At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What Are the Different Goatee Types?

Jennifer Mackin
Jennifer Mackin

When they hear the word "goatee," many people immediately envision men who have facial hair under their mouth and around their chin with a clean-shaven upper lip and cheeks. This is the basic goatee style, but there are many goatee types from which men can choose. Other goatee types include the soul patch, the chin strip, the Balbo and the chin strap.

In the late 1950s, the soul patch became popular, especially among jazz musicians. The soul patch is a small patch of hair directly below the middle of the lower lip and just above the jut of the chin. Depending on preference and facial structure, the patch is trimmed into a small square, triangle or rectangle.

A neatly trimmed goatee.
A neatly trimmed goatee.

Symmetry is the most important factor when sculpting goatee types of this style. It is very easy for the soul patch to be off-center. To keep this from happening, one can use the corners of the mouth and jut of the chin as a guide for alignment. A variation of the soul patch is the chin strip, in which the small patch of facial hair extends from the middle of the lower lip down over the chin in a vertical line.

Some men choose to grow a long goatee that hangs down well below their chin.
Some men choose to grow a long goatee that hangs down well below their chin.

The circle beard and the Balbo are two similar goatee types with one difference: the connection between the mustache and goatee. A circle beard is a full chin goatee attached to a mustache around the mouth. The Balbo has a distinct space between the end of the mustache and the start of the goatee, leaving the skin at the corner of the mouth clean-shaven. This goatee style was named after Italo Balbo, a famous aviator who wore this style during the 1930s.

In the late 1700s, the chin strap was very popular with many men in Europe. The facial hair is shaved down to a thin strip that follows the curvature of the jaw line and connects to the sideburns. This thin strip of hair can be trimmed to leave only a faint shadow of stubble along the jaw line or can be grown longer for a thicker, more defined line.

With all the goatee types, personality plays a lot into which one a man might choose to wear. Someone who wants a more edgy appearance might choose the soul patch or chin strip. Men who are seeking a more sophisticated look might choose to wear one of the more traditional goatee types.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


Every guy I have ever known with a chin strip goatee has had a flair for the dramatic. I think it is common among artists and poets.

You do have to be pretty brave to wear something that so obviously differs from the norm. My artist friend has had a chin strip as long as I’ve known him, and it fits his quirky personality.

Another friend of mine grew a chin strip to cover a self-inflicted scar. After his girlfriend broke up with him, he cut his chin with a knife, because that’s the last place she kissed him, and he wanted to cut out the pain. Talk about poetry!


When I was a kid, guys with chin strap goatees scared me. They reminded me of monkeys because of that dark hair surrounding their faces, and I was terrified of monkeys.

Today, I still hate the look of chin straps. They always make me think of pilgrims and pioneers from long ago, and that look is way outdated.

A really nice guy with a chin strap asked me out, and even though I liked his personality, I couldn’t date him. The goatee just disgusted me, and I could not be attracted to him because of it.


I think the soul patch looks good on guys who are a bit heavy or sturdy. I have seen one on a skinny guy, and it just looked like he had a bumblebee on his face. It looked really out of place.

When guys who have a bit of gray in their facial hair get a soul patch, I think it makes them look more sophisticated and artistic. I know several older musicians with this type of goatee, and it gives them a fashionable appearance.

One bass player I know with a soul patch always wears a felt hat and a matching tie. This look is so bluesy, and it works well with his face.


The guy I was dating a few years ago had a circle beard, though I didn’t know that was what it was called at the time. I heard it called simply a goatee.

I loved the way it made his face look. He had the goatee when I met him, so any time he shaved it off, he looked foreign to me. Most of the time, he kept the circle beard.

His facial structure was perfect for this look. He had a narrow face with high cheekbones, and the circle beard really defined his look.


@lonelygod - I have a goatee and my wife got me a really nice grooming set for Christmas. It is basically a special electric razor with different attachments that can be used to shape a beard or goatee.

I find that the grooming kit for men she bought me is really handy. I like the fine trimming tool, as it allows me to get a very clear and even line to keep my goatee looking neat.

If you're shopping for a grooming kit, make sure you tell the sales clerk what you want to do. Apparently some kits are better for just beards, while others can do a lot more.


I really think you have to be younger to pull off some of the edgier goatee types. Things like chin strips and soul patches just look a bit strange on older guys.

For myself I have been considering trying out a more traditional goatee because I really want to change up my look a bit. My hair is kept neat and short and I really don't want to grow it out because I find longer hair a hassle to care for.

Does anyone have any recommendations for how to keep your goatee looking neat and presentable? This will be the first time I have really tried using facial hair for a new look.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • A neatly trimmed goatee.
      By: ArenaCreative
      A neatly trimmed goatee.
    • Some men choose to grow a long goatee that hangs down well below their chin.
      By: Peter Polak
      Some men choose to grow a long goatee that hangs down well below their chin.