How to trim a beard is probably your next question after how do you grow one. Unless your plan for facial hair is to go full caveman, at some point, to keep it presentable, you're going to need to trim it.
To maintain your beard, we suggest finding a good barber and paying them a visit every 3-4 weeks for a trim. But what about the days and weeks in between trips to the cutting chair? And what if going to a barber isn't possible?
Your beard won't stop growing for anyone. It needs to be trimmed. Otherwise, it'll take over your face, your neck and probably your life.
So let's get to it: how to trim a beard — what you need and what you need to do to keep your facial hair looking good.
Give it time
Don’t rush into trimming your beard too soon. If you’re in the early stages of beard growth, let your facial hair grow for at least one month, preferably two (or more if you're going for a Viking look). Hair grows are different speeds, so giving it time lets your beard even out for a fuller look. Going in too early means running the risk of patchiness.
You should also make sure you’re set on the style. Trimming means ridding your beard of weeks or months of growth, so it’s best to have a concrete idea of the look you’re going for before you take a pair of scissors to your face.
Check out our guide to the best beard styles for different face shapes to find your ideal look.
What you’ll need to trim your beard
Time to turn your bathroom into a barbershop. Here’s what you’re going to need for trimming:
- Beard trimmer/clipper: Choose one with multiple clipper attachments of different lengths. This will make it easier to trim to the right length and even out patches in your beard.
- Razor for creating a nice finish on the cheeks and neck.
- Beard scissors: Avoid any kind of regular kitchen scissors or nail scissors. Beard scissors are engineered specifically for this job and are far more precise.
- Beard comb to prime your beard for trimming.
- A mirror because we don’t want you chopping your nose off.
How to trim your beard
Got a style in mind?
And do you have the necessary tools?
Wonderful! It’s time to go Edward Scissorhands on that beard. But first a public service announcement:
NEVER TRIM YOUR BEARD WHEN IT’S WET.
A beard that’s trimmed wet never looks the same when it’s dry.
Trimming the neckline
Nothing ruins a great beard like a badly judged neckline. To get it right, visualise a line that curves gently from behind the bottom of one ear to the top of the neck below your jaw and back up to the other ear. The line from the sideburns should continue straight down to meet that curve. To find the midpoint, place two fingers just above your Adam’s Apple. That’s your natural neckline. Anything below that can be trimmed with scissors or a beard trimmer.
Trimming the cheek line
The easiest way to straighten out the cheek line is to visualise a straight line running from the sideburn at the bottom of the ear to the point where the moustache meets the hair on your cheeks. Everything above that can be shaved with a razor to look neat and tidy.
Given that hair on the cheeks grows back quickly when shaved, you’ll probably need to keep on top of the cheek line with a razor a few times a week.
Trimming the beard
First things first when trimming your beard, start slow. Kick things off with minor trims to make sure that you don’t take things too far. This is especially important when using scissors, which is a skill that’s mastered over time. Small cuts will help you to progress steadily through your trim and make it easier to determine if you need to continue or have reached your goal.
- Start by combing your beard through so that it’s looking tidy.
- Take your beard scissors and snip away stray hairs only.
- Attach the longest hair length attachment to your beard trimmer and run it slowly over your beard. Progress slowly down through the attachments until you can see the hair being trimmed. If all you want to do is tidy up the beard and keep the length, the longest length attachment that starts trimming is the one you should stick with. If you want to shorten the beard, keep working through the attachments, one at a time, until you’re happy with how your beard looks.
Trimming the moustache
Shaping your moustache requires some work with the scissors.
- Start by combing your moustache downwards to find any stray hairs and snip them away.
- Locate the centre of your top lip and, with the scissors, cut a small triangle shape at the bottom of your moustache (directly above the center of your top lip) to give it a clear middle point.
- Comb out from the centre either side of the triangle daily to train your moustache to grow out rather than down.
After-trim beard care
Once the trimming is done and you’re happy, it’s time to freshen up that mane with the famous Mo Bro’s 5 Step Process.
If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll know all about this process (because we never stop talking about it), but it always bears repeating:
Step 1: Wash it — 2-3 times a week with a beard wash.
Step 2: Condition it — Apply a beard conditioner after washing to soothe the hair and make it easy to manage.
Step 3: Hydrate it — Apply beard oil daily to moisturise the hair and prevent irritation.
You can read more about the 5 Step Process and how to carry out each step here.
The more you do it, the easier it gets
Trimming can be a daunting task but as with anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. The are no rules to say how your beard should look, so feel free to express yourself. Find the style you want, get the right tools and take your time. Start slow and small and work up to the desired length.
Follow the guidelines we’ve laid out in this post every couple of weeks and you’ll keep your man mane in peak condition.