Any properly grown beard will eventually need trimming and shaping to maintain its looks. Especially coming fresh off of no shave November, it’s likely that all of our facial hair could use a few touch-ups.
Modern beard groomers have a variety of different styles, ointments, and beard remedies at their fingertips to ensure that whatever beard pattern you are looking for is available at your fingertips. All that’s left for you to do is navigate the sea of opportunity and find the beard shapes that are right for you.
Whether you simply want to understand how to trim a beard or how to shape a beard, we’ll walk through a beard shaping guide that will help you formulate the look you’ve been searching for. Beard trims are not a one-size-fits-all operation, as each face is different.
To learn how to properly trim your beard, you must decide what shape you want and examine that choice against the shape of your face. There are many factors you must take into consideration when looking for your own beard’s shape.
Your chin structure will affect how the beard sits across your face. Your nose, eyes, and ears will all offer up subtle differences in how the beard spreads out. Your hairstyle has a powerful effect on how your beard will be perceived.
It can be an exhausting process to try to understand all these different variables when learning how to properly trim a beard. Fret not, beard trimmer. Our guide will help you explore your options, understand your strengths and weaknesses, and push you in the right direction for the beard trim of your dreams.
Why You Should Care
Beard shaping should be looked at as a necessary part of your grooming experience if you are planning on keeping up a beard for a long time. For the first few months of your beard’s growth, you can freely let it run wild as it develops and fills in any open spots or holes in the beard. Eventually, it will need some assistance fitting in.
A beard allowed to run wild will grow over everything in its path, like a bull in a china shop. It can take over your jawline, mouth, and chin. Growing unmaintained for long enough and you will lose your own identity.
Every beard groomer and shaper, even those competing for the longest and bushiest sets of facial hair on earth, spend time shaping their beard.
Your beard may be the first thing most people notice when they look at your face. A beard can represent a lot of different things about the facial hair’s owner. Allowing your beard to develop unmaintained and unshaped is a statement in itself.
Eventually, that statement will be one of the utmost disrespect for even the simplest hygiene rules. If you can’t even be bothered to shape your beard, it lends to wonder about how you keep up with maintaining the rest of your private spaces, such as your closet or your car.
Nip those questions in the bud by shaping up your beard and letting the world know you enjoy a rugged development, but you are aware of what it means to be clean.
Symmetry speaks volumes about anyone’s facial development. It is one of the simplest concepts of beauty standards, yet it can be hard to come by. Not all of us are born with unnaturally symmetrical chins, jawlines, and the rest.
Beards can help balance out any unsymmetrical patterns across the face and bring everything together. If your jawline is lacking, a proper beard can help pronounce it and bring it in line with the rest of your face.
If your face is more wobbly on the interior, a proper goatee and mustache combo can overcome any genetic abnormalities. Regularly trimming and shaping your beard is the best technique for achieving a straight symmetrical flow.
Encourages your beard’s growth
As our beards begin to fill in, they can start to get all over the place. At first, that is a good thing, as you want to ensure your beard has time to fill in patches and cover the entire area you have mapped out for beard growth.
Eventually, this manic nature leads to parts of the beard longer than others, and stray hairs sticking out and prodding at anyone getting close enough. Shaping the beard ties together those odds and ends, as well as providing a map for future growth.
Once you get in the habit of trimming and shaping your beard, any loose hair out of place will be noticed straight away, and you will begin to understand where to look for troubled areas. This practice will help you and your beard grow together.
Find your Faces Shape
The best beard style for you will be affected by the shape of your face. Each one of our chin structures is different, all of us have a different balance of our unique facial features. The better you are at embracing the specific abnormalities you have been blessed with the better shape your beard will take.
There is no such thing as a bad facial shape for beard growth or any reason. Don’t look at your face and wish it would take on some other shape, instead look at your face and decide the best way to complement it.
Facial shapes have been split into 7 different groups, each one with strengths and weaknesses for facial hair development. Identifying your specific shape is a key step toward beard growth.
An oval face shape serves well for a large variety of beard shapes. It is characterized by wide cheekbones compared to your jawbones and is longer than itis wide. It is characterized by already achieving a symmetrical proportion of all your facial features, meaning most beards will look good with this style while none will improve it immensely.
