One of the most crucial— time-consuming—parts of a men's grooming routine is maintaining your facial hair. Whether you prefer a long, flowing beard or like to keep things close-cropped, your daily routine likely involves at least some degree of beard care. Unfortunately, with beard care also comes grooming-related concerns, such as razor burn and ingrown hairs. While ingrown hairs are most commonly associated with shaving, they can also crop up after tweezing, trimming, or even waxing your facial hair. As such, learning how to trim your beard properly is essential if you want to keep your facial hair and skin looking (and feeling) their best.
Here, we'll teach you how to trim a beard the right way to reduce the risk of ingrown beard hairs on your face and neck. You'll learn how to prep your skin and hair beforehand, which tools are right for the job, and our best beard trimming tips to achieve an even, well-groomed look. We'll also teach you how to care for your skin after grooming to help keep irritation at bay. Read on for your ultimate beard trimming guide.
What Are Ingrown Hairs?
If you've ever shaved, plucked, or waxed your beard, there's a good chance you've had an ingrown hair or two at some point. In the most basic terms, ingrowns are hairs that have grown back into your skin. Though ingrowns can affect anyone, the risk is higher for those with coarse or curly hair.
When you shave or trim your facial hair, you're cutting it at a sharp angle. As the hair grows back, this pointed edge can penetrate your skin and allow the hair to grow inward (rather than outward). Ingrowns are often accompanied by redness and inflammation (hence the nickname "razor bumps") and may be painful or itchy. For those with darker skin tones, ingrown hairs can also result in dark spots and discolorations.
Can You Prevent Ingrown Beard Hairs?
The only surefire way to prevent ingrowns is to avoid removing your hair altogether. We know—that's probably not what you wanted to hear. Thankfully, a proper grooming routine can help reduce the risk of developing annoying razor bumps. Read on to learn how to trim a beard the right way.
Start With a Clean Beard
Before you break out the beard trimmer, you're going to want to make sure your facial hair is clean and free of excess oil or sweat. We recommend washing it with a mild shampoo formulated for facial hair, such as Grooming Solutions Nourishing Shampoo + Conditioner. This gentle, two-in-one cleanser removes buildup to leave your beard feeling soft and clean. The essential oil-infused formula also helps nourish your hair (and skin) for a healthy-looking finish.
To wash your beard, first wet it thoroughly with warm (but not hot) water. Then, dispense a dime-sized amount of the cleanser in your hands and massage it onto your facial hair, working it into a lather. Rinse it out thoroughly (again, with warm water) and pat your beard dry with a clean towel.
Exfoliate To Prep Your Beard (and Skin)
Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub
If you don't exfoliate regularly already, here's your cue to start. Not only can exfoliating help prevent ingrowns, but it can also help free trapped hairs by removing dead skin cells at the skin's surface. Try incorporating an exfoliating face wash, like Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub, into your skincare routine at least once a week.
This men's face wash with crushed apricot kernels and caffeine helps buff away dead skin cells while removing dirt, oil, and other impurities. When used prior to shaving, it softens tough facial hair to allow for a closer, more comfortable shave and helps alleviate existing ingrowns. This energizing formula is suitable for all skin types and can be used two to three times weekly in lieu of your regular men's facial cleanser.
Trim First, Then Clean Up The Edges
Once your skin and beard are adequately prepped, you can go ahead and trim your beard to your desired length and style. To reduce the risk of ingrowns, we recommend using a clipper equipped with a protective shield and keeping the hairs as long as possible—at least a few millimeters. If you prefer, you can also use beard scissors to create your desired shape.
For the edges and other areas you want clean-shaven, use a clean, sharp razor. First, prep the area with shaving cream, like Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream White Eagle. The creamy, brushless formula smoothes on easily and leaves skin primed for a close shave. If you have sensitive skin, try Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream Blue Eagle, which is fragrance-free and suitable for all skin types. The gentle formula helps prepare and soothe skin before shaving to allow for a smoother, more comfortable shave.
Close Shavers Squadron Smooth Glider Precision Shave Lotion
If you prefer shaving gel over shaving cream, try Close Shavers Squadron Smooth Glider Precision Shave Lotion. The lightweight formula with vitamin E and eucalyptus oil softens tough facial hair and helps protect your skin from shaving-induced irritation (read: razor burn). It's suitable for all skin types and can be smoothed on sans water for a lather-free application.
Don't Skimp On Aftershave
As the name suggests, aftershave treatments are typically applied to the skin after shaving. However, you can use Ultimate Razor Burn & Bump Relief as part of any beard grooming routine (even if you keep your facial hair on the longer side). The soothing formula with aloe vera and lipo-hydroxy acid instantly cools and hydrates the skin. It helps relieve the feelings of irritation associated with hair removal, like razor burn, for a calm and virtually sting-free finish. When used regularly, the exfoliating formula also helps reