How to Shape a Beard: Styling, Trimming, and Shaving
Knowing how to style, shape, trim, and maintain your beard is the key to cultivating your own unique look and style. The process of maintaining your beard takes diligence and dedication.
The results can be truly amazing. It just takes a few clips from the beard shears and some quick strokes of the beard brush to change the way you look and feel. In this post, you’ll learn:
- How to pick a beard style
- How to shape your beard
- Beard styling and maintenance tips
Learn How to Shape Your Beard from a Professional Barber
Cremo and Barber Brigade member John Kenney from The Blue Collar Barbershop is here with some top tips and tricks to help you shape your beard the right way and keep your facial hair looking just the way you like it.
Knowing how to shape a beard and how to style a beard are two very different things.
- Prep your beard - start by washing, conditioning, and brushing your beard for the best results. Being able to give your beard a sharp, defined outline starts with doing the correct prep work.
- Select a beard style - there are many different beard styles to choose from. From short scruff, to medium sized beards, to the full-lumberjack, these beards can be shaped to give you the look you want. Pick the right style based on the shape of your face to create an even-graduated oval shape with both your beard and jaw. Lastly, keep it proportional to your face. Wide face = okay for long beard. Narrow, long face = good for a short beard.
- Shape your beard - create a clear and crisp outline for your beard by shaving your neckline, jawline, mustache, shaping your beard, and trimming loose strays.
- Maintain your beard - maintain the shape of your beard by styling it with the best beard products and beard care tips.
Prepping Your Beard
You may be tempted to skip this step, but don’t. Washing, conditioning, and brushing your beard will help to detangle your beard, clear rogue hairs and dead skin, and allow you to shape it at it’s true length.
Wash, condition, and brush your beard. Detangle. Our recommendation is always to wash the beard first with a beard wash and beard softener. Beard wash acts similar to shampoo for the hair on your face and the softener helps moisturize the hair and the underlying skin making it easier to shape and style your beard.
Once your beard is soft, brush it thoroughly and downward into its natural position. Doing this will help you determine the true length of your beard accurately and also gets you accustomed to your beard’s growth patterns.
Finding a Beard Style and Shape that Fits You
Now that your beard is prepped, the next step is to pick the right beard style for your face. The general rule of thumb is that your beard and jaw should act in harmony to achieve an even-graduated oval shape.
“A lot of my clients over the pandemic have ruined a good beard due to poor at-home maintenance. They knew they had to give their beard a trim but didn’t have any game plan before they picked up the tools.”
"When you come to shape your beard, first consider your face shape, considering your proportions and structure. For example, if you have a wider face, you can get away with a longer and wider beard, if you have a thin face, a big bushy beard could be overpowering”, says John. “
You’ll also need to consider what’s on the top of your head and how it compliments your beard. Long hair and any size beard generally work well together, however, a short cropped hairstyle and a long beard can look dis-proportionate. And, if you’re bald, I personally think the bigger beard actually is pretty bad-ass.”
Check out the face shapes below and pick the one that matches your face the best.
BEST BEARD FOR MEN WITH A ROUND SHAPED FACE
If you have a round face, a longer beard evens out the proportions of your face to make your head and beard appear longer and slimmer.
Grow a full length beard, allowing your beard to grow downward while trimming away the fat from the sides to create a round look. The shorter hair on your sideburns and cheeks to emphasize the length of your beard. This style is good for men that have a goatee, or form of goatee which is slightly larger but well maintained.
Check out these tips if you need help growing your beard faster and naturally.
BEST BEARD FOR HEART SHAPED FACESA heart shaped face is similar to a round face in that it is wide, but has the unique feature or an elongated chin. The chin is usually on the narrower side as well. The recommendation for this face shape is to grow out a longer beard but make sure the sides are well maintained and kept short. You’ll love the way it complements your face.
BEST BEARD FOR MEN WITH a OVAL SHAPED FACEWith an oval face shape, you have carte blanche - the freedom to try any beard style you like – lucky you. Your face is already shaped in an elongated oval so most beard styles will work with men with oval faces. Of course, keep in mind, as always, the proportions and be sure to plan before you get cracking with the tools.
BEST BEARD FOR MEN WITH A OBLONG SHAPED FACEFor men with an oblong shaped face, your face is long similar to oval shaped faces, but your chin is sharper and more defined. For this face shape, a long beard with short sides will work best for this shape.
BEST BEARDS FOR A RECTANGULAR FACEThe best beard style for men with rectangular faces are short on the sides with fuller, rounder, and nicely trimmed beards. With a longer face shape, a shorter beard will help keep your vertical proportions right and give the mystique of a fuller face.
