Wondering how to trim a long beard like a pro? Follow these ten steps to make it happen.
If you’re wondering how to trim a long beard like a pro, look no further. I’ve been growing out and trimming back my Majestic for about ten years now, and I’ve tried every trimming trick known to man.
For the first few years, my trimming success was hit or miss. Sometimes I’d finish, and it would look exactly how I wanted. Other times, not so much. But as the years went on I learned what worked and what didn’t. I discovered all the tools and techniques I need to trim up a long beard like a pro. And now, you lucky guy, I’m going to pass that knowledge on to you.
1. Decide the look you’re going for: virile or vile
A properly trimmed beard gives its owner an almost over-the-top look of virility and manliness. But when it’s not, it can make the wearer look like a haggard mess. There is just no middle ground.
But maybe that’s the look you want. Hell, maybe you want to look like you just stuck your finger in a light socket. You wouldn’t be the first guy to think that look has legs. Trust me; it doesn’t. A long, poorly trimmed beard does not make you look bohemian-cool, my bearded friend. Not so. So my advice is to trim up that big, badass beard so you look virile, not vile. With that in mind, let’s see how we can get your bad boy to look good.
2. Tools of the trim trade
Every beardsman knows the right tools make all the difference when it comes to giving your beard a proper trim. This is especially true for long beards. You don’t want to trim off too much. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a long beard? Good tools will help keep you from making tragic trimming mistakes. Here are the essential ones you’ll need to get started on your trim:
Beard comb or brush
A solid beard comb or brush is essential for detangling and smoothing out your beard. These are dependent on your beard’s size, and since we’re talking about trimming a long beard, you should be using a robust brush and comb. These two will do the job nicely. Designed for use on long, thick beards, they are tough enough to handle bigger beards than yours, my hairy friend.
A solid beard trimmer is the biggest – and best – investment you can make for keeping your long beard looking virile and cool. I like this one because it has a built-in vacuum. That feature alone is worth the money. It will keep your sink and floor free of hundreds of little hair clippings. More on how to use your trimmer in a bit.
A good pair of hair scissors will come in handy for precision, detailed trimming of rogue hairs your trimmer might miss. And you’ll need them for the close quarters around your mouth and mustache areas where even the best trimmers can run into trouble.
You should have a safety razor on hand to keep your upper cheeks and neck clean-shaven. I like this one because it doesn’t cost a lot and does a good job. Safety razors are the cheapest way to shave your face. The blades are a lot cheaper than disposable razors or cartridge refills, meaning it will pay for itself in a few months.
3. Wash it out
Before you even think about trimming your long beard, make sure it’s clean. Nothing screws up a trim job like a grimy beard. Small particles of crud will affect the way the hair gets cut. It can also gunk up your trimmer. This is the step where you wash it out.
I recommend a beard-specific shampoo like this one. It’s especially good for guys who suffer from beard itch. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can use the same shampoo you use on your head. Those products contain harsh products that can dry out your beard and facial skin.
4. Dry it down
Make sure your beard and face are totally dry before you start doing any shaping or trimming. If your beard is even a little wet, the hair will extend and look longer than when it’s dry. This will result in an uneven trim. Be sure to towel dry your beard after washing. Then, wait a while until it’s completely dry before you begin to cut away.
5. Comb it out
You need to see what you’re dealing with before you start trimming. The best way to do that is by combing or brushing out your just washed beard. This is your “recon” step to discover places that need extra attention. If you find uneven or misshapen areas, you know this step is working. When you address the areas that need attention, you’ll get a better, more symmetrical trim. When you’re finished combing, use your scissors to snip off any stray hairs that won’t lie down.
6. Slowly trim it up
Shaping your beard is a personal thing. Your goal should be a beard shape that flatters your face. The big danger, of course, is trimming off too much. Once that happens, you have just screwed up your formerly handsome, virile beard. So be careful and take this step slow and easy.
Let’s begin, shall we? With your trimmer, start lightly cutting your beard back on one side of your face, close to your ear. Use your comb to gather up a small amount of hair poking through the teeth. Use the trimmer to cut those hairs, using the comb as a guide. Continue to gather up the same amount of hair in the comb teeth.
Keep repeating this process as you work down the side of your face to your chin. Once there, switch up to the other side and do the process over again. Finally, go to the chin area and use your trimmer and comb to make even cuts. Try to trim off the same amount of hair as you sweep the trimmer. Remember only to take a little bit at a time.
Or, you can just eyeball what needs cutting and go freestyle. I don’t recommend you try this if you’re new to trimming your beard.
Here’s a great YouTube tutorial showing exactly how to trim your beard as I’ve outlined above. It’s obvious this guy has loads of experience trimming his long beard. He does it freestyle, which I don’t recommend for first time beard trimmers.
7. Snip those rogues
Brush or comb your beard again to find and clean up any rogue hairs you missed. Using your scissors, snip as needed. Make sure your beard looks symmetrical all the way around. If you find an unbalanced area, shape it up to get it looking the way you want.
8. Shave your neck and cheeks
Use your safety razor to shave your neck and cheeks. This will put the finishing touches on your trim. It will also get rid of any hair growth that goes beyond the borders you set for your beard.
9. Wash it again
Now that you’ve trimmed up the way you want, you’ll need to wash it again. Why? To get rid of all the loose clippings. Remember to use a beard-specific shampoo.
10. Now pamper that bad boy
Now that your beard has had to endure the humiliation of trimming down from a strapping wild animal to a suave but slender playboy, it’s pampering time.
Beard oil: Never forget to apply a good beard oil like this one after you’ve washed your beard. In fact, you should be using beard oil every day to keep your beard moist, soft and glossy.
Beard balm: Since you’re sporting a long beard, you need to use a top quality beard balm. I use the balm on my Majestic because I often wake up with bed-beard. If your beard is prone to shooting off in different directions, or you just want it to look styled, try this beard balm. I like it because it’s not too expensive and does a great job taming and shaping my beard. If you want more info about beard oils and beard balms, here’s a YouTube video featuring Eric Bandholz explaining the pros and cons of each.
This concludes our tutorial on how to trim a long beard like a pro. I have used professional beard stylists in the past, and they do a good job. But you can save yourself a fistful of money by trimming your beard yourself.
The most important piece of advice I can leave you with is to take your time during the trimming process. If you hurry, you’re liable to trim off more that you wanted. Once this happens, you’ll have to trim your entire beard down to match the shorter area. Not good.
If you follow the tips I’ve outlined above, your beard will look like you just stepped out of a fancy styling salon. Your significant other – and your wallet – will thank you.
If you found this post helpful, be sure to share it with your friends. Leave any feedback in the comments section below.