How can I make my short beard look good?

No matter the length of your beard you want it to look good. There are some basic Beard maintenance approaches and tips which are universal to all Beard types. However, for a short beard there are few specific tips which only apply to short beards. When I was growing out my beard I wanted it as awesome as possible throughout the growing process and this is what I learned about how to make my shall Beard look good.

Making a short beard look good relies on growing out past the length that you want and trim back to a uniform length. Learning how to use trimmers properly and setting a simple but effective daily routine are the best ways to make a short beard look good.

Even if you are wanting to grow a long beard there is no reason why your short beard can’t look great along your journey. In fact, while I was growing out my beard I often halted it for a couple of months at a short so that I could get a feel for how it looked and I tried to appreciate each step along the way.

The good news is that you don’t need a load of products or a load of expensive beard trimmers and tools for making a short beard look good.

Here are the ultimate tips if you want your short beard to not only look good but also make you feel confident!

Grow out and trim back

The first tip relies on achieving the perfect uniform length across your beard.

Everyone’s beard grows differently and I would bet that most people have different growing rates on different parts of their face. For example, my chin and my moustache grow much quicker than the hair on my cheeks and therefore I need to wait for my cheeks to catch up.

To make sure that your beard ends are the same length all over I recommend that you first grow out the beard to at least one month longer than you want.

Then, you should cut it back to the desired length using a good quality set of trimmers and a non-flexible guard.

This ensures that all of the beard is the same length.

You can easily check if your beard is long enough for this sort of trim by carefully listening to the trimmers as they are being passed over your face. It should sound like it is clipping every part of your beard – no matter how little it is taking off the same should be the same across your entire face.

Learn how your beard grows

They say that “knowledge is power” and getting to know your beard will allow you to cut it and style it better than any professional barber can.

In the early stages of beard growth I recommend getting handsy with your beard.

Running your fingers over the entire length of your short stubble beard will allow you to map out what direction hairs on your face growing.

If you want, you can create a simple beard growing map of your face by drawing arrows (representing the direction of growth) on a picture of yourself.

This will allow you to trim up your beard evenly every time. This is because your trimming will only be as effective as your ability to lift up the hairs into the trimmers. By going against the grain on every part of your face you will be sure for a much closer and even trim.

Moreover, learning the direction of your beard growth will help you decide whether or not growing out your beard if you extra millimetres or inches will cover up any low-density patches on your face. It may be that there is a high density patch next to a low-density patch but the high density patch will not be able to cover the low-density patch because the hair is growing in the wrong direction.

Little bits of knowledge like this will allow you to make the best decisions as your beard is growing.

Use trimmers properly

Simply running the trimmers over your face in any random direction will not necessarily produce the right results for your short beard.

Trimming up a beard relies on an understanding of your hair growth, like we talked about above, and also the ability to patiently sweep over the face in reproducible and calculated movements.

To use your trimmers properly you want to make sure that, firstly, they are maintained and well oiled. Too many people use trimmers which are blunt and not oiled and are surprised when they don’t do a very good job.

If your trimmers have been used for more than one year I would recommend purchasing a new set of blades.

These are the steps that I used to trim up short beard regularly:

  • use the trimmers to slowly cut against the Beard hair – make long slow passages over your face
  • cut, again, perpendicular to the direction of growth – once again, making long slow passages over the your face.
  • Make sure that in any concave or curved artefacts on your face – such as jaw line and neck – that you spend a little bit more time making sure you have cut all of the hairs evenly.
  • Repeat until your beard is the same length all over according to your fingertips – usual fingertips to feel all over your face to check for any long hairs – your fingertips are the most sensitive to this.

Not all beard trimmers are made the same. If you want to line up your beard you may want a beard trimmer for detailing. For more information about different beard trimmer types check out my articles below:

Selecting the best beard trimmer for your hair type and what you want to do will make the job much easier.

 Set a simple daily routine

Great beards are formed from creating a daily habit. Beards tend to look better when they are worked on every single day – just a little. Most people like to do one massive care routine every week or fortnight but this just doesn’t end up creating the best looking beard for most people.

