How to Use a Beard Trimmer – Learn the Correct Techniques

How to Use a Beard Trimmer

So you’ve started on your beard-growing journey and have collated enough facial hair to require a beard trimmer. Welcome to the club.

Beard trimmers are a must-have tool for any hairy gentleman and some can even double-up for full-body grooming convenience. Pretty handy. They aren’t, however, always as simple to use as you might at first think. Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to use a beard trimmer.

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Why Should You Use a Beard Trimmer?

When growing a beard, we always advise that people set their sights to 4-6 weeks of continuous, uninterrupted growth. Within this time, you should have a decent amount of facial hair, although it might take you more/less time depending on your genetics.

Once you’ve passed through this period resisting the urge to tinker and trim, it’s time to get that face mane under control. Although you can do this with scissors, it’s best to tackle the trim head-on with a high-quality beard trimmer. Beard trimmers will help you to craft every detail of your desired beard style with a great deal of accuracy. They’re an essential tool for any bearded gentleman looking to refine and perfect his look.

Trimming Beard With Scissors

How to Use a Beard Trimmer

Once you’ve got hang of the process, trimming a beard will be second nature to you. Here’s what you need to know:

1) Acquire a Beard Trimmer

This step might seem obvious, but it’s important you buy a high-quality beard trimmer. They’ll deliver a much more precise shave and will be far more comfortable to use than cheaper ones, which can cause bleeding and pull out hairs completely.

If you’re not sure which one is going to be best for you, we’ve reviewed the internet’s best beard trimmers and summarized them in an article. Take a look and find the one that works best for you. We’ll also be mentioning our favorite in a little more detail at the end of this article - the Philips Norelco 5100.

Philips Beard Trimmer

Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer

2) Wash and Dry Your Beard

It might seem contradictory to get a beard wet before cutting it, but if you’re wondering how to properly trim a beard, this is the best way to go.

Wash your beard with a well-known beard shampoo. This will help to remove any dirt or trapped skin cells which could create knots - and a pretty unpleasant shaving experience.

Clean beards are much easier to trim, as the beard trimmer will be able to navigate your face with less difficulty. In turn, this will lead to a better end style.

Once your beard has been washed, dry it carefully with a towel. Ensure all of the hairs are pointing flat, as this will also make for a smoother trim. This part is particularly important for men with thicker, fuller and longer beards.

3) Start With the Neck Area

Once you’ve washed and dried your beard, it’s time to fire up your trimmer. Before doing this, it’s advisable to set your beard trimmer to the longest length setting.

This, if anything, is a safety precaution, as the last thing you want after weeks of growing is to take a huge chunk off and have to start over. If you need to, you can always adjust the length later on to suit a shorter look.

The best place to start when trimming the beard is the neck area. Keeping a tidy neckline is key to a tidy, well-styled beard. Hairs typically grow down your face and neck, so start by shaving up against the grain. Remove the height adjustment tool from your beard trimmer and shave a tight, clean neck line where you want your main beard to begin.

Neckline Example

The key to this step is moderation - shave a little bit at a time, then take a step back and have a look. It’s easy to get carried away when trimming a beard and take too much off. If this does happen, however, don’t worry. The hair on most men’s necks grows quickly, so just wait it out until you can try again.

4) Set a Clear Line on Your Cheeks

After you’ve taken care of the neck and created a tight, clean-cut neckline, it’s time to move onto the sides of your face. Your cheek line is the next most important point of your beard, as it’ll define your overall style and help to frame your face.

At this point, you need to make a choice. Do you want to keep a full beard that extends right up to the top of your cheeks, or do you want to trim in a cheek line that’s slightly lower?

If you’re looking to define a cheek line, now’s the time to set it out. Remove the height adjustment tool and trim downwards, gradually removing sections of hair. As with the neckline, take your time with this. The hair on your cheeks typically won’t grow as quickly, so you need to make sure you’re careful to avoid catastrophe.

After trimming a section, step back and review. Remember - make sure both sides of your beard match. Symmetry is essential for any beard style and a lack of it will throw the overall look and make you look untidy.

Achieving a Proper Cheek Line

Example of a Proper Cheek Line for Liev Schreiber

5) Define Set Lengths For Your Cheek Hair

Although full beards can look great, I always think beards look tidier and better when the cheeks are trimmed down into a set line. Once you’ve done this, you’ll want to maintain a few different lengths for the rest of your cheek hair to create a styled, contoured effect.

I usually set a length difference of 2mm between my cheek hair and jawline. It’s not a huge difference, but it has a significant impact on your overall appearance. Start by moving your beard trimmer to the higher of your two settings and trimming the whole of your jawline and cheek hair. Do this for both sides. Then, you need to reduce that length setting by around 2mm, and shave the upper section of your beard, closer to your cheeks.

6) Trimming the Chin

This is a matter of personal preference, but I always like trimming my chin hair at a slightly longer length than my jaw, neck and cheek hair. I usually set my beard trimmer to 2mm longer than my jawline, which is 4mm longer than my cheek line.

​By doing this, you’ll be able to create added definition. You don’t have to do it this way, though. There are several different beard styles you can adopt that accentuate different sections of your face. Take a look at our beard styles guide and pick the one that works best for you.

​After completing this, you should comb your way through the beard to make sure there are no loose hairs left over by using a high-quality beard brush. This will ensure that you’re able to get the tidiest style possible.

7) Tackle Your Mustache

The importance of a mustache when trimming a beard is often undervalued. A good mustache, however, can really bring your overall style to life.

When trimming your beard, you should be extra careful of your mustache. Although slight mistakes and patches can be disguised in your beard with relative ease, a bad mustache can cost you your whole look. No pressure.

Firstly, comb your mustache downwards and use your beard trimmer to get any hairs that tangle over your lip. If you’ve got a love interest in your life, they’ll thank you for getting rid of those.

Trimming Your Mustache

For most people, mustache hair needs to be longer to remain flat against your face, so set your height guard to a longer length before trimming. Once again, a prickly mustache isn’t going to be nice for anyone.

Suggested Items

So there you have it - everything you need to know about how to use a beard trimmer. Here are a couple of items I’ve used which have both helped me trim my beard and kept it in top condition.

1) Philips Norelco 5100 Beard Trimmer kit

The Philips Norelco 5100 is everything you’ll need from a beard trimmer. It’s accurate, has decent battery life and can even be used in the shower for maximum convenience. It comes with several accessories including attachments for nose, ear and head hair. This beard trimmer is an all-in-one package that’s great value for money. Click here to check it out on Amazon!

2) Smooth Viking Beard Oil

If you suffer from an itchy beard before or after a trim, a good beard oil will sort this out. Beard oils such as Smooth Viking soften your beard hair and moisturize the underlying skin. Not only will this make your beard more comfortable, it’ll also prevent the dreaded beardruff which plagues many bearded men.

3) Spartan’s Den Beard Shampoo

Despite their rugged appearance, beards need just as much care as the hair on your head. By using a high-quality beard shampoo such as the one by Spartan’s Den, you’ll be able to keep your beard clean and healthy.


Everybody has their own ways of doing things. Do you have a particular beard trimming technique that we haven’t mentioned above? Let us know in the comments box below!