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How To Trim And Shape A Beard

Growing a beard, as itchy and awkward a phase as it can be, is, in fact, the easy part. The next stage requires skill, artistry, and a healthy dose of bravery on your part: which is why many of us rely on expensive barber visits to keep our facial hair in check. However, if you're spending all that spare cash on your beard maintenance, perhaps it's high time you learnt how to shape a beard yourself?

Don't fear, with tactical beard trimming and good grooming habits, you can soon master a variety of hairstyles. So whether it's mustache trimming you're struggling with, stubble, or how to trim goatee beards into shape, we've got you. You'll be able to trim your beard like a pro in no time with our beard trimming tips.

We'll show you content on how to trim a beard with clippers, how to perfect your neckline, and give you a few tips on different beard trim styles to get you going. We'll show you how to taper and fade your beard, and school you in sideburn shaping. So read on to find out all you need to know to start trimming and shaping your own beard.

How To Properly Trim A Beard

man trimming beard

Proper beard trimming can be the difference between you resembling a man from the mountains, or an urbane man about town. So knowing how to properly trim a beard is pretty important, to get the right beard shape. And luckily, you really don't need all that much to get started. Of course, like all bearded men you need beard wash and beard oil at least to keep your beard healthy and lush, like a forest.

The key tool you need in your kit for this, unsurprisingly, is the beard trimmer. A beard trimmer is like a hair trimmer, but with a smaller surface area on the blades and normally with slightly different grades, from the super short to the super long. Electric beard trimmers often have an adjustable but fixed guard, although many do use removable guards just like your standard hair trimmers.

Beyond this, a good beard comb or beard brush is essential, as is a pair of dedicated beard scissors, for shaping and to remove any stray hairs that the clippers can't or don't reach.

How To Trim A Mustache

Now you're all kitted out, we'll start from the top. Learning how to trim mustache styles is really quite simple too, so it's an easy beginning. Always wash and dry facial hair before trimming. We'll come back to this, but it's super important. Once your mustache is dry, you need to brush it in the direction you wear it. So, if you want a handlebar, brush in a parting from the middle of the lip outwards. For a more reserved style or for an overhanging mustache, brush downwards.

Now, we can actually move onto how to trim your mustache. The simplest way is cut along the line of your top lip, using a pair of scissors. This makes it super easy to get a straight line, then you can chop in to your heart's content to refine. Not everyone agrees here: some men prefer an overhang, others prefer a more tidy style which keeps their mouth free of hair. Once you're done trimming, style your moustache with our all natural moustache wax.

If you're not confident with scissors, consider a precision trimmer. You can check out beard trimmer reviews to find which have this included, but many do have one of these built in. There are also dedicated precision tools and products, which you can buy on top of your standard clippers.

How To Use A Beard Trimmer

young man using shaving beard

So, now you're happy with your mustache line, it's time to learn how to use beard trimmers to shape the rest of it. Beard clippers are fairly simple to operate: normally, you just need to select your length on the guard and flip the switch to 'on', and buzz away. If you're only maintaing stubble, this may be all you need to know.

But of course, it's never that simple. There are different trimmer styles, so you may need to choose and fit the right guard. Be careful with your clipper settings, so it leaves you with some room for manoeuvre before you trim your facial hair: if you go too short, you can't stick it back on. This is beard trim error number 1, and we've all done it: you take one swipe with too close a guard, and before you know it you've lost half your beard evening the thing out.

Just a note on the different clippers available: combined hair and beard trimmers are ok, but we'd always recommend getting a dedicated set of beard clippers and hair clippers, so you have a face trimmer and a head trimmer built for their specific jobs. A cordless beard trimmer will also be way easier to use and take on the road.

The next important point in this beard trimming guide is to brush or comb first. Use oil to hydrate your beard and skin. We recommend using your beard brush upwards too: this helps remove any knots, and ensures your hairs are upright so you can cut to an even length.

Run the clipper in the same direction through your beard or facial hair, and try to keep to an organised pattern as you go. Even with the best clippers, you will probably need to go over it a few times before you have an even trim.

How To Shape And Taper A Beard

man grooming beard

If you're only rocking stubble, stop reading here. Otherwise, now you have got it all at the correct length to work with, it's time to sculpt. Learning how to taper a beard is, thankfully, not as difficult as you might have feared. It's time to learn how to shape your beard like a pro, so you can achieve defined looks from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a steady hand, scissors and a beard comb.

The direction you taper your facial hair in depends on your style and your face shape. Some men will taper out, so the beard is shortest at the top and longest at the bottom, whereas for a short boxed style beard, you will taper in slightly at the cheeks, framing the face. Learning how to trim a long beard into a taper might take a little while but practice makes perfect.

