Maintain Your Beard Line: Beard Grooming Hack
We’ve all been there, we finally got our beard line perfect and its time to clean up some stubble around our cheeks and neck when, whoops, we took off too much on one side! Not to worry, not all is lost, we just must do the same on the other side, right? Before we can fathom what is happening, we are starting at the mirror, sweating, frustrated, contemplating the next steps. “Shaving my beard off is not an option,” you tell yourself and the more you try to correct the accident the more your once majestic beard is starting to resemble a 1990’s chinstrap (no offense to the chinstrap lovers out there).
Let us offer you a technique that will make days like this a long-forgotten nightmare! I personally stumbled upon this purely by chance many years ago and it has forever changed my life. I will preface this by saying that, not all faces and beards are created equal and while this technique works flawlessly for my skin and hair type, it may not be the saving grace for everyone. It works on the principle of regular maintenance and while doable, may not be ideal if you clean up stubble less often. The key is ensuring your stubble stays short; this will vary for different people and for me it means no more than three days’ worth of growth. Next comes a type of electric shaver that’s been on the market forever, and it’s one that many of you may already own.
Getting the perfect line:
Before we get into equipment and method, lets first discuss getting the line. Personally, I visit my barber every other week and during those visits, I get a beard tune-up. It’s always best to have that third-person perspective form a skilled & experienced professional to line up your beard which makes it my preferred choice. There are beard lining gimmicks out there, I’ve never tried them and can’t comment on their effectiveness. If faced with a scenario where a skilled & experienced barber is unavailable, the recommendation is to follow your natural beard line. I use an independent electric trimmer to get close to the natural line of my beard leaving an untouched “buffer zone” that I will touch-up once I’m comfortable with the evenness on both sides. Some of you reading this may feel that a straight razor is the only way to go. In my experience, that leaves you open to accidental unwanted cuts that will change the symmetry of the beard, but that's where skill comes in. Personally, I like being risk-averse and I am also not too proud to use my wife’s hair tweezers in a challenge or transition areas like from sideburns to beard. This level of precision ensures I only remove the targeted hairs and don’t impact sideline casualties in the process. For the neck area, I start in the middle and create a straight line, I then work from the outside in to meet that line from both sides. I found this to be the best practice to ensure consistency. Apply this same style even if you follow your jawline, again leaving a marginal area for more precision work and error recovery. Once lined up, the rest is cake!
This is where that electric shaver comes into play. The type of shaver I’m referencing is called a foil shaver and has a thin layer of metal foil that covers the cutting area and protects the skin (and long hairs) from direct contact with the sharp blades. Your stubble is drawn into small holes in the foil where reciprocating blades trim them leaving you with an exceptionally smooth shave. It’s important to note that not all foil shavers are created equal, this does not mean some are worse, just means they serve a different purpose. The main feature to look out for is an integrated trimmer on the foil head. This trimmer element, usually between two foils on the shaver cassette, is specifically designed to cut hairs that don’t enter the foil and is extremely dangerous (pardon the drama) near beard hairs you are looking to keep.
Now light bulbs may be going off for some of you, if not, my apologies for overcomplicating a simple concept. In keeping your stubble short, it ensures only those hairs that are short enough will enter the blade area through the foil holes so long as you use care not to go against the grain of shorter sideburn and beard hair forcing them into the foil. It’s brilliant really, foil slides over the longer hairs you don’t want to cut ultimately protecting them from the hidden blades. In my case, I take the foil shaver to the new stubble once every 2-3days, stretch the skin around my cheek and neck area to get a flat surface and let the shaver do the rest. The entire cleanup process takes 3-4mins, it keeps my beard looking neat and groomed, maintaining that line (even when I’ve worn my beard trimmed short) with no mistakes, ever!
Other things you want to consider:
- If you are looking to try this and you haven’t used an electric shaver before, be aware that there may be a period of discomfort while your hair and face gets acclimated to this new method of shaving. Read the manufactures recommendations when shopping.
- There are different types of foil shavers on the market, some for dry shaving only others accommodate wet/dry? I personally use a wet/dry, only shave dry, but like having the ability to wash and rinse the shaver after each shave.
- How often you plan to do clean up maintenance? If longer periods laps between cleanup, you may want to consider an independent trimmer for careful touch-ups to allow the foil shaver to function properly
- In addition to a foolproof way to maintain a beard line, I have found it significantly more cost-effective to use an electric shaver. When you factor in the small areas covered over a very short period of time relative to those shaving their entire face, you find that you will need a razor replacement less often and the shaver itself lasts longer over time.
- I have also found that using an electric shaver results in longer periods between cleanup. This may be different for everyone, but in my experience, it now takes almost two days to notice a “5 o’clock shadow.”
- Razor burn and ingrown hair sufferers may find that after acclimation, using an electric shaver significantly reduces or even eliminates irritation and ingrown hairs.
We hope you find this technique helpful and we would love to hear about other methods used that have worked for you. If you try this one, let us know what you think. Be sure to like, comment and share with your friends and check out our other blogs for more interesting beard content!