So you’ve been growing your beard out for a while now and it’s getting a little shaggy.

Sounds like it’s time for a trim, fella. I’m not a barber, nor have I had any barber training, but I think we can get that mane of yours sorted out and shaped up. Trimming is good for your hair and will help it maintain a healthy look.

Before we begin, it’s my opinion that men should trust major beard cutting to a professional barber. Their skills and perspective on your beard is worth worth their weight in gold. My barber charges $5 for a beard trim. A barber haircut every two weeks and a barber beard trim once every 4-6 weeks is optimal. Here is what you can do yourself between visits, or exclusively if you wish. Learning to trim your own beard gives you ultimate control.

To clip or to snip?

Every job requires the proper tools. Clippers are great if you have a shorter beard and want to tighten it up using guards to control the length. Clippers will also allow you to make tighter edge lines if you desire. Because the clippers are constantly cutting you have to be careful not to grind them into your beard by accident. Take your time and ease into shorter guards so you don’t over-trim. Over-trimming often leads to a complete shave-off if you don’t like the way it looks.

Personally, I use scissors to trim my beard. Buy a quality pair of hair-cutting scissors from a barber or salon supply store (I bought mine at Sally Beauty Supply). Scissors that are specific to cutting hair have serrated edges to capture and cut the hair. Household scissors won’t do the trick and the hair just slides between them.

Decide on your desired beard shape and style before you start cutting. You need to have a clear vision concerning your beard goals and growing process. Make sure you know what you want your beard to look like in the short-term and long-term. The first beard I ever grew was all one length and really had no style to it. You need to manage that mane!

Okay. It’s trim time. You can do this.

Make sure you are in a well-lit room and use multiple mirrors if possible. Set aside some time for this so that you aren’t in a hurry or feeling rushed. You probably don’t want the kids and the dog running around you either. Make sure your beard is dry when you start cutting. Wet hair appears longer and will lead to an over-trim for sure. Put some our beard oil in there to soften it before you start.

I use a few different methods when trimming with scissors. One technique is to use a fine toothed comb to fluff my beard out and up (you know you’ve done it before) which will reveal the ends of the hair that I am targeting. Remove the comb and use the scissors to cut the ends of the hair while it is naturally standing up. Go slowly and only take a little bit at first and work your way around your beard in accordance to your shaping goals. Comb it back down to see how it lays. I like a faded or graduated look to my beard that is shorter at the sideburns and longer toward the chin.

Whatever you cut on one side try to take an even amount on the opposite side but don’t obsess about getting it perfect as that often results in cutting too much. If this is your first attempt at trimming your beard you may just want to make a few cuts at some areas that need cleaned up and then walk away. When in doubt grow it out.

Another method is using a comb to lift the hair up and then cut along the line of the teeth (similar to the way a barber might cut your hair). Never cut into your beard, always cut across it parallel to your face. I like to use the comb to work my way from the top down, left to right, and right to left in “rows.” If your beard is long enough you can also use your fingers and pinch the beard hair between them (also like a hair cutting professional might do). Cut a very small amount and then comb it back down to normal and see how it lays.

After the trim

After I’ve trimmed I like to have a quick shave above and below my beard to give it the final touch. I use Cliff Original beard oil as a pre-shave oil to soften my scruff and skin. Since I am only taking one swipe above the beard I use the oil only. Shave cream or shave soap makes it harder to see the line I’m creating with the razor. Now that the oil has soaked in on my neck, I use a brush and shave soap to lather below the beard and shave it with a razor.

I always shave before showering because I don’t want shave soap residue in my beard. I wash my beard with the Cliff Original face and beard wash brick. The organic ingredients and fresh goat milk give your face and beard unmatched softness that you just can’t get with other harsh bar cleansers. Finish that face trophy with beard balm and beard oil from Cliff and get ready for the beard compliments to roll in all day long.