Balbo beards and anchor beards are two dinstictive varieties of inverted-T style goatees. Unlike circle beards, the moustache and chin facial hair aren’t connected and there’s a gap between the two.

In this guide, you will learn how to grow, trim and style inverted-T styles like the balbo beard and the anchor beard:

Simply use the links above to jump ahead.

Anchor Style Goatee Beard

What Are Inverted-T Beards?

Bespoke Unit Balbo Beard Family Title GraphicInverted T or disconnected beards such as the Balbo beard and anchor beard are stylish and extravagant varieties of facial hair. Disconnected beard styles are defined by combining a floating moustache and high chin hair growth, which resembles an inverted capital T.

This goatee beard family is a close relation to the Circle beard. However, as the name suggests, Circle beards don’t feature the break between the chin and the moustache. Furthermore, inverted T beards come in many shapes and sizes.

They’re not uncommon among younger men who struggle with patchy growth by the corners of their mouth. However, they are also popular among older gentlemen for their avante-garde intellectual connotations.

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Iconic wearers of Inverted T beards range from Vladimir Lenin to Johnny Depp. Even David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Christian Bale sported a form of Inverted T beard at one point in their life.

The beard family often comes with a well-defined finish and requires a steady hand to trim. However, the Balbo is more forgiving to the novice beard owner. Bespoke Unit Guide to Balbo Beard Style Graphic

What Are Balbo Beards?

The Balbo owes its name to Italo Balbo. He was one of the March on Rome’s principal architects that brought the Italian Fascists to power in 1922. Italo Balbo was known as the only fervent opponent of Italy’s legislation against the Jews and Italy’s alliance with Nazi Germany.

Italy’s Air Marshal and Governor of Italian North Africa, he was also a flamboyant public figure in the USA. In 1940, his plane was shot down in friendly fire when attempting to land. Celebrity Balbo Beards Christian Bale Italo Balbo Unlike the toothbrush moustache, the Balbo has succeeded in overcoming its bleak past to become a celebrated and stylish beard. It is the most iconic variety of Inverted T beard styles. The cheeks are kept clean-shaven aside from the potential addition of Sideburns.

The chin hair growth includes a soul patch beneath the lip and the sides can sometimes be extended along the jawline. The moustache can be customised into various styles. However, it usually falls into the Handlebar category by extending beyond the mouth.

However, it can sometimes also be a Pyramidal moustache too. With an accent on volume, the Balbo can be permitted to grow naturally and requires fewer trims than Anchor beards.

What Are Anchor Beards?

E Anchor Beard Robert Downey Jr June 2017

With Robert Downey Jr’s incarnation of the brash Tony Stark in Marvel’s Avengers, the Anchor beard has recently surged in popularity. It’s a bold and flamboyant style that exudes self-confidence and charisma.

The Anchor sets itself apart from the Balbo in that it is a trimmed and well-groomed variant of the Inverted T beard. Furthermore, the floating moustache is often a minutely trimmed form of Pencil or Pyramidal moustache with an angular finish.

Although Downey Jr’s interpretation includes two points rising up the chin’s sides, it can be achieved with modest hair growth. The chin’s hair can be angular with intersections along the soul patch or with a rounder finish. The growth rarely extends far beyond the cheek width.

How To Trim A Balbo & Anchor Beard

Although trimming an inverted-T beard style is easier said than done, it can be achieved with a little practice as well as the right tools:

The links above will take you to our guides on the best trimmers and razors to use. Since they open on new tabs, you won’t lose your progress on this page.

To trim either a Balbo or an anchor beard, you simply need to use the following steps:

  1. Trim with unguarded clippers starting from the ears.
  2. Remove hair in an inward motion towards the chin until symmetrical.
  3. It is best to remove in steps on each side to avoid taking off too much beard.
  4. Trim down excess growth to an adequate and uniform length.
  5. Shave at least a quarter of an inch (0.5 cm) for the break between beard and moustache.
  6. Trim downwards the lower-mouth and soul-patch areas, removing in steps to ensure symmetry.
  7. Trim & neaten the moustache’s hairline.
  8. Carefully sculpt the contours with an electric trimmer or straight razor.

Balbo Beard Style Trimming Tips

The Balbo beard style has an emphasis on volume. Therefore, it requires at least 4 weeks of beard growth in order to be properly trimmed and styled. However, an anchor beard can be achieved with just 2 weeks worth of stubble.


As you may have noticed, we recommend using either a safety razor or a shavette. While safety razors are easier to master, shavettes offer superior precision thanks to the open blade. They’re not as easy to use as a traditional straight razor but far more convenient to maintain as the blades are disposable.

Finally, you can likely get away with not using a beard brush or balm for an anchor beard style as it’s usually very short. However, we recommend both when growing a balbo beard to ensure that it’s both neat and properly nourished with the necessary oils.

Will An Anchor Or Balbo Beard Suit My Face Shape?

An Inverted T beard’s emphasis on jawline hair growth offers considerable potential for those seeking to concentrate volume on their chin. Furthermore, the versatility between the two main styles allows it to be adapted to the majority of face shape requirements.

We cover 7 individual face shapes when assessing how well styles suit different men. If you don’t yet know your face shape, we strongly recommend you quickly follow our identifying guide.

Ideal Matches

The following face shapes will be able to easily grow and style either a Balbo or anchor beard to complement their features.

Oval Face Shapes

What is a man's oval face shape?

Oval shaped faces have a great range of flexibility with this beard style as their proportions can carry its particular growth distribution.

Square Face Shapes

graphic of a man's square face shape

Square shaped faces can adopt both styles but should ensure sharp contours so to not overly soften their angular features.

Diamond Face Shapes

What is a man's diamond face shape graphic

Diamond face shapes use an Inverted T beard to soften their angular features. Instead of opting for a full Balbo, a rounded Anchor beard can be adopted to achieve this effect.

Heart Face Shapes

Graphic of a man's heart face shape

Heart face shapes benefit the most from Inverted T beard styles as they will reinforce their weak or narrow chins. The extra volume of a Balbo will create a more pronounced and wider chin without compromising their cheek width. A narrower floating moustache will also provide more emphasis on the chin and redistribute their facial proportions.

Round Face Shape

graphic of a man's round face shape

Round faces can use Balbos to build volume and sculpt themselves a larger chin. Furthermore, the use of angular contours can also make the face appear squarer.

Acceptable Matches

The following face shape may successful grow one style of inverted-T beard but should proceed with caution.

Oblong Face Shapes

What is a man's oblong face shape graphic

Oblong faces, best steer clear of regular Balbos as they risk elongating the face. However, a short trimmed Anchor will provide definition that could flatten the chin and widen the face.

Incompatible Face Shapes

The following face shape may struggle to grow and style an effective inverted T beard.

Triangle Face Shapes

What is a man's triangle face shape graphic

Triangle shaped faces are advised to steer clear of Inverted T shapes as this will only highlight their large jawline.

What Next?

Now that you have read about how to grow a balbo or anchor beard, check out some of our related guides:

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