If you’re in the process of growing a massive beard — or even a fairly big one — you’ll soon reach a length that’s beyond anything any beard groomer or clippers can handle. And then you have three choices: let your beard grow untrimmed, go to a professional barber for beard trimming or trim your long beard with scissors.
For many people, growing untrimmed isn’t an option because of uneven growth or problem areas that just don’t look good without some grooming. Or perhaps you’ve been growing your beard untrimmed and now things have gotten out of hand. Barbers are expensive and don’t always do a good job, so it makes sense to learn how to trim your beard with scissors.
If you want to clean up the unevenness or want a more put-together, well-groomed look from your long beard, here are some tips that will help you get the very best results:
Make sure your beard is dry when trimming. Trimming a wet beard can cause uneven results, and hair will appear shorter when dry. Your hair sits differently when wet that it normally does, and that can especially mess up your trimming if you have curly or wavy hair. Besides, trimming before a shower makes the most sense anyway because you’ll want to wash away the loose hairs afterward.
Prep the sink to avoid plumbing problems. Don’t make your face look great at the expense of your home’s plumbing. Put an old plastic grocery bag or a bowl in the sink to catch the hair you clip off. Trimming a beard is messy and you may get hair everywhere, but most of it can be easily wiped up or vacuumed away. Long hair that goes down the sink will cause you big plumbing problems.
Get some very sharp but safe beard scissors. When learning and experimenting with how to trim a long beard with scissors, you don’t want the hairs moving out of the way as you try to cut them, but that’s what happens with many kinds of scissors. Instead, buy the best beard scissors you can find. Then when you cut, you can be sure the hair is cut accurately the first time, so no do-overs are necessary and you can get through the job more quickly.
Comb up and out to see where you stand. When your beard hair is fluffed out as much as possible, you can determine where there is unevenness. If you’re just trying to make things more even and lay better, trim only what is out of line with the other side. Don’t over-trim at first or you’ll regret it. Comb back down to check your work regularly, and stop when you get the evenness and length you desire.
Decide what to do about the length under the chin. Are you going to continue growing down in length until you reach terminal length — the maximum length your beard hair will grow before it starts breaking off? Or do you want to carefully cut some off the bottom for a more finished looked? This can increase the look of thickness. Just remember that cutting straight across the bottom is usually a bad idea. Round off the corners at the bottom a bit for a well-groomed look.
Make every cut small and deliberate. You don’t need to be in a hurry if you only trim your beard with scissors occasionally, so make small cuts, check your work and then decide how much more to cut. Remember that minor mistakes won’t show in many areas of a big beard, so don’t freak out if you mess up. Just learn from your mistakes and do better next time. You have the rest of your life to get this right.
Take action at the neckline if you must. If you have a naturally clean neckline and all hair grows down as it should, leave the neckline natural for a full effect that everyone will love. If you have some hairs that grow upward or in strange directions at the neckline, you’ll need to use a beard trimmer or razor to create a clean neckline. If your chest hair joins your beard hair, you can also benefit from defining a neckline for your beard.
Leave the cheeks natural if you can. Even if your growth is fairly high up on your cheeks, you’ll get the best and easiest-to-maintain look if you allow the cheek line to grow naturally. If there are many stray hairs or the cheek line is irregular, trim it down only as much as necessary with a beard trimmer. Over-trimmed cheek lines look bad, so keep that in mind. You can groom your cheek line or neckline effectively with beard scissors.
Decide what to do about the mustache. It’s up to you whether you want to sweep the stache to the sides or keep it trimmed neatly over your upper lip. Either way, occasional trims are necessary. The best idea is to comb the hairs straight down and clean up any that are longer than the others. If that isn’t enough, trim the whole things back until you get the look you want. Ideally, the skin of your upper lip should not show below the mustache, and many guys don’t like the pink part of their lips to show very much either. Use your stache to sculpt and enhance the look of your mouth, and don’t trim just to make eating easier.
When you keep this advice about how to trim a long beard with scissors in mind, you can do a better job and not have to depend on a barber — who may or may not know what he or she is doing. It’s your beard, so you need to learn how to trim it the way you want it.