Welcome to another series of our HOW TO blog posts. You may have caught our post at the end of last year on how to ask your barber for a beard trim, but today we'll be talking about how to trim your beard yourself at home.
If you've plucked up the courage to try this yourself or just don't fancy letting your barber at your pride and joy, it is a fear we all hold, then read on for some pointers to get the best out of your own beard trim...
TIDY UP //
Begin by deciding on a shape that works best for you and your face shape. From grown-out-stubble, a longer length with tapered sides or simply a handlebar moustache; the best trims in our modest opinion are ones that have a natural shape.
Have an image to hand of a beard you like that you're aiming towards, from Pinterest for example. That way you can keep referencing to it throughout the trim and keep the end goal in sight. Make sure you choose an image of a beard that is similar in thickness and hair style to yours. It's no good having an image of a guy with a thick, straight beard if your beard is naturally curly.
Your beard needs to be clean and dry. Wet hair hangs heavier and means you can take more off the length than you intend to.
Start by using a medium-tooth comb and brush the beard upwards against the direction of the hair growth, so the hairs are standing up and your face is all bushy. This way it'll be easy to see what you need to trim.
For short beards we tend to say using beard trimmers at a set length is a good thing, but for longer beards you'll start to notice that your beard might start looking quite blocky. As your hair tends to grow at the same rate, although the hair on your chin will be the same length as on your cheeks, the ends of the hair will be lower down; thus giving that rectangular look to your beard. For this reason, we advise it's often easier to scissor-cut longer beards.
Make sure you’re using sharp hairdressing (or even better – beard trimming) scissors. Start from one side of your face, passing the comb gently through the beard at a slightly tilted angle* and taking off the ends that protrude past the teeth of the comb.
*Angle the comb closer to you face next to your sideburns to achieve that tapered look, with the shorter sides and longer length. Just make sure to make a mental note of what sort of angle you've done, so you can replicate it on the other cheek.
Remember, start by taking off just a small amount of hair to avoid over-cutting. You can always go shorter and repeat the process. Comb down the hair to check every now and then & keep referring to that image you have, to help form decisions about the shape.
When you're happy with the general shape, give the beard one final comb down, and use your scissors to carefully take off any 'stragglers' and for the finishing touches.
Finish up by jumping in the shower to wash away the hairs and give your face a good scrub down with your favourite face scrub. This crucial exfoliation will prep your skin for the next stage in 'Operation Beard-Tidy'. It'll get rid of any dead skin cells and to prevent ingrown hairs.
CLEAN UP //
Next for some shaving to clean up the cheek and neckline – it’s amazing how much difference this can make with minimal effort. To avoid shaving rash, you’ll want a brand new razor which you can use to shave in the direction of hair growth. Use a good quality shaving cream or foam and really massage into the skin.
Beginning with the cheek line, pull the skin upwards with your other hand to create a taut canvas for a close shave. You'll want to trim those stray hairs above the natural line of the beard. Don't go too mad when tidying up your cheek line; you want to get rid of the stragglers and create a nice, natural line. Getting carried away will leave you with a less-than-desirable ‘chinstrap’… unless that’s what you were after, then as you were!
Similarly, tilt your head back when doing the neckline. The aim is to keep this fairly rounded and to follow your jawline, but having said that you don’t want the hair to finish on the jaw itself. Take two fingers to your chin under the jaw – don’t take the hair past this point. Continue by carefully creating a line from the ‘two-finger’ point to the outer angle of your jaw.
Take things slow, taking off little by little and keep checking that you’re symmetrical. Also try to keep things rounded; having lines that are too fixed can look a little bit overdone and unnatural.
Never use an electric shaver to clean up – not only is it hard to see what you’re doing, electric shavers can leave the hair end jagged, leading to irritation. Just don't do it, lads.
Rinse, towel dry the beard and massage your favourite Old Joll's beard oil through the beard and onto the newly shaven skin - the tea-tree oil in the oil will help prevent any ingrown hairs.
And you're golden!
We hope this has helped with any first time beard trimmers out there. We'd love to see your handiwork - tag us @brightonbeardco and use hashtag #brightonbeardco to be featured on our gallery.