Learning how to trim your beard with scissors is an important skill for anyone that is interested in having a beard that well-groomed. You can try to trim it using only beard trimmers but you are going to miss the stray whiskers that stick out because you had only done a quick mechanical trim. Having some control over the structure of your beard is going to increase the overall look that you have as a man that cares about his appearance.
I will explain in detail 11 steps that you can follow that will allow you to adequate shape and trim your beard so that you no longer have a messy unkept looking beard. The steps are easy to follow and before you know it, you will be receiving compliments on the state of your beard.
1. Buy the Right Beard Trimming Equipment
First of all, you have to pick the right equipment for trimming your beard with scissors. Of course, you need to buy beard scissors that are designed to cut into coarse beard whiskers.
You can not simply use hair scissors because those scissors are usually made of thinner metal parts and they are actually too long and large. Snipping away a beard requires smaller scissors that are easier to manoeuvre around the chin and neck areas. The scissors that I like are by Suvorna (link to Amazon).
Also, buy a beard comb that has larger teeth. I recommend the handmade combs by Kent (click for pricing on Amazon). The tough whiskers of a beard will drive you nuts if you were to try to pull away at your bearded face using a comb that has tiny teeth. A cheaper comb that is designed for soft silky hair will pull away at your whiskers and your stress level will skyrocket.
Try not to search out the cheapest beard combs. They are usually made of thinner plastic that is full of imperfections. You have to ensure that you do not scratch and rip away at your facial skin. Doing so will cause redness and it could possibly create an environment where fungus or bacteria could enter into your skin causing a skin infection.
2. Shampoo and Condition Your Beard Beforehand
Before you start to trim your beard with scissors, you need to prepare your beard by cleaning the whiskers and the skin that is underneath the beard.
Start by using a beard shampoo on your beard such as the Ranger Beard Wash Shampoo (link to Amazon). You may have heard others stating that you can just use a normal hair shampoo on your whiskers. Hair shampoo is designed for hair, not whiskers. Whiskers are more prone to having split ends because you are constantly shaving your face. Also, they are exposed to food particles and saliva from time to time. Your head hair is not readily exposed to excessive dirt and other particles.
Furthermore, your facial skin is much more sensitive than the skin that makes up your scalp. Your scalp is there to protect the surface of your skull and to hold onto the thinner more delicate head hairs.
Try to purchase a beard shampoo that is as close to natural as possible. You will never find one that is 100 per cent natural, but there are many that very close to being completely free of added chemicals.
Also, think about buying a beard conditioner. A conditioner for facial hair will further protect the ends of your whiskers from splitting. You will be trimming down your beard which means you are going to run the risk of splitting numerous ends if whiskers are void of moisture and are in need of conditioning.
3. Envision an Invisible Line that Traces Your Jawline
You now need to be a little creative. I want you to envision a line that is parallel to your jawline. This line should extend from left to right, starting from just below your left earlobe. Make sure that line is about 2 inches below your actual jawline.
We need to have this added space in case you end up trimming in an uneven fashion. Having the extra room will leave you with the ability to make corrections. Everyone’s face is not totally symmetrical so we to compensate for such a situation.
This line will be where we will start to trim your beard with beard scissors. It is more of a guideline so that we can start to chip away at your messy beard. It will seem as if you are messing it up initially but we will deal with the finishing touches in later steps.
I have noticed that some people skip this step and simply do a quick overall trim with beard clippers and then they do a final trim with scissors. I feel that that method is too evasive and may cause you to trim off too much of your beard in the beginning.
You have to think about trimming your beard in such a way that you will be simply chipping away at it until is the right shape. If you cut off too much, you are not going to be able to fix the problem easily. It is similar to cutting a piece of wood with a saw. If you fail to measure twice, you may cut off too much and then you will be left with a useless piece of wood.
4. Trim your Beard along this Invisible Line using your Beard Scissors
You will now start trimming your beard, finally. Holding your beard scissors horizontally, start to trim along this invisible line that is 2 inches below your jawline. You will need to make numerous passes in order to reach your neckline.
This is the scariest step for most people. Your beard is going to look like a ragged mess. You might even feel as if you are shearing a sheep. Large clumps of whisker are going to float down from your scissors and you will be wondering why you were too cheap to go to a professional barber.
Do not worry about the look of your beard at this point, we are going to be able to shape it up later on. Just continue to trim until you feel as if there are zero whiskers passing below your invisible trimming line.
It is fine if there are a few whiskers that are not the same length as the others. In another step, we are going to use a trimming technique that barbers and hairdressers use to create a natural look to a cut.
