Learning to shave is a teenage right of passage, so most of us are well-acquainted with how to pull off a clean-shaven look. But what about the bearded amongst us?
Unless you were raised by a grooming pro, you were probably never shown how to properly shape a beard, so when it comes to trying out a more grisly look, knowing how to go about it can be a little daunting.
Well, fear no more! We’ve got the inside track on how to shape your beard like a professional barber.
Step 1: Clean & brush your beard
Before maintaining any beard shape, you need to start with a clean beard. Just like our hair, our facial fur can collect a lot of dust and grim throughout the day, not to mention food and drink! No one wants to groom a mucky beard, so break out a quality beard wash and give it a good scrubbing before you start trimming.
Once your whiskers are squeaky clean, it’s best to run a beard brush or comb through them. Even if you have a short beard, using a brush helps to neaten things up, by pulling all of your hairs in the same direction. If you have a longer beard, this can also help to ‘train’ the hairs to grow in the direction you want them to.
Step 2: Trim your beard
Now that your chin bristles are clean and tidy, it’s time to trim them into shape. If you don’t have one already, it’s worth investing in a beard trimmer with several guard sizes – they’re the easiest, most convenient way of maintaining your beard’s length.
If you’ve never done this before, always start with the longest option on your guard. You can’t undo a too-short beard! Gradually trim it off using shorter and shorter lengths until you hit a spot that you’re happy with. Make sure to trim all areas of your beard, including under your chin, and above your lips.
Over time, you may find that you like some areas to be longer than others, but opting for one length all over is perfect if you’re just starting out.
If you’re blessed with a lengthy, Dumbledore-esque beard , this step is still crucial for keeping your facial locks in check, as it will tidy up any split ends and unruly hairs. Simply pop the guard off your beard trimmer and carefully trim away runaway or untidy hairs, following the natural shape of your beard. You can also use a comb and pair of scissors, if you prefer.
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Step 3: Shape your cheek line
Maintaining a neat cheek line is an important part of creating a sharp-looking beard. A beard that’s rough around the edges can look untidy, while a cheek line that’s too low can appear overly-groomed.
Using a razor or unguarded beard trimmer, begin by working your way down from the highest point of your cheek line, rather than cutting into the dense portion of your beard. Gradually cut away any stray hair until you reach a point where your beard starts to become denser.
If you’re a bit unsure about when to stop cutting hairs away, try smiling into the mirror and following the line of your smile up to the sideburns. This can provide a handy guide for a natural, but well-maintained cheek line.
Step 4: Shape your neckline
The neckline is one of the most difficult parts of beard shaping to get right, and can also have the biggest impact on how your beard looks. Cut it too high, and you’ll draw attention to the underside of your neck, which can be quite unflattering. Cut it too low, and you risk an unkempt-looking neckbeard!
The definition of your neck line can be down to personal preference, but generally speaking, a good neckline should be a U-shaped, natural extension down from the curve of each ear. The hair should pass below your jawline, about 1 to 1.5 inches above Adam’s apple.
A tried and true method of getting this right is by resting the pads of your middle and index fingers above the Adam’s apple. In a mirror, take a look at where the top of the fingers sit – this is roughly where your neckline should live. From there, it should follow the natural shape of your jaw line up towards your ears.
Like your cheek line, an unguarded beard trimmer or razor is your best tool for defining those edges.
Step 5: Finishing touches
To finish, take your beard trimmer or scissors and trim the bottom edge of your moustache to ensure no hairs are protruding over your upper lip. Then, run a beard oil or balm through your beard. Voila! You now have a perfectly shaped beard.
Cornerstone shave gel is clear, which is perfect for shaping your neckline and cheek line without getting razor burn.
Our face scrub and face wash are great for exfoliating the skin, and can work as a treat for keeping beards clean and flake-free.
Apply a post-shave balm to your shaven neck and cheek lines, for a soothing finishing touch.