Stylish shave style. How to Shape Your Beard Like a Pro - GQ

No single beard grows perfectly within its bounds. And there's no singular rule on how to shape your beard. The same way you need to mind the hair on your head for a flattering style (instead of just letting it grow untamed), you also need to manicure your whiskers. You need to know where to trim your beard neckline, how to maintain the perfect length, and how to be a bit inventive in order to land on the style that works for you. How to shape a beard.

It’s also important to educate yourself on what will flatter you the most. What works on your amigo won’t necessarily be the best fit for you, since you’re dealing with different variables. We’ll get into all that.

So, read on for the best beard trimming and shaping tips.

Start with a larger setting, and work backwards.

Once you pick up the ever-essential beard trimmer, you need to know the key tenets to maintaining that beard. These beard tips will arm you with the confidence to shape your whiskers.

You can’t undo a too-short style. So, start with a longer guard, and start by trimming it to large. It’s going to take a trim or two for you to acquaint yourself with the most flattering length, and that’s going to be a lot easier (and never embarrassing) if you gradually trim it off until you hit the sweet spot, instead of hastily shearing yourself past it.

Keep it trim—even as it grows.

It always seems weird that you should trim your hair as it grows, but the reason for this is because the ends get frayed and scratchy, and it also helps coach the thing into its stylized place. We’ve got an entire article on how to trim your beard while it grows, so I suggest you read up.

Interesting beard styles

Know how to mind the borders.

You need to know where to draw your beard boundaries, which sometimes comes down to preference and style. Regardless, you can use the trimmer on its lowest setting—sans guard—to trim all the way down to the skin. It’s as close to shaving as you’ll get without breaking the surface of the skin, which is perhaps half the reason you never shave in the first place. ( Razor burn is a real drag.) Of course, you can also do this with a blade, but I find that the perimeter detailing is easier with a trimmer, since it allows for more precision.

The main areas of concern are the neckline and cheek lines.

Trimming the beard neckline: There is a universal rule for trimming the beard neckline, regardless of style: You need to draw a “U” from behind each ear, behind the jawbone, and down to a point on your neck. This point can be imagined by placing your pointer and middle fingers together, then laying them above your Adam’s apple. It should land about an inch and a half above the knob, which is where the base of the “U” lands. Shave or trim bare everything below and behind this U. That’s your beard neckline, no matter the beard you rock. (Guys with long scraggly beards can ignore it since their necks are totally obscured by their pride and joy.)

Trimming the cheek lines: Again, this comes down to preference, and will change based on where your natural cheek lines stop, as well as the density of your whiskers. If you’re on the sparser side, just zap away the strays and embrace your natural lines. If you’re particularly bushy and blessed, though, then invest in a tool like The Cut Buddy to help teach you the basics. It’s similar to the neckline—if this is your preference, remember—in that you draw a U from the side burn to the lip. You, however, have more options when it comes to beard styling. Read on…

Beard styles to try:

Whether you're the type of guy who can grow a full bushy beard in a single week or who struggles to get your mustache to meet your chin hair, there's a way to make every facial hair situation out there look its best. This is beard styling: It involves chopping away at the follicles on your face to make your beard look most optimal. We've got a few examples of deliberate, well-executed celebrity inspo for you.

Corporate beard styles

Dev grows his mustache full, but he can’t grow hair directly on either side of his narrow goatee. It’s really unique, almost like the beard version of a Van Dyke mustache. Assuming you can grow yours a bit thicker in the middle of the chin, just try trimming equal spaces beneath the outsides of the lips, and graduating it up towards the ears. You don’t need to connect the mustache to the cheek hairs. In fact, even though it works on patchier guys like Dev, it might be better on you to disconnect the mustache.

Hugh is inventive with his beard. Sometimes he’s Wolverine, sometimes he’s got a roided-out goatee, and sometimes he lets it all grow into a glorious shrub. Our favorite twist, though, is that the space above his chin is less dense than the rest. See how it’s sparse compared to everything else on his face? Or maybe it’s intentional, and he trims it shorter. For you, it could be!

It’s no surprise that Lebron is better at bearding than everyone else. Look how styled it is. He’s doing exactly the thing we are advocating: He’s shaving parts of it, like a true beard opportunist. His classic look disconnects the mustache from the beard, and kind of looks like a grown out chin strap that steadily graduates into the side burns, while marooning a small soul patch under his lip. Even when he grows this style out, it looks dapper, because he’s keeping everything neatly manicured, like hedges.

Zac’s got enough going for him, so it’s no tragedy that he can’t grow a full beard. He still knows how to showcase that which he can grow. If you’ve got a full beard and want to mimic his look, just disconnect your mustache from the beard. You can disconnect the chin from the soul patch if you feel so inclined; between Efron, James, and Zayn Malik, we’re smelling a soul-patch comeback.

Lastly, your face shape should always influence your beard style.

The shape of your face—its roundness, squareness, length, and angles—plays a big factor in which beard styles flatter you most. For example, a long, narrow face will not benefit from a long, thin beard. You want to round out your length with a fuller, wider beard, embracing the laws of geometry to best optimize your grooming game.

Best hair styles with beard
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