The daily routine that I have developed results in a beard which looks great most days and doesn’t require much effort to control.

My daily routine includes:

  • showering and shampooing my hair – I do this every 2 to 3 days or when I have done a particularly dirty or stinky activity.
  • Trimming up the cheek lines and neckline – while I’m in the shower I will also use a single blade safety razor to trim up the cheek line and the neckline of my beard. This will allow me to keep the line sharp which I believe is one of the best ways to keep your beard impressive and looking dapper.
  • Towel drying my beard – as soon as I jump out of the shower I gently dab my beard dry. It does not get rid of all the moisture and I have to be very careful as wet beard hair is the most easy to damage. But I remove most of the moisture with a towel.
  • Blow drying my beard – I use quite a systematic hair drying routine on my beard. Firstly, I will use a medium to high heat with downward coming to it rid of the majority of the moisture. Then I will use a cold setting on my hairdryer with downwards combing or brushing to style the beard.
  • Application of beard oil – I will use a beard oil most days to add a little bit of nourishment and shine back into my beard after shampooing. Do not overdo it as the beard does not absorb a lot of the oil – less is more.
  • Application of beard balm, butter, or wax – if there is a special occasion or I need my beard to look particularly good for any reason I will follow-up the application of beard oil with another product. The other product will probably contain a small amount of beeswax so that it holds the style in place.

This may seem like a lot but it only takes me between five and 10 minutes every morning as now I have made it part of my routine without really thinking about it.

Use this as a scaffold for creating your daily routine.

Create the perfect neckline

Having a short beard means that your neckline is really visible.

Shaving the neckline is one of the things that you can get wrong easily.

Because you have a short beard it is important that the neckline is as defined as possible. You want it to be symmetrical, clean, and importantly not too high.

The neckline should follow the line at which your head joins to your neck.

There are two ways to do this.

The first way is to tilt your head forward as far as it will go and push your finger up into the crease. Where the top of the crease it – that’s your neckline!

Another option is to find your Adam’s apple and, when looking up, place two fingers on your neck with the bottom finger resting on the top edge of your Adam’s apple. Where the top finger rests on your neck that is your neckline:

Notice how when my neck is stretched the middle part of the neckline seems to be higher than the line at the jawbones. This is because the skin stretches and it can lead to a bit of confusion. Remember to cut your neckline in

Once you have found your neckline you want to trim along it so that it is symmetrical and follows around the side of your head. If in doubt, ask an expert to trim yours in for you – then you can maintain that line for yourself.

Create the perfect cheek line

The cheek line is another really important part of your short beard style. Essentially, you have two options:

You can use a low sweeping curve to connect the front edge of your sideburn to the top edge of your moustache. This is perfect for people who have good cheek density.

The other option, is to do a low flat cheek line which is best suited for people who are struggling to fill out the cheek areas of their beard.

Exactly where you trim up each cheek line is different for each person and this image below is where I trim my cheek line. You will notice that I have to make a decision about exactly where the cheek line sits based on the density of hairs.

These two options need to be executed by shaving close to the skin with a single blade safety razor so that you can define the line as accurately and as cleanly as possible.

Invest in these tools

Having a short beard doesn’t require many tools. In fact, the tools that you will need can be bought for under US$100. And they will last a lifetime with proper care.


A good set of trimmers will be the number one tool for keeping your short beard looking awesome.

There are a few tricks that I have picked up in the past few years when deciding what sort of trimmer to buy.

  • By corded not battery – when you enter a store many of the people will tell you to buy a battery-powered trimmer because it is easier to manoeuvre around your face. They tell you this because they want you to come back by more trimmers when the battery dies. The trimmer is only as good as the weakest component and if you buy a rechargeable trimmer the battery is the weakest part.
  • Buy cheap and upgrade – if you don’t have a huge budget you can always buy a less expensive set of trimmers and upgrade them when you need to. Do not go for the cheapest on the market however because you will end up with a bad trim and a product that you need to replace in under one year.
  • Get replaceable blades – make sure that you are able to easily replace the blades of your trimmers with a simple set of screwdrivers. My trimmers use a Phillips head screwdriver to undo screws for replacement.

