Beards are absolutely everywhere. Footballers, movie stars, politicians, CEOs and your own chin are increasingly likely to be sporting one. Growing this facial hair is a doddle, presuming you’re over 16, but taming it? A much more complicated affair.
Coach called on the grooming experts at The Bluebeards Revenge to provide beardy mankind with the knowledge to trim with confidence.
Necessities: A mirror (preferably multi-angle), a towel, shampoo, cut-throat shavette, shampoo, scissors or clippers
Niceties: Conditioner, mustache wax, beard oil
Step 1: Clean it
It’s amazing how many men wash the hair on the heads but don’t give the same attention to their chins. A beard should always be kept clean but especially so before a trim. Use a small amount of shampoo, and consider using a conditioner, then towel dry for a softer and more manageable beard.
Step 2: Comb it
Gently comb your beard from ear to chin going with the grain of your growth. Don’t be tempted to fluff it up yet, no matter how much you might want to. This will lead to an uneven trim and ultimately result in you looking about as sharp as a pair of kid’s scissors.
Step 3: Clip it or snip it
With clippers, err on the side of caution or you could end up whipping off months of hard work. Start with the longest attachment first, and if this leaves it too long move down to the next length of guard. Using smooth movements and consistent pressure, start at your ear and work the trimmer down towards your chin.
If scissors are your weapon of choice, pair them with a good-quality moustache and beard comb to ensure an even trim. Use the comb to gather your beard before gently cutting any hairs sitting outside the teeth.
Step 4: Trim it
Trimming the moustache can be a little tricky, but it’s easier if you only use scissors. Again, use your comb to maintain an even length and trim any hair that falls onto your lips. Avoid any styles that suggest a past career in adult movies or bring to mind 20th=century dictators.
Step 5: Refine it
Now’s the time to decide if you want sharp lines or a more natural-looking fade. For a strong, neat-looking finish you’ll require a shavette (a cut-throat razor with a disposable blade). Lather your face as you would for a standard wet shave, and with your fingernail map the shave area in the foam, drawing a line to mark out the shape of your beard.
Keeping the blade at a 30-35° angle to the skin, aim to use as few strokes as possible. For first-timers this can be tricky – not to say a tad dangerous – so it’s best consult a detailed cut-throat tutorial.
For anyone who doesn’t fancy something that looks like a furry face strap, you’ll need to master the fade. The simplest way to do this is using clippers on a No2 setting for all hair underneath the chin, finishing a finger’s width above your Adam’s apple, and completely shaving any stubble below this line. If you really want to use scissors, you’ll need patience and a video tutorial.
Step 6: Finish it
Beard oil is often, and wrongly, overlooked. Using a few drops after a trim has two key benefits: preventing dry flaky skin and making people much more likely to kiss you and for longer (it softens prickly hairs). Finally, rub a smidgen of wax into your ’tache for a neater, altogether sexier look.
RECOMMENDED: The Best Beard Oils
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Joe Barnes was the editor of Men’s Fitness and the Coach website from 2015 to 2016.