Learning how to shape a beard can be difficult for even the most experienced Beardsmen. Where do you shave your top line? Your back line? Your neckline? Did you even know there are three primary lines to your beard? I didn't at first either...
Trimming or shaving one of these lines incorrectly is a mistake we've all made before, whether we know it or not. These mistakes can affect the way your beard grows in and how full it looks now, and even more so a few months later.
Sometimes it takes making a mistake to really learn from it. Well, I'm here to tell you I've made all of these personally, and over the years I've learned some best practices to really get the best beard shape to fit your face and head.
Before I explain how to shape a beard in detail and let you get to work, it's important to remember one critical step before you do any trimming. You want to style your beard as you would any other day before you start trimming. That means use whatever beard products you normally use, let it fully dry and comb your beard before any trimming begins.
Why do you want to style your beard before you shape and trim it? Well, without beard products your beard is likely a bit unruly. With a few quick minutes and the right beard products, you'll control flyaways and organize your beard to make a big improvement. This will mean you'll likely need to trim less off your beard to get it looking great.
That said, let's breakdown how to shape a beard and the three primary beard lines you need to focus on to give your beard shape and definition.
How To Shape A Beard: Top Line
First of all, what is the top line? We refer to the top line as the line on your cheek from your sideburn to your mustache. For most of us, the beard hairs don't grow evenly on our upper cheek, and there are almost always some rogue hairs growing above the majority of our beard hairs.
The idea here is to keep this line from your sideburn to your mustache as high as possible, and only trim or shave those hairs above where the bulk of your beard grows. You do NOT want to shave this line too low or your beard can quickly become too small (think chinstrap).
I would recommend using an electric clipper to define your top line as you will have better control and visibility over a traditional razor. If you're looking for a very clean line, follow the clippers with the razor to finish up.
How To Shape A Beard: Back Line
I've found shaving the back line to be simple in theory but harder to execute. The idea behind the back line is to take the back of your sideburn straight down, and trim anything behind that line (to the back of your head) off.
The hard part is seeing what's back there! I've found that to really get it "perfect" it helps by having a second mirror to use to see what you're doing back there. I can't stress taking your time on this line enough! Use your clippers first to get the line, and follow with a razor if preferred.
How To Shape A Beard: Neckline
Once you trim your top and back lines, it's time to attack the neckline. Trimming a neckline may be the most commonly botched line of the three. Too often we see guys trim this line right on the jawline or just under. Trimming this line here is much too high!
To really get the best look for your face, you want to trim your neckline where your head connects to your neck. This line is formed if you look down slightly, and it typically falls about a finger above your adams apple.
Take your clippers and trim a straight line across your neck until it meets the back line you just trimmed. By trimming it here, your beard will look much fuller from the side profile, and the added hairs from the neck will help give fullness as your beard grows in length.
Getting this line right when you first shape your beard will make a huge impact on how it grows. As your beard gets to a certain length (6+ months), you won't really be able to see this line anymore. You can choose to continue to trim this line in if you plan to remain at that length or let it grow naturally moving forward if you're looking for longer growth.
Learning how to shape a beard properly is something I wished I learned much earlier along my bearded journey, so I truly hope these guidelines help you avoid making mistakes in the future.
If you are currently trimming one of these lines in a different spot, don't worry! You can simply allow those hairs to grow out and they will blend into the rest of your beard before you know it. It's not worth shaving and starting over!
If you have any questions or want personal help with your beard, feel free to contact us and we are happy to help you with your specific questions. Don't beat yourself up if you make a mistake, it's simply part of the process. Learn from it and try not to make it again!