Getting your beard trimmed at the barbers is, without a doubt, more convent than doing it yourself, but it does not come cheap. The good news is that trimming your own beard is not as daunting as you might first think. With a few investments in some easy to use and reasonably priced tools as well as some patience, it can be cheaper and easier to get you and your beard looming your best. This guide on how you trim a beard will give you all the information you need. So let us walk you through the process.
Tools you will need to trim a beard
As I said in the introduction of this post, you will need to invest in some tools if you are not fortunate enough to own them already. There are basically 4 key items that you are going to need to trim your beard. Below I have listed out what they are and what they are for.
Wide toothed comb/pick
A wide-toothed beard comb or pick is great for helping to detangle your beard hair. Getting one made out of wood is advised as these are generally more gentle on the hair. They are, however, a bit on the weighty side, so you might prefer a plastic one if you want one to carry with you as these are much lighter.
You don’t need to go mad here with the most expensive, but having good mid-range hair clippers will be useful. You could also get away with just having a beard trimmer, but with a wider blade on the clippers, they are better suited to removing hair on the wider areas of your beard, such as the sides and fronts. So it is my advice that you leave the trimmer for detailing the outline of the beard.
Having a good beard trimmer will be the best buy you make when you are grooming your beard. With the thinner blade, you will need this for cleaning up the neckline and cheekbone line. Although you could do this with a razor, the trimmer will be easier to keep the lines straight and neat.
Natural bristled brush
I will guess that if you have a beard, you will have one of these; however, if you do not, then make this your next purchase now!
A natural bristled brush will do so much for the care of your beard overall, but for this guide, know that this will help to tease out the flyaway hairs. That way, after you have finished with your trim, you can be sure that you’re not going to see one of those suckers poking out a few hours later.
Preparation before you trim beard
Before you dive into the cutting, you will want to do a little bit of preparation to make sure everything is good to start. Getting your workstation set out so everything is to hand is always a good idea, as is giving your beard a clean to get rid of any muck that’s going to impede the trimmer and clipper blades.
Areas of the beard to trim
Let’s take a minute to explain the beard’s areas. I’ll be honest, I am not sure the terms I will use here are universally recognised, so I think it’s best to explain what I mean by these areas before you’ve already started to trim your beard and then realise I meant something different from what you thought. It could be a disaster, and I want to avoid that!
|Sideburns||Sideburns are the beard area on the sides of your face that sits in front of your ears, connecting your beard to the hair on your head.|
|Sides||Moving down from the sideburns, they connect to the sides of your beard. This area is where you cover your cheeks, and those that have a longer beard will continue down below the cheek.|
|Moustache||The moustache is, to some, the most important part of the beard, whether it is the Hungarian, the handlebars or the Walrus; the moustache is always the hair that can be found growing upon the top lip.|
|Front||The beard’s front is where the beard grows from under your bottom lip and from your chin, connecting the two sides at the front of the face.|
|Base||The beard’s base is the bottom of your beard that runs from the bottom of the front and house back toward your neckline.|
|Baseline||The outline is the line where the sideburns stop closest to the ear and run from your ear in a straight line around your cheekbone, and connects to the corner of the neckline|
|Neckline||The neckline that runs from the bottom corner of one cheekbone runs under is a shallow semicircle around the next to the opposite bottom corner of the cheekbone, dipping just below the adam’s apple on its way.|
|Top line||The top line is the edge of your beard at the tip of the sides, where they meet your cheek from the corner of the sideburn to the corner of the month.|
|Lip line||The lipline is the runs along the bottom of the moustache.|
Set up your work areas
Before you do anything else, you will want to set up so that everything is ready to use, and you’re not halfway through when you realise that your clippers are in the cupboard in another room.
Also, I know it is stating the obvious, but make sure you have access to a good mirror that you can clearly see yourself in. You do not want to be using a tiny little mirror that you can’t see your full face and beard in.
Set out your combs, brushes, clippers, and trimmers so they can be easily accessed when you need them. If your clippers are not wireless, then you will also need to ensure that there is somewhere nearby that you can plug into a power socket.
The likelihood is that you are going to be in your bathroom. If that’s the case, then a little tip is to lay a towel over the sink. This will make it much easier for you to clean up after yourself, and those that share the bathroom with you in your household will be grateful to you for it. If you are not, maybe lay down an old sheet or some newspaper; otherwise, you are going to want to make sure to add a broom/vacuum cleaner to your list of required tools. You might also want to check out this link with more tips on Never Again Deal with Beard Trimmings All Over the Sink.
Wash your beard before you trim
Give your beard a good wash in warm water with a quality beard shampoo, and then towel dry. Doing this will remove all the grime, dead skin cells, Sebum (naturally produced oil), and product, will help prevent the trimmer/clipper blade from having resistance, meaning them making a cleaner cut (pun intended).
You will also find it easier to shape and trim after washing your beard as it will not be fighting against all the grease and old products within it.
Detangle the hair using the wide toothed comb or pick
By now, your beard should be washed and slightly damp. When you run a comb through it, if the comb is all wet or splashes of water come off your beard, then your beard is still to wet, so give it another dry with the towel.
