Trimming your beard can be scary. You’ve endured the awkward growth stages to get it to just the right length—you don’t want to mess it up now.
However, trimming it is necessary. Even if you plan to grow a long beard, split ends inhibit growth and can make your beard look unkept and wiry. And if you’re keeping it short, you still need to trim and shape your beard to keep it looking great.
Related: Why Your Facial Hair Is Growing Slow
Trimming your beard with scissors is relatively simple; however, you can’t overlook quality when choosing the right pair. Cheaply made scissors can ruin your beard trim; plus if the blade becomes dull or the handle breaks, you’ll be stuck with partially-trimmed hair. No one wants that.
Here’s how to properly trim your beard with scissors.
Before Your Trim Your Beard
If you plan to trim your beard with scissors, your facial hair should be an inch or longer. If you try to use scissors on a beard shorter than an inch, you’ll have a hard time getting a good trim. Anything shorter, you might be better off using trimmers to get the best look.
Also, you want to use sharp scissors with short blades—they’re much easier to control and give you a more precise cut. Long scissors are easier to slip up with but are great for detailing your mustache.
Follow these six steps for how to properly trim your beard with scissors:
1. Wash Your Beard.
First, if you want the best cut, wash your beard before trimming. You want to remove any dirt, debris, or other stuff from your beard. If you don’t you’ll have trouble getting a clean, even cut. Make sure to use shampoo and conditioner designed for beards!
If you’re in a hurry, you can soak a towel in hot water and let it sit on your face and beard for a few minutes. The heat and moisture will open your pores and help you clean off any debris in your beard and ‘stache. Now on to step two.
2. Check Your Growth.
You don’t want to trim off too much (or too little), so you’ll want to take inventory of your beard hairs. Using a beard comb—preferably wood and not plastic—comb your facial hair up and down to check out the different lengths. Your hairs don’t all grow at the same rate, and your beard is likely to be uneven; nothing a good trim can’t fix.
Once you’ve got a good idea of the overall length and shape you want to go for, it’s time to start trimming.
3. Start at Your Chin.
If you’re like most bearded men, the hair on your chin is longer than other areas. For that reason, you’ll want to start the trim from your chin and work your way toward your jawline and sideburns. After you trim your chin, it will serve as the guideline for the rest of your facial hair. Now that that’s done…
4. Trim Along the Jawline.
It’s crucial to get the hair along your jawline just right. You’ll start from your chin and work your way up toward the top of your beard, ensuring that you use even cuts. You need to keep your trimming hand steady—take breaks if you need to! Mirrors with magnification can be extremely helpful to check out your cut and ensure everything is even. Go slow and don’t rush this step—it takes time to get a clean, precise look.
5. Fine-Tune Your Trim.
Your beard’s all trimmed up—now what? After your first trim, it’s probably not going to look perfect, and that’s okay. You’ll have to fine-tune your beard over the next month or so while it continues to grow. Don’t worry; it won’t take nearly as much effort as the first trim! Check it out every few days and trim the stray hairs as necessary.
6. Don’t Forget Your Neck.
A good beard trim also means paying close attention to your neck and underneath your beard. If you’re going for length—and you can stand a bit of an awkward growth phase—you can let it grow while only trimming stray hairs. However; if your beard is still pretty short, you might want to keep the underneath trimmed back until everything gets longer—this gives you a much cleaner look.
Trimming Your Beard With Scissors vs. Clippers
Using clippers to trim your beard is easy, but it’s also easier to make a mistake. One small slip can quickly turn a beardsman into a not-so-beardsman.
Related: The Time It Takes to Grow a Beard
However, if you’re rocking stubble or a short style (i.e., a corporate beard), don’t bother with scissors—trimmers are your friend here, especially if you’re sporting an even length all over.
For styled beards, you can use clippers to taper your length. For example, many beardsmen go for an elongated shape, which means they taper their sideburns into the lower half of their cheek.
They’re also a great tool for mapping out your cheek and neck lines.
Scissors, on the other hand, are best for beardsmen who have more to lose when it comes to trimming mistakes. It’s much more difficult to mess up your beard when trimming with scissors—note: this doesn’t mean you can’t mess it up if you don’t use caution and patience!
With sharp grooming scissors, you have more control over how much length you take off and can achieve your desired shape with precision. And they’re excellent for targeting any split ends!
Scissors are not as easy, fast, or efficient as trimmers—they take more finesse and technique—but the advantages are massive. The key to using scissors is being patient and trimming a little bit at a time.
Another benefit of scissors is that you can take length off without losing thickness or density. If you’re growing it out, stay away from trimmers and stick to scissors. You can maintain your beard and snip off split ends without hurting your overall length.
Most of us don’t use one or the other—many beard grooming routines consist of trimming with both scissors and clippers. You can use trimmers to get your desired shape and take your sideburns and go back to the scissors to maintain your mustache and snip away those pesky split ends.
Check out our other beard guides crafted to help you grow and maintain the strongest, healthiest beard!