Have you ever seen a picture of a guy with a beard that really caught your attention? It might be hard to define, but the beard just looks good.
If that sounds familiar, then the thing that really made an impression was probably the beard line. It’s a simple bit of grooming that makes a world of difference for how sharp and clean a beard appears, and if you’re not keeping your beard line pristine, then it’s time to do some learning.
Fortunately, this isn't particularly hard. Strap in and learn how to line up your beard and cheek lines.
A visual guide to finding the line.
Don’t worry, friend. We’re going to cover absolutely everything for trimming your beard line. We just happen to think that the best place to start is how to see the line itself. We’ll talk about technique and processes in a bit.
Here’s the primary trick. Imagine a line that goes from your sideburn to your mustache. The line starts at the corner where your sideburn and cheek beard collide. It runs to the bottom of the mustache on the same side of your face. In fact, you can think of it as going right to the corner of your lips.
That’s your ideal beard line.
Now, some of you might have let things get a little shaggy. Or, you just might not have a clear corner between the beard and the sideburns. That’s okay. When that’s the case, imagine instead that the line starts at your ear lobe. It still terminates at the corner of your mouth, and for the vast majority of guys, this line and the one that starts with the sideburns are the same line.
Regardless, the real line is between your ears and your mouth anyway, so either of these methods is going to give you good symmetry and aesthetics on your face.
Now that you can see the line, you’ll know how to guide your tools when we discuss trimming a little later. And if this is your first time, there’s a pro trick that will help. You can actually use a white pencil to draw the line. That way, when you’re trimming, you’ll have a clear guide that you can follow.
If you don’t have a white pencil and don’t want to acquire one, anything that can mark your face without being permanent should be fine.
How to trim the line.
That covers the visualization element, but you still need to know how to actually trim your beard according to the line you found. There’s a bit of a process. When you think in terms of steps, it might feel like a lot of trouble, but when you really think things through, it’s actually pretty simple.
You want to wash your beard. Comb it. Dry it and then trim it.
While that seems like a bit, you’re washing your beard regularly anyway (Right?), so you’re just planning the trim for after you shower. It’s no big thing.
Now that you know the gist of the plan, let’s talk about washing your beard. The easiest thing is to shower before you trim. Keep in mind that you’re just doing line maintenance; you’re not full-on shaving your whole beard. You don’t have to worry about a messy trim or excess hair clippings when you’re done.
So shower, and when you’re in the shower, wash your beard. Hopefully, you already use a dedicated beard shampoo, but in case you’re a little behind the times, allow us to make a recommendation for that.
Simply wash your beard and rinse it. You don’t need to go crazy. You just want your beard to be a little softer and clear of dirt and such before you trim it.
Then comb it.
Once your beard is clean, you need to dry it before you trim. If you trim a wet beard, you’ll find that it’s very, very easy to cut too much hair, and then you get awkward results.
If you have a blow dryer and your face doesn’t mind, then use the lowest settings to speed things up. If not, you’ll want to let it air dry. When you first get out of the shower, you can pat your beard dry. (Excess rubbing with a towel can irritate your face right before you trim.) It’ll need a few minutes to air dry after that. Have a morning cup of coffee or something. It’s worth the wait to get a better trim.
In fact, if you really want to speed things up, you can comb out your beard while it’s drying. This will help you remove water, it’ll increase air exposure, and it'll straighten out your beard so that you can clearly see where you need to trim.
For this endeavor, comb your beard in its natural direction. Try to make things look the way you like them as if you weren’t about to trim, but don’t use any styling products. This will get everything laying appropriately so you can trim accordingly.
Use the right tools.
At this point, you’re ready to trim your beard. We’re not really reinventing anything here. You’re going to trim your cheek lines according to the line we already described. It’s just a matter of cutting hair.
As you already know, having the right tools goes a long way. Before we fully get into that, remember one important tip.
When you trim, do one side first and make sure you like it. As you trim the line, you’ll have to decide if you want angles or rounded corners. We can’t give you perfect advice here because it depends on the thickness of your beard and the shape of your face. Do what looks good.
Once you have one side the way you like it, you can then match the other side. This reduces the number of times you trim things to match instead of creating a vicious loop where you trim one side, then the other, then back again until you don’t have a beard left.
Okay. Back to tools.
If your beard is bushy, and especially if this is the first time you’re trimming the cheek line, reach for an electric trimmer. It’s just going to be easier.
Make sure you don’t use any cutting guards and everything is set to the lowest cutting length. You're neatly going to shave a line into your beard with your trimmer.
The technique is pretty simple. Hold the trimmer and shave right along the line, rounding edges as you see fit.
The most important thing to remember here is that you need a good trimmer, and if you’re in the market, we’re definitely recommending The Beard Hedger™. It’s new and shiny and awesome, so why not use the best?
If you want a really clean line after you trim, then you can use a razor to shave at the end. Or, if you’re doing this routinely, you’ll probably stick with the razor and not worry as much about the trimmer (only really trimming when hairs below the line grow out of whack).
To shave a clean line, you want a double-edge safety razor. Multi-blade razors make it tough to get a really precise line. The single side of a safety razor is just easier.
Among such razors, The Plow® is designed exactly for this kind of work.
As for the technique, you’re going to use small, short, controlled strokes to shave any hair above the line. Take your time and you’ll get a sharp beard line that looks great.
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