How to Trim a Beard Yourself (step by step) | Beard Question #3

grooming • trimming     
Spencer Bryce |

Welcome back to Beard Questions, where we answer all things beard to help you improve your beard style, growth, and health. This week's question: "How to trim a beard yourself".

How to Trim a Beard

Beard trimming can be a bit scary at first. The fear of hacking off a chunk of your beard is real and actually causes many guys to not attempt a trim themselves. 

Fortunately for you, learning how to trim a beard isn't difficult once you understand a few simple principles.

Take Your Time

Whether you are lining up your beard or shaping it (I'll explain both), you always want to take your time and not be in a rush. Nearly all of my beard trimming mistakes, and I've made many over the years, have happened when I was in a rush.

It may seem like an obvious thing, but set aside 20-30 minutes of focussed time whenever you are going to trim your beard. I personally like to trim on Sundays when I am doing chores and not distracted.

Style Your Beard Before You Trim

One thing you want to do before you trim your beard is style your beard however you do on a daily basis. For me that means I wash my beard with beard wash in the shower and fully dry my beard. You never want to trim when your beard is wet.

After my beard is nice and dry, I apply beard oil and beard butter. Once my products are in and I comb my beard out.

I personally let my beard settle for a few hours before I trim. The reason I do this is that I want my beard to look and lay the way it does on a daily basis before I trim, so I know what really needs to be trimmed.

With my beard products in, my beard is much more manageable and doesn't stick out all crazy as it does without. So by applying my products in, I get a better idea of what I need to do.

If you use a blow dryer to style your beard, you want to go through that process before you trim. Whatever YOUR daily routine is what you want to do before you trim. Just by knowing this, you know more about how to trim a beard than most guys out there and we're just getting started!

Lining Up Your Beard

Before we get further into how to trim a beard, you need to define your beard lines to really give your beard the desired shape you want for the beard style you're going for. There are three lines you need to trim in, and doing this correctly can really clean up your beard and give you an impressive look. In order to do this, I recommend a nice pair of beard trimmers to help get the job done.

Beard Cheek Line

The first and easiest line to trim into your beard is your cheek line. This line is essentially the line from your sideburn to your mustache. When it comes to trimming this line, less is more.

I recommend taking as little off as possible to keep a high, natural line. You really only want to trim away any high rogue hairs that grow above the bulk of your beard. By trimming this line in, your beard will have a much more uniform, defined look to it.

Beard Back Line

The next line you need to trim into your beard is the back line. This line runs off the back of your sideburn to the back corner of your beard. The idea here is to run this line straight down (and slightly back) so it has a nice natural look. 

Most of our beard grow a bit wild around the neck area and it's normal to have neck hairs that grow towards the back of the neck if left untrimmed. This can give you a bit of a wild look which if that's what you're going for, great, otherwise trimming these down will give you a much more put together beard.

I've found that using a hand mirror makes a huge difference in the ease of seeing what you're working on back there. Grab the mirror with your non-dominate hand, and the trimmer in the other. Take your time and trim away any hairs that grow back past the back of your sideburn.

Beard Neckline

Trimming a beard neckline is honestly the most often gone wrong. Too many guys trim this line much too high which leads to a small beard. If you are looking to grow a full beard, you want to trim your neckline where your head connects to your neck, usually just above your adams apple, not on your jawline!

The neck hairs will give your beard a much fuller appearance and give your beard a much better style as it grows out. Grab your beard trimmers and trim in an even line across your neck a finger or so above your adams apple.

1-3 months beard growth

If you are in the first few months of beard growth, just lining up your beard will make a HUGE difference in how your beard looks. People will clearly see you are not just being lazy, but are growing a seriously impressive beard.

As you continue to grow, you'll need to trim away some beard hairs to style your beard and really give your beard an awesome shape. This usually happens after 3 months or so and continues with longer beard length.

How to Trim a Beard

Ok, at this point you lined up your beard and have some length on your beard. You are ready to trim your beard!

Keep Your Sideburns Clean

For me, I think the biggest difference you can make in your beard comes with the cleaning up of your sideburns by trimming them down and blending or fading them into your beard.

In order to do this, you need your electric beard trimmer and some guards. I always recommend doing a "dry run" with your guards not attached to your trimmer to see how much length will be trimmed off with that guard. I like to start longer and do a few passes to get it where I want. You can always take more off, you can't put it back!

how to trim a beard

The idea on the sideburns is to have the shortest length at the sideburn, and gradually blend or fade to longer length into your beard. Depending on what style you want, you can take this down as short or long as you desire.

Treat Your Beard Like a Hedge

After you clean up the sideburns, it's time to trim away any rogue hairs and bring the shape back to your beard. You can use an electric beard trimmer for this, or a nice pair of scissors. The trimmer is a bit more of a workhorse where the scissors are a more precise tool. It really comes down to what you're most comfortable with.

how to trim a beard

The idea here is to work from the outside of your beard and treat your beard like a hedge. Because your beard hairs grow at different rates, and often times in different directions, you don't always want your hairs to be the exact same length. By treating your beard like a hedge, you'll only trim away the hairs that need to be trimmed to give your beard a nice shape.

Choosing Your Beard Style

Whether you want a square or block shape beard, or a long, pointy beard, is entirely up to you. You will need to do your research and find a style that you like and then follow these steps to achieve that look. If you're not sure which beard style would best suit you, check out this article for some help!

Final Thoughts

I truly hope this article helped you better understand how to trim a beard. If it feels a bit overwhelming, just try to tackle one of the steps at a time, and feel free to contact us with any specific questions you have. We are happy to look at pictures and give feedback to help you achieve the beard style you want!

Here at Live Bearded, our mission is to help Beardsmen look, feel, and be their best, so let us know how we can best support you.

Live Bearded, Brother!