So you finally bit the bullet and stopped shaving for a few weeks, and now you have a beard. You think you look amazing, and let’s be fair, you do look pretty good. A decent beard uprates the look of any man and automatically makes him seem potent, masculine and, well, manly.
Other guys are giving you the respect nod, your partner can’t stop touching it, and the next door neighbour’s cat runs away every time it sees your beard clad chin coming round the corner.
But growing the beard is only half the battle. Now you have to maintain it. Otherwise it’ll end up nappy, snarled and unkempt, leaving you looking less Hafthor Bjornsson (look him up, I’ll wait) and more crazy man who lives under the freeway bridge.
But there’s a lot that can go wrong when it comes to trimming your beard, whether it’s style mistakes, accidentally taking too much hair off, or just not knowing how to trim your beard, But relax, we’ve got you covered. Just read our handy guide and never make another mistake with your face fuzz again.
Before we start, there’s one thing we need to address.
‘I don’t need to trim my beard. I’ll just let it grow out and look rugged and natural.’
No. That’s so wrong it actually makes my beard ache thinking about it. You have to groom your beard. I know you think you’re going for the lumberjack look, but what it’s actually communicating is laziness and lack of respect for yourself and your personal style.
Make sure you thoroughly wash and dry your beard as well. Face dandruff is an actual thing, and it’s not attractive to look at a man and see white flakes on his face and neck.
The hair of your beard is completely different to the hair on your head. Sounds obvious, right? So why are you washing it with the same stuff? You’re going to want a good beard shampoo, which helps keep your face hydrated and stave off the dreaded beard itch.
Apart from that, a regular brush with a good fine toothed comb will work wonders, both for the look of your beard as it conditions the hairs on your face to all grow in the same direction, and the feel of your beard, for you and anyone lucky enough to run their fingers through it.
If you want more detail on how to groom your beard, we’ve got some handy grooming guides, right here.
So you know you need to groom your beard. You’ve set out everything you need, you’re working steadily away in the mirror, and the first thing you do is manage to take a neat swipe out of your beloved facial hair.
Quick, read our ‘I’ve just mauled my beard’ cheat sheet
- Stop. Put down the scissors or trimmer, and step away from the mirror
- Relax. Whatever you’ve done will grow back in time
- Look at it again when you’re calm, and figure out the best way to hide the damage
- Make sure you remember this moment, so it doesn’t happen again the next time you groom your beard
But how do I fix it? I hear you say. Read on and find out.
Blast! I’ve shaved too high up my neckline
This is possibly the easiest mistake to make. Especially for men new to their beards. I’ve done it, You’ve probably done it. Just because it’s so simple and counterintuitive.
It seems so simple, doesn’t it? You’re trimming your beard, you want to bring it up and add a bit of definition to your chin, so you switch the trimmer on and bring your beard right up to your jawline.
Suddenly, you realise you look ridiculous. In one stroke, you’ve gone from a rugged, manly man to looking like a member of a 90s boy band. Thankfully, this is one of the simplest problems to fix, both right now and in the future.
To fix the damage right now, you’re going to have to trim your beard back a touch. I know, it hurts to even contemplate, but the less thickness and depth your beard has, the less defined that line you’ve just shaved into your face will look.
In the future, remember that you should shave your neckline at or just above the point where your face meets your neck, not actually at the jaw. This counts whether you’re shaving your neck bare or just reducing the weight of your beard over your neck and throat.
Dang! I’ve trimmed my moustache too short
A well-done moustache is the centrepiece of a good beard, as well as looking damn manly. Take a look at any old time photograph of gentlemen at their best and what do you see? Huge, bristling, gravitas inducing moustaches, as far as the eye can see.
But it takes a long time and a lot of work to get to that point. Anyone who’s ever participated in ‘Movember knows that a few weeks isn’t anywhere enough time to start rivalling Magnum PI. That’s why nothing is more panic inducing than accidentally taking a chunk out of your moustache.
So you’ve just taken a chunk out of your moustache.