Adding layers near your cheekbones, chin, and lips will highlight the shape of your face delicately. You can also look into keeping crisp clean lines and a shorter length beard to keep everything lined up.
A heart-shaped face is characterized by a breadth of development on the upper half of your face, falling into an underrepresented jawline and cheekbones. Your most prominent feature will be your forehead and the way it falls into the middle part of your face.
A good way to strike symmetry into this balance is by increasing your sideburns development, stretching out the middle transition segment of your face. It’s also not a bad bet to accentuate your chin and middle region through a goatee.
An oblong face will feature wide beginnings and endings, and a stretched out middle section. When it comes to your face, that implies a long but thin bone structure that makes the face appear longer. Your face will appear longer than it is wide.
To get the most out of this facial shape, you’ll want to add body to anything you add on, especially in the middle section of your face. This can mean sideburns or a nice mustache. Additional options include mutton chops and a goatee. You can’t go wrong with facial hair in this category as long as you are focusing your growth around the chin and middle section of the face rather than the neck.
A square face is a typical feature for those defined as beautiful in today’s beauty standard. It is a common sight in Actors and models, as your prominent jawline squares out the corners of your face. This face is characterized by straight lines and length through the middle, eliminating the need to add on to these features in your beard.
So, while you may wish you had the face of an angel, having a strong jawline may hamper your beard’s development. It is not the end of the world, and there are options to improve the shape of your beard in this facial shape.
Try avoiding many perfect, straight lines with your beard if you fall into this category. Instead, look to round out your beard at the corners and highlight your jawline even further.
A diamond face will have a prominent forehead, wide cheekbones, and a narrow chin. This means you will look to accentuate your chin while avoid adding onto your cheekbones with this facial structure. Your ears and how they are seen can make or break the symmetry of this facial shape.
To shape a diamond faced beard, look to keep the facial hair towards the chin. You will look best in anything that drags out the chin and spreads width across the face from the middle. This bodes well for a goatee or a chin strap beard combination.
Triangular face’s all come down to the chin. You can look at this particular face shape as the opposite of the heart shape, and it can also be known as a pear face shape. What this means is a face with a narrow forehead compared to the jawline.
To style a triangular face, look to take attention from the bottom part of your face’s shape and bring the eyes to the middle. A nice but short stubbly beard combined with a mustache will keep the eyes where it counts. Try to avoid growing a beard out without thought especially with this facial shape, as it will throw off the face’s balance and keep the eyes on the neck.
A round facial shape is the beard’s favorite style. The fullness sits below the cheekbones and towards the top of the face in the middle section. Any long layers help bring out the best in this facial variety, but a shorter beard will increase roundness.
Round-shaped faces can hold most beard varieties. Ideally, you will look for something longer towards the bottom and shorter along the sides of your face, keeping everything in the center. Try to pair your unique roundness with a triangular-shaped beard flow to allow maximum potential.
Whatever your facial shape may be, there is a corresponding beard style that is right for you. Patience and experimentation are essential to establishing the best beard shapes for you like the hair itself.
Allow yourself room for error, and don’t be too stubborn in trying to force one style on your beard. Beard sculpting is a give and takes process, and the more you take from it the less likely you are to find the right fit for you.
Tools of the Trade
Shaping a beard is no easy feat. Simply removing all facial hair through a shave is one thing, managing your facial hair and allowing it to work for you is a whole other ballgame. To shave, you most likely will only use the essentials. Some sort of shaving cream mixed with a razor blade or electronic razor.
Beard sculpting is a different beast. It thrives on minute details and specifics that can’t be reached in a blanket approach. Thankfully, modern groomers have a plethora of tools at their disposal to get the job done. Figuring out which tool is right for you will help you find the beard shape that is right for you.
These facial hair weapons work well enough to get the job done if your plan is blanket facial hair erasure. If you are looking to shape your beard, you may need to add on a few more tools to get the job done.
Barbers favorite, most of us don’t need scissors for cutting our hair on top of the head or our faces in our day-to-day lives. If you’re looking to foray into beard sculpting, a proper pair of scissors can be essential for working out the kinks of your beard.
