What can we learn from Jake Gyllenhaal and his hair? So many things. Existential truths. Bits of universal wisdom. Like, for instance, the fact that every man exists somewhere on the spectrum from a short buzzcut to luscious flow. And the fact that Jake Gyllenhaal runs laps back and forth along that spectrum—looking damn fine every step of the way. Side beard style.
Of late, yes, he's favored longer hair, which works well for oddball roles, like in Nightcrawler and Nocturnal Animals. But Gyllenhaal is a chameleon. Back in the Jarhead days he owned the high fade. Before that it was the creepy indoor-kid hair from the Donnie Darko era.
Every one of GQ's Grooming Idol has their particular strength: Some get wild with it (like Zayn Malk or keep it subtle (like Idris Elba ). Others, like Bradley Cooper, play around in a never-ending cycle of beard and hair combos, each one of which adds to the Grooming Canon.
Jake is in a category of his own—one that contains the entire spectrum of hair and beard styles. So let's take a moment to go back and appreciate his journey from clean cut to fully hirsute.
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It’s hard to believe this was 13 years ago—right around the time Gyllenhaal was filming Jarhead—but his full head of hair and enviable hairline mean he can trim for luxury, not necessity. Here he’s got a classic fade, blended cleanly since the top is so short. (His thick hair will quickly grow unruly at the upper sides.) When your hair is this short, a little stubble looks great.
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Why are beards in style
Compare that with this similar look, where he’s got two-day whiskers. It’s a subtle difference, but something to consider if you want to trim a few years off your face. (Not that Jake needed it.)
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In this one, his hair may be long, but it’s short enough to slick back for formal functions. To replicate this, use a styling cream like Oribe’s for everyday life, but switch to a pomade like Imperial’s for red carpet appearances.
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Here is Gyllenhaal as we know him best: Shaggy mane, trim beard. Can’t fail.
Same long hair worn casually, but an even fuller beard. It’s a look that Gyllenhaal and Cooper both wear well.
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This style is so good. If you want to pull this off, try a styling cream —perhaps with a pinch of hair oil, like Aveda Men’s —to get that shiny, lightweight style.
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Our best guess is that his stylist used hair paste, blown dry, for volume, light shine, and “movable” hold. In this light, it looks like he’s got some naturally red beard hairs, too.
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The key differences here are subtle: Gyllenhaal’s got a more trimmed mustache, which makes him look less gruff, and his hair style has a bit more separation and less volume (probably because it wasn’t blown dry here).
All types of beard styles
This one is similar, but again an example of how Jake “cleans up” despite swimming in hair. To pull this one off, use a pomade, applied damp and then blow dry to add volume, shine, and “touchable” hold (as opposed to the crustier effect of a gel).