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How to trim a beard

Whether you have the classic goatee, a luscious full beard, a 5 o’clock shadow, or you’ve just decided to grow a beard, keeping your grooming game on point can make a huge difference in your overall style and it helps you not to look like Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway.

So, we’ve put together a guide that demonstrates how to clean up your beard without compromising its burgeoning glory.

How to trim a beard - the right way

Step 1: Clean and dry your beard before you start

A dry, dirty beard isn't ideal for obvious reasons. But it's especially bad when it comes time for a trim. So give it a wash. After your beard dries, take a brush and run it against the grain, so that the hairs stand up and out. Not only will this make it easier to trim, but it will also highlight any inconsistencies in length.

Step 2: Pick your style and the right tools

Beard trimmers come in various shapes and sizes and sometimes with features you don’t even understand. We did the hard work for you and found the best and most popular beard trimmers out there that you’ll be more than happy with:

The budget-friendly

Remington Barber's Best Personal Groomer

The all-in-one

Philips Multigroom Series 5000

The revolutionary and sleek

Philips OneBlade Pro Beard Styler

Step 3: Trim

Remember, there’s no undo button for bad trimming. So the best and easiest way to trim your beard is by starting with a bigger guard and bringing it down gradually to prevent accidentally cutting everything too short.

Go against the direction of hair growth to remove excess bulk. Repeat using shorter trim settings until you’re happy with the length. For the best styling, trim your beard shorter on your neck and cheeks. Keep hair longer on your chin to create a fade.

Step 4: About that mustache

After trimming, brush your mustache hair downward and remove the guide comb to buzz the hair that extends over your lip. How high above your lip to trim? It's a judgment call. Some guys like a lot of clearance, while some prefer a little overhang. Start lower and adjust upwards to taste. If necessary, follow up with scissors to attack any stragglers head-on.

Step 5: Define your neckline

Now comes the trickiest part: trimming the neckline. The biggest way to compromise your beard is to ignore this crucial demarcation or to trim it in the wrong place. Where to draw the line can vary from person to person, but a general rule of thumb is to put a finger horizontally just above your Adam’s Apple and vertically trim below this line. Then you just extend that up in a soft curve towards your ears to create a shallow "U" shape. When grooming below the neckline, you can opt to either shave everything off for a "hard stop" on the beard line or taper it down for a more natural look.

Step 6: Define your cheek line

If you prefer a natural beard cheek line, leave it as it is, just trim any straggling hairs. For an edgier, crisper look, go for a straight or slightly rounded line to the bottom of your sideburns. The lower your cheek line, the more length you’ll give to your face.

Step 7: Finish with oil

Just like the hair on the top of your head, your beard needs moisture to stay healthy. So, finish the whole process off with good beard oil that'll moisturize and help keep your facial hair looking its best. Then run a beard comb through it to distribute the oil, as well as to style your beard back into place, post-trim. This will also help reveal strays that got passed over while trimming, which you can take care of afterward.