They will allow you to fully control which bits of your beard are on the chopping block without losing any aspects of the beard you want to keep. Your hands will be the guiding force, but a good pair of scissors ensure they won’t miss the intended target.
The more subtle neighbor of an electric shaver. An electric shaver will go to town without hesitation on any perspective beard shape. It cuts to the skin without leaving any room for interpretation. A beard trimmer works with a bit more of a balance.
A proper trimmer will help shape and style your beard more than an electric shaver could hope to. It offers the wielder the ability to cut the beard without going all the way to the skin. This will help you find the right beard length and keep it that way, rather than starting from scratch on every shave.
The most obvious of beard shaping weapons on this list, a razor is still essential for every groomer’s final cut. It offers a unique combination of closeness and accuracy, allowing you to carve out the final straight lines on your beard of choice or eliminate any side growth that doesn’t suit you.
We prefer a razor to an electric shaver as it can get you the closest shave needed to eliminate any parts of your beard growth that doesn’t suit you. If you select a high-quality sharp razor, it will provide that closer shave without sacrificing any accuracy, allowing you to pinpoint and eliminate loose ends.
Beard Shaping Tool
The modern answer to those wondering how to properly trim a beard, a beard shaping tool will walk you through the rest of the steps needed to finish your beard shaping. It starts in your sideburns and fits all around the cheekbones and chin to give you the full picture of what sort of beard trim is best for you.
The shaping tool will allow you to place it right over parts of the beard you don’t want to lose, making trimming a beard while not losing the whole growth quite simple. It lets you establish your cheek lines and removes any risk for even the clumsiest among us to mess up those lines.
Any advanced beard shaping style should list a good beard shaping tool as requirement number 1.
To keep your beard styling and profiling, try wielding a beard brush or a beard comb to ease down your facial hair. As it grows, it can develop odd bits and ends that don’t appear obvious but are nevertheless a different size than the rest of your beard hairs.
A good beard brush will highlight any troubled bits and pieces by helping smooth the beard hair out to a uniform length. A beard comb and beard brush both works on different facets of facial hair, and it’s never a bad idea to try and use both before setting on a serious shave or style.
Once you have an arsenal of tools at your disposal, the beard of your wildest imagination is within your reach. These tools all have different strengths and all provide different aspects for your beards developments. Keeping all of them at the ready is as important as growing the hair out of your face.
Prep the beard
To get to understand how to trim beards, you must have the proper beard at the ready. Don’t begin trimming and shaping your beard as soon as it starts sprouting out of your pores. A beard can take several months before it begins to fill out and patience is an incredibly important aspect of a high-quality beard.
Keep track of the growth of your beard and understand where the hair grows easily and which areas take longer to develop. Mistakes can be a part of the process, especially in the first few attempts to make beard shapes.
This is normal and shouldn’t discourage any beard grower. It could be tragic if the mistake is done before the beard was ready to be cut, as it can set your beard growth back by months. This is especially damaging if you are attempting to trim a section of your beard that grows the slowest, as an imperfection in this area will become ever more prevalent and force you to shave the entire beard to get your balance back.
Once your beard is feeling full and ready to take its shape, don’t take the sheers to it with no regard for human life. There are steps to take before the beard starts to come in contact with any sharp objects.
Get it wet
Your first few battles with your beard should come after a nice shower or at least a hefty introduction between your beard and hot water. Hot water activates your pores and relaxes all the hair across your face. This will make it easier for your beard shaping product of choice to get the job done.
A shower is highly recommended to begin the process, about 5 minutes before you are ready to shave your face. Splashing some hot water will help activate the pores, but a good hot shower will ensure you don’t miss a single spot. Showers will also soften your skin, improving the razor’s flow.
If you are looking to add any sort of product into your beard along with your trim, before you start clipping away is time to do it. Add on your beard shampoo or conditioner while you’re getting the beard wet to ensure it is ready for its shave.
It is highly recommended that you develop your product habits before you start trimming your beard.
