Growing a full beard is one of the great joys of being a man.
The supreme full beard should be thick, well-formed, and have a cohesive look (e.g. all of the whiskers are connected). Just to be clear on the definition, a full beard includes the mustache and sideburn areas, and the hairs should adequately cover your cheeks, chin and neck. The cool thing about growing a full beard is that once it has grown out, you can shape it and “customize” it however you choose, because you have plenty of hair to work with.
When your beard hairs are thick but tamed, your cheeklines are well-defined without being cartoonish, and your neckline is neatly sculpted, it is safe to say that you have achieved the enviable status of “beardtacular”. At that point, all that is necessary is to provide your beard with regular maintenance, and you’re good to go no matter what the occasion.
Why Do You Need To Shape Your Beard?
Learning how to shape a full beard is an important part of maintaining your beard’s awesomeness, because without shaping your beard, it can appear as though an unruly animal has latched onto your face. You want to make sure that you can grow your beard in a somewhat dignified manner. Once you’ve done that, you can then get on with the business of shaping your beard. So here’s the skinny on how to do just that.
My 8 Simple Steps To Shape Your Full Beard
You should grow your beard out for at least a couple of weeks before attempting to do a full-fledged shaping job. Most men can rack up a good stable of whiskers within this time frame. And believe me, it will be easier to work with when you’ve given it some time to develop.
In the meantime, in order to maintain a civilized appearance, be sure to regularly maintain your neck hair and trim any stray whiskers that look out of place on your cheeks, upper lip and otherwise. Once you have grown out enough “foliage”, which will typically happen after about 2-3 weeks, you’re ready to move to the next step of actually shaping your beard.
Make sure that your face and beard are both completely dry before attempting to shape anything. Otherwise, all you’re going to get is a confusing mess.
Before any trimming takes place, be sure to comb your beard and mustache hairs to smooth them out as much as possible. They should be combed in the direction of their natural growth patterns for best results. It is a good idea at this point to mention that investing in a set of beard maintenance tools will be necessary for keeping your beard up to snuff. Be sure to have a quality electric beard trimmer, a rotary shaver, barber-grade scissors, and a beard/mustache comb on hand to help you with the shaping process.
Trim your neck hair first, working outward from the middle to the sides. You can clean it up with a rotary shaver and some shaving cream. A safe cutoff point for your neckline hair is typically about a finger’s breadth above your Adam’s apple. Try to round out this cutoff line underneath your chin, so that it travels along a natural-looking line all the way from the point behind your left earlobe to the point behind your right earlobe.
Trim the hair on your cheeks in a manner that will complement your beard’s natural growth pattern. There is a lot of fuss about where exactly you should cut off your cheekline hair. Many men cut it off lower than they should, because they are concerned about their cheek hair creeping up too far on their face, giving them the “wolf-man” look. Try not to stress out about this; if you use the natural growth pattern of your cheek hair as a guide, 99% of the time you will trim your cheekline within acceptable limits. A good rule of thumb to remember is that your cheek hair will typically taper off right beneath your cheekbones.
Tidy up the hairs around your mustache line as well; you definitely want to avoid the “walrus look” as much as possible. Also take care of any stray mustache hairs that are too close to the area where your nose meets your face…sometimes hair can grow in the most interesting places.
When shaping and trimming your beard, do it in a manner that will give the appropriate proportions to your face. For example, if you have a smaller or more “compact” face, you want to shape up your beard with a length that makes sense, i.e. you don’t want your beard to dominate your face. Your beard should aid in giving the right proportional appearance to your face.
Now that you have performed a basic “shape up”, give your beard a good once-over and make sure that your symmetry is on point. Comb through your beard hairs to get rid of any loose stragglers; be sure to comb in a downward direction. If needed, use a little bit of beard oil to soften up your beard. You can also consider using beard pomade to help shape your beard as well.
Congratulations – you have just successfully shaped your beard!