Trimming your beard as it continues to grow is a key part of beard maintenance. Just a millimeter too much shaved off can turn a beard that makes people jealous into a facial abomination. That said, with a few simple rules and instructions on how to trim a beard. You can easily keep your fuzzy face friend looking its best!
How often to trim your beard?
As I mentioned in my previous post, now that you have a beard you will spend a lot more time staring into the mirror looking for a millimeter perfect length.
I will often remove a stray hair or tidy up a section of my beard after my morning shower. About every 2 weeks I will do a major trim and shaping session. And once every 6 months I will see a professional to get advice and a tune-up of my beard style.
Here are the key outcomes I want from each type of grooming session:
- Daily: I will check to see if my cheek line or neckline needs shaving. I will comb my beard and remove with scissors any wild hairs that I see. I will not use the beard trimmers as I have a tendency to over trim if I use electric trimmers every day.
- Fortnightly: I redefine the neckline and shape that was set up by a professional barber a couple of months before. I will take a good set of beard trimmers and trimmer guides to form the cheek and sideburn length. I’ll then take a bit of weight out of the bottom of my beard and then make sure it is symmetrical.
- 6 monthly: I will spend $50 or more to get a professional to reshape and line my beard. I use this as an opportunity to get feedback on what I am doing as well as fine-tune the shape and style I’m after.
Ok, now you know how often you should be trimming and looking after your beard. Let’s get started with the thing that most people get wrong: The Neck Line!
Trim or shave the neckline
The neckline is where your head joins your neck and is more visible on shorter beards. It can be quite challenging as the skin on the neck moves around a lot as you tilt your head up and down.
However, both long and short beards look way better if a couple of key neckline rules are adhered to.
Rule 1: Not TOO high!
This is the fatal mistake that I see a load of beard owners committing. There was a trend in the late ’90s to have your beard follow your jawline. It was said to “define your jaw” and “make you look more manly”. The problem is – it has the opposite effect.
A jawline beard line really thins out the depth of the beard and makes it look less substantial. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this:
Also, dare I way it, it tends to be people without well-defined necks that opt for this type of line. So stay away from this style unless you really love the look – after all who am I to tell you what to do with your own face!
Rule 2: Find where your head attaches to your neck
Finding where your head attaches to your neck is the only way to discover your perfect neckline for your beard. I do this in two ways.
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.
Sideburns should be the perfect connector between your head and your beard.
Shorter hairstyles should be blended into your beard so there’s a seamless connection. However, if you have a bald head you could opt for a hard shaved line. I’ve seen this pulled off and it does look quite snazzy.
I have opted for a blended gradient from my head to my beard. I use clippers and the grades I use are shown in the image below:
It is important to only trim in the direction of the hair growth for a longer beard length i.e down!. For the shorter lengths at the top of the sideburn, I also trim upward but I’m very careful to take away hair slowly and if I have any doubt I increase the length of the guide for the trimmer.
It’s better to leave too much on than take too much off…you’ll kick yourself. Trust me!
A quick tip: One thing that I have found to really tidy up my sideburns are brushing them backward (towards my ears) and trimming any hairs that are long enough to escape the back border of the sideburn. That means no wild sideburn hairs as the hair moves throught the day.
Sides and cheeks
The side and cheeks of the beard are easy to maintain. I use a combination of trimmers set on grade 5 to sweep downward on my face and light trimming with scissors. This keeps any super long hairs in check.
I recommend that you start on the longest setting on your trimmers and slowly reduce the length until you start to hear the blades curring the hairs. For me, that is guide five.
This will make sure that you don’t have any flyaway hairs to deal with!
If you are growing your beard leave everything well alone until it reaches your desired length!
Arguably, the largest variety of shapes and styles are reserved for the crown of your beard – the mustache!
The beards that first attracted me into growing one had large mustaches and thick long – even fancy – styles. However, the practicalities of having a long mustache quickly forced me to reconsider growing a massive one!
I now trim my mustache to just below my top lip. This is the right balance of fullness and practicality that I have come across, personally.
I like it to be a little bit “messy” as I don’t like the super short mustache look:
BTW, this is what my beard looks like if it has been through a full day of wear! No grooming was performed before this picture!
Some people love a much shorter mustache and if that is your jam. I say go for it!
The mustache notch
One thing I see professional barbers cut is a notch at the center of the mustache. It is said to give it a fuller look and make the flowing style more prominent.
This is my warning – I’ve not yet been able to give myself a god notch without over-grooming. I’d recommend seeking professional help with this one!
This is one of the biggest grooming choices you have to make when you have a beard. What style are you going to choose?
I recommend googling and saving an imageboard of all of the beards that you come across and love. Personally, I like full medium-sized beards heavy on the chin. that is what I’m heading towards!
As in my previous post, do not even attempt to shape your beard for at least 6 weeks worth of growth! The awesome long beards can take years to get to the owner’s desired length.
Get the first beard shape put in by a professional. Don’t be cheap research a good local barber and book yourself in for an appointment.
Once the shape has been set you’ll have something to work to and maintain. I’ve seen a load of DIY beard shapings and it can get really messy.
As you are sat in the chair take notice of the strokes and techniques that the barber does the finishing touches to your beard. Do they sure clippers to flatten the sides? Do they use scissors to keep the edges and sides a final tune?
It’s these final steps that you’ll be able to keep up yourself for a few weeks in between your professional sessions.
Take off the smallest amount possible and if in doubt leave your beard alone!
Everything you need to trim your beard properly!
Safety razor and blades
|Anself Metal Double-edged Shaving Razor||$13.99||Link to Amazon|
|100 NACET Stainless Double Edge Razor Blades||$15.00||Link to Amazon|
|Braun All-in-one trimmer MGK3980||$54.94 + $9.59 shipping||Link to Amazon|
|ZilberHaar Beard Brush (Soft Bristles)||$17.99 + $5.18 shipping||Link to Amazon|
|Kent A FOT Handmade All Fine Tooth Saw Cut Beard Comb||$17.99 + $5.18 shipping||Link to Amazon|
|Viking Revolution Beard Oil Conditioner||$7.10 + $5.59 shipping||Link to Amazon|
BONUS! Top tips for how to trim a beard:
- Touch it a lot – use your fingers to guide your trimming. I’ve found that touching both sides of my face at the same time has done more than starring in the mirror!
- Brush between trimming – brush regularly through your trimming session. Trimming and cutting naturally flatten the beard. If you want to see the problem area brush to pop up the problem hairs.
- Take off as small amount as possible – this is the biggest one! Take off as small amount as possible when trimming your beard! Seriously! It’s easier to take off later but it is frustrating when you’ve gone a little too far and have to live with a lopsided beard for a few weeks!