I know the struggle. After spending months growing your beard to the perfect, glorious shape, it becomes your most valuable possession. The idea of trimming turns into a terrifying nightmare. All it takes is one wrong stroke, and all your effort will be ruined in a second.
But like it or not, trimming is inevitable. Bushy beard and mustache aren’t that attractive, to be honest. If you can’t currently go to your barber, you can still look sharp without messing up anything.
In this article, I’ll explain how to trim your beard in the simplest and most effective way. Let’s not waste any more time!
Step 1: Apply Shampoo and Conditioner
Beards look good, that’s for sure. But on a microscopic level, you might not like them that much. No matter how well you wash them, they’ll inevitably collect dirt, bacteria, and even small food bits. Not to mention that a dry and tangled beard will be hard to trim.
Start by washing your beard with shampoo, preferably one that’s dedicated to this matter. On a side note, I always recommend opting for natural products. Some guys have had their beard growth hindered after using the harsh synthetic chemicals.
Afterward, apply a beard conditioner. It’ll make the hair fibers softer and less entangled. Using it on a regular basis would strengthen the hair follicles, which is great for guys who have a high shedding rate.
After you finish, dry the excess moisture off your beard with a small towel before moving on to the next step.
Step 2: Brush It
Now it’s time to detangle any hair that the conditioner wasn’t able to reach. Brushing is also beneficial to highlight any inconsistencies in length before you start.
Please, do yourself a favor and keep your standard comb aside for now. I prefer using a wide-toothed pick that’s long enough to reach deep until it touches my neck. A standard comb, on the other hand, will put too much stress on your hair. It’ll undoubtedly pluck a bunch of hair follicles in the process.
For the best results, hold the pick perpendicular to your beard and start brushing toward the hair ends. Make sure to touch the bottom of your chin with the pick because this is where most of the entanglement happens. You’ll know you’re finished when you can run the pick all the way without any interference.
Step 3: Trim the Sides
Now it’s time to grab those clippers and get to the actual trimming. Since we want to preserve length, we’ll focus on cutting the stray hairs that flow outside of the main beard bulk.
I like starting with sides, just below the sideburns. Trimming this area will define the volume at which you’ll trim the other parts.
Hold the clippers upside down with the blade parallel to the face. Don’t install any guard. Then, work your way downwards rather than upwards. If you do the latter, the clippers will grab your hair and mess up the length.
Again, your goal here is to cut the hairs that stick outside the beard. Imagine that you’re creating a straight wall at each side.
Verify With a Brush
Brush your beard after doing your first trim. More times than not, you’ll notice some new hairs sticking out after the border seemed nice and flat. Keep brushing and trimming to untangle any hair at the surface.
Step 4: Trim Underneath Your Mouth
You’ll do the same steps you did earlier, but now over the area underneath your mouth. However, you shouldn’t keep brushing and trimming as you did on the sides. Since you can’t properly hold the clippers parallel to the beard, you might end up cutting too much length. So trim with a single pass only.
Step 5: Adjust the Length
Now that all the surfaces are nice and tidy, you can properly cut your beard at the target length without being distracted
Hold your clippers facing towards your face. Then punch a straight line at the imagined length.
If you’re unsure about how long you want it, start trimming a layer by layer until you’re satisfied.
Ideally, the finished trim should be slightly taller toward the front. But I always prefer to cut a straight line then trim a bit on the area near my neck. This way, that dreadful overcutting rarely happens.
Step 6: Trim the Outlines
So far, you’ve successfully managed the bulk of your beard. Now we can start trimming the outlines to make your beard look sharper and thicker.
Remember to attach the trimmer head to your clippers before you start. If you don’t have that, I suggest getting a dedicated trimmer to get a more defined outline.
Start With the Top Line
I like to begin with the top line since it’s the easiest. While holding the trimmer upside down, punch a line from the top of the sideburn toward the top of the mustache. You can make it curved or straight according to your preference.
Then, hold the trimmer normally, and shave any remaining hair above the established outline. Obviously, you’ll need to keep tabs on both sides to make sure they’re even.
Now Go for the Base Line
The base line is simply all the borders of your beard aside from the top one. I like to start with the sideburn, working my way toward the corner of the jaw. I recommend holding your beard forward to avoid cutting it by mistake.
Next, proceed to the neckline. Most people like to trim that line slightly above Adam’s apple. But feel free to do whatever makes you look good.
By now, your beard should be looking sharper than ever. If your mustache also needs a trim, you can do that by holding the clippers with its side facing your beard. Then, gently roll it over your mustache border while following its original outline.
Your goal is to trim any hairs flowing over the crest of your mouth. But you can surely go shorter if you’d like.
Remember, use a beard conditioner regularly if you want to make your hair stronger and healthier.