5. Use your Beard Comb and your Fingers to Start to Shape your Beard
This is the step that will allow you to notice progress. After you have trimmed away at your beard 5 or so times, you need to start to use your beard comb. Comb through a section of your beard to check for stray whiskers that are not the same length as the others. If you notice any, trim them down to match the overall shape of your beard.
Also, using your thumb and your forefinger, pull on a small batch of whiskers to see if any of the whiskers are longer than the others. Do this length test in numerous places.
You might feel as if this tactic is odd but it is the best way to check throughout your beard to ensure that the length is even.
While trimming, make sure to that look at your beard at different angles into a mirror to see if a section needs to be tidied up. A good analogy is to view the beard whiskers under your jaw as if they were a cedar hedge. With a cedar hedge, you need to stand back to observe the hedge from the sides to see if the cuts are aligning.
6. Fluff out Underneath and Make Vertical Cuts with your Scissors
Now you are going to start to focus in on the underneath section of your beard that starts at your jawline, up until your neck.
This section is hard to trim because they are a lot of individual whiskers that are hard to see. Nevertheless, you need to keep the ends trimmed because split ends will cause a lot of discomfort for you. The skin under the jaw is very sensitive and if you are not maintaining the beard in this section adequately, you will find that you are constantly scratching away at it.
If you dig away at the skin, there is a greater chance that you will deposit bacteria or fungus into the skin which will cause further irritation and redness. Fingernails are powerful hiding places for germs.
To trim the beard underneath your jaw, start by fluffing it out with a beard comb. Now you can start to trim it. You will need to hold your scissors vertically or as close to vertical as possible. This trimming method is will create layers which will provide shape to your beard.
This technique is readily used by hairdressers since it provides more structure to a cut.
If you were to only cut straight across or horizontally with your beard scissors, your beard would look clumpy and it will have zero texture. Vidal Sassoon used this method to cut hair and was world famous due to his hairstyles, but we are trimming a beard, not a head of hair. His method of cutting straight across was called the blunt cut.
7. Trimming the Sides of Your Beard
Now that you have dealt with your beard line and underneath your chin, you can move onto the sides.
Start by eyeing the sides of your beard in the mirror and trimming any stray whiskers that are obviously longer than the others. Some people state that it is best to comb the beard thoroughly before you start to trim the sides but I feel that since the whiskers are curly, you need to trim them before you stretch them out with a beard comb.
Again, view your beard as you would a hedge that you are trimming. Would you force the branches to be unnaturally extended before trimming? Of course not! It is the same principle with a beard.
After completing a few passes with your scissors to tidy up the sides, comb the sides to fluff them up so that you can attack it again with your targeted scissor snips. Try not to over comb it because you will be stretching out the whiskers. If you trim a fully extended whisker, once it snaps back into its natural position, it will probably be shorter than the other whiskers.
You may also use the clumping method by grabbing a series of whiskers using your thumb and forefinger. Trim any ends that are longer than the others in these clumps. You will need to do this numerous times in order to cover the sides of your beard completely.
8. Trimming Your Mustache with Scissors
Trimming your mustache is going to be a piece of cake compared to the work that you have done by following the above steps. Nevertheless, you do need to take your time when trimming a mustache with scissors. It is the most prominent portion of facial hair because most people will watch your eyes and your mouth area while you are conversing with them.
It is best to look directly into a mirror and even to lean closer to it to use the scissors on the mustache whiskers. Start by trimming stray whiskers that are noticeable. Then using your beard comb, comb the whiskers down vertically. Now you should trim any whiskers that are curling onto your upper lip.
Personally, when trimming my mustaches, I like to cut the whiskers so that they are about an eighth of an inch from my upper lip. If you cut the whiskers exactly where they meet the upper lip, there is a chance that a whisker that stretches out will touch the lip at some point.
The mustache line is important to maintain since while eating, you may deposit food particles or even liquids into your mustache. I have noticed that when I am drinking my smoothie at the gym that sometimes I develop the infamous milk type mustache. Make sure that you wipe off your mustache often while eating and drinking even if you have trimmed it adequately.
9. Maintaining the structure of your Beard with Scissor Cuts
Now that you have the perfect beard structure, you will need to learn how to maintain it so that it stays neat and tidy. I am not saying that you have to pick away at it daily, but you have to inspect it often.
I have noticed that I only need to do a quick trim with my scissors since sometimes whiskers as they grow, start to curl and ruin the clean line for the beard that you had created. It is also a good idea to view your beard from multiple angles.
The quick checks that I do on my beard daily only take a few seconds. If you keep on top of the structure of your beard, you will make sure that is always well-formed and appealing to others.
You also should give it a quick comb while checking the structure of it.
Especially make sure that you comb your mustache since it will most likely start to creep onto your upper lip. I personally hate it when my mustache starts to touch my mouth. It creates a strange sensation while I am eating or drinking if it is out of control.
