The Balbo Isn’t For Fascists Any More

Italian Air Marshall Italo Balbo, a Mussolini goon during World War II, is known for bringing this beard style to the attention of the free world. Now that Robert Downey, Jr. is in charge, no one cares about the Balbo’s Fascist origins.

The Balbo is a beard in two or three sections. It’s a mustache combined with hair on the chin, often with a soul patch under the lower lip. With your whiskers shaved on each side of the soul patch, the Balbo looks like an inverted “T”.

Who the Balbo Says You Are

As a Balbo-wearer you’ll be seen as bold, stylish and self-confident. A tailored mustache, soul patch and chin beard combo, is one of the sexiest forms of facial hair.

You Know a Balbo is Right for You if…

  • You need coverage for a narrow chin that gets you mistaken for the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • You want a girlfriend or two.
  • You just made a major trimming mistake on your Van Dyke.
  • You want a bad boy look but not one that says you just got out of bed.

How to Grow a Balbo

To get your Balbo project started you’ll need to grow a full beard. This will give you enough hair for shaping the Balbo style. You’ll also want to see where your hair grows and where it doesn’t. Leave it alone for a minimum of four weeks, or until you have about a half-inch of hair grown out.

How to Groom a Balbo

  • A Balbo’s defined contours require careful sculpting. Some barbers recommend using an electric trimmer without a guard as a good way to start. The trimmer will give a precision line around the facial hair you’re leaving in place. A safety razor and a steady hand can also do the job.
  • Starting by your ears, shave your face inward. To achieve balance on both sides of your face, alternate shaving the two sides a section at a time.
  • Shave a gap of about ¼ inch from your mustache to the goatee on each side. This gap is the Balbo’s most distinguishing factor.
  • Manicure the remaining facial hair with a trimmer fitted with an adjustable guard. Clipper the hair until it’s short and even all around.
  • Add some width to a narrow chin with a wider goatee. If your chin is wide or square, shoot for a goatee with a narrower strip.
  • The Balbo is a very short beard style, so you can get pretty creative with your shaping and still be able to show a professional face at the office.

Similar Beard Styles

  • The Zappa – Think of it as wide soul patch complemented by a mustache. Picture that great rocker, Frank.