Single blade safety razor

A single blade safety razor will be the one way that you can keep all of the lines looking sharp.

Unlike a cartridge based razor, a single blade safety razor will enable you to cut precisely where you wanted to cut. After I upgraded my cartridge razor blade to a single blade safety razor I have never looked back.

They can be picked up relatively inexpensively online and I recommend that you purchase one as soon as you start growing a beard.

Not all razor blades for single blade safety razors are suitable for everyone. One of the first things I did was buy a multi-pack and a sample pack from a couple of safety blade sellers which enabled me to work out which one was best for my skin.

Invest in these products

You don’t need many products when you are trying to make your short beard awesome but these are the ones that I would highly recommend that you purchase as your beard turns from stubble to a short length.

Beard soap/shampoo

A dedicated beard soap and shampoo is a valuable addition to your beard inventory.

In the early stages you are able to get away with using a head shampoo but, as your beard gets longer, I highly recommend that you purchase a dedicated beard soap. In this YouTube video I compare two of the most popular beard washes: beard brand and honest Amish.

a dedicated beard soap and conditioner is specially formulated for beard hair stop beard hair is very different to head hair because the face makes a lot less oils than the top of your head. This means that you are probably stripping the beard hair of all of the natural oils if you’re using a head shampoo.

Beard oil

Beard oil, despite the name, is just as much for the skin under your beard as it is for the hair.

I highly recommend that you trial a load of beard oils and take notice of the sorts of benefits and your preferences for each one.

Beard oil has to be used sparingly but has a range of benefits:

  • it gets rid of beard itch – in the early stages of growth the hair can cause some itchiness which beard oil can help relieve.
  • It stops beard dandruff – choosing a beard oil high in jojoba oil will help solve any dry skin issues leading to beard dandruff.
  • It conditions your beard hair – beard oils contain therapeutic oils which can absorb into the hair and cause it to become shinier and softer.
  • Beard oil smells good – depending on the essential oil that you have in the beard oil you can make your beard smell fresh like peppermint throughout the day.

Choose a beard oil that is high in jojoba oil which is better for the skin.

If you want to know more about beard oil check out my other article how to apply beard oil for beginners – everything that you need to know – click here to be taken to article.

How to apply beard oil for beginners

 Know when to leave it alone

because your beard is short, make sure you know when to leave it alone.

If you are constantly trimming, fussing, and lining up your beard you run the risk of removing more beard than you are growing.

Beard grow at 0.38 mm per day which means that if you are trimming off more than this per day you will end up with a patchy and thin short beard without realising it.

Sometimes, if you are tackling beard problems the best solution is to leave it alone for at least two months. I know that when I was growing at my beard I had to fight myself to stop doing daily trim ups.

I save my big lineups for the end of a fortnight and only shave the edges and neckline as they need them according to my daily routine.

Focus on the skin

Just because you have a beard on top of your skin doesn’t mean that your skin can be ignored. Making sure that you’ve got well nourished and condition skin under your beard. A range of issues from itchiness to beard dandruff.

Looking after the skin can include using:

  • a cleanser – using a cleanser removes the dirt and grime from your face and will prevent you from developing breakouts.
  • Exfoliate – pick a gentle scrub to put into your routine to remove any dead skin cells that accumulated at the roots of your short beard.
  • Moisturise – choose a beard boil or a skin moisturiser which is readily absorbed into the skin. A good moisturiser will contain vitamins and nutrients to add a shine to your skin and will also create a barrier to protect you from what the world has for you that day.

So, don’t forget the skin!

Be kind to yourself and your beard

As you are growing a beard there are tons of negative thoughts and nasty opinions that come into your head.

Remember that growing a beard is your journey and, ultimately, you have to be happy with what you are growing. Even though some people don’t like beards – I’ve been told that my beard is hideous – you have to remember that it is only their opinion.

Making your short beard awesome will rely on you ignoring the haters and continuing to grow through and trial different things as your beard journey progresses and you learn more about how to make your beard look as good as it can.

The Author

Andy Stapleton

Andy is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He is an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialling different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!