You’ve finally grown the beard that you’ve always wanted. You’ve waited patiently, you fought through beard itch like a good soldier, and now your face is impressively covered with a thick, attention-grabbing beard. Beard line.
Still, there’s something lacking. And there’s the other bearded gent in your office or at your favorite nightspot with a beard that’s no thicker or fuller than yours yet looks fantastic. It’s neat. It’s trimmed. While you may suffer a bad case of beard envy, here’s the good news: you, too, can have a beard like that if you use the proper techniques.
Like, for instance, the right technique for how to trim a beard. In this post, we’ll show you how to groom a beard with the use of essential grooming tools, such as a beard trimmer and scissors. We’ll also discuss how to comb and brush your beard, and even discuss choosing the right barber.
OK, let’s get the party started.
Let’s get started with your neck. Sounds simple enough, right? Not so fast fellas.
The thing about trimming the neck is that a lot of men do it the wrong way. Not that there’s a list of ancient rules that says, “This is how thou shalt shape your neckline,” because it’s your choice. We’re just convinced that there are better ways to do it beyond just a cursory trim now and then.
For one, your overall look is just better if you pay proper attention to your neckline. If your beard is short, like in the stubble phase, then it’s OK to let your neckline grow without intervention. But once you approach a month’s work of growth, it’s time to trim it up a bit.
A good way to find the line where your neckline should extend is by placing one finger on your Adam’s apple and another finger just above that. Your neckline should start just above your top finger. That’s where you start trimming.
As far as the sides go, find your line by placing a finger just under your jaw and then bringing it down so that it’s parallel with the line you created just above your Adam’s Apple. Shave to that line and be careful not to bring the line up any higher because it’s going to look weird, especially when someone is facing you from the front.
Trimming around your ears is a fairly straightforward process: you simply want to create a space between your side-burn and ear. And be sure to trim the neck hair just under your ear, as well.
One of the keys to trimming your neckline is to go slowly and carefully. Frequently check your progress in the mirror to make sure that you’re following an even line. Once you’ve established your neckline, you can go ahead and shave what’s left beneath the line, preferably with beard clippers. Using a straight razor isn’t necessary during this step.
There is a variety of reasons for shaping your beard in this way, including:
You don’t want to go too high or too low with your neckline. If you trim too high, you lose that perceived mass regarding the volume of your beard.
If you’re bald, the neckline helps to keep people looking at your face, and not the top of your head.
The proper shading of your neckline adds the illusion of a strong jaw.
Shaving style boys
Having a beard with a smaller jaw helps you to achieve the look of a wider face (and a fuller face overall).
The correct neckline adds balance to your face. Trust us, you don’t want your beard to end right along your lower lip, which is what you’re essentially doing by shaving to the jawline. The neckline helps elongate your face while also making you look thinner overall.
Shaving up to your jaw gives you the appearance of a smaller face. In turn, that results in a more feminine, emasculated look – which probably isn’t the look you’re going for, right?
When you shave right along the jaw it emphasizes your neck way more than you should. It’s like you’re saying, “Hey everyone, look at my neck!” Besides it looks fake and a bit weird, like a fake tan. Your neck looks longer, but not in a good way.
Ah, the cheek line – that part where your beard stops and the skin on your cheeks begins. Keeping it trimmed and neat only improves your overall look. But like the neckline, the cheek line isn’t the same for every man. And a lot of it depends on your genetics.
Let’s dig deeper into the how-to of shaping your cheek line, along with some things to consider during the process.
Before you begin to shape your cheek line it’s important to define where it’s going to be. One technique is to draw a line from the last section of the sideburn where the beard starts pushing forward down to the point beneath the bottom lip where the growth begins there. If your hair growth goes right up to your bottom lip, then your line should end there – or at least to the little “hook” that’s between your beard and lower lip. But, again, every man’s cheek line is different. You can also create a line that goes to the top of your mustache while creating a curved shape that goes to the mustache.
Once you’ve established your cheek line, shave any of the stray hairs above it. You want to get rid of any of those straggly hairs that poke above your beard and look sloppy. Like anything beard-related, a lot depends on your genetics; you want to emphasize the strongest part of your beard, and that may mean keeping as much of it as you can on your cheeks while just getting rid of the unsightly stray hairs.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to how low you want your cheek lines to be. Feel free to experiment with how far you want to shave it down, or with not shaving it very much at all.
Here’s something else to consider as you’re determining how far you want your cheek line to go in either direction: how long you’ve been growing your beard. What looks sparse now may fill in nicely if you give it another month or so. Don’t mislead yourself into thinking “this is never going to grow in” because many beards look a bit thin in the beginning. Let it grow out a little, see how far it goes, and only then determine if it’s always going to remain thin there, or not. The bottom line is that it’s a matter of taste and preference.
