How can I reduce the thickness of my beard? Easy tips

Many people struggle with the production of a thick beard. So, I think you should consider yourself one of the lucky beard growers as your beard needs a reduction in thickness. Reducing the thickness of your beard will require you to learn how to trim and thin out your beard using different methods. Perhaps you have a beard that is thick because of your genetics. People from the Middle East and those with Hispanic heritage tend to have very thick beards. Looking after a really thick beard requires a whole different set of products and tools to make it look as sharp as you wanted to.

Reducing the thickness of your beard can be achieved by thinning out your beard with thinning scissors, cutting the back edge of your beard to reduce the bulk at the chin, using a straightening treatment, and speaking to your trusted barber.

In this article, we are going to look at all of the reasons why your beard is so thick and the five easy ways that you can reduce the thickness of your beard and learn to control your hairy friend.

Before we look at all of the reasons how you can reduce the thickness of your beard we need to understand why beards are so thick in the first place.

Why is my beard so thick?

Your beard is so thick because beard hairs are like no other hair on your body. Beards can be described in a variety of ways such as wiry, curly, scraggly, and many more adjectives. Because beard hair is so affected by hormones such as testosterone and its metabolite DHT the hairs have properties like no others. Here are all of the reasons why your beard is so thick:

Beard hairs are wiry

If you want more information about why beard hairy so wiry take a look at my other article – why is beard hair so wiry? Answers from science – click here to be taken to article.

Beard hair is wiry because it is very curly, it has a thick shaft which is oval in cross section, and it also is easy to get tangled. The fact that the beard is on your face also means that beard hair can dry out very quickly which adds to the wiry feeling and increase the thickness of the beard. If you look at beard hair under the microscope you will see that the cross-sectional images tend to be more oval in shape when compared to head hair.

Beard hairs are curly

The oval shape means that it curls easier as it grows because each hair curls in its own unique way this can add to the density and thickness of the beard. Your genetics will determine what type of curl or wave you can expect your beard to take on.

People of Asian descent will often have fair and straight hair growth and quite often they struggle to grow a beard. The hair follicles tend to grow straight out of the skin surface – almost perpendicular – which means that the head is not have any torsional strains while it is growing and grows straight.

It is common for people of Caucasian descent to have wavy beards with some curling us but not a tight curl like seen in people of African descent.

Typically, people of African descent will have much curlier hair than other nationalities. This is because the hair follicle sets more parallel to the surface of the skin and the hair is a flat oval shape when you look at it as a cross-section.

The curlier your hair the thicker it will be. This means that if you are of African descent you may find that a chemical straightening treatment as well as a beard straightener will be the number one thing which will help reduce the thickness of your beard.

Beard hairs are thick

beard hairs are so thick because the follicle that they grow out of is also large. Hair thickness is determined by the size of the hair papilla. The more space there is at the root of the hair shaft the thicker the hair will grow. On your face, the hair root is very thick and it is around four times the size of the hair papilla in your scalp.

If you want to know more about the thickness of beard hairs and the science behind it check out my other article – why are beard has so thick (answers from science) – click here to be taken to article.

The very bottom of the hair follicle known as the dermal papilla is thought to be the main place where testosterone has a large effect on the growth of the hair. From a study that was published in 1999, we know that the size of a hair follicle is determined by the volume of this dermal papilla. The scientists looked at 235 hair follicles from different sites on the body including male facial hair, female facial hair and scalp and they found that in facial follicles there was a strong correlation between the area of the hair cortex (the outside layer) and the volume of the dermal papilla.

The dermal papilla is situated at the base of the hair follicle and it is responsible for the production and maintenance of growth of hairs across the body. It is also thought to be involved in regulating the hair cycle and in specifying the type of hair that is produced – whether it is vellus or terminal beard hairs. There is also a fair amount of evidence that the size of the hair follicle and the volume of the hair fibre are determined by the volume of this dermal papilla.

If you want to know more about the effect of androgens (such as testosterone) on hair growth there is an article published in the scientific literature in 2008 which gives a fantastic run down on this exact question.

