So you've decided that you want a short beard. Maybe you think it suits your face better, maybe you're trying to come off more urbane and sophisticated rather than wild hairy man. Whatever your reasons, you need to be able to trim your beard the way you want it to look.
Trimming a short beard comes with its own set of challenges. Ones the uninitiated might not even consider. Luckily, we're here to guide you through the process.
What you're going to need
- A good, positionable shaving mirror that lets you see all of your face easily
- A pair of good beard scissors
- An electric beard trimmer
- A beard comb or other fine tooth comb
- beard oil, and probably beard shampoo
Step by step instructions
Make sure your beard is clean. That means it should be freshly washed, free from dust or oil, and completely dry. You should be washing your beard anyway, but if you aren't, make washing your beard with a good quality beard shampoo part of your grooming ritual.
Now you need to brush your beard out. Using a fine toothed comb, brush your beard, first with the direction of the hair to bring it all into order, then, once you're done, brush it completely against the lie of the hair. This gets it to stand up on your face to make it easier to cut, as well as highlighting any patches where it might have grown to a different length
Grab your clippers. Make sure they're set to the right length. It's a rookie mistake to assume that your clippers are how you left them, and there's nothing worse than starting to trim and realising that you've cut half your face way too short.
It's usually a good call to set the length slightly longer than you think you need to trim, as well. After all, it's easier to go over your face again to shorten your beard up slightly than it is to glue the freshly trimmed hair back on.
Using the clippers, trim everything to an even length. Start under your chin at your Adam's Apple and work up towards your ear, following the natural line of your jaw. Once your neck is done, finish the rest of your face.
Some people might have more trouble trimming certain areas, generally around the nose, the corners of the mouth and the ears. If so, grab a good set of beard scissors and your comb. Using the comb, raise the hairs you need to trim against the lie of your face and trim them back, a few hairs at a time.
Take this slow. It's very easy to slip with scissors and take off too much, especially when you're trimming your moustache.
Now you need to trim your neckline and outline your beard. Remember, a common grooming mistake is to trim your neckline too high. Good places to have your neckline are about an inch (two fingers) above your adams apple, or if you want to do it by eye, the point where your jaw meets your neck.
Using your razor, shave your neck clean. Start in the centre and work out and upwards, making sure you keep the line of your beard smooth and flowing. It should make a long, slow U shape from ear to ear.
You can also take this opportunity to edge your cheek line in, if this is part of the look you want. Just follow the the same method, but working down from your ear.
Instead of trimming your neckline with a razor, you can also fade your beard in using your electric trimmer
Set your clippers to half the length you used to trim your beard.
Trim upwards an inch or two from the lowest part of your beard on your neck. Try and keep the height you're taking the trimmer even all the way around.
You can continue to fade in by increasing the length of the clippers and going over your beard again, trimming slightly higher than before.
Now your beard is trimmed, you need to comb it back into line. First, grab your beard oil and work it into your beard. Then, using your beard comb, slowly work over the whole of your beard, following the natural line of your jaw and combing in the direction the hair naturally falls.
Not only does this help your beard fall back into its natural style and clear out any lingering cut off hair, but it also helps you see if you've missed any areas when you were trimming.
If you look after your beard, it will look after you. Proper care and attention solves so many of the problems men face with their facial hair, and when you know what to do, you'll find it simple and even pleasurable to follow your beard care routine.
Don't feel obligated to stick to what we've said here. If you find something that works for you, by all means go to it. Or tell us, we're always looking for new tips to care for the hair.
Loved the article? Why not check out more of our beard articles