Fact: no beard ever grows in perfectly. Some beards grow in super patchy. Others may lack density and thickness. Such beard imperfections are completely normal, but not all are so forgivable. Case in point: a sloppy beard line.
Knowing how to line up a beard is key to rocking facial hair that looks natural, yet well-groomed. And sure, a barber could define your neckline and cheek lines for you, but why not save some time and money by doing it yourself?
Don’t worry, lining up a beard isn’t too difficult. Here’s how to line up a beard the right way—whether it’s heavy stubble, a full-grown mane or somewhere in-between.
How to Trim a Beard Neckline
Beard necklines can be a little tricky. If it’s too high, it will look unnatural and weird. Too low, and you might develop a neckbeard and get lumped into an unfortunate stereotype involving basement-dwelling nerds.
To find the bearded sweet spot, follow this step-by-step guide:
Step #1: Find Your Beard Neckline
The first step is to draw your imaginary neckline boundaries—that is to say, where your beard actually begins on your neck. Take two fingers and place them (horizontally) on your Adam’s apple. That’s the midpoint of your neckline, gentlemen. Complete the imaginary line by curving it up towards each ear in a “U” shape and voila! That’s your neckline.
Step #2: Prep the Skin
Before you shave, remember to prep your skin for the razor. The skin on your neck is particularly sensitive, so don’t try to cut any corners when trimming your neckline. Take a warm shower, pat dry and apply a quality pre-shave oil to your skin followed by a translucent shave cream so you can see what it is you’re doing.
Step #3: Shave Everything Below the Imaginary Line
Now, it’s time to shave outside of the imaginary “U” line. Your grooming weapon of choice should be a double edge safety razor because 1) it will give you a closer shave and 2) it’s ridiculously easy to use. The only exception is if you have an incredibly thick beard, in which case, you probably should use a trimmer to reduce the bulk before taking your safety razor to it.
Start from the middle of one side and make your way outwards, using short and small strokes. Then, go back to the middle and repeat the process on the opposite side. Don’t forget to apply a soothing beard balm immediately after to reduce skin irritation.
How to Trim Your Cheek Lines
How you trim your cheek lines ultimately comes down to personal preference. You can sculpt it in a variety of ways to play up your natural hair growth and your face shape.
That being said, almost every bearded dude will agree on one thing: facial hair growing up to your eyeballs isn’t sexy. Since cheek lines are so subjective, we’ll forego the step-by-step guide and offer some helpful tips instead:
- Establish a Cheek Line. Generally, the cheek line runs from the end of the sideburn to the moustache. You can keep this line straight and diagonal or give it a slight curve. Curved cheek lines work best if you have an angular face because it can help soften sharp facial features, whereas a straight and clearly-defined line is ideal for rounder face shapes.
- Work with Your Natural Growth. If your beard hair is sparse, do your best to keep the bulk of your beard by working with your natural cheek lines. Tidy up the strays and don’t worry so much about having a clearly-defined line.
- Keep It Symmetrical. No matter how you trim your cheek line, you want to keep both sides even and symmetrical. Symmetrical faces are scientifically proven to be more attractive, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to score a date with a spicy senorita.
How to Fade a Beard
Some guys prefer to fade their beard as opposed to having it end abruptly. If you prefer subtle and more blended look, grab your beard trimmer and follow these three simple steps:
Step #1: Set Your Trimmer Length
Start by adjusting your beard trimmer’s length to one or two settings lower than the hair on your beard. This will help give it your beard that nice, tapered look.
Step #2: Target the Area Above Your Adam’s Apple
Take your trimmer and buzz the area just above your Adam’s apple, about two inches below your jaw. Leave the upper half at its original length.
Step #: Blend the Beard
Switch the guard to a setting that is midway between the original beard hair and the hair you just buzzed. Fade the hair by buzzing the remaining two inches to fade the first zone into the second zone.
Lining Your Beard to Perfection
Learning how to line up a beard will probably take some trial and error on your part. Don’t worry so much about minor mistakes—we all make them! But if you’re really stressing over potentially screwing up, just have your barber do it the first time and follow his lead after that.