I spent about 5+ hours at a local tournament yesterday (without açaí no less), and, as if this is a surprise, passing the guard (and vice versa, not getting passed) is pretty much the crux of the average "working class" white and blue (and purple to some degree) belt's game. Not finishing or fancy sweeping. Not fantastical inversion. And, definitely not fauxhawks (although, I am convinced they help).
Now, don't get me wrong, your fauxhawk/mullet and/or outrageous facial hair is important. But, your ability to pass the guard is far more important. Learn from the best. Take Roger Gracie black belt, Oli Geddes, for instance. He's not only world class and exceptionally mutton chopped, but he also knows how to pass his opponent's guard. Do that well, and you can have whatever facial hairstyle you like.
Props to Jiu Jitsu Style mag for another solid technique video.