Beard hairs can grow densely

Beards are thick because the density of beard hair growth can vary across your face. Some people have a very dense collection of hair follicles in their skin around the chin and moustache area. And a lot of people see a thinning of hair follicles on their cheeks.

If you have a very thick beard is likely that the hair follicles of your face are incredibly close together and there is not too much you can do about that. There is a surgical procedure called follicular unit grafting which removes some of the hair roots and transplants them into other parts of your body. In this instance they would simply be removed without re-transplantation. Probably a bit too much of an invasive procedure to reduce the thickness of your beard.

Reduce the thickness of your beard in these ways

Reducing the thickness of your beard comes down to either taming the mass of hair which is growing or by inhibiting the growth of your beard in some way. In this section we will look at the simple steps you can take to reduce the thickness of your beard.

Cut the unseen edge of your beard

Your beard is thick because there is a huge density of hair escaping from your face. As the hair grows longer and longer the hair is naturally sit further apart and so it can make your beard bushy and fall. The trick with this technique to reduce the thickness of your beard is to remove the bulk of the hair from behind the chin area.

What I mean is you can trim your neckline and thin out the hairs just above your neckline. This will have the effect of reducing the bulk of the beard which sits between your chin and your Adam’s apple making for a thinner beard appearance.

Do these steps to reduce the bulk of your beard without cutting away the length in the front:

  • shave your neckline – put two fingers above your Adam’s apple and completely remove the hair which sits below your top finger.
  • Use a trimmer to thin out the hair just above your neckline – use a trimmer to gently sweep over the tops of the hair just above your neckline. This will thin out the bulk when you put your head down and stop your beard from splaying outwards.
  • While looking slightly up, create an even trim line from your neckline to the chin hair length – the goal here is to create a natural and even gradient from your neckline to the length on your chin. With any good beard trim getting a smooth even fade from one length to another will make your beard look professionally cut and maintained!

Removing some of the density near your neckline will be one of the best ways that you can reduce the thickness of your beard.

Thinning scissors

Thinning scissors are an important part of reducing the thickness of your beard. They are designed to enhance the shape created by your trimming scissors or your electric trimmer. They can be used to remove unwanted bulk or for blending out a short section of your beard to a longer one.

Purchase some thinning scissors (like these on Amazon) and use them on your dry beard. This is how you use hair thinning scissors to blend layers and remove excess weight:

  1. once your beard is trimmed up comb it downwards to work at all of the knots and tangles
  2. locate the sections of your beard that need thinning out use your fingers to hold.
  3. Position the scissors an inch or two above where you are holding your fingers
  4. open and close the blades with one swift motion gliding downwards in a movement similar to brushing your beard.
  5. repeat the process until your desired thickness or texture of your beard is achieved.

Before trying to thin out your beard I recommend that you give your beard a thorough combing and that you allow your head to completely dry before cutting.

Try a straightening treatment

Another impressive way of reducing the thickness your curly beard is with a beard relaxing cream. This is a chemical treatment for your beard and will semi-permanently give you a nice straight beard. Having straight hairs means that the thickness is reduced and the wiry nature of your beard doesn’t create unnecessary bulk.

How to use a beard relaxer and straightener

Using a beard relaxer and straightener is incredibly simple. It is something that you can do at home. You can fit it into your weekly or monthly routine with ease. And if you can you shampoo and conditioner you can quite easily use a beard relaxer. Here are the basic steps:

  • wet your hair in the shower like you would usually do when shampooing your hair
  • apply the relaxing shampoo from the roots to the tip of the hair – divide your beard into smaller sections if you have to.
  • Use a fine tooth comb to get the relaxing agent to evenly distribute throughout your beard
  • leave the beard relaxing shampoo in for about 30 minutes – go about your normal showering routine
  • after about 30 minutes rinse your beard with water to remove the majority of the relaxing shampoo
  • once a note of the shower blow dry your beard on a medium heat setting
  • use a straightening iron to straighten out any of your curls
  • apply the neutraliser to stop the relaxing cream from working and lock your straight beard hair in place
  • using the shampoo that came with the beard straightener cream wash your beard three times.
  • Towel dry your beard and apply the sealer – this is to seal in and lock the hair in a straight position.
  • Finish drying your beard how you would normally do so for example, with a hairdryer, and the process is complete.

