Growing a beard is a process and letting it get longer and unruly is part of being able to grow the length of hair that you might.
Regardless, you still want it to look decent whilst you’re growing it out.
You don’t have the cut the body of the beard to make it look clean and professional. Instead, you can take efforts to improve the hair itself and to define the edges so that it looks cleaner.
Let a Barber Fix it Up
Barbers do this for a living. They know how hair works and they have the skills that are needed to make the most of the beard that you’ve got.
Instead of trying to create the perfect outline yourself, let a professional do it.
Once they’ve formed that clean shape you can do the upkeep yourself with a beard trimmer and a razor but letting a barber do it the first time is important.
It’s quite challenging to find the perfect look when you’re shaving in the mirror. Letting another person doing it from their angle will ensure you get a better cut.
Pick a Style for your Face Shape
Just like the hair on your head, you want to pick a beard style that matches the shape of your face.
In general, the best face shape is an oval. So, your beard style should complement and contrast your face shape so that it is closer to an oval.
If you’ve got a round face then you want to keep a lot of lengths on your mustache and chin area. This will add length to the face and by having significantly less hair of your cheeks and sideburns you can make you face thinner.
On the other hand, if your head is very long then you can keep hair on the sides and make it much shorter on the chin area. This will add width and ‘round’ your face out, preventing it from looking like a tall box.
Take some time to figure out what face shape you have and do some research into the best beard styles for your face shape.
Match your Beard to your Hair
Similarly, you want your beard to match your hair.
Symmetry and weight is important when you’re comparing your beard to your hair. In recent years more men have been keeping long beard with undercuts and bald hair styles.
However, in general you want to avoid excessive contrast. Both your hairstyle and your beard should work to maximize your attractive features and to hide those that you don’t like.
If you have a flat face that doesn’t have many angles to it you might want to keep a very rigid and clean short beard. This helps to add definition to your soft features.
On the other hand, if you have a particularly angular jawline that you don’t like you can keep an even beard around the face that will round it out. Combining this will a long haircut can help to soften your face and make it less angular.
Pick the Best Tools
Using the right tools is critical to getting the style that you want. Of course, you could use anything but specialist tools are going to make it easier for an amateur who has little experience cutting hair.
There are four tools that every bearded man should have; scissors, beard trimmer, razor and a shaping tool.
Unfortunately, scissors don’t get anywhere as much use as they should. If you’re looking to have absolute control over your facial hair you need a pair of scissors.
This will allow you to make tiny adjustments to the length of your hair at different points on your beard.
A quality pair of barbers scissors will cut the hair smoothly and will prevent any split ends. If you’re growing out your beard but want to keep it reasonably smart, a pair of scissors will give you the control you need to snip away the excess.
Beard trimmers are primarily for guys who want to maintain a short beard or constant stubble. This is a great look for most guys, especially those who just want to add a little ‘masculinity’ to their face.
Generally, you want to stick to a #2 - #5 if you’re looking for a stubble look.
You can do this every few days and this will keep you always looking fresh. If you have a softer and rounder face you might shave your chin area a little longer and if you’re jawline is too defined you might shave your chin area a little shorter.
This helps to balance out the stubble and give you the look that you’re going for.
Even if you’re growing out a full beard a trimmer is a great way to blend the bottom of your beard into your skin. You might want to trim the hair on your neck instead of shaving it clean.
Unless you’re letting out your inner hippy and allowing your hair to grow completely wild, you’ll want a razor to shape the edges of your beard to keep it defined.
Some razors include a single large razor on the back of the head, this is perfect for shaping. Otherwise, find a razor that you like and make sure to use some cream to prevent irritation.
These shaping guides are extremely underrated. You can use them to help you get the perfect line to your beard.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s hard to shape your beard yourself. However, with a shaping tool you can use a guide to prevent yourself from making any mistakes.
These tools come in a wide range of shapes and sizes.
You can find a beard comb template for around $10 - $20 and they’ll last for years.
Care for the Hair with Oil
You care for the hair on your head and you should be caring for the hair on your face too.
You might find that as your beard grows the skin underneath the beard begins to dry out and become itchy. This can be solved by using moisturizer on the skin and beard oil for the hair follicles.
Remember to condition regularly if you want to prevent tangling of the hair and splits in the hair.
Beard oils, balms and butters have the same basic ingredients. These ingredients will soften the hair, nourish it and keep your skin and hair highly conditioned at all times. This prevents it from splitting and looking dry or brittle.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Standard bar soaps and body wash gels can be too harsh for the delicate hair on your face. Instead of using these bar soaps which have harsh chemicals, look for a dedicated beard soap.
These are much kinder on your facial hair and also include conditioning ingredients that will leave your beard feeling soft and cared for.
Comb it Out for the Perfect Shape
When you’re growing a beard you need to take the time and effort to shape and comb it. You wouldn’t leave the house in the morning without styling and brushing your hair, it should be the same for your beard.
Buying a comb or a brush (depending on your hair thickness and style) will allow you to quickly brush your beard in the morning and maintain shape and thickness.
For guys who struggle to grow thick facial hair, brushes can be particularly useful. They can add depth to your beard and make it look fuller by brushing the hairs down, rather than letting them grow outwards.
Invest a few extra dollars and avoid the cheapest brushes or combs. They are often poorly manufactured and can tug on the hair, causing irritation and lost hair. Instead, the best combs will glide through your hair and untangle any knots in your beard.