Photo of bearded man's face in shower

How to trim & groom a beard.

Last Updated: July 8, 2021

With some tips, tricks, tools, and patience, you can learn how to grow, trim, and groom a soft, stylish, and handsome beard. Read on!

Men everywhere of late have been branching out, experimenting with longer hair, different fashion, and, especially, facial hair. A beard can look great on anyone, giving you a handsome, distinguished, or even rugged look, depending on the style.

But if you don’t have a fellow beard-growing friend to get advice from, the process can be frustrating. We’ve got a few basic concepts, nifty tools, and step-by-step guides to help you sport that dashing beard you’ve always dreamed of.

Beard growth cycles

Growing facial hair is different for everyone, with body type, genetics, and even diet coming into play. Like the hair on our heads and on our bodies, facial hair is part of the body's natural hair growing cycle.

This cycle has four phases:

Anagen, the growing phase

During this stage, hair forms and grows on your body, head, or face. Depending on the person and the hair, this growth phase can last anywhere from a couple months to multiple years. For beard hair though, it's usually on the scale of a few months.

Catagen, the transition phase

During this phase, the hair starts slowing down from the growth phase and disconnects a bit from the blood supply in the body. This usually lasts for two to three weeks.

Telogen, the resting phase

During this phase, the hair begins fully resting, happy with its dashing appearance, and becomes inactive. Telogen hair rests usually for around three months, preparing for the exogen phase.

Exogen, the shedding phase

A very noticeable phase is when hairs exit the telogen phase and enter the exogen phase and begin to shed. If you run your hand through your head or your beard and hairs fall out, those hairs were likely in the exogen phase.

Help! How do I fix my patchy beard?

Blue clock illustration

One of the biggest reasons so many people start growing a beard and then stop is the dreaded “patchy beard” look.

Basically, you start to grow your beard, and within the first few weeks some of your face looks good while other parts have bald spots and look naked by comparison, giving it an uneven and childish look.

Don’t worry, patches are common, and there are a few tips and tricks to help alleviate this issue.

Give it enough time to grow

Often, patches fill themselves out if given the proper amount of time. Give it at least a full month of growth time before reaching for a razor.

Sport a style that matches your natural hair growth

There are plenty of beard styles to choose from. Try to work with the spottier parts by rocking a specific style.

Chin beards are great for folks who can’t grow a thick mustache, while styles like circle beards work for those whose goettees are strong but lack sideburn growth.

Use minoxidil-based products to slow hair loss

If you’ve given your facial hair plenty of time and are adamant about thick, lucious facial hair but can’t seem to grow a strong beard, try using professional, minoxidil-based hair growth products.

While not completely studied, minoxidil is used in over-the-counter formulas like Rogaine and increases blood flow in the hair, possibly boosting the hair’s anagen phase.

Time to trim: Beard trimming essentials

Once you have settled on a style and have let your beard grow for at least a month, it’s time to trim and shape it.

To properly trim a beard, you’ll need:

Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and Grove Co. cleaning caddy

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How to trim your beard: A step-by-step guide

With tools in hand and facial hair, well, on your face, it’s time to get that beard looking sleek and sharp. The whole process should only take 10 to 20 minutes depending on your beard length and expertise.

Step 2: Dry & brush it

Once clean, dry your facial hair with a clean towel. Then, using a beard comb and/or brush, brush it against the grain first. It will look a little silly, but doing this will knock off any strangling hairs. Then brush it back down with the grain so everything is neat and tidy.

Try Bulldog’s Beard Care Kit.

Step 3: Trim it

If you are still growing it out and are not at the desired length you want yet, you can skip this step. Otherwise, use a beard trimmer to trim your facial hair, starting with a long trimmer length and working down until you reach a length you like.

Trim with the grain, moving vertically, starting high on your face and moving down. Moving this way will avoid big chunks of hair rising up and getting chopped off accidentally.

Step 4: Define your beard neckline

A crucial step to any facial hair style is the neckline. For most (but not all) styles, you should trim just above the Adam’s apple.

Place two fingers just above your Adam’s apple, and then with a shorter trimmer setting, trim a vertical strip just above your fingers. Trim outwards, creating a defined neckline where your beard ends.

Step 5: Trim your mustache

First, brush your mustache hairs down or to the sides, depending on the style you’re going for.

Then, use the beard or mustache scissors to trim longer or unwanted mustache hairs to fit your style in progress.

Step 6: Brush, moisturize, and oil

Give your facial hair a final brush to remove any trimmed or straggling hairs. Then, add a healthy beard oil or beard balm. This will add moisture, just like face moisturizers, and nourish your facial skin and hair, making your beard more comfortable and lustrous.

Try Badger Balm’s Beard Grooming Kit.

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