Your hair will stay straight for a relatively long time and the new hair growth will be curlier than the straightened part. You can repeat this process once the new growth makes up about 25 to 50% of your beard.

Get a professional cut

Lastly, if you are struggling to reduce the thickness of your beard on your own you should consider getting a professional to cut and thin out your beard.

Even if you don’t plan on using a professional every time you want to trim or maintain your beard you can watch how they do it and then emulate the steps and the actions they take at home.

In the years that I have grown a beard I have only seen a professional barber twice, but both times but I have been to a barber I have picked up new techniques and skills. Also, barbers do not mind if you ask questions about beard specifics or if you ask questions about how they decide which parts of your beard to trim and which parts to leave. You can then take this knowledge home and use it to your advantage for your home trimming.

Let’s take a look at how it you can control a thick beard and what is the best ways that make it look like you have a reduced thickness but in fact you are just using better products and better routines to control your thick beard.

How can I control my thick beard?

If you have a thick beard it will rely on you committing to extra maintenance and effort. If you want more information about how to tame a thick beard check out my insider secrets at my other article which has everything you need to know about controlling a wild and thick beard – click here to be taken to article.

Here, we’re going to give a summary of how you can control your thick beard.

Trim up more often

If you have a particularly thick beard you should consider trimming up your beard more often the average person. Trimming and lining up your own beard takes a little bit of practice but once you get comfortable doing it yourself it can only take you a couple of minutes each morning to keep the lines of your beard defined.

I recommend that you trim up your thick beard every couple of weeks at least. This means that it won’t grow in length but you could use your scissors or trimmer to reduce the bulk of the hair by trimming close to your neckline.

Use good quality products

using a good quality beard product from a well-known and respected manufacturer is going to give you the best results in taming your thick beard. Some brands like beard brand, honest Amish, and the Viking revolution contain fantastic ingredients but they do sometimes, premium price.

This extra amount that you are going to spend on your beard is going to you reduce the thickness and bulk of your beard dramatically. If you don’t want to buy a beard balm or a beard wax you can simply make your own. I have been making my own DIY beard balm with coconut oil and Shea butter for the past few years and I wouldn’t use anything else at this point.

Don’t let it get too dry or oily!

Because you have a very thick beard your beard is prone to becoming oily or drying out quicker than other beards. A healthy beard is one where there is a fair amount of air flow which will stop anaerobic bacteria from growing at the base of your beard.

You will have to do play a very active role in making sure that the hair is the same from root to tip.

With a thick beard there could be a lot of sebum (natural face oils) that gets stuck at the surface of the skin. You can do this by regularly washing your hair and ensuring that the shampoo makes it to the base of your hair and then following up the stripping of the oil with a good leave in conditioner or beard oil.

A beard with oily roots and dry ends will quickly become unruly – so pay extra attention to how uniform the beard feels at the base through to the tips.

Try a new style

I am convinced that the number one reason beards look good is because they are trimmed well. If you find that your thickness is not matching the style of beard that you want speak to your local barber and ask what beard styles they would recommend based on someone with as thick a beard as you.

Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday and you may be pleasantly surprised by what the barber comes up with and how they trim up your beard into a new style – it may be something you have never thought about trying before but will work perfectly with your beard.

Everyone’s beard is different and sometimes we just need to be pushed outside of our comfort zones a little bit to find the perfect style that matches our specific growth pattern, density, and face shape.

Summary

Reducing the thickness of your beard can be done via a variety of methods but you should choose the method which best suits you. Whether it is thinning out your beard, reducing the bulk of your beard by trimming the unseen lines or by using good quality products that have a high quantity of beard wax – experiment into you find the right solution for your beard.

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 trialing different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!