Chances are, if you’ve got a beard, you are a manly man. Having and maintaining a beard is not for the faint of heart, so your commitment and dedication to honoring your body’s natural tendencies in spite of our clean shaven societal norms must be commended.
If you can grow a robust, full beard, we are all for doing so and letting it grow as it may. However, there are many men who either cannot grow a truly impressive beard or do not wish to, for either personal, business or family reasons. For those men, maintaining and grooming your beard is an important part of your daily or weekly routine. (See our article on how to maintain a beard to learn the basics and aspects of beard maintenance).
You may know how to maintain your beard already, but are looking for extra information or tips on how to do it right. We’ve found that too often, men will begin something early on, including grooming techniques, that turns out to be incorrect or unflattering.
Think about your routine – why do you do the things you do, in the way that you do them? For many of us, our routine is made up from things we learned as boys from our fathers or grandfathers, supplemented by things we just started doing because it made sense at the time.
If you’re reading this, chances are you were simply never taught how to maintain a beard, or you realized you’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.
As an example, when I started to grow a beard, I was completely oblivious to the idea of regular maintenance, grooming, and upkeep. Therefore, I would be happy with my beard for two or three weeks, and then find that it started getting too long for my liking – in most places. What I really needed was a beard trimmer that would allow me to shape it correctly. In my case, my beard is best suited to my face when I keep my sideburns, cheeks, and corners of my jaw shortly trimmed.
Well, I was simply unaware of my own ignorance in regards to beard trimming at that point, and would simply shave the entire thing off, often leaving me clean shaven when I wished to have a week’s beard growth. It would have been helpful to take a moment and discover some tips about how I could keep my beard the way I wanted it, and so we have pulled together some of the top tips to help you in your beard grooming activities.
Invest in a beard trimmer
The first thing you need to do if you’re planning on having and maintaining a respectable beard is to invest in a beard trimmer that meets your needs.
Rather than shaving it all when it gets too long, as I used to do, getting a beard trimmer will allow you to keep it at a perfect length indefinitely.
The beard trimmer you choose will depend on many factors – how long you need your beard, whether you fade it at all, keeping one are longer than another, if you need to do ‘precision work’ like edging your beard, etc.
Start by having a look at our full list of nearly 30 beard trimmers and do your research before buying one. Most of the trimmers listed are expected to last for years, so it is a fairly inexpensive investment when broken down over time.
Your beard trimmer will determine how you maintain and groom your beard moving forward, so it is an important decision. You should be looking for something that has the right length settings, that is well-made and comes with good reviews, and that actually cuts the hair well. There’s nothing worse than getting a cheap set of drug store clippers and having it pull and tear the hairs on your face, leaving you with skin irritations and a poor shave.
Take the time to determine the best style for your beard
This is an important part of the grooming process. This is one of those things that you may be doing without knowing why, and it may not be quite right. You may have chosen a beard style or picked one up one day out of nowhere and have maintained it ever since, simply because “that’s the way your beard looks”.
With the right trimmer you should be able to get any look you want (dependent on your ability to grow the hair, of course). Do some testing. There’s no better way to figure out what works best than to test, test, test.
A style you see that you like may not work on your face. When you think you are being cool or manly, you may really be doing yourself a disservice because you have stopped experimenting before you have found the most appropriate style.
Your style should accentuate your face in the right way, and can even act to overcome things like a weak chin or bad skin – the beard is a powerful accessory to your manly life.
While we will be discussing beard styles based on face types in a later post, the moral of the story here is to test. Let your beard go a week, for example, and then style it. Keep that style for a week and see how you like it. Then shave, start over, and try again. If you need more than a week, that’s fine, but use that as an example to guide how you should operate.
Even if you think you’ve found a winner, continue experimenting, because you might be just around the corner from the perfect beard shape.
Make your routine manageable
If you’ll be regularly maintaining and grooming your beard, you don’t want it to become a chore or eat up too much time if you don’t have it.
Therefore, an often overlooked tip and aspect of beard grooming is the actual time and effort it takes to make it look as you want it to.
It’s true that shaving everyday with a razor can be more time consuming than maintaining a beard, but it is not always the case. If you’re enamoured with a certain intricate styling, but then realize it takes up way too much time or is just a hassle to maintain, you will be disappointed and have to either go clean shaven or pick a different beard style. It almost always look awful when you’ve got a ‘styled’ beard and let it grow out a bit because you haven’t groomed it recently. A heavy stubble over a supposed ‘design’ looks like you’ve really let yourself go or have been on a multi-day bender.
When testing for your correct style, note how long and how arduous the grooming process is, and take that into account when making your final beard style decision.
Clean your beard regularly
Just like the hair on your head, you’ll want to clean your beard regularly. At the very least, use a shampoo a couple times a week, no matter how short.
You can also use a conditioner on occasion if you are interested in keeping your beard slightly more soft.
Either way, be sure to rinse thoroughly to ensure no flaking occurs later in the day if any excess shampoo or conditioner dries on your beard.
This is an important step in your grooming arsenal, so don’t overlook it. You wouldn’t let the hair on your head to become unsightly and dirty, so don’t let your beard get there, either.
Keep that neckline natural
There’s something very wrong about a poorly shaped neckline. You might not be able to pinpoint it right away, but you’ll definitely notice if someone has a beard and they don’t have the proper neckline.
What you want is a natural flow, part of the way down your neck, not a severe edge too close to your jaw.
Clearly this will depend on the style of your beard, your weight, and the shape of your face and neck, but as a general rule, natural is better. That doesn’t mean you can leave it be and forget about it, because an unkempt neck beard is slobbish and not manly at all.
For the minimalist approach, just ensure that you use either the edging blade of your trimmer or a disposable razor to clean up the area below your Adam’s apple. Stray hairs down there are usually sparse and noticeable, so it should be easy to keep it clean.
A slightly more in depth approach would be to make a nice, even, natural line at your Adam’s apple and extend it across your neck from side to side. You can either shave it completely and have an even, clean neckline, or you can fade it with some more practice and skill. A clean cut is fine, particularly if your beard is shorter, but for a markedly more natural look, try to blend the bottom of your beard on your neck with the rest of your beard.
For example, shave your beard on whatever setting is the longest you wish to have it, let’s call it a 3. Then, shave the bottom of your beard around your neck and Adam’s apple to a shorter setting, a 1 perhaps. Do this for only about an inch or two, and then switch to a setting between the two, in this case, a 2. Use that 2 to blend between the rest of your beard and the recently shaved 1 setting of your lower neck beard. This will give you a natural yet faded look that helps you pull off a casual beard while still looking sharp and professional.
Get started today
Ready to start your beard grooming routine? Head over to the home page and select one of our top rated trimmers, or take a look through our comprehensive interactive guide of the best beard trimmers. Do your research (which our guides hopefully help you with), get your trimmer, and start some testing to find out the best beard grooming techniques and routines for you.