BEST BEARD FOR MEN WITH SQUARE FACES
Before we go any further, we mention ‘proportions’ a lot in this article, so apologies for mentioning it again and apologies for the next hundred times you read it throughout the article. Proportions. Sorry, I couldn't resist.
If you have a square face, a proportioned circular beard is probably the strongest look for you. Barber John Kenney adds, “I recommend to my clients to keep the beard on the shorter side if they have a square face shape. A short beard keeps the look circular, whereas if the beard is too big, especially in the chin area, you can end up looking very egg like in proportions”.
A good small to mid-size beard is best for men with square faces. For this, aim to grow your beard downwards giving your face a longer shadow.
BEST BEARD FOR MEN WITH A TRIANGLE SHAPED FACEA triangular face means the cheekbones are wider and the chin is pointed, creating a particularly strong jawline. A good look for this face shape is the beardstache. This is where you keep your beard short but your mustache is longer. This style helps center your mustache instead of your chin. Best of all, it gives the facial shape a much more pleasing proportion. A slightly fuller chin also pairs well with this beard style and face shape.
Trimming and Shaping Your Beard
Now that you’ve figured out what beard style works best for your face shape, it’s time to break out the shears.
The number one tip to trimming your beard is to plan your shaping from beginning to end. Then plan it again. You only get one chance this time around so make sure you think it through in the mirror first.
If you’re trimming your beard down, use a trimmer and/or electric razor, but go carefully. Less is more, and if you start taking too much off, you can quickly ruin the look you’re trying to achieve. Remember that your facial hair is thicker and fuller than the hair on your head so you’ll want to keep this in mind while trimming. Take your time.
In the video below, we show you several trimming and cutting techniques.
Shaping the Neckline
Shaping the neckline, or baseline as others might call it, refers to the facial hair where your chin meets your neck. Shaping the neckline is key to creating a proportional beard. The neckline should be an extension down the curve of the ear and should stop 2-3 cm (1-1.5 inches) from your Adam’s apple. Not too high, and not too low.
Use your trimmer to cut your neckline, going slowly from one side to your adam’s apple. Then repeat the same process on the other side.
Once you have your line, clean up the neck hair below your beard. A well-groomed beard will not show any hair on the neck behind the beard. Said another way, the hair on your neck should not be longer, vertically, than the length of your beard.
For shaving the cheek or neck line, we recommend using a wet shaver and not an electric trimmer. You can learn more about the differences between wet shaving and dry shaving here. Defining these points can really add to your look, so try using a safety razor and Cremo Shave Cream.
Shaping Your Jawline
Next is the jawline; the area that includes your sideburns and is located between your cheeks and neckline. Defining the cheek line is a personal preference. It really depends on your desired style and hair growth. If you want a guide to help outline your jawline, try using a beard shaping tool to keep your lines clean and consistent.
Use the trimmer or a double-edge razor to define your cheek line. Be careful though, make sure the other side of your face has symmetry. No one likes a wonky, uneven or crooked cheek line. Unless you’re a diabolical villain from a comic.
Shaping your sideburns is one of the most important aspects to having a neat, tidy and well-proportioned beard. It is also the most overlooked aspect of beard trimming maintenance. Nailing your sideburns is an absolute game changer. Period. Exclamation point. The sideburns are so important because they are the link between the hair on your head and your facial hair. The ideal way to style your sideburns is to taper them. Otherwise known as ‘blending’, begin by starting at the top of your sideburn and cutting a little away.
Begin by making a straight line down from the corner of the jaw, near the bottom outer corner of the eye, to the top of the Adam's apple. With one hand, place your fingers on your cheek and pull the skin up to create a fresh crisp line when the skin is released and relaxed.
Shaping Your Mustache / Around Your LipsMake sure the mustache is combed down before starting on this area. Be sure all hairs are fully stretched out to help you get an even and symmetrical outcome. Using trimmers or beard shears, take a slow and steady approach to keeping your upper lip in check.
Shaping the Bottom of Your Beard
To shape the bottom of your beard, remember the length that you’re aiming for based on your face shape and beard style. With that image in mind, start by trimming any loose straggles. After the first pass, this will reveal the shape of your beard without the loose hairs that cloud the defining shape of your beard. Comb your beard out again to reveal other additional hairs that might pop up after being detangled.
When shaping your beard under your chin, always err on the side of removing a lower amount of hair. This is the main area where your beard has length. You can always trim more but it will take time to grow your beard back. Go slow, take your time, and check your beard in the mirror after each pass, remembering the beard style you’re aiming for.
Use the same approach to shaping the facial hair under your beard, combing your hair out after each pass. As you go forward, you’ll notice you’re beard has the appearance of being much fuller, proportionate, and well-groomed.