Another area that needs to be inspected each day is the edge of the beard near your ears. You will notice that whiskers that are longer than the others areas close to your ear are readily noticeable since the skin is usually totally void of hair follicles in the front of the ears.
10. If you Make Mistakes, Do Not Shave off your Beard
I have heard that some people get super frustrated if they over trim a section in their beard and just end up shaving it completely off. You have to understand, that a beard needs time to fill out so you need to be patient with it.
Also, if you make a cutting mistake, you would be better off just allowing that section to grow out instead of shaving it off to restart from zero. You will end up wasting sometimes weeks of beard growth if you were to panic and shave it down.
A section that is poorly cut with scissors can grow in rather quickly.
Furthermore, you can comb surrounding beard whiskers in order to cover up clipping mistakes. No one will even notice that you had messed up a portion of your beard if you were to do some creative combing. Just simply twist and comb whiskers that are close by to cover up an area that is too short.
Another way to maneuver beard whiskers is through the use of beard oil or a dap of hair gel. This type of fix is just temporary but it will allow you to have a perfectly shaped beard while you are waiting for a poorly cut section to fill in,
You have to view your beard as a work of art that you will need to manipulate from time to time.
11. Add Beard Oil to Moisturize Your Beard and to Repair it
Add a small dap of beard oil, about the size of a quarter into the palm of your hand. Mix it around using your fingertips and then apply it to your beard. This is done by massaging your beard whiskers with your fingertips. Make that you cover your beard completely, including your mustache.
Now your beard will instantly appear to be healthier because of the gleam that you had created. Also, you are adding moisture to your whiskers.
In an earlier step, I had suggested that you use shampoo on your beard before you start to trim it. Shampoo, even the ones that claim to be 100 percent natural, will pull the natural oils out of your whiskers. The whiskers are going to lose some of their moisture and adding beard oil will replenish this missing oil component.
Not only will your whiskers look shinier, but you are also protecting them from developing split ends. Whiskers that are dried out will have a greater chance of cultivating split ends. Having a bunch of whiskers that have split ends is going to play havoc with the overall look of your beard. Your beard will look as if it is on its last legs.
Besides improving the health of your whiskers, beard oil is also going to moisture your facial skin. This process is actually what beard oil was designed to do. It focuses in on the skin and protects the ability of follicles to push out well-formed whiskers.
That completes the steps that you need to follow to trim your beard properly with scissors. I will now provide information on topics that are related to the trimming and the growth of a beard.
How to Get Rid of Beard Dandruff
Having beard dandruff can be embarrassing. Even if you sport a shaved head, dandruff is going to flake down from your face if your beard is dealing with this ailment. If your beard is black, others are probably going to notice that you have an issue with facial hair dandruff.
If you have beard dandruff, here are some steps that you can follow to get rid of it:
- Start off by using a facial scrub on your facial hair. It is best to wash your face with warm water beforehand so that the skin pores are open. There is no need to rub on the skin at this point.
- Next, you need to rub the facial scrub into the skin that is beneath your beard and mustache.
- Your goal is to remove the dead skin cells that are always there on facial skin. Also, you will be eliminating any flakes of dandruff that are currently there on the skin.
- At the same time, using a facial scrub is going to unblock the follicles that pushing out your beard whiskers. Your beard whiskers are going to love this treatment and you will be rewarded with a healthier more vibrant looking beard.
- Now you need to add a beard conditioner to your beard. This conditioner will start to moisturize the skin and also it will add some oils to the whiskers.
- What is great about conditioning your beard is that you will have less itchiness which means that you are going to scratch the skin under your beard less often. Digging away at a beard can actually worsen a beard dandruff problem because you are introducing more bacterium and fungi to the surface of the skin.
- The next step is to moisturize your beard. When you moisturize your beard, your beard will not need to draw moisture from your skin to hydrate. When your whiskers absorb liquids from the skin, your skin dries out and flaking can happen as a result.
If the surface of your skin under your beard has redness along with flakes, it is best to exfoliate to remove a good layer of dead cells. If the redness is still there after a week or so, you could try dandruff fighting shampoo on your beard. Nevertheless, make sure that you moisturize your facial skin after each shampooing because shampoo can dry out your skin easily.
If you have noticed a slight problem of acne along with the flakes in your beard, you could try argan oil. Argan oil is great for people that are dealing with acne because it contains linoleic acids, vitamin E and even omega fatty acids which seem to reduce acne.
How to Trim your Mustache with a Beard Trimmer
Trimming your mustache with scissors is different from trimming your mustache with a beard trimmer. You need to be careful that you do not cut off too much or you will cut into your beard area while trimming the bottom of your mustache. I will highlight a technique that can be used to isolate visually your mustache so that will able to trim it quickly with a trimmer.
