Beards are back in fashion like never before. In fact, there may be more young men with beards than without them. But like all fashion trends, the shape and style of beards in 2016 are slightly different from during previous years.
The overriding trend is for slightly shorter beards. Whereas big and bushy were in for 2014 and 2015, neat and trimmed are leading the way this year. Walk along any street in the UK today, and you'll see that the beard is still alive and well.
If you want to stay on trend and create a sculpted beard for 2016, here are some eye-catching styles you might want to emulate.
The short, well-maintained beard is the perfect blend of smart and individualistic. A short beard will also take relatively little maintenance to keep it looking fantastic.
Aim for the hairs to grow to a length of around one centimetre. Any less, and you'll be in stubble territory. Any more, and you'll be dangerously close to bushy. For the best look, your short beard should follow the angles of your cheek and jaw bones. It might be a good idea to leave the hairs on your chin a tiny bit longer, since this length will elongate your face and create the pronounced, manly chin you've always wanted.
There are some excellent variable-length shavers on the market today, which are designed specifically for maintaining short beards. However, weekly trims at home or at the barber's will also do the trick. Use a set of fine detailers to create a distinctive line parallel to your jaw, and don't forget to keep your skin in good condition, too. Moisturising regularly is essential.
Stubble is the beard trend that simply won't go away. However, it always looks best on relatively chiseled faces. Whether you're still blessed with colour or have gone completely grey, you know stubble never fails to deliver that smouldering, sexy look. Just take a look at George Clooney for proof.
The great thing about stubble is that maintaining it is often a simple matter of a quick once-over with a variable-length shaver. Just don't let your beard hairs grow longer than half a centimetre, otherwise you're headed firmly into full beard territory.
Again, you should use the bone structure of your own face to determine where your stubble should start and end. Continue to shave your neck and upper cheeks with a razor, or you could end up looking like you simply can't be bothered to shave.
Yes, it's back! After years of derision and parody, the moustache is making a comeback in 2016. Inspired by the emergence of hipster culture, the humble moustache is now back on the upper lip of men all over Europe.
However, the 21st century moustache is a little different to its 1970s cousin. The latest version is part of a beard: The hair on your upper lip should be left around twice the length of the hair on the rest of your face. Before you take the plunge, though, make sure you address your overall style. A moustache isn't always the way to go if you're a T-shirt and trainers type of guy.
You'll need to be patient to grow a great moustache. Allow at least six months for the hair on your upper lip to grow in properly, keep your growing moustache clean, and comb it regularly. Once it grows to a decent length, apply wax to it and straighten it every day.
While bushy beards are being consigned to the annals of fashion history, there is still a place for the 'Russian' beard. This look involves sharp lines and short hair length on the face, but a much longer, straightened section of beard on the chin.
If you want to give your chin definition, or perhaps hide unwanted additional chins, you might find this beard is the look for you. However, you'll need the ability to grow a full beard without gaps to make it work.
To grow this fuller type of beard, you'll need to start at least six months beforehand. The majority of the growth will be around your chin, so you'll have to stop trimming this area completely. As your beard grows, continue to maintain its lines, and create a relatively low line on the cheeks. Don't be put off if your face takes on an unkempt appearance during the growing process; just keep your beard clean, moisturised and combed.
Once you have the length, your beard should taper off on your chin in the shape of a triangle. To maintain its shape, apply a styling paste to your beard when it's damp, and blow dry it into shape whilst combing it. This process will make your beard appear longer and help to keep its shape for longer.
Of course, anything goes in the world of fashion these days. Whether you want 1950s sideburns or an ultra-thin goatee, make sure you have the tools and time to maintain your facial hair on a daily basis.