How to Trim a Beard – Beard Trimming & Beard Shaping Guide

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Whether you’re a high school sophomore who’s finally gained the ability to grow facial hair or a full-grown adult looking to make a change in his appearance, you’ve likely toyed with the idea of growing a beard at some point in your life.

Of course, unless you want to appear as if you’ve completely stopped caring about your looks altogether, you can’t simply stop shaving and leave it at that. Growing a beard the right way requires maintenance on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis.

It also requires patience, as well. Just like growing your hair out, there will be awkward stages of beard growth in which you might rethink the whole process. It’s during this stage that many guys lose their nerve and shave the whole thing off. Push through this stage, though, and you’ll be able to pull off the bearded look with ease.

Trimming a Beard? Beard Trimming Tips

Once you decide to grow your facial hair, you’ll need to invest in some supplies.

The first thing you’ll need is a good pair of scissors. It’s easy to figure “scissors are scissors,” but this is one area you shouldn’t cheap out on. Invest in a good pair of professional facial hair scissors; you’ll need them to keep your beard neat and tidy throughout the growth process.

You’ll also need a well-functioning electronic trimmer. Your best bet is to go with a cordless and rechargeable one for ease of use. You’ll want one with varying settings to utilize at different times during your growing period. This Wahl or Panasonic beard trimmer would be just fine.

At the barber shop

Once your beard gets long enough, you’ll need a wide-toothed comb to prepare it for trimming. Your beard will most likely tangle and curl up as it gets longer, and if you don’t straighten it before clipping it you’ll end up cutting more than you intended.

Of course, you’ll need a good mirror so you can see what you’re doing. If possible, use a magnifying mirror so you can work from a comfortable distance away and still be able to see up close. If you want to be incredibly precise, you can invest in a tri-fold mirror so you can see how your beard is shaping up from all angles.

Some beard scissors will also come in handy to tidy up your beard for the fine tuning your beard into perfection.

Lastly, you’ll want to invest in some products to keep your beard nice and clean as it grows out. You’ll be using various scrubs, soaps, and oils throughout the process, so you might as well pick them all up in one fell swoop.

Once you have everything you need, you’re ready to start growing your beard.

How to Shape a Beard

As you can see, growing a beard requires more than just time and laziness.

There are a ton of different beard styles to choose from. Of course, some will fit your overall style, and some won’t. The main thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t force a certain style if it doesn’t look right on you. As mentioned before, all guys at some point in their lives want to show they can grow a beard. Really, anyone can grow a beard – growing a beard that looks good is a whole different story.

As your beard grows in, you’ll need to maintain it in different ways throughout the process. When it first begins to take shape, you’ll want to trim any stray hairs so you don’t give off a scraggly, unkempt look.

Bearded man

During the early stages of your beard, you’ll want to use scissors in order to avoid slipping and taking too much off. Especially since you won’t have much time invested at this point, any mistakes you make will almost certainly end with you shaving the entire thing off and starting from scratch. When you use scissors, you don’t run the risk of accidentally taking off noticeable patches of your entire beard.

No matter what look you’re going for, you absolutely will need to clean up your facial hair as time goes on. The most important areas to maintain are your neckline, cheek line, and mustache. Again, use scissors while doing this to avoid a mishap that could ruin weeks and months of hard beard-growing work.

Of course, this is only the beginning of your beard growth. If your aim is to grow a long beard, you’ll have a lot more to maintain as time goes on.

How to Trim a Long Beard

Your beard will get to a point in which trimming it is less like shaving and more like getting a haircut. This means the process of doing so will become more and more involved as your beard grows longer.

Ideally, you should always clean your beard with soap before trimming it. However, you also should make sure your beard is completely dry before getting to work. You’ll have a much better idea of its natural appearance if it’s not soaking wet. Plus, scissors work much better with dry hair than wet.

topless bearded man grooming his beard

Once your beard is dry, use your comb to straighten it out as much as possible. This will clear out any stubborn dead skin particles, and also give you a good idea as to the true length of your beard. Make sure each to comb out each area liberally and evenly.

Set your clippers to the highest level guard possible at first. Once again, you don’t want to take too much off and end up having to scrap the whole thing. It’s much better to take off too little and have to go back and do some fine tuning at a lower level.

When cleaning up the edges of your beard (if using electric clippers), use a low-level guard, or none at all. Consider using a comb as a boundary of sorts so you don’t end up going too far. No matter how long your beard grows, you want to maintain a sleek neckline, cheek line, and lip area.

Once you’ve completed your trim, always rinse and moisturize to get rid of any loose hairs or dead skin remaining. This will not only keep you looking well-kept, but will also help you avoid any itchiness or dryness, as well.

How to Trim a Beard Neckline

The neckline is incredibly important when growing a beard. As alluded to throughout this article, this is where slipups occur – and beards end – the most.

When trimming your neckline, make sure you have a clearly defined idea of where you want the cutoff to be. If you don’t, the next thing you know – in the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld – “Gone!”

Once you have a defined edge for your neckline, start from this line and work outward, ridding your neck of excess and stray hairs. Make sure to be thorough during this process. Leaving a stray patch of hair on your neck is actually much more off-putting than a full-on, unkempt neckbeard.

How to Trim a Mustache

One of the more overlooked areas of facial hair is the mustache. Many people might think that the hair stemming from their upper lip will simply blend in with the hair growing off their chin, but that really isn’t the case. People will notice if you don’t keep your mustache neatly trimmed.

As with your overall beard, you should always wash and dry your mustache before trimming it. Even though the hair is most likely much shorter than the rest of your beard, you still need to comb it out as much as possible in order to get an idea of its true length.

Since the area around your lips is curved, it’s incredibly tough to navigate it using clippers. When trimming your mustache, use scissors, and scissors only. Clip along your lip line, following the shape of your mouth as you go. Try to cut as little as possible with each snip to avoid a squared-off look in an area that’s supposed to be rounded.

Once you’ve cleaned up the longer hairs, you can use a clipper (with a high-level guard) to trim up the top layer of hair around your upper lip. You want your mustache to be exactly as thick as the rest of your beard – no more, and no less.

Again, use clippers to clean up the base where your mustache begins to grow. If you’ve been maintaining your cheek line, this shouldn’t take much effort at all.


There is a certain misconception that the ability to grow a beard is directly proportionate to how manly a person is. However, the true measure of a man is not in his ability to simply grow facial hair, but in his ability to maintain a beard that is presentable and actually fits his persona.