Beards are fashionable, but they need maintenance. This is true whether you're wearing a Jeff Bridges-like beard, are rocking out a 5 o'clock shadow, or have any other beard style. The keys to maintaining a great-looking beard are to trim it often, keep it clean, and maintain defined straight edges. Trimming your beard requires a bit of skill, but with some simple tools and techniques, you can achieve perfection.
Beard Trimming Tools
To get the best results when trimming your beard, it's essentials to use good quality tools. As the clipper trim is the most common at-home technique, you'll need a cordless trimmer with guards, as well as a mirror, comb, and barber's shears.
- Cordless trimmer with guards - A quality cordless trimmer with guards assists with getting in around the face with ease. Guards, which are generally included with the trimmer, allow you to have flexibility with the length of your beard length. Using a trimmer without any guards is imperative for edging your beard to perfection.
- Comb - Regularly combing your beard in the direction of hair growth keeps the beard free of snarls. A comb also can work to blend longer beards with the scissor-over-comb method.
- Mirror - Having a mirror out in front while you are trimming helps with accuracy in evening out your lines and overall beard perfection. Ideally having a mirror with an arm which extends out from your vanity will keep you from leaning over a bathroom counter and give an up close view to trim with efficiency.
- Barber scissors - These scissors are specifically designed to cut coarse beard hair and have the optimum blades for trimming accuracy. If your beard is too long for trimmers, a pair of barber scissors will be necessary to keep your beard shape.
Trimming a beard can be confusing. In determining the best methods to trim a beard, there are some basic principles for a great looking beard.
- Before trimming, consider wrapping a warm towel around your face. This allows the hair follicles to open up, making the hair softer. This helps prevent ingrown hairs.
- Trimming a beard damp or dry, rather than wet, allows for a more precise trim. Cutting the hair wet, you may cut too much off as hair tends to shrink.
- For most men, beard trimming needs to be done in both the direction the hair grows, as well as against the grain.
- First, trim with the grain of the hair, which removes some hair.
- Getting a closer trim requires going against the grain of the hair.
- Occasionally the trim will need to be done against the grain in multiple directions to get a more consistent trim.
- Achieving nice defined edges around the mustache and neck can be used by using the trimmer without a guard. A cordless trimmer provides easy access to these areas.
- To always end up with a straight light at the mustache or neckline, start in the center and work to one side, then go back to the center and work to the other side. Attempting to cut a straight line across, can result in a crooked mustache or chin line.
- Natural beard line perfection can be achieved by trimming along the edge where the hair tapers off under the chin. If the hair is too long down the neck, a good benchmark is is to trim halfway between the bottom of the chin and the Adam's apple.
- Trimming should be performed when the beard hair gets too long or shaggy, which can be from once a week to once a month.
Keeping a long beard shaped requires a balance between the two sides of your face. The scissor-over-comb method is useful for maintaining longer beards, but it takes some skill to perform. This method, which removes hair beautifully, is generally used by experienced barbers and stylists.
If you have a long beard and want to learn to maintain it yourself, it's helpful to first have a barber completely shape your beard. Your barber can then properly instruct you how to shape it in-between trims using the scissor-over-comb technique. Once mastered, it can be a quick way to remove hair.
If you decide to use this technique, you may find it useful to shape your beard using the scissor-over-comb method near the ear on one side and trim down to the chin. Then, repeat on the other side to make sure it's even all the way around.
Beard Shampooing, Conditioning, and Oiling
- Avoid washing your beard with soap, as this could lead to flaking.
- Washing your beard regularly with shampoo is recommended.
- Adding conditioner after shampooing will keep the beard soft and shiny. If you use conditioner, be sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue.
- Beard oil can help with hydrating the beard and nourishing the skin underneath. Beard oil can be applied daily. It is best to apply it while the pores are open, so the oil can be absorbed properly into the hair and skin. As a nice bonus, beard oils come in a variety of fragrances.
Beard Bottom Line
Whether your facial hair is short, medium, or long, trimming your beard is a manageable task. For men who do not trust their skills with a trimmer or barber's shears, consider paying a visit to a barber instead of trying to do it yourself.