How To Shave a Goatee

If you think goatees are out of fashion and that a full beard is the way forward, then you can ignore this post. But if you want to find out how to shave a goatee, I’ll give you the inside scoop. A man’s facial hair is sometimes a sensitive topic. I discovered this in high school when I teased a friend about growing a goatee and he had to admit that it was the only place on his face where the hair was sprouting.

So if you find yourself in this unfortunate category, growing a goatee could be way to find a middle ground between clean shaven and a bush on your face.

When did the phenomena start?

Yes, you made the right deduction, the name basically came from associating it with the chin hair of a goat. This facial hair style dates back to ancient Greece and Rome, the most famous depiction of someone with a goatee being the god Pan. In the late 19th century it made a comeback again when the bohemians in Paris started to prefer it.

Abraham Lincoln jumped on the goatee bandwagon around the time of the American Civil War. Who knows why but several wartime figures wore variations of it. In America it became popular again in the 1940’s, the beatniks of post-World War II chose it as their badge of honor. Until the 1960’s it was associated with various counter-culture groups.

Kurt Cobain may have been responsible for reviving its popularity in the early 1990’s, the grunge groupies adopting his style. By then the goatee had evolved to incorporate a mustache and it became more fashionable for men from various socioeconomic backgrounds to wear one. It might not be super popular at the moment, but it has hovered around into the 2010’s.

Random fact: the goatee is often depicted as the beard of choice for evil alter-egos in movies. This could be because of Christianity making the association of the devil with a goatee during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. More interestingly, a study showed that people perceive downward facing triangles as threatening.

If you didn’t grow it, you can’t shave it.

Before I tell you how to shave a goatee, you need to start growing a short beard first. Resist the urge to shave, I promise the itchiness will eventually disappear. You’ll need to let it grow to about half an inch long to have some substantial hair to work with when you start shaping your goatee. If your beard grows really patchy and you feel highly embarrassed about it, you can start shaving away the weirdness. If you opt for this route, make sure you don’t shave past the smile lines around your mouth.

To deal with the annoying itchiness, you should invest in a good moisturizer or beard oil. Don’t try to be all macho, if your face goes dry, your beard will itch. The itchiness will become less the longer your beard grows. Make sure to keep your beard in a good condition, some men can pull off the messy look and become even more irresistible to the ladies, but for the rest of the general population – keep an eye on the unruliness of your beard.

The next phase: how to shave a goatee

Firstly you need to choose what kind of goatee you want to have. This will mostly depend on the shape of your face. If you’re unsure of your face shape, ask a friend, or take your girlfriend’s old lipstick and draw the outline of your face on the bathroom mirror to figure it out.

Next you need to create an outline. Start by combing through your beard, making sure all the hairs are lying in their natural place. Trim all the hair to the same length before you start cutting away. To determine the edges of the goatee, smile and note where your smile lines end. But if you still feel confused, you can use the edges of your mustache as measuring line.

The trickiest part of how to shave a goatee, are the edges of your goatee. You can swiftly get rid of the bulk of the beard far away from your smile lines, but the closer you get, the more slowly you will have to shave. If you are using a trimmer, try shaving without the guard on.

Tip: consider using a clear shaving gel instead of shaving cream. This way you will be able to keep track of the goatee outline more easily.

The folks from Gillette also put together a useful video on how to shave a goatee. Check it out below:

Stick to the shape

Want to know the secret of how to shave a goatee? Keep it symmetrical. After defining your shape and making the initial cuts with your trimmer or razor for the outline, work outwards to remove the extra hair. This will give you a little bit more control over the process, preventing your trimmer or razor from slipping and ruining your goatee. Remember to view the goatee from different angles to make sure that you’re shaping it correctly.

The initial cuts for defining the shape can be about the width of your trimmer or razor turned sideways. All you need to start gauging the shape, is a little gap between your smile lines and the rest of your beard. After you have removed the excess hair, you can start focusing on getting the edges of the goatee nice and neat.

Under your chin you can estimate about an inch above your Adam’s apple for the length and remove the rest of the hair.  You can go longer or shorter, as long as it suites your face and follows the style you chose. Occasionally take a step back and check the shape from a distance instead of just being glued to the mirror close up.

How to maintain your goatee

To keep your goatee in a good condition, follow the same basic principles as you would with a full beard. Keep it moisturized plus nice and trim. An important add-on maintenance task you need to stay diligent with, is dealing with stubble as soon as it starts looking unkempt.

The point of a goatee, is to only have hair on your chin area, and a mustache if you want to. The rest of your face need to be as smooth as a baby’s bottom – all the time. The vague stubble could be labelled as a style as well, but it will depend on the density of your beard growth. If it starts looking too much like your growing a beard, get rid of it.

What not to do

Now that you know how to shave a goatee, a few pitfalls to look out for. Firstly, don’t pick a style just because you think it looks cool, make sure you pick one that suites your face shape. Together with this, pick one that suites your lifestyle. You might want to exude bad boy vibes, but you might have to face facts, you’re just a regular guy with an accountant job.

If you botched up the shape, don’t just keep it for the sake of having one, rather admit defeat and start the process all over again. It’s very important to make sure that both sides are equal. If you feel uncertain of how it looks, as a friend to give you some feedback.

Have fun changing your look with a dashing goatee!


Hey! I am Andries and I am the owner and curator of this blog.

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The Top 10 Best Beard Styles For 2017 - Manomics - January 5, 2017

[…] How to: best to start with a full beard so you have enough hair to work with. An option to get the look just right, is to visit your local barber and then just maintain the trimming at home afterwards. For tips on how to shape the goatee, click here. […]


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