If you’re like most guys, you’re probably a tad on edge when it comes to trimming your beard. What if I screw it up?! C’mon man, it’s a beard…it’ll be fine! Let’s break down some trimming methods in an educational way…but let’s not get too hasty, this is the Bearded Mack after all!
Treat Your Beard Well, And It Will Do The Same!
Doing some periodic trimming of that haystack on your face does have benefits! Losing those split ends will keep your beard healthier and won’t tangle and break. Managing that whisker farm will also be easier, giving you confidence. Shape and style will also be manageable, without all the excess heat and waxy balms.
A Good Trimmer Needs Tools:
- Electric Trimmers – ones with plastic guards can be beneficial
- Scissors (Shears) – smaller-sized models around 5-inches provide more maneuverability
- Flat Comb for tapering the sideburn areas
Comb or Detangling Brush
(Hand Mirror and Hair Dryer are optional)
The first lesson here is take your damn time! Trimming in a hurry can leave your face looking like a raccoon got to it, and your only option may be losing your gorgeous hair farm. I like doing mine during my regular morning routine, waiting at least a couple hours to allow oil and butters to soak into my whiskers. It’ll allow time for any problem areas to crop up. Curly beards may need straightening with your partner’s hair dryer.
Even Beards Need Goals:
Look…Custer had a plan. Well, maybe that’s not a good example. But at least half of beard trimming is putting a plan in place. Set yourself up for success by taking your time to check out examples online of what you want that rat’s nest to look like. You may want to go back through your own pics to see what you love or hate about your beard! Barbering videos on YouTube can also help.
A good rule of thumb is…less is more. Start at the bottom and take off less than you were planning. Start in the very front under your chin with the trimmers and cut downward at a 45-degree angle so as not to take off too much of the supporting hair closer to the neck. Work your way back towards your ear on one side before coming back to the middle to do the other. Then comb everything out and finish shaping the bottom of the beard. Getting rid of the length will expose how much wider your beard looks, and it’s time to shape up those sides! There are several techniques that you can use utilize that can tame the sides of your beard and control its width. The thicker and curlier your beard, the more you can treat it like a hedge and shape it. For this method, you can use trimmers (preferred) or scissors to get rid of those unsightly flyaways from the outer portion. This is also a matter of taste, because if you have sparse growth or a straighter beard texture, you may not want to do any trimming on the sides of your beard except for blending your sideburns into your haircut. You can use the trimmer guards to help. If you don’t have guards, you can use a flat comb at an angle to taper. Experimentation is good…you’ll be gaining knowledge in your noggin!
Trim Inside the Lines
Ok, it’s not like coloring as a kid…but you want to work on the outline. But don’t trim areas of thicker growth. That will require more daily maintenance for clean lines and would limit potential growth if you’re in that phase of your hair farm! Definition can be added by edging out the neck line, back line and cheek line. Longer beards don’t need too much neck line. Shorter beards should focus on the chin area to cut down on the dreaded NECKBEARD! Use your trimmers to follow the natural dividing line between your neck and head. You can then shave the area underneath after the trim is over.
Don’t Neglect the Back!
For the back lines by your ears, comb your beard backwards in the direction of your ear. Once the hair is swept back a bit, use scissors to shape the back line. Trimmers can be used too, but this tends to be a difficult area to see when doing self-trims. Scissors are the safer option. Remember to not cut too far into any area of strong growth! A hand mirror can be very helpful with assessing the back lines. You can also use your phone to take profile pictures that will give you more visual angles that can’t be seen otherwise.
Attack the Magnum P.I.!
Next up, the mustache. While you’ve got options, that’s going to depend on taste. Some guys prefer the 70s “I was just on the Dating Game” look, while others are going for a little handlebar action. Once again, scissors would be a safer option for trimming mustaches, but many men use trimmers both with and without guards depending on the style they are going for. Care is key, and make sure you have a goal in mind!
Clap Those Cheeks!
Tackle those cheek lines last…with the proper tools. There are cheek line guide tools that can help keep both sides symmetrical and a wide variety of razors you can use to shave these areas.
Beards Aren’t Perfection
Trimming at home means you have more than one shot at this. You can reassess over the next few hours or even days and make minor adjustments. Be careful with obsessing. There is no perfect beard trim! Also remember that your beard doesn’t stop growing once you trim it. If you have taken off a significant amount of length, it may take a couple of weeks for you to adjust to it. Just stick to your product regimen and beard routine and assess what went well…and what lessons you learned! It’s hair, folks. It’ll grow back!