The reason for this is consistency. Your beard’s shape will be affected by any shampoo or beard oil you add to your facial hair. While no beard products are essential for trimming and shaping your beard, depending on your beard and the style you are looking for you may consider adding beard products to your face.
If you add on all these products after your trim, it could negatively impact the shape you are looking for. Some products can stretch or reduce the length of coarse beard hairs, meaning the length necessary for your desired beard hair could all of a sudden be shorter than what you cut.
The only exception to this rule is any sort of oily beard products or anything intended to be left on throughout the day. Products like this can negatively affect the edge of your blade or damage an electric razor.
Each product you add to your beard will have an impact on your shave. Be patient, and don’t be afraid to play around with different styles until you find your desired result.
Brush it up
After your beard dries, be sure to give it a proper combing and brushing to prepare it for your shaping session. It is best to exaggerate your brushing and make sure you hit every bit of your facial hair. Having everything in unison and properly brushed out will help every aspect of your shaving.
A good brush will keep your beard clean and a beard comb will help untangle your facial hair. These two together are a great pre-shave combination. Brushing and combing is not something that should be reserved for solely before a shape up.
Quality brushing can help the long term health of your beard. Especially as your beard is coming in, brushing the beard helps direct the direction of your hair as it grows in. Any bits of your hair growing out of line with the rest of your beard can be coaxed back into place with the rest of your hairs by a good brushing.
Combing and brushing sit as the final prep steps towards beard growth for this very reason. Combing will help expose the parts of your beard that need to be cut first while you see how long your beard is, as well as preventing normal wear and tear on your facial hair.
Fluff it out, rub your hands through it and make sure you’re ready to rumble, it’s time to trim and shape your beard.
If you are just looking to give your beard a good trim, or if you are planning on styling and shaping up your beard, the first action to be taking is trimming. Start with the longest hairs first, using your scissors to get any unruly parts out of the way.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to set your beard shaver to the highest setting. This will allow you to run it through the entirety of your facial hair without too much regard for detail. As long as the setting is right, the beard trimmer will take care of the rest.
Begin your trim by going with the grain of your hair, cutting through all parts of your beard. Once you have gone through everything once trim again while you send the razor against your grain. This will guarantee consistency across the beard while reducing resistance against the blade.
Establish your lines
One of the sneaky characteristics of a great beard trim is the borders. Across the neckline and up to where your beard fades into your chin, it is essential to clean up your lines. Before you commit to your final shapes and shave, it’s a good idea to define your necklines. This will help ensure they are cleaned up as well as act as guidance for your shave.
To establish your neckline, Place the shaver on top of your Adam’s apple and move the razor outwards from the middle, adding a slight curve as you head up the ears. Make sure this curve is subtle and consistent as it will act as the ending points for your facial hair.
For the top half of your shave, establish your lines slowly and carefully, depending on your style. For a full beard, simply making sure the line is straight with a slight curve towards the sideburns and ears will get the job done.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Once your hair is prepped and in a uniform length, all the difficult parts of the job are done. Set the clippers to your desired length and go to town. Work over all parts of your beard multiple times to ensure everything is cut properly.
It is always a good idea to start with the clipper length on the higher end and move down, as that is much easier than realizing you’ve just cut your beard shorter than you would like. A good safe bet is to use a number 3 guard comb along with your razor.
To finish off your shave, it is essential to go against the grain. Shaving simply with the grain can cause bits of hair to only be pushed down and not trimmed. Everything may look great after the shave, but a few days later those problem hairs can start taking on their personalities.
Once your beard is exactly the length you want it to be, remove the clipper guards and clean up the edges.
Voila! Continue running the clippers over any troubled areas or stray hairs until you are completely satisfied with the trim, that’s all there is to it. This technique is perfect for maintaining a clean, uniformed beard that shows the world you know how to take care of yourself.
If all you were interested in was a trim, the job is done. Clean up the area and store the clippers properly. If you are looking for more than just a trim, this is where the real fun begins.
Once your beard is trimmed to a manageable length, you can step back and decide what aspects of beard grooming you want to apply to your facial hair today. Shaping involves influencing the neck, sideburns, mustache, and chin lines of your facial hair to get the look you desire.
