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How To Give Yourself The Best-Ever Beard Trim

by Saleam Singleton
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If you have facial hair, you’ve got to trim it. If you grow and walk away you’re going to look too scruffy — there’s no way around it. You can always use scissors and a razor on the daily, but if you’re a year-round wearer of facial hair and are serious about your beard and mustache, an electric beard trimmer is the way to go. Using an electric beard trimmer is an effective alternative to using a traditional razor. There are some valid reasons a lot of men might avoid using a razor when they shave. This includes skin irritation, razor burn, and bumps. An electric beard trimmer is a great way to maintain your grooming regime while avoiding the issues that can come from using a razor. Generally, it’s easier, cleaner, and more precise. But there are some tips and tricks to using it to your best ability. Here’s what you need to know.

The Tools

There are a ton of electric trimmers to choose from. There’s the classic T-outliner by Andis which you would find in many a barber’s kit. These are good at trimming and lining. I use the Bevel Pro Trimmer and the Brio Beardscape V2 Trimmer which offer more versatility. But you can’t go wrong with a trimmer that gets the job done quickly and easily.

The one thing I would recommend for perfect facial hair is having two trimmers — one for a close shave and sharp lines, and another for trimming and shaping. It might seem like overkill, but it’s the way to get pro-level facial hair at home. In this case, the Bevel offers a close shave and sharp lines while the Bearscape is great for trimmer and shaping. The Bearscape comes with blade guards to help control the amount of hair to be trimmed off. This comes in handy when trying to avoid mistakes that you’ll be stuck with for weeks.

Next, you’ll need a fine-toothed barber comb. Any will do, but I use a comb by Kiss Red. A pair of barber scissors will come in clutch where your electric trimmer might not do the trick. Look for a pair made for cutting hair like these Wahl haircutting shears. Lastly, you’ll need a hairbrush like this one from Scotch Porter and a barber cape (try this one from Amazon ) because it will allow you to do this all so much faster — dressed and ready to go, without beard trimmings all over your clothes.


It’s essential to begin any trim or shave with cleansed and moisturized skin. You get a better shave on hydrated skin, period. This also helps to soften facial hair which can make it easier to trim. The first thing I like to do is brush out my beard and mustache. This helps to show me how long my hair has gotten so I can decide how much I’ll be trimming and cutting. Use your comb to better stretch out coily hairs that may be uneven in length. Ideally, you want to end up with an evenly shaped beard and mustache.

The Trimming Process

I start by shaving the negative space on my face. These are the area where I may don’t grow a lot of hair but may have sparse hairs throughout. This is the best place to start because it requires the least precision. I can see exactly what I’m doing so there’s less room for mistakes. My method is to clip my clippers upside down so that the flat (or back side) of the blade touches my skin when I shave. This decreases the amount of irritation caused by the blade.

I move the blade upwards so that I’m cutting against the grain (the opposite direction that my hair grows). This helps to achieve the closest shave possible. This also helps prevent ingrown hairs that cause bumps and irritation. Here’s a tip: keep your hand steady by locking your elbow in place and only moving with your wrist. This keeps your arms from shaking when you are in the process of shaving. It leads to much more even and precise results. Using your fingers to lightly hold your skin while shaving will help catch shorter and harder-to-reach hair. Just be sure not to pull the skin too tightly (it’s best to be gentle with your skin).

Photo courtesy of Fatherly

Trimming and Lining Your Mustache

After brushing out your mustache start by using the barber scissors to trim uneven hairs above the lip. The trick is to follow the line of your upper lip and trim right above it. Continue to brush as you trim to be sure longer hairs are trimmed evenly. Use the wrist-locking method to help keep your hand steady as you trim. Stop when you’ve trimmed the desired amount of hair. Now use your eclectic trimmer to go over what you’ve trimmer to clean up your line. Hold your trimmer with both hands for extra security and steadiness. Carefully trim your mustache to the desired shape. For the top of my mustache, I slightly smile so I can see a straight line that I’ll use as a guide to clean up that area. I use the electric trimmer to cut a clean line in the area right below my nose. Don’t be afraid to take your time when you do this step. You’ll want to use the mirror to check as you go. Avoid overriding it.

The Finishing Touches

Now is the time to trim and shape your beard and mustache. I use a #2 guard (the 4th shortest length guard) to ensure that I trim just the right amount of hair. Carefully use the trimmer to comb through the hair and cut excess, uneven, and sparse hairs. Remember to check as you go to avoid cutting too much hair. Use the barber scissors for more precise finishing touches. Check your work and go over anything you may have missed on the first go-round. You’re done. Bravo. You just used your electric trimmers like a pro.

Cleaning Up

You can extend the life of your grooming tools by taking proper care after each use. Start by brushing out and cleaning excess hair from your electric trimmers. Use a damp cloth or a paper towel and wipe all your tools down. Use a clipper oil spray that will help disinfect your trimmer and keep the blade from becoming rusty. I also like to use the spray on scissors to keep them in good condition. Your barber cape will last longer if you fold it and store it in a ziplock bag. Keep your kit in a safe and dry place between uses.

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