Get Olympics-worthy Facial Hair

People get all sorts of inspiration from Olympic athletes -- not least when it comes to their facial hair. According to master barber Gary Clark, executive director and general manager of Manhattan barbershop BBRAXTON, athletes rank as high as actors and musicians among figures whose facial hair inspires his customers. But why wait till after the Olympic Games, when everyone will be asking their corner barber for these looks? Garrett Pike, barber at Persons of Interest in Brooklyn, N.Y., breaks down five of the styles coming soon to a TV set near you. Choose your favorite and be the first among your buddies to sport it.

FULL BEARD
Kevin Love
(Basketball, U.S.)

“He must have let his hair grow about four weeks to get this length. Trim it at about a No. 3 on your clipper. Then use a small pair of scissors to get the hairs that come over your lips, and shave your cheeks -- just the cheek line above the beard -- to make the beard look tighter. You can let the neck grow to keep things a little gruff.”

SCULPTED BEARDS/GOATEES
Teddy Riner
(Judo, France)
Pascal Gentil
(Taekwondo, France)

“The lines are really crisp and sharp, so these guys must be using T-liners -- the tightest form of a trimmer -- to outline their goatees and beards. Then they shave it out with a razor, being mindful of the lines. As with all the sculpted styles, unless you’re really handy at shaving, it’s pretty hard to do at home. I would just go to the barbershop, and then you can maintain it yourself. This style is great for guys with rounded faces that want some chiseled definition.”

Lebron James (Basketball, U.S.)
“Outline your beard with a T-liner, and shave it up. Then use a clipper with a higher guard -- at least a No. 2 -- to even out the bottom half. This is a good style for guys who can’t grow a lot of hair on their cheeks and want to disguise it.”

GOATEE
David Oliver
(Track and Field, U.S.)

“It’s a really short goatee. It’s not outlined, so that must be how his facial hair grows. He trims up his cheeks with regular clippers to take out the bulk and then leaves a natural goatee.”

OUTGROWN GOATEE
Nikola Karabatic
(Handball, France)

“I would say that it’s not just the shadows; he naturally doesn’t grow a lot of hair on his cheeks. He’s buzzing his goatee at a No. 1.5 or a No. 2, and he’s not touching the lines with anything sharp. He’s just using a clipper for his cheeks, probably lowered all the way to No. 000, and then letting it all grow out. Definitely not a high-maintenance guy.”

SCRUFF
Clemente Russo
(Boxing, Italy)
Andy Roddick
(Tennis, U.S.)
Aldo Montano
(Fencing, Italy)

“They’re keeping the clipper at a No. 0, which puts the hair a little bit above the skin and looks like a shadow. Or they’re once-a-week shavers who buzz their facial hair all the way down with trimmers, and these photos were taken after they’ve let it grow three days. With these kinds of messy beards, you don’t touch the cheeks.”

Photo: Getty Images