How To Trim a Beard With Scissors

One of the key points to maintaining a healthy and great-looking beard is to trim it regularly.  

While beard trimmers work well for a close-cut beard, you will need to use shears if you have considerable growth.

Below is a six-step tutorial on how to trim your beard with scissors:

Before Trimming, Read This


Try to have a style in mind before trimming.  Do you prefer a more rounded-looking beard or one that is square?  Perhaps you want one to be more tapered?  The point here is not to trim blindly, instead have a plan in place before starting.

Three Required Tools

For home trimming, you will need shears, a comb, and a razor.  

  1. Shears: Shorter shears provide greater control when trimming facial hair.  Don’t use cheap household scissors; those aren’t as sharp and will often pull facial hair with each clip.
  2. Beard Comb: Any comb can work – however, a beard comb makes things easier.   Beard combs have evenly spaced teeth and a smaller size, leading to better control.
  3. Razor or Trimmer: You will need a razor or trimmer to clean the neck area.

Expected Results

If possible, go to your barber for the first trim.  Barbers are experts and can perfectly define the lines, particularly on the neck and cheek area.  This makes it easier for you to clean up regularly between visits. 

Note: For best results, continuously trim your beard.  Don’t strive for picture-perfect results in a single day – this often leads to mistakes or a very close trim.

Step 1: Shower Before Trimming

Before trimming your beard, take a quick shower.

A shower will help soften and relax facial hair making it longer and easier to cut.  We recommend using a natural beard wash when cleaning.

Pat dry once finished.

Note: Wet facial hair will appear longer.  Keep this in mind when trimming.  Cutting too aggressively may lead to shorter-looking results.

Step 2: Comb Your Beard 

Begin by combing your beard outwards under the jawline.  Once you can get smooth, tangle-free passes with your comb, begin making passes in a downward motion. 

The goal here is to untangle your beard and make it easier to trim.

Step 3: Start by Trimming the Bottom First

man trimming facial hair on chin

At this point, you may have noticed that the length of your facial hair varies from one strand of hair to another – that’s normal.

Start by defining the bottom line of your beard.  Here you can determine how long you want your beard to look.  

alternate angle of man trimming facial hair on chin

While a clean cut across the bottom can work, also hold the shears upwards (pointed end towards your chin) and making some small cuts:

man using shears on chin to trim hair

Cutting this way can help to develop a natural-looking texture that isn’t too angular.  

Step 4: How to Clean the Neck Area

man looking to the side with red line to demonstrate proper neckline for beard

The neck area must be carefully defined.  Too high, and your beard will look more like a chinstrap, too low, and it may appear sloppy and unkempt.

Use your Adam’s apple as a point of reference and clear all the growth below this point.  A razor or trimmer can be used.  Opt for a trimmer should you be susceptible to ingrown hairs (razor bumps) or have sensitive skin.

Step 5: Clean The Sides

You have probably noticed when growing a beard that there can be several wispy hairs, particularly on the sides.  Now is an excellent time to clean those up.

Before trimming the sides, comb your facial hair up and away from your body:

man combing his beard 1

As was the case with cutting the bottom, you can see and clean up the varying lengths of facial hair.

man using shears on cheek to trim beard

Step 6: Mustache Trim

When cleaning the mustache, you have two options: let it continuously grow like a handlebar or trim it to lip level.

If trimming to lip level, you will want to cut the hair to the desired length with the shears – use your upper lip as a guide. 

Post-Trim Conditioning & Styling

Once finished, consider adding a conditioning and styling agent to your beard.  Beard oil and beard balm help reduce beard itch or beard flakes.  Beard balm contains beeswax which makes your beard easier to style.

Additionally, a beard comb or brush can make your beard look great every day.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more. When Adam isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his two little kids who keep him both on his toes and young at heart.

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