For those DIY beard groomers out there, learning how to trim a beard with a beard trimmer is essential. After all, this quick lesson offers a range of benefits - not only will it allow you to customise your approach to trimming, but you can also reduce your dependency on professional barbers and save some money in the process.
Are you eager to learn how to trim a beard with a beard trimmer? Below, we’ve detailed our 4-step routine to guide you through the process - take a look!
Trimmers Vs. Clippers Vs. Shavers
What’s the difference between trimmers, clippers, and shavers? For blokes wondering what type of grooming tool they should be using on their beard, we’ve put together a quick guide to make the decision a bit easier.
Trimmers come in many shapes and sizes depending on the different type of hair it's being used on - whether it’s for your hair, beard, nose, or anything in between. Though they all typically feature at least 2 blades that work using a high frequency scissoring action to cut the hair as it passes through.
Due to their petite build, they can offer a level of precision that other grooming tools simply can’t match - which is why beard trimmers are the preferred option for dealing with facial hair. Trimmers also cut closer than clippers (which we will talk about in a sec), so they're great for maintaining a stubble look.
Next up, we have clippers - very similar-looking to trimmers, but with a completely different purpose. Clippers are designed to cut through sizable amounts of hair quickly - which is why they’re often used by barbers.
Because of this, clippers aren’t an ideal tool for fine detail when trimming your beard - unless you’re cutting it back before a clean shave. Having said that, it's not the end of the world if this is all you have. They're fine to use, and they will cut your beard back, but they aren't as good for precise tapering and close work in the way a specially designed beard trimmer is.
Unlike clippers and trimmers, shavers are used to completely remove the hair from your beard, leaving behind a smooth, fresh face. Generally they don’t require the use of any shaving cream or gel which means that it’s best used when the stubble is dry (although some modern shavers are waterproof and can use shave lubricants for a wet shave). Shaver's typically come in two styles - foil (see picture above) or rotary (look for a shave head that has 3 or more rotary wheels on it).
Unless you’re chasing a clean face, shavers are not a suitable beard-trimming option.
How To Trim A Beard With A Beard Trimmer
Ready to learn how to trim a beard with a beard trimmer? Check out our 4-step guide below to get started.
1. Prep The Skin
Before you even think about reaching for your beard trimmer, it’s important to prepare your skin and hair.
After washing and towel-drying your beard, run a beard brush through your facial hair - combing in a straight, downward direction. This will detangle any knots and straighten out your beard to an even length. There's nothing worse than trimming a beard that hasn't been straightened out properly during preparation. After the cut it might look good, but as soon as you wash it the next day, you'll find random strands of longer hair that were missed because trimmer didn't catch them.
Some barbers also recommend adding a little bit of beard oil during this phase. The beard oil will perform 2 functions here. First it will facilitate the straightening of the beard so you can an even cutting length across the beard. Second, it will also help to lubricate the cutting blades of the trimmer as it works thru your beard.
2. Get The Right Length
After you’ve combed your beard and prepared it for a trim, it’s time to figure out how long you’d like your beard to be. Before you get started, remember the golden rule of beard trimming - you can take more hair off if you need to, but you can’t put it back on.
Grab your trimmer and set it to the longest setting and start trimming all-over. Continue running the trimmer over your cheeks, neck, chin, and moustache, gradually shortening the trim settings until you’re satisfied with the length.
For blokes chasing a tapered look, where the length of your sideburns seamlessly blends into your beard, there’s an extra step you’ll need to know. Set your trimmer one size below your beard’s length, and begin trimming in an upward direction from your cheek to your sideburns. Then, move an inch up and repeat the process on a shorter setting - and continue this process until you’ve reached your sideburns.
3. Shape Your Beard
Once you’ve sorted out the length, it’s time to get your beard into shape by tidying up the neckline.
Defining your neckline involves creating an imaginary border - starting from the bottom of your earlobe, extending beneath your jaw to a midpoint above your Adam’s apple, and back up to the other earlobe.
All you need to do is find your mid-point by positioning two fingers above your Adam’s apple. Then, remove everything beneath this imaginary line as you move the trimmer back up your neckline. As your beard grows, defining and maintaining this border becomes easier.
Now there is some debate out neck lines and whether or not they should be shaved. Really there is no right or wrong answer, but here are some points to think about. First, if you want to grow a big beard that looks as dense and thick as possible, then you're probably better off letting the neck hair grow right out and just tidy up cheeklines where needed. However if you're rocking a more cropped beard, or you have a particularly low neckline, then a tidy of the neck with shaver could be the go.
4. Clean-Up The Cheeks
Now that you’ve nailed the length and cleaned up those scraggly neck-hairs, it’s time to finish the process off by cleaning-up the borders around your cheeks.
Start by switching out the beard trimmer with a single-edge cutting tool - like a double-edge safety razor or cut-throat razor. These traditional tools provide you with more control and precision over your line-ups, helping you to get the best results.
When it comes to trimming, it helps to draw an imaginary line - extending from the point where your sideburns end to the corner of your mouth. Anything above this line can be removed. Once you’ve got your razor ready, apply a shaving gel over the borders for a seamless glide and start shaping.
This soap-free Clear Shave Gel is perfect for tidying up the borders of your beard - without that soapy foam blocking your view, you can now move your razor with intent and precision.
For most guys, knowing where to make your beard lines is the toughest part. Though, this is where tools like the Beardometer Beard Shaper can take some of the pressure off - helping you to remove peach-fuzz and create perfect beard lines easily. All you need to do is position it and follow the lines with your razor - simple!