Ahhh, the ducktail beard. Pointy, rugged and, if you ask us, damn epic.
Sure, every beard is a unique and wondrous work of art with its own personality, but we have to say we’re really diggin’ this style lately. It’s quite simply the perfect combo of rugged and suave, yet classy and sophisticated. On top of that, its striking look elongates your chin and jaw, making your face appear slimmer.
While it’s true that cultivating a ducktail beard requires some more work and beard care products than other styles, it’s sooooo worth it. Succeeding with one is a sure sign that you are a true beard master… a force to be reckoned with… a badass man among men... yeah, we could go on all day, so let’s move on.
So, what exactly is a ducktail beard? Well, the name is kinda self-explanatory. When you grow your chin whiskers longer and taper them to a prominent point, while keeping your cheeks and sideburns trimmed shorter, your beard will resemble a duck’s tail. Pretty much every ducktail beard includes a sculpted jawline all the way down to the chin, a cleanly-shaved cheek line, a medium-level shaved neckline, and a neatly and stylishly trimmed mustache.
A ducktail beard is one member of the pointed beard family. Other members include the forked beard and the Devil’s beard.
Because the main feature is the long hairs on the lower part of the face, a ducktail is a good choice for dudes who grow fairly sparse cheek hairs.
You may have noticed in recent years that the ducktail style is pretty popular with some actors and celebrities, like Jason Momoa, Jake Gyllenhaal, Brad Pitt, Pierce Brosnan, and Mel Gibson. And, man, those guys know how to rock it!
A ducktail is definitely more of a project than your “regular” beard. If you’ve never done detailed beard landscaping, it’s wise to put it in the hands of a professional barber, at least for your first big tapered trim-back.
Once it looks the way you want, maintaining a ducktail beard involves more than just a bit of oiling and brushing. It doesn’t take long for it to go out of shape. Plus, daily shaving on the neckline and cheeklines is an absolute must.
Before you even begin, our advice is to let your entire beard grow for about 4 to 8 months. That way it can achieve the length and thickness it needs before ducktail sculpting begins. It’s not really possible to cultivate this kind of beard in the early growth stages. You want at least a couple inches of length before you start landscaping. As your beard grows, wash it three times a week with beard conditioner shampoo, rub beard oil into it right down to your skin, and brush it every day with a wild boar bristle beard brush. The last things you want are a shaggy beard, split ends, weird curly flyaways, and dry irritated skin that sheds dandruff flakes into your whiskers.
While pretty much all ducktail beards cover the entire jawline, including the hinge/corner of the jaw, you still have a lot of choices… Long, medium, or short? Thicker? Thinner? Longer or shorter mustache? In just about every case, a ducktail is a full face beard, even though the featured parts are the chin and jaw.
Here are some things to think about:
- Shorter and medium beard lengths need to be pruned very regularly.
- How about short and pointy for a slimmer, more modern style? Growing this with a longer mustache creates a pretty cool look. It’s also a winner with dudes who have sparse cheek hair growth.
- Longer ducktails, where the chin hairs are at least 2-3 inches long, require using quality beard oil, beard balm, and a wild boar hair brush. These longer beards can be straightened or curled, according to your choice.
- If you’re going long, you can have a sharp point or you can round out the bottom for a slightly softer look.
- Some bros love the disconnected look, where they trim/shave the sides of their head hair really close to disconnect above the sideburns and let the ducktail beard feature more dramatically. It’s a super-sharp look. Just be sure to keep your sideburns.
Can you sport a goatee version? Of course! If you watch the movie Django Unchained, you can see examples of a goatee ducktail style mixed with chinstrap beard on both Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx. Theirs don’t quite connect with the sideburns, so some might say they’re more in the area of a Devil’s beard.
If you can do it yourself, you will definitely raise your beardsman level into the stratosphere. BUT… we really do recommend consulting a professional barber and have him do the major landscaping, at least at first. You’ll be surprised at the level of technical expertise, but you’ll learn a ton. And knowledge is power!
If you’re set on doing it yourself, you’ll need an electric beard shaper, some beard scissors, a beard brush, a mirror, a steady hand, and patience.
- First, wash your face and beard with beard conditioning shampoo. Then apply beard oil and brush it well.
- Let your beard dry. Never ever EVER trim when it’s still wet or damp.
- Here’s the tricky part… Take your electric shaper without a guard comb and rough out a general ducktail shape. Less is more here! Go slow! Trim downwards (i.e. following the hair direction) and as you go lower, trim less. Ignore individual hairs at this stage. Fix them later. Big picture first.
- Leave your lower neck hairs for the time being.
- Use your beard brush with downward strokes to help define a ducktail shape. Slowly and gradually use the trimmer to refine the shape. Regularly brush during trimming to remove stray hairs and check your work. Remember that your chin hairs need to be longer. Trim the jawline to a straight edge that angles down towards the point of your chin whiskers. Work on making a sharper edge.
- Clean up rough patches a little at a time using beard scissors.
- Trim your sideburns to about half an inch long.
- Now you come to your neckline. With your unguarded shaper/trimmer, start trimming your neckline to a sharper edge that works parallel to your jaw line. We advise not going above the Adam’s apple. Shave below the line.
- Next trim the upper parts of your cheeks to create a sharp line. Don’t trim too low! Keep the line high! Shave above that line.
- Clean up uneven areas carefully with your beard scissors.
- Add some salon-quality beard balm to shape the pointed part as you want.
- DO continue washing, oiling, brushing, and balming regularly.
- DON’T let your ducktail beard become wild and bushy.
- DO trim every week or so. Your beard scissors will be your friend over the weeks, especially as you reshape your beard.
- DO check in with a barber for tips, advice, and help.
- DO be adaptable. As your ducktail grows, you will need to adjust your styling strategy.
- DON’T give up!
And that’s the essence of the ducktail beard. Over to you now, bro. A new you awaits. So does awesomeness. Let the Ducktail Dynasty begin!