Every different beard shape will set different parameters for the beard sculpting routine, so it is essential to have a plan in mind before setting the clippers to your skin. There are a variety of factors that go into establishing the best facial hair shaping for your specific face, but the only way to find out what works for you is to give it a try.
How to find your facial hair shape
With so many options out there, it can be hard to know what beard shape is right for you. Luckily, there are a few different factors that can point you in the right direction.
It is essential to pick a beard style that corresponds with your particular hairstyle. Even the most devious beard growers have spent time and money determining the best combination of facial hair and hairstyle. Shaping a beard may get easier if you narrow down your options by examining the top of your head.
Some of the factors that determine which beard styles will work with certain facial styles also help determine the fit of these two factors. If you have a head full of hair, there is different facial symmetry at play than if your head is fully bald.
Because of this conundrum, it can be a good idea to talk to your barber about which beard styles they believe will work best with you. They can even take it a step further by establishing the preliminary cut for your beard shape so you will mainly have to concern yourself with maintenance.
Not everyone has a quality barber at their disposal, so you may have to strike out on your own. Use common sense and try to keep symmetry in mind. Long hair with a short beard or short hair with a long beard will stretch out the facial features and throw off the eyes of many beholders. Keep everything centered as much as possible.
We’ve already covered the different facial shapes at play, now is the time to take your specific one into mind. The face shape you wield will not only determine what type of beard works best for you but also how you have to go about trimming your beard to get there.
Shaping a beard is all about getting the beard to line up with different natural lines already present on our faces. This means that shaping a beard is all about getting the beard to line up with our facial shape. The key to a properly shaped beard is symmetry. At the end of your trim, you should be looking to accomplish an oval shape.
If your face is already in an oval, you will have an easier time getting there, which may allow you a bit more exploration when trying out different beard styles. If your face is in any other shape, a good way to narrow down your options is by focusing on the beard styles that shift your face closer to an oval.
Don’t try to force a specific style upon yourself that doesn’t truly work for you. Once you have your style picked out, map out how you are planning on trimming the beard to get to that style and make sure it is within your wheelhouse.
Once you have your shape picked out, it’s time to refine the lines.
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Shaping your beard by starting at the cheeks is a safe way to ensure the success of your beard shaping. The cheek lines should be some of the thickest aspects of your facial hair, so mistakes in this section would reverberate to all other lines established if they had been finished first.
Try to find a good balance of cleanliness and thickness. You want to clean and trim the beard up enough that the process won’t have to be repeated every, or even every week. However, as the cheek is the most prominent section of your beard, you don’t want to go too low and reduce the rest of your beard to stubble.
Shave cleanly and along a straight line, and the rest should take care of itself. Cheek lines are rarely incredibly complex maneuvers and mostly involved defining where to stop the beard and keeping everything even.
Necklines bring your beard to its natural ending. However, maintaining a proper looking neckline won’t come without any effort. A good neckline will be slightly less than symmetrical with your cheek line, creating beards that open up in a V shape as they roll down the neck.
Place two fingers on the top of your Adam’s apple, everything that your fingers touch and below it should be shaved away, and the top of your finger will represent your neckline. Be careful with this marker, and grab a second opinion before you start shaving away for the first time. A beard cut too high on the neck will throw everything above it off as well.
A good marker for your neck trim is to set the beard clippers two settings lower than the beard length. To make sure things are going smoothly, you can cut it longer at first and then head back over the spots again once you’re sure that’s the shape you want your beard to take.
A proper jawline will combine your neck and cheek lines and act as the bridge for your beard. It will bring out a more masculine presence to your beard. This involves getting detail-oriented on your jaw angle close to your ears.
The most important decision to make on this line is to decide whether to round out your jawline or leave a straight line from the edge of your ears down to your neck. A more round jawline will favor a longer beard, while a straight line brings out a more chiseled look.
Shaping your sideburns is a top-down process. If you’re just looking to get rid of them, shave a nice firm line and move down, repeating a few times until it’s removed. The most important thing to remember with your sideburns is to keep everything nice and straight.
You must decide how to view your sideburns, they will either represent the ending of your hairline or the start of your beard line. Pronounced or unpronounced, the sideburns represent your transition between hair and face, so they should always be blended.