How To Trim A Beard Neckline

To define the shape of your beard, to execute an effective fade, or even for stubble, you first need to trim your neckline. Once you have defined the line, the first part of this is pretty simple: just set your clippers to their shortest length, and carefully trim along the line. Many guys prefer to remove the guard altogether and use the naked teeth of the clippers, pointing down. You can then shave the neck with a safety razor.

If you're going to fade your beard however, you might want to try using the clippers the other way around (so the teeth are facing out from your neck), and then cutting in with a gentle scooping motion, just above the Adam's apple. Done well, this will leave a softer less defined line which is perfect for a fade.

Where Should My Beard Neckline Be?

Stepping back a little, the first thing you need to do is to define where your neckline should be. The best beard cuts always feature a good neckline which helps balance your face shape. This is relatively simple, with this easy beard neckline guide. Imagine a curved line from the bottom of one ear under your chin to the other in a u shape. Where the line passes under the chin, it should pass roughly an inch above your Adam's apple. This is where you want to cut in your neck line.

Whether it's just for shape or if you plan to execute a fade, a well-trimmed neckline is the starting point for any well-executed beard.

How To Fade A Beard

man getting styling of beard

The chances are you've come across faded beards. To create a fade, you first need to know how to trim a beard cheek line. Luckily, this is easy: just imagine a line from the top of your earlobe to the edge of your upper lip on the same side. This is roughly where your line will be, but of course each face is different, as is taste, so you might want to go a little higher or lower.

Once you have your beard shape, it's time to fade. A fade beard is exactly the same as the hairstyle, although it is of course inverted. You want a smooth gradation from longest at the jaw, to the shortest where your facial hair meets your hairline. To fade with beard hair, choose the clipper setting one down from your maximum beard length. Shave up from just above the beard line roughly an inch, right to the top. Now, step down another grade, and shave in half the distance of the first, so in this case, 1/2 inch. Work your way up, stepping down one grade at a time, and halving the distance each time, until you reach your hairline.

If your head is shaved, then you can afford to go very close. However, if the hair is a little longer, you might want to avoid pruning too much. To execute from the neck, repeat beginning at the Adam's apple.

How To Trim Sideburns

If you favour a chin beard or goatee, when trimming beard you'll also need to trim your sideburns. Luckily, this is super simple: remove the guard from your clippers, and line up where you want your sideburn to end. Then simply shave downwards from here, creating a hard line between sideburn and skin.

However, you might want to turn your sideburns into a feature, in which case they will require shaping rather than removing. The mutton chops style requires shaping not only under the jawline, but around the edges of the chin where the beard ends. It essentially a beard without any chin growth. How exactly you want to do this is up to you, but the two sideburns can never meet if you are to rock the true mutton chops.

In between the two, some people choose to wear their sideburns a little longer but stop way short of the full chop. To pull this off, remove all the facial hair except the mutton chop area. Then imagine a line running from the inside of your sideburn straight down. Where you cut it short is up to you.

Trimmed Beard Styles


There are a million ways you can trim your beard, meaning you can choose beard style that's best for you and the shape of your face and cheeks. Here are just a few of them: The Hollywoodian for A-Listers, the Corporate Beard for the office, and the Van Dyke for the aspiring artist. If none of those work, there's the Tapered and Pointed Beard, the Short Boxed Beard, or the Verdi, for a more extravagant look. Or leave your face covered in the goatee area. The sky's the limit.

You can learn more about the different beard varieties and looks, with our guide to The 24 Best Beard Styles For Men.

How Should I Trim My Beard For Beginners?

Here's a run down for the beginner:

  1. Wash your beard with a dedicated beard wash. Dab dry. See our guide on how to wash your beard.
  2. Work through thoroughly with a beard brush or comb, working both up and down the grain to remove any knots.
  3. Before trimming, brush or comb against the grain.
  4. Set the clippers to a length where you can afford to lose a bit more. Having the clippers too short means one bad cut, and you're losing most of the beard.
  5. Work up through the beard against the grain, making sure you cover every spot.
  6. Define your neckline and your cheek line using the guides above.
  7. Now, you have a neat beard. Use beard comb and scissors to remove stray hairs. If you're going for a more defined look or a fade, go ahead and cut it in.
  8. If not, apply beard oil, and beard balm if your beard is long. Brush, comb or wrestle into shape, and go live your life.
    beard wash

When Growing A Beard Should You Trim It?

Yes, while growing a beard it is important to periodically trim your beard. This aids even growth and helps prevent itch, not to mention looking way better. Using the tips above you should be able to trim and groom your beard at home no worries. And with a little flair and practice, there's nothing to stop you attempting bolder beard types. With the right equipment, our Bearded Chap beard grooming products, and a little know-how, we hope you can now see that trimming your beard and hair growth, is more than possible.

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