There are two scenarios to consider. Do you wish to have extra length in your mustache, versus a goal to trim it all over?
If you are trying to create more length in your mustache whiskers, you will need to trim only along your upper lip using a beard trimmer.
Just be aware that if you fail to trim all of the whiskers that touch the upper lip, any time that you drink a liquid, droplets will get stuck to your mustache. Also, food particles will clog up your mustache.
Here are the steps to follow to trim your mustache with a trimmer when you wish to grow out your mustache to a longer length:
- Use a beard trimmer that is relatively narrow. You need to follow the contour of your upper lip.
- Not every whisker will be entering into the upper lip zone, but there will be few that you should trim off with your trimmer.
- The next step is to comb vertically your mustache with a beard comb that has wide teeth. If you were to use a comb that has small teeth, it might not be able to easily pass through your whiskers.
- After combing your mustache, make another pass with your trimmer to trim off whiskers that are touching your lip.
- You can also push down slightly on your mustache with your fingers to ensure that any whiskers that are too long are more apparent. Just simply trim any whiskers that are obviously longer than the others in the mustache area
Below are instructions on how to trim your mustache all over so that each whisker is approximately the same length:
- To trim your mustache in a uniform fashion, you need to adjust your beard trimmer to a setting that provides the length that you are seeking.
- Start with a higher setting so that you will have the ability to try other settings that will shorten your whiskers even further. If you use a setting that cuts too much of your mustache initially, you will not be pleased with the results and you will need to let grow up again before you are able to fix it.
- Now you need to envision a line at the top edge of beard on one side that extends to the corner of your mouth. Do the same for the other side of your face. The area that is above this line is the mustache.
- Using your beard trimmer in an upward fashion, trim just your mustache. You may need to raise its corners with your fingers when trimming so that you do not accidentally trim into your beard.
- Make sure that you trim completely your mustache in order to have the whisker length consistent.
How to Trim Your Beard Cheekline
There are two main styles of beard cheek lines. One is the natural look where you are not creating a defined line. In some cases, you are rarely trimming it to maintain this look.
The second cheek line style is the defined look. This style dictates that the line is crisp which requires that you trim well the cheeks and even shave off whiskers that are above the line that you have defined as the top edge of your beard.
The following steps outline how to create a well-defined cheek line for your beard:
- You need to use a beard trimmer that allows you to trim your whiskers to the short length of .5 mm
- Draw an imaginary line from the top of your sideburn to the corner of your mouth. This line will be slightly curved.
- Use your beard trimmer and trim the top edge of your beard following this imaginary line
- Now, add a thin strip of shaving cream to your skin just above the top edge of your beard.
- Then shave above your beard cheek line to totally remove any whisker portions.
- Each day, you can shave this same area to make sure that you always have a well-defined cheek line above your beard.
How to Fade your Sideburns into your Beard
A lot of people have trouble fading their sideburns into their beards because the whiskers seem to have a slightly different texture. You have to be methodical when trimming this area so that your sideburns blend into your beard.
Here are the steps that you can follow to make that transition from sideburns to beard:
- Hold a beard comb vertically against one of your sideburns so that the midpoint of the comb is resting on the top of the sideburn
- Angle up the comb to 45 degrees
- Using beard clippers, cut off any whiskers that pass through the comb.
- You are using an angle so that comb remains stationary.
- If you were to simply use a beard trimmer, there is a chance that you would overcut and your sideburns would look patchy.
- Repeat this process down to the bottom of the sideburn.
- You could also pivot the comb in different directions on the sideburn in order to cover the whole surface of the sideburn.
- Now trim the other sideburn in the same fashion.
- Comb your sideburns using a beard comb vertically.
- Using a hand mirror, trim any stray whiskers, using beard scissors, that are curling out from the sideburn to tidy up your sideburns.
You also should trim around your ears:
- Bend your ear downwards. Just be careful not to overbend the ear since you could damage the cartilage which it what had happened to me once.
- Now using beard scissors, trim stray hairs so that you have smooth edges around your ear.
- Just make sure to follow the curvature of your ear.
- Now, trim around the other ear.
Should you Trim Your Beard Wet or Dry?
I have tried to trim my beard with electric clippers after showering. This does not seem to work very well. The whiskers tend to get stuck in the clippers making the job a huge task. Even trimming your beard with scissors when your beard is wet is difficult. Whiskers are heavier and this alters the shape of your beard.
You need for your beard to be perfectly dry before changing its shape. If you trim away at it while it is damp, the shape will be off and you will need to grow it up for a few days to correct its structure.
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