A truly awesome-looking beard doesn’t come easily!
No beard grows perfectly by itself, and left to it’s own devices it will quickly become an unappealing, out-of-control, fuzzy mess.
So unless that’s the look you’re going for, you’re going to need to invest a little time and effort into careful shaping and trimming your beard, and giving it plenty of TLC.
Which style of beard is the most flattering for your individual face shape? What are the right products to use? Is a beard trimmer or a razor the best styling tool? … these are some of the questions that we looked into for you!
Here is our little bearded manual, to give you the info you need to trim and maintain your beard like an expert!
Taking care of your beard
Just like the hair on your head the beard needs care and attention.
We want to keep the hair follicles nice and clear to encourage strong, healthy growth.
When you think about it, your beard acts as protection for your face. It bears the brunt of exposure to the wind and rain, cigarettes, and even food. All these external aggressions mean that you need to pamper your facial hair.
Firstly, it’s essential to wash your beard every day to keep it looking (and smelling!) clean and fresh.
Choose a face wash that gently exfoliates too – like OTIS Daily Face Wash – so that it will clear away dead skin cells, keeping your follicles clear and discouraging ‘beardruff’. We've got more on that here - "A Man's Guide to Exfoliation: FAQ's"
After washing your beard, the next step is to moisturize it…. Just like your skin! Beard oil or beard balm are both excellent options, with the difference being that the balm has a more fixing effect than beard oil. It acts as a kind of hair wax, keeping everything neatly in place.
A quick comb through, and voilà, you’re ready to face the day!
But when it comes to trimming, things get more complicated.
Between the recalcitrant hairs and the final form that you’re aiming for, you need to have a plan in mind to achieve your beard goals, … and without needing to rely on the barber each time.
Find your beard style
Whether it's a full beard, a defined goatee or a light stubble your beard is a reflection of your personality, your character.
So it’s essential to find your own style, one that will give you confidence.
It may seem trivial, but your beard is one of the most important parts of the face, and goes a long way to defining your own personal style.
A wild, glorious beard, a sleek and styled mustache, a pencil thin manicured goatee… so many possibilities.
And whilst each requires a different way of taking care of it, there are common rules for keeping any beard in really good shape.
Principally, trimming the hair on your cheeks and your neck. Whilst we often get rid of this hair for convenience, it’s also a question of aesthetics.
Trimming your beard cheeklines:
To remove the hair above the cheekline, a little technique is to ... smile. Then shave what is above the imaginary natural line, near the cheekbones. This will give you a clean, smooth line, and highlight your eyes too.
Trimming your beard neckline:
Whatever beard style you adopt, there is only ONE rule for trimming your neckline.
Imagine a point that is just above your Adam’s apple. If you think of placing two fingers just above the knob, then this is the base of your beard line. Now imagine a curved line from this point which goes behind your jawbone to a point just behind each ear. This is your beardline… and everything below this line needs to be shaved.
Trim your beard according to your face shape
The shape of your face will have a big influence on the most flattering beard for you. We don't all have the same shape of face – round, square, long or oval – and the contours of a face differ as well – some are more hollowed out, some are chubbier… These are all things to consider when choosing your beard style.
A beautiful beard helps to highlight the best features of any face. So it’s worth taking the time to experiment and do it in the best way!
An oval face: if your face is oval, then you’re lucky, as this face shape is the most versatile. You can pretty much trim your beard to whichever style you like!
Square and round faces on the other hand, require more or less the same beard shape. This is to keep a little length at the level of the chin, so as not to compress the face too much.
Finally, rectangular faces will tend to need more hair kept on the sides, in order to balance your features.
And then of course, because things are never that simple, you need to take into account how quickly your facial hair grows.
Choose a beard style that showcases not only your best features, but also how much hair you can grow. With careful beard styling, it’s possible to get them both right!
Trimming your beard
After finding your style, and defining the shape of your beard, several steps are necessary to keep it properly trimmed and maintained.
Firstly get yourself a good pair of mustache scissors and cut your mustache regularly. This will strengthen the hair encouraging it to grow healthily and robustly. Conversely, not doing this will give you more chaotic growth, and an uneven mustache.
For a good beard shape, symmetry is essential! It would be a shame to spoil the effect by having more hair on one side than the other!
This is why it’s useful to ‘draw’ an outline using a comb and a razor. But before you reach for your razor…
You need to use a shaving product which will reduce the ‘heat’ of the blade against your skin. At Otis, we developed our Protective Shave Cream to nourish and protect your skin, so as to avoid any redness.
But the big advantage of this shave cream?
Its translucent appearance allows you to see more clearly where the razor is placed. Because as you know, it's all in the details!
And remember to always shave WITH the ‘grain’, in the same direction that the hair grows. This will prevent irritation and limit the appearance of razor bumps and ingrown hairs. Check out our article "9 Tips For a Pain-Free Shave" for more advice on shaving technique and prep.
Uneven ‘holes’ in your beard
It’s a fact that some men have uneven hair growth. Your beard can be abundant in some places, and yet sparse in others.
But you can overcome this.
Play on the length, and also on the texture of the other hairs, to develop a naturally elegant shape.
And sometimes, we know, ‘holes’ happen by accident!
You’re in a rush one morning, you got up on the wrong foot, and your razor accidentally slipped on your cheek.
Basically, you’ve got three choices depending on the damage:
- Equalize as best you can (depending on where the slip happened!)
- Shave completely and start again
- Adapt your beard shape
How to use a beard trimmer
When you’re sporting a beard, the beard trimmer is your best ally.
Even when you start growing a beard, you need to keep it nice and trim. This lets the beard thicken up, but without the ends getting frayed and messy. For this, you need to choose the larger setting. It will take one or two trims to reach the length that’s optimum for you, so just take it gradually to start with.
For a uniform result, you may need to go over several times. But be careful not to shear too close!
Once your beard shape is cleaner, it’s time to move on to the lower settings to take care of certain contours and give you the shape you’re after.
You can use the trimmer on the very lowest setting to shave as close as a razor, but I find that a razor gives you more precise detailing.
As you can see, a beard requires precision, maintenance, and a touch of know-how. Between keeping the outline clean, trimming the shape and general care, a beard requires a lot of looking after.
But you will be rewarded with a beautiful, harmonious beard!
Allez…. get to work!