Ah, the cheek line…that most mysterious element of beard-growing phenomena. Some men seem to have beard growth patterns that have been blessed by the gods, while others are doing everything they can to give their cheek lines any kind of cohesive look.
One thing that is fairly clear is that a jagged, patchy or haphazard-looking cheek line can really detract from the overall look of your beard. What you’re after is a cheek line that complements your beard’s unique features (e.g., texture, color, density, etc.) and appearance.
There Is No One “Right Way” To Shape Your Cheek Line
Many men have fallen into the trap of deriving their example of the ideal cheek line from another guy who actually didn’t know what he was doing either. Make no mistake – it’s not easy to nail down an exact step-by-step instruction on how to shape a beard cheekline, because every man’s facial hair growth patterns will be different.
But one thing that must remain “front and center” in your thinking is that your beard is exactly that – yours. That’s the cool thing about growing a beard; it can truly become a unique expression of who you are as an individual.
Therefore, this matter of shaping your cheek line shouldn’t be approached as if you’re walking some kind of tightrope. There’s always room to improve, adjust and modify your look based on your personal taste or preference. All it takes is time, patience and a little bit of good old-fashioned trial and error.
Is There A Correct Cheek Line Height? Finding A Happy Medium?
One thing that must be emphasized is that there is often a fear among men of allowing their cheek line hair to grow too high up on their face. This “fear of heights” may stem from a preoccupation with what other people might consider to be a “socially acceptable” beard pattern.
All too often a higher cheek line is viewed as a “wolf-man” characteristic, which makes some men feel as though they’re pushing the envelope a little too much. Consequently, they trim their cheek line unnaturally low in an attempt to overcompensate for this concern. While some guys can pull off a low-cut cheek line with relative success, other guys end up looking like a sleazy pop singer from the 1990s. The trick is to find a happy medium that makes sense for your facial features and confidence level.
How To Define And Shape Your Cheek Line?
1. Step One – Grow your beard
Let’s now look at the business of learning how to shape your cheek line. As uncomfortable as it may be at first, the only real way to truly define your cheek line is to let your beard grow out naturally so that you can see what you’re working with. For some of you guys, this will be venturing into uncharted territory, but this step is absolutely necessary if you want to develop a good cheek line.
So, your first assignment is to allow your cheek line to grow out naturally. This means no trimming or shaping during the process. It will itch, and it may feel unusual at first, but you have to “troop it” through this time. Once your beard has grown out to a state of fullness, observe the shape that your cheek line takes on. If it looks acceptable and fairly even on both sides, then you really don’t have anything else to do. If you’re not satisfied with what you see, then take the next step.
2. Step Two – Identify your cheek line
Generally speaking, your cheek line can be identified by drawing an imaginary line from the top of your earlobe (or the front part of your sideburns) to the corner of your mouth (or your mustache). This line should have a slightly diagonal slope. This is considered to be the cheek line area for most guys.
If you’re trimming your cheek line so that it doesn’t reach any higher than the area just below your bottom lip, more than likely you’re not allowing your beard to grow to its full cheek line height. For most men, their cheek line hair will naturally stop growing around the area where the cheek bones can be felt. This is perfectly acceptable, but for guys who have concerns about high cheek bones, you will have to use your discernment and gauge it based on how the beard looks overall.
Again, don’t fear any kind of beard-up-to-the-eyes scenario; you can always trim and adjust.
3. Step Three – Trim to suit
Using your imaginary line as a guide, trim your cheek line in from your sideburns to your mustache. This line can be slightly rounded if you want to avoid an extremely angular look. Make sure to cut off all hair above your proposed cheek line using clippers, scissors or a trimmer, but be sure not to use a guard when using the clippers or trimmers.
Remember, you can always take more hair off, but you can’t put the hair back on, so exercise patience when defining the cheek line. Cut both cheek lines in the same manner, but don’t panic if they’re not perfectly even with each other. One way you can judge your work is by putting your index finger at the highest point of your cheek line for both sides of your face (right index finger on right cheek, left index finger on left cheek). If your fingers look like they’re pointing directly at each other in an even horizontal line, you’ve done your job.
Now get to trimming!