First, take a breath. I know, it’s your ‘stache you’ve just butchered. But you’re not thinking right. In this stage, you’ll only do more damage. Take a walk to the kitchen, pour yourself a drink and try to relax. It’s not going to change anything.
Feel a little better? Good. Now go back into the bathroom and take another look.
Doesn’t seem quite so bad now, does it? I know from personal experience that a bit of distance can give us perspective on problems like this.
So now you have a difficult choice to make. You can either bite the bullet and bring your moustache up equally on the other side, sacrificing all your hard work, (but don’t worry, it’ll grow back) or you can leave it the way it is and wait for it to even itself out.
Whatever you decide to do, remember, take it slow. The moustache is the hardest part of the face to groom. This isn’t a race, and it’s a lot easier to make mistakes when you’re rushing.
Egad! I’ve trimmed too far down my cheeks
Look, I understand. That swooping curve that falls perfectly from the sideburns, skirts the jaw, then frames the lips is something to admire. It’s also really hard to get right.
Even if that wasn’t what you were going for, no one needs scruffy cheeks, and sometimes it’s easy to get overzealous when it comes to bringing the cheekline in.
The first thing to remember is, you’re never going to get this perfect. Especially not freehand. And that’s okay. No one’s going to notice if you’re half a mil out. Let’s be fair, most people probably wouldn’t notice if you shaved one cheek bare. If this really does bother you though, the best thing is to buy a shaving template.
But let’s say you’ve brought your cheeks down too far, and now you’ve got a chinstrap. What do you do?
Does it really look that bad? Really? Well in this situation, all you can really do is chop it all back. There honestly isn’t’ much else. But hey! This is the perfect opportunity for you to try some of those exotic styles you’ve been thinking about. Full mutton chops, perhaps?
Gadzooks! I’ve taken a chunk out of my beard
This one is perhaps the most insidious, and the worst. I’d wager this has happened to every man who has ever owned a beard, especially those men who keep themselves in check with electric trimmers.
It’s the worst because a lot of the time, there’s nothing you can do. The comb you’re using as a guide, whether it’s with scissors or the guide comb on your trimmer, catches a little too much hair, sits a little closer to the skin without you noticing, and now you’ve got a shaved patch that makes it look like you’re balding!
So what can you do? Well, similar to the neckline issue, the easiest way to fix this is to trim your beard back. This is easiest if you’ve managed to take a chunk out of your beard on your neck and throat, which is more likely anyway because of the softness and pliability of the skin down there.
If that’s the case, simply set your trimmer down a couple of notches (or mm if you measure like that) and go over everything below your jawline again to try and even everything up. Honestly, unless it’s really bad or your beard is really thick and dark, a lot of people might not even notice what you’ve done.
On your face however. That’s a different story. If it’s visible and obvious, you’re going to need to take your beard back, like I’ve just explained. However, because it’s on your face you’ve got to work out if trimming back part of your beard is going to cramp your style.
As it turns out, you might have to make the hard decision to shave everything back to keep it all equal and looking good, or possibly even shaving part of your face clean, depending on the damage done.
However, like we just said, as long as it’s not ridiculously obvious, a lot of people probably won’t even notice what you’ve done. If that’s the case, or if you’re cool with the boys at the office having a giggle at your expense, it’s probably worth just leaving it.
Even the slowest beard will even out in a few days, so the next time you come to trim your beard, everything will be fine again.
Whatever you’ve done, you’re in an enviable position, my man.
We’re men. No matter what we do to our faces. No matter how badly we groom our beard, we can just shave it off again, confident it will always grow back again stronger and thicker than ever.
Growing a beard to be proud of isn’t easy, but here at Major Beard we’ve got you covered. Whether it’s tutorials on how to shave, reviews on the best shaving products, or posts like this, we’re aiming to be your number one resource on everything facial hair.
Have you ever made a mistake when you were trimming your beard? Any hints and tips you can share? Or maybe you’ve got some good advice for men growing their first beard? Let us know in the comments below.