When it comes to trimming a beard, choosing between an electric beard trimmer and a good set of scissors can be a difficult choice. Both technically are designed to cut hair, but they do it in different ways. So which is best for you?
Before I tell you what I think, let's breakdown the pros and cons of both...
A good electric beard trimmer (or clippers) can serve multiple purposes, and there are certainly no shortage of choices out there. They come in different shapes and sizes, offer different features and to be honest it can be a little overwhelming. So, here's what you really need...
In my opinion, a good beard trimmer will be cordless so you can be more mobile and not have a cord blocking what you're trying to do. Nearly all of them will come with guards, but you'll want to get a beard trimmer that has the length to match your beard.
If you're not familiar with guards, they are attachments that can be used to trim your beard hairs to a set length. They are really great if you want to keep your beard short and all one length, but where these are really helpful is to help you get the perfect beard fade and taper your sideburns into your cheeks. This is a great way to keep your beard tamed while still growing long.
A beard trimmer is also a great tool to use to shape your beard and define your neck, cheek and back lines. This is especially important early on when you shape your beard, but will also be necessary to keep your beard shaped moving forward.
For a longer beard, you can use the beard trimmer to trim back the stray flyaway hairs. I often explain beard trimming as if you're trimming a hedge. Work from the outside as hairs grow in different directions, and trim back only the stray hairs to keep the bulk of your beard in one uniform shape.
Now, nothing is perfect so there are a few cons to any beard trimmer in my opinion. They take can take a lot of hairs off at once, which can be great to speed up the process, but it can be easy to make a mistake if you have the wrong angle or dig into your beard too much. So make sure to take your time especially if you're new to trimming your own beard!
Now of the two, I look at beard trimmers as a work horse who can power through just about anything, and scissors to be a much more refined and precise tool.
With scissors, you can be much more meticulous and take a few select hairs off at a time. This is great if you are a new to trimming as you can start very small and really take your time trimming little by little off your beard, making the likelihood of making a big mistake smaller.
However, this does make the beard trimming process quite a bit longer. The real tradeoff for the added time is the the detail you can get with the scissors while reducing risk.
Similar to a beard trimmer, on a longer beard you can use the scissors to treat your beard like a hedge to keep your beard shaped and uniform. You can work your way around the outside, trimming the flyaway hairs back (one at a time if you so choose!).
At the end of the day, what it really comes down to is what YOU are most comfortable with. For some that's clippers, others prefer the precision of scissors.
For me personally, I use both! Yes, I like to have my cake and eat it too...
I use the clippers to fade my sideburns into my beard, trim my "hedge" to keep my beard shape and to define my beard lines (cheek, neck and back lines).
Where the scissors come into play for me is when I need to trim a couple individual hairs and most importantly, my handlebar mustache!
I use my beard trimmer for a small portion on my lip, but use scissors for the rest. They really work great to trim the hairs away under my mustache to define the mustache, which makes a huge difference. I also use the scissors to even out the ends. If you are looking for help with this you I did a full writeup and video on Handlebar Mustache Trimming you should check out!
Beard trimming can be a scary thing for nearly every Beardsman. If you have any specific questions on trimming or anything else, don't hesitate to reach out anytime! We are truly here to help you look, feel and be your best!
Live Bearded, Brother!