a symbol of the once very cool, but low-key-peaked-in-high-school guy. Does he still attend high school football games despite not having any children at said school? Possibly!
Wearing this Hulk Hogan mustache is like drinking cooking wine: It technically gets the job done, but it is very unpleasant to experience.
13. Chin strap
If you are not the least attractive guy in a late-'90s boy band, you shouldn't be wearing a chin strap, the facial hair of choice for the guy who always looks like he's about to ask you if any of your friends might be able to sell him some Adderall.
I once dated a guy with a chin strap. He also had a tattoo of Deadmau5 on his arm. Spoiler alert: He was a top-40 DJ. Double spoiler alert: It did not end well.
The sideburns guy plays the Spanish guitar and knows an uncomfortable amount about underground bluegrass music. He has been wearing the same pair of jeans for the last two years. He's in touch with his emotions to the point that it sometimes makes others uncomfortable.
Do sideburns actually count as facial hair? Or are they considered part of a haircut? It's like the "is a hot dog a sandwich" of facial hair arguments. Inarguably, they can be no higher than 12.
11. Anchor beard
Because the bottom looks like an anchor? Get it? Not coincidentally this guy claims to own a boat you've never actually seen and dates lots of models you've never actually met. He manages some musicians you've never heard of (but are gonna be HUGE) and gets free tickets to sporting events, like, all the time (though he doesn't have any at the moment).
All that said, Robert Downey, Jr. actually pulls it off pretty well considering it looks really hard to maintain.
10. Handlebar mustache
Whatever gentrified neighborhood this guy's living in, he was definitely there BEFORE it was gentrified, got it? This is the facial hair for the guy who thought the "I Want You to Think I'm a Hipster Even Though I'd Get Offended If You Called Me That" forehead tattoo might be too subtle. He's not necessarily developing his own line of artisanal bitters in his spare time between gigs at two different cocktail bars that somehow both mandate he wears suspenders, but he might be!
Another reason he chose this facial hair is to have the opportunity to twirl the ends of his mustache when arguing with people. Which is often.
9. Circle beard
The "business casual" of beards. This guy is inevitably the fourth-best-looking guy in his group of friends. He enjoys golf but is not particularly good at it, and mostly just likes the beer and the golf carts. His sense of humor is neither great nor terrible. He works in sales. Always sales.
Of course, there are exceptions. Like Idris Elba. But Idris Elba can make anything look cool. Even Dockers. We can't say the same of Kevin from sales.
The goatee-wearing man generally has a fair amount of confidence -- sometimes TOO much confidence. Fact: 89% of horrific fireworks accidents involve at least one person with a goatee.
The goatee is possibly the most all-over-the-map facial hair in terms of attractiveness. On the right guy, it’s actually kind of hot. Tiger Woods was not the right guy.
7. The porn 'stache
Terrible Orange Is the New Black character, but actually not a terrible facial hair choice; although it helps if you're also a proficient swordsman. If you can wield a blade, a mustache really can work for you. Pretty much every dude goes through a '70s porn star wannabe phase. A mustache guy is one who is coming into his own.
6. Gandalf beard
If you enjoy looking possibly homeless, you're in luck! Wizard beards are having a moment right now. This guy can cut down a tree and build you a house with his bare hands. He can also perform cunnilingus on you while simultaneously preparing coffee in a French press. He's perpetually just the right amount of confident and competent.
He does not care what you think about his beard. He has strong opinions on the optimal brands of beard oil. One day he will shave it off and friends will not recognize him.
5. Five o'clock shadow
Of course, if left unchecked, five o'clock shadow quickly morphs into "guy who just hasn't shaved in a while," which isn't so much a facial hair choice as a few days of laziness. Maintaining optimal stubble is trickier than it seems.
4. Short scruff
It's a fine, strong man who wears a scruff. He's part soulful, part man's man. A scruffy beard is a good look between shaves; and it works if you don't really want to commit to the full-beard lifestyle but want to keep potential mates on their toes. Just be sure to keep it trimmed, because again, that'll just make you look unkempt (see No. 5).
3. Clean shaven
A clean-shaven, classic man knows himself.
I know all you boys out there have a hard-on for facial hair, but a clean-shaven man is sexy as hell. If it’s good enough for James Bond, it's good enough for you. Get yourself a high-quality razor and some face cream so you don't get flaky after shaving.
2. Medium scruff
He's the strong silent type. He has a job that lets him work remotely. He seems to take an abnormal number of vacations. Did he found a successful startup or something? Medium-scruff guy likes to cultivate an air of mystery. He also may or may not cultivate weed -- maybe that was the startup?!
A medium-sized beard keeps things business appropriate while still maintaining legit beard cred. This is a man who seems comfortable in any setting. He's not quite as easygoing as he seems, though -- maintaining that beard at the same precise length takes a bit of obsessiveness, too.
1. Full beard
Husband material. A full beard will always be the absolute sexiest look for a man. It just is. Some have talked of a beard backlash in recent years, but they are clearly wrong There is no room for debate on this one. A man with a full beard will always get laid. Just ask... any man with a beard.
Critical exception: This applies ONLY IF HE CAN PHYSICALLY GROW A GOOD BEARD. Sorry, bad beard-havers. At least clean shaven can still get you to No. 3?
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.