Having a beard reflects a certain serenity to your life—avoiding the daily ritual of shaving is, after all, one reason to let the follicles on your face flourish. And true, being bearded requires a lot less upkeep than being clean shaven, but still, unless you’re on Duck Dynasty, you’ve most likely got a job that requires you to show your whiskers some love, at least every few weeks. By that, we mean a trim.
And that’s where mistakes happen. Misbegotten borders, awkwardly fake lines, strange patches…asymmetry. Not ok. So follow this brief beard trimming guide that we’ve culled together with the help of barbers from Fellow Barber in NYC and The Modern Man in Portland, to keeping your scruff up to basic standards.
Start off by bringing the hairs off your face by using a wide tooth comb to brush through the beard. If you’re happy with the length, here’s where you can take a pair of grooming scissors (blunted on the ends) to snip off fly aways. Use a mirror. Otherwise, the next step is grab your trimmer (we’ve been loving this Norelco beard trimmer pro ), pick your length and start mowing.
With the length moderated, you’re only half way there. That’s because you’re a beast with hair that grows in random places above your cheek and on the sides of your neck. Don’t forget to swipe these off either with your trimmer’s shaping tool or, if you’re feeling brutish, with a dry cartridge (no cream needed).
A simple task, but one that leads into one of the most profound debates in beard trimming that exists in the modern age—all natural neckline vrs the carved in border. Which is right? Well, that’s your call and a lot depends on what job you’re rolling into every day. Get a feel for what’s permissible and then consider the following:
For natural looking beard, you can stop right there, but all that bulk on your neck and chin can start to soften up the contours of your face. You can keep the hair, but give yourself something of a fade—lower the slot on your beard trimmer by a few numbers and fade up into your face hair. Try not to go above your jaw line.
If you need to keep the hair off your neck, you’ll need to know where to draw the line. The best way to get this done is by having someone else, namely your barber, do it for you. Every face is different so that line won’t be the same across the board. Once your barber gives you the line, just cut along the dotted line.
And then there’s the issue of your cheek line, which is really only a problem if your hair naturally grows up past your nose. If that’s you, again, consult your barber and follow the line he draws.
The last beard trimming tip—sideburns. Where do they end and where does your beard begin? Again, that’s up to you, though we’ll causing that guys with longer faces should have shorter side burns and vice versa. Just don’t use your ears as a level; most people’s aren’t even. You’ll have to eyeball it in the mirror of ask your barber to se the line for you.