Entertainment

Power Ranking Benedict Cumberbatch Facial Hair: The Good, the Bad and the Strange

He's rocked every look from a handlebar mustache to a full hibernation beard.

Credit: Getty/BDG Studios

Benedict Cumberbatch — star of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and one of our favorite Sherlocks of all time — might not be known for his facial hair stylings. But he should be! Somehow, Cumberbatch has managed to run the entire gamut of different facial hair choices. From a historical re-telling of the story of math genius like Alan Turning to taking on the daring part of Doctor Strange, Benedict has seemingly tried on nearly every beard and mustache style. This extends to his real-life looks, too!

But like not all movie roles are the same, not all his facial hair looks have been a home run either. He’s rocked a whole lot of different styles. So we’ve decided to pull twelve of his more popular facial hair looks and rank them from best to worst –or perhaps, from strange to amazing.

12. The Creation — Chinstrap, 2009

BBC Films / Newmarket Films

It’s hard to find anyone who can rock a chinstrap beard and make it look good. And the fact that Benedict wasn’t able to while playing Joseph Hooker, a scientist from back in the day who was a friend of Charles Darwin, means this style probably can’t be saved.

11. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — Extended Goatee, 2022

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures

Doctor Strange wouldn’t be him if the facial hair weren’t there. Goatees are cool, but this one doesn’t look real, and the dark color throws it all off. The goatee is thicker than in the first movie, which is good. But this one seems like it could be drawn on with a marker.

10. Painted with Words — Fire-Red Juvenal Beard, 2010

BBC

It’s hard to pick out if this facial hair look is a nope because of the beard or the hair on his head, but it’s most likely the combination of both. It’s very artsy, that’s for sure, so it sounds like it fits the role, but not even Benedict’s charisma can fix this one.

9. Doctor Strange — Full Hibernation Beard, 2016

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures

If people hibernate in the winter as bears do, we imagine this is how they would all emerge – big bushy beard and all. This isn’t the worst beard because it’s clear there’s some potential with some careful trimming and beard oil, but not everyone can pull this off.

8. Doctor Strange —Unkempt Full Beard, 2016

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Pictures

This beard has a lot of potential because it has a good length and thickness, giving it some shape. And the salt-and-pepper look to it is alright as well. So, yes, it needs a good wash, brush, and a haircut to pull it all together. But it’s a start.

7. 87th Annual Academy Awards — Clean Shaven, 2014

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Christopher Polk

Benedict can rock a clean-shaven look just as well as make a full face of hair work. It’s a classic look, suits him, looks great with the tuxedo, and gives off the vibes that he never ages. But it’s also hard to see him in any movie role where he’s not the kid from high school who grew up to be a math genius like Alan Turning. Which, coincidently, was the role Benedict played that had him nominated for the Oscar this year.

6. The Courier — Boxcar-Like Moustache, 2020

Lionsgate / Roadside Attractions

This look works for the timeframe that the movie was set it. And surprisingly, Benedict can pull it off and would probably be able to rock it in today’s time. The mustache is easy to stay on top of grooming, so it looks its best. And it’s a decent look – not memorable for being bad or good.

5. War Horse — Mini-Chevron, 2011

Dreamworks Pictures / Reliance Entertainment

When we think about what a mustache would look like, this one pretty much sums it up. It’s good decent length and shape, but the rest of Benedict’s face is clean-shaven. It’s one of those facial hair looks that could honestly be pulled off in any decade.

4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — Red Carpet 5 O’clock Shadow, 2022

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images f

You probably have to get close to the screen to see the facial hair, but it’s there. It would be more like a five o’clock shadow – if the shadow had a red tinge. It’s not a bad look. It gives some definition to Benedict’s face, but it’s not super distracting, which earns it some points.

3. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain — Handlebar, 2021

StudioCanal

Anyone who can grow a legitimate handlebar mustache should be encouraged to rock it as long as they want it to. Even Benedict, who tends to be more clean-cut in style, makes this mustache work for him. We’ve seen a lot of beard love over the past several years, and it’s time for that same energy to be directed towards growing a cool, full handlebar mustache.

2. The Power of the Dog — Red Carpet Beard, 2021

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic / Getty Images

FilmMagic

This look is an excellent example of how a beard can be in that perfect middle ground of not being too long but long enough to see it. It’s not an easy balance to hit, but Benedict does in this red carpet photo, and it’s hard to understand why he’s not rocking this look all the time.

1. The Power of the Dog — Full Beard, 2021

Netflix

This look is an excellent example of when a guy rocks a beard and not when the beard rocks the guy. Of course, not everyone can pull off a full beard, but Benedict does it well. It’s a good length, works with the longer hair, and it’s a style that would work well in any situation. He can rock the look while golfing, walking the red carpet, or anything in between. It all works.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters now.