The question of prim versus tattoo/skin beards that came up in the "Hamlet 3.0" discussion made me go back and pull out a beard (you know, that may not be the best turn of phrase) from inventory.
Prim beards are great for Victorian/steampunk. In this regard, check out the wonderful blog Century of the Beard, or the stern rebellious bearded face of John Brown on the John Steuart Curry mural Tragic Prelude (or, if you're at my lower level of art history knowledge, the Kansas album cover art)... or bearded ladies such as Annie Jones, who inspired me to try it out in Second Life:
Clearly not doable with a tattoo or skin layer!
That's not as much the fashion of beards these days--quite the opposite. Often one sees beards that are more like car pin striping but for guys' faces. It doesn't have to be that extreme to still be better done, IMHO, with a tattoo or skin layer--just not as fluffy as the style of the 19th century:
Hamlet doesn't strike me as the fluffy beard type, so I'd say tattoo/skin. (And he may drop the beard altogether, judging by his comment on the reborn NWN Hamlet makeover post!)