Using your wide-toothed comb or pick, you will want to remove all of the remaining tangles and matting. If you have washed it as recommended, this should be relatively straightforward, as washing the beard should have removed most of the matting and tangling.
You want to make sure you come through the full length of the beard, doing so gently so as not to yank on the beard hairs. This can cause you to lose more hairs than are necessary. If you have a longer beard, then start combing out from the bottom of the beard first, moving up.
Start the beard trim
Okay, take a deep breath. It is all going to be fine. Its time to take start removing some of that hair from your face. But please don’t take inspiration from that song; the first cut is the deepest, please!
No more putting it off. Lets do this…
Shape the bulk
When painting, an artist will put down some bulk colour on the canvas before getting to the fine detail. To trim a beard is similar. You will want to shape the beard’s sides and front where your beard’s bulk is before starting the outline.
Start with the sides burns and sides
If you have not done so already, plug in your clippers (unless you own wireless ones), and set the tapper lever on clippers to half ways open.
Before turning the clippers on, take your natural bristle brush and brush lengthways top to bottom along with the sideburns and side of one side of your beard. This will tease out the hairs that fly away and stick out from the bulk of the beard. I recommend you start on the side of your dominate hand.
Take the clippers now, and turn the power on. Inverting the blade so that it is pointing downwards. Working downwards with the clippers will help prevent you from accidentally grabbing chunks of the beards and taking off too much. Now carefully move the clipper blade down the side of your beard, staring at the top of the sideburns in a straight line, and removing the hair tips sticking out.
Now give the side another brush through. This will very likely cause further flyaway hairs that we tucked away to poke out. Repeat the step above with the clippers and then brush and clipper 1 or 2 further times until no more (or at the very least minimal) flyaway hairs show. Once you are happy with one side, rinse and repeat on the opposite side.
Move on to the Front
Once you have completed the sideburns and sides, you want to move onto the beard’s front. Remember, this is the beard area that sits on the front of your chin under your bottom lip. You are going to want to take extra care here. The front of the beard is where the bulk of your beard is, so a slip here could be very unwelcome. Just remember, less is more.
Like we did with the sides, brush though the front though with your natural bristle brush to tease out the flyaway hairs. Then once again, from top to bottom, run the blade flush to the front of your beard and remove the tips of those flyaway hairs as you did on the sides. You may need to do a couple of runs to cover the front’s full width, but ouns you have covered the full area once, brush through and repeat a1 or 2 more times to ensure all the flyaways are gone.
Finally some Base
The last part of shaping the bulk of the beard is to tackle the base of the beard. There wants to be a slight angle going from the bottom of the front going back to the neck. To do this, take the clippers and hold the blade towards you. Now tilt your head back and draw an imaginary line from the front to your Adam’s apple. Once you’ve done this, take your wide-toothed comb and run it down your beard to help pull down any hair that might have bought caught up. Now repeat this a few times, making sure that it is even.
If your hair naturally curls up into the bulk of your beard, do not be tempted to pull these straight with your fingers to trim them. They will remove some of the bulk of your beard, and if they naturally curl up, they would be making the base of your beard uneven.
Define the outline
Now that you have dealt with shaping the bulk beard areas, its time to put down the clippers and grab the beard trimmers. With these, we are going to define the outline edges of the beard. This will cover the neckline, top lune, baseline and lip line.
Clean the neckline
The first thing you want to look for is any visible hair on your neck that sits below the base of your beard. The simple rule here is if you can see the hair at the front of your neck, you’re going to want to remove it. Using the beard trimmer, trim any of the hair showing on the neck below the main bulk of the beard.
Once you have done this, we need to focus on the sides and bring these in a sweeping arch from the bottom corner of one side of the lower jaw to the other corner. The key here is that the bottom of this arch needs to connect to the bottom of the hair at the front of the neck following the step above.
Tidy the top line
For your top line, you are looking to create a neat line from the corner of the sideburn to the month’s corner. You can choose to make this either a straight line or a curved line. The curved is the more common; however, a straight line will make you look slimmer for those with a wider face.
Take the trimmers turn it upside down and drawn in a line from the corner of the sideburn to the mouth’s corner into the beard. Once you’ve done that, Turn the trimmers up the right way and trim up from this line removing all the hairs on the cheek above it. Repeat on the other side, paying close attention to making both sides even in height.
For the baseline, you want to take the trimmers and trim the line along the outside of your beard inside your sideburn (side closest to your ear), keeping is straight until it connects with the corner of your bottom jaw. Once you have done this on both sides, you want to come around the jawline and connect it up with the neckline.
Last but by no means least is the moustache. You want to trim the bottom of this along your lip line. Run the trimmer’s blade along the bottom of the moustache, starting in the middle and going left and then right to the edge of your lip. If you have a longer beard, it will serve you well by creating an arch shape when you move the trimmers blade along your top lip line.
So there you have it. I know that doing a beard trim yourself can be daunting, but I hope with this guide it has given you the confidence to give it a go. As your confidence builds you will wonder why you ever needed to visit your barber to have your beard trimmed.