Mustaches are often ignored if they are not standalone facial hair features. Unless they are the most prominent aspect of your facial hair, most men believe the mustache will simply fall in line after it is shaved up.
While it may begin to resemble the rest of your beard, there is no harm in giving the mustache extra attention while shaping up your facial hair to give it the crispness to match the rest of your face. Trim the mustache to the point where there is no hair hanging over your upper lip at all. This can be done with clippers or scissors.
Following along the curved line of your lip necessitates a curved approach to cutting your mustache. Next, hit the top section of your mustache, removing any bits that are growing close to the nose or stand out from the rest of your stache.
If you’re learning how to trim a goatee, it will differ widely from the other options listed above. The goatee removes the worry about most facial lines necessary to consider when shaping a beard, and instead focuses attention around the mouth.
Start by shaving away everything that doesn’t serve you when looking to maintain a goatee. That will make it easier to see the work you have cut out in front of you. The wider you make your goatee the more elongated your face will appear.
After you have committed to your outline, style the area under your lip. Most goatees involve simply removing that section of hair by taking the clippers to it without any guard. Don’t worry too much about the clippers and your lips, simply make sure to remove every bit of hair from underneath your lips.
All that is left to do now is complete the look by getting a bit of hair left to a uniform length.
These maneuvers and facial lines should cover most beginner or intermediate level beard shaping styles. Focusing on these specific points will allow you to wield a variety of different visual effects to give your beard the look you desire. The last way to take your beard grooming a step further involves breaking out the beard shaping tool.
How to shape your beard with a beard shaping tool
The beard shaping tool works as a protractor for your face. To use it properly, set it up as your guiding line before you have starting trimming any edges of your beard. Find a mirror and nice lighting and bring the tool up alongside your beard lines.
Play with moving the beard shaping tool around until you get it lined up exactly where you need it to be. It will prevent you from shaving over any areas that are covered by the tool, making it a great option for clumsier beard owners or anyone still getting used to the curvature of their face.
Simply glide the blade along the edges of the beard shaping tool and allow it to act as a guide to your trim. The beard shaping tool will work wonders regardless of what line you’re trying to establish, as it has a curved edge and a straight-edge.
Now that you have the basics of trimming and shaping your beard, you can approach the task with confidence. If you are committed to growing a beard no doubt trimming your beard will become a part of the process. If done properly, this aspect of beard maintenance will not only prolong the life of your beard but also walk your beard through evolutions that will improve its overall look and feel.
After your trimming and shaving are over, send a brush or comb through your beard once last time. This will get rid of all trimmed hairs that stuck onto the beard through the process. It is imperative to get in the habit of constantly combing and brushing your beard if you want it to have a clean finished look. Some experts even recommend brushing your beard daily.
Now is the time to add on any leave-in conditioners or oils to allow your beard to pop. Coconut oil will bring out your beard hair’s natural colors without leaving your face oily and depressed. Whichever beard oil you choose will only benefit your beard’s growth in the long run.
If you were choosing a particularly detailed shape or beard style, be sure to use your beard oil to coax your beard into the right shape. The hairs may be unaccustomed to finding the form you desire and will be feeling light and bouncy after having weight cut off their ends. Oil up the beard and shape it into your desired look before the oil fully blends to emphasize to your facial hair exactly where it needs to be.
Developing facial hair is another form of self-expression, be sure to treat it that way. What works for one person’s beard won’t work for everyone, nor should it. Human’s inherent individuality is what brings us so many different beards to choose from.
Remember that the growth of your beard is not something that will come quickly. It will take months before it is ready to be shaped and even once it is shaped for the first time it will take multiple trimmings to get the hair accustomed to the form you desire. Take it all one step at a time and be sure to enjoy the process.
Finding a trusted barber who can walk you through beard maintenance steps can save you a lot of time and trouble. It seems easy enough to strike out on your own, but any mistakes you make while trimming your facial hair can have lasting effects.
Now that you know everything there is to know about how to shape your beard, get out there and get your supplies ready. Be sure to ask questions, learn from other’s beard-growing endeavors, and use that information to help shape your strategy.