Threading is a process in which the entire hair follicle is removed without disturbing your skin. It works like this: a long strand of string (the thread) is twisted and looped in a way that traps hairs in the twisted thread and then yanks them out.
Does it hurt? Yeah, it kinda does, especially as you get used to it, but we’re not talking medieval torture device pain by any means. It’s a great way to get sharp cheek lines without shaving. Moreover, it takes the hair longer to grow out and you can usually go a couple of weeks before you have to repeat the process. It’s also an excellent way to rid yourself of hair between your eyebrows, on your ears, and those stray bad boys that spring up like steel coils in your eyebrows.
Sure, it stings a bit, but the benefits are great. Your skin will even feel softer.
Still not convinced? Check out this video from Carlos Costa from BeardBrand.
Most of us don’t know people who can truly read minds. Sure, your girlfriend or wife may be able to read yours, some of the time (but probably not as often as they think). And we certainly struggle at times while trying to read their minds.
Your barber is no different. He or she can’t read your mind, either, although the good ones will learn to anticipate your needs and evaluate your likes and dislikes, especially as they trim your beard and cut your hair multiple times. Even then, however, you bear some responsibility in the barber-client relationship in that you need to communicate with them while describing your needs as precisely as possible. It all starts with knowing what you want.
So, don’t leave that beard you’ve worked so hard on in the hands of a would-be mind reader.
Know what you want – ahead of time
Even a little bit of research before you settle into the barber’s chair will help avoid a bad experience. That said, determine the length and fullness of your beard, as well as what you want to do with your mustache and sideburns. Let your barber know what style you’re hoping to achieve.
Be specific about length
Always tell your barber whether you want him to trim the length of your beard or simply “shape it up.” Always, always do this so that a “trim” doesn’t become several inches lopped off of the bottom of your beard. Don’t give them a moving target when discussing how short they should trim your beard, but give them something to aim for specifically.
Do you want the sides of your beard tapered? Do you want sideburns? What is the texture you’d like your beard to have? By now you know the drill – the more details you provide, the better the trim.
No, we don’t mean discussing specifics of the Civil War, but you do want to let your barber know the last time you had your beard trimmed. It’s more information to help him determine how your beard grows and at what speed.
There’s no such thing as a dumb question
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for their opinion of what style of beard best suits your face. Ask them for their recommendation of how to comb your beard. You may already be an expert, but it never hurts to talk to a pro.
Let’s not forget your hair, either. You need professional advice, not some guy who pulls out a crystal ball or goes all mind-reader on you. Hell, no.
Discuss the general style you want
Even if you don’t know the names of all of the different styles out there, you should still have a general idea of the style you desire, whether it’s a crew cut, a more modern style favored by certain celebrities, etc. Just saying “I need a trim” doesn’t say much of anything, to be honest.
Types of men's beards
Be specific when it comes to length because what qualifies as “short” and “long” may vary from barber to barber. Saying you “want an inch” off of the top is much better than saying, “I want it to be shorter on the top.” If you don’t know, there’s no shame in telling your barber. In many cases, he’ll cut off a bit to see if that’s close to what you want. They can always cut it shorter, if you prefer.
Talk about your neckline
Men don’t always pay a lot of attention to the way the hair on the back of their neck looks, primarily because they rarely see it. But that doesn’t account for the vast numbers of people who walk and stand behind you during the day. By neglecting your neckline, a good haircut can suddenly look very unkempt. When it comes to your neckline, you have three basic options – blocked, rounded, and tapered.
A blocked neckline means cutting a straight line straight across your natural neckline and can give you the appearance of a wider, thicker neck. A rounded neckline simply means taking the corners off from your blocked nape finish. The only drawback to a rounded neckline is that it looks untidy once the hair grows out.
Last but not least, a tapered neckline follows your natural neckline and shortens as it gets closer to the bottom of your neck. A tapered neckline makes a thick neck appear slimmer. Even better, is that your neckline remains neat and tidy when your hair grows out.
There’s plenty more that we could cover here, including texture, the space between your hairline and ears (a.k.a. arches), sideburns, etc. Have an idea what you’re looking for in all of these areas, but also be open to suggestions.
Same as discussing your beard trim above – let your barber know when the last time you had your hair cut. They may have that info tucked away in a computer, but let them know, anyway. Men’s hair, like men’s beards, grows at different rates for each.
Let your barber know what type of product you put in your hair and how often. It’s even helpful to tell them about your lifestyle.
That pretty much covers it all regarding how to trim a beard, as well as how to shape a beard. It all starts with the right tools, trimmers, scissors, combs, and brushes, as well as a bit of technique that you’ll soon master through practice. Trimming your beard is like any other skill – you get better with repetition and by listening to the advice of others. We hope you found this guide helpful and that it will enable you to transform your beard into something you’ll proudly look at in the mirror every day, as well as one that is the admiration of others. Beard on.