The beard has officially become a mainstay of men’s grooming, with full-faced bushiness considered just as clean-cut and dapper as a clean shave. One of the benefits of growing a beard is that considering it’s a built-in thing, those who opt to wear one ought to look great in it. However, what if you’re one of those guys whose dreams of facing the world with the full-bearded grandeur of, say, Donald Glover or Jason Momoa are thwarted by the fact that their facial hair is a bit patchy? A look owned by Keanu Reeves, whose eternal youth and always-cool attitude make him seem like he could be your best friend or, at the very least, brunch buddy.
Well, you’ve got two options. The first is to invest a great deal of time, effort, and money into getting a thicker-looking beard, whether by pursuing hair restoration measures or somehow faking it with a spray-on product, while the second is to simply own it and walk the walk of other great men whose patchy, uneven beards lend their look a great deal of charm and uniqueness.
Like many grooming and fashion trends in Hollywood, the full beard worn by many A-listers has set a certain standard, but we’re here to bust that belief and embrace the way more realistic, come-as-you-are patchy beard. To boldly declare that one man’s sparse beard is another man’s unique spirit, we’ve enlisted the help of Robert-Jan Rietveld, grooming expert and co-founder of Reuzel, to share his expertise on why a patchy beard can be a great look and how to make the most of it.
1. Embrace It
Rather than consider yourself stuck with a patchy beard, learn to embrace it. “Patchy beards are largely determined by genetics and a lot more common than you think,” Rietveld said. “Though some people are good at hiding it.” It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and there are many different beard styles you can embrace to either own your patchiness or, if you aren’t comfortable with that idea just yet, distract from it.
In fact, Rietveld pointed out that what makes Reeves’ patchy beard work is his confidence. “We see him embrace this look on many different occasions and he owns the look every time.” And let’s be honest—a patchy beard looks young, and Keanu Reeves seems to always look young, so why wouldn’t that work for you too?
2. Make The Most Of It
If you want to go with a more grown-out beard look like Keanu, Rietveld said there isn’t much you need to do besides giving your beard some time to grow out. The patchy beard look comes naturally to those who are unable to grow hair in certain areas of their face due to their genetics. It’s not a look that can be forced if you are capable of growing a fuller, thick beard unless you decided to purposely shave in patches. And if that’s the look you’re going for, more power to you.
3. Be Patient
Once you decide to rock your beard in all its patchy glory, Rietveld recommends allowing plenty of time for it to grow. And believe us when we say that nothing can test a guy’s patience like waiting for a beard to grow—especially once you hit the itchy phase. Growing a beard, in general, can take some getting used to, particularly if it’s your first time growing one, so go easy on yourself and let it happen.
4. Take Care Of It
Most guys with patchy facial hair could pretty much cover it up if they grow their facial hair beyond a certain length, but for those who opt to go full-on patchy, Rietveld recommends taking care of both your beard and skin to avoid looking scraggly. Since opting for a full-on beard oil might be too much for your sparse beardage, Rietveld recommends springing for a lighter product that benefits both skin and beard, such as Reuzel Clean and Fresh Beard Serum.
So there you have it: four words of wisdom to empower you to channel Keanu Reeves and rock your patchy beard with aplomb. And just to drive the point home that Keanu Reeves’ patchy beard is great for all occasions, let’s take a quick tour of four distinct looks that are great in their own right.
Long Hair/Short Beard
“This look is very ‘au natural’ and unkempt,” Rietveld said. “He’s the ultimate cool dude in a suit. He doesn’t care about looking overly groomed or ‘perfect,’ which we always see on the red carpet.” And isn’t that a metaphor for life?
Long Hair/Medium Beard
Rietveld pointed out that the longer hair and slightly longer beard make this look more cohesive. Plus, the patchiness of Reeves’ beard is offset by the grey whiskers, giving it a wiser, yet not necessarily aged look.
Short Hair/Short Beard
“Somebody told him to clean up!” Rietveld joked. “This is a really classic cut and suits him well,” he added. “It takes a lot of confidence to be able to pull off long hairstyles and classic styles.” While the shorter hair and darker beard may draw more attention to the patchy skin, it’s Reeves’ confidence that makes it feel like an integral part of the look.
Stubble length is where the patchiness is really going to get noticed, and the way it just meshes with his longer-length hair is a testament to the power of the patchy beard.