A truly awesome-looking beard doesn’t come easily!
No beard grows perfectly by itself and left to its own devices it will quickly become an unappealing, out-of-control mess.
So unless that’s the look you’re going for, you’ll need to invest a little time and effort into trimming your beard, and giving it plenty of TLC.
But the good news is that, once you get the basics down, trimming your beard at home is pretty straight-forward.
Follow these steps on how to trim your beard like a pro.
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
Which style of beard is the most flattering for your face shape? What are the right products to use? Is a beard trimmer or a razor the best trimming 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!
How to take care of your beard
Just like the hair on your head your beard needs plenty of care and attention to keep it looking its best.
Most importantly, you 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 your beard, 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, a shape of beard that will give you confidence, and will also suit the shape of your face. A well trimmed beard can also make you look a lot younger.
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, full beard, a sleek and styled mustache, a pencil thin manicured goatee… so many possibilities.
How to trim your beard at home
And whilst each beard shape requires a different way of keeping it trimmed, there are some common rules for maintaining any beard in really good shape.
The most important rule involves where to trim 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.
How to trim a beard cheek line:
To find out where to remove the hair on your cheeks, a simple technique is to ... smile. Then shave what is above the imaginary natural line of your smile, near the cheekbones. This will give you a clean, smooth line, and highlight your eyes too.
How to trim your beard neckline:
Whatever beard style you adopt, there is only ONE rule for trimming a beard along 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 beard line… and everything below this line needs to be shaved.
How to 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.
The goal is to find a beautiful beard which will help to highlight and balance the best features of your 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 shape of beard. You want to try and add some length to your face. So keep your beard a little longer at the level of the chin, so as not to compress your 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!
(Also check out our article here for tips on "How to Shape Your Beard for a Slimmer Face and a Stronger Jawline").
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.
First, trim your mustache:
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. If you don’t do this you can end up with more chaotic growth, and an uneven mustache shape. Definitely trim the hairs so that they don’t overlap your top lip too far.
Then define your 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…
Grab yourself a shaving cream 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 or irritation from shaving. It also lubricates and softens the hair making it a lot easier to cut.
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, a really precise beard trimmer is your best ally, and worth the expense of shelling out for the best.
You can set the different settings depending on the stage of beard growth you are at.
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 beard trimmer on the very lowest setting to shave as close as a razor, but I find that a razor gives you more precise detailing.
Photo by Leilani Angel on Unsplash
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 if you want to stay looking well-groomed.
But follow these simple tips on how to trim and groom a beard and you will be rewarded with a beautiful, harmonious beard that highlights the best features of your face!
Allez…. get to work!
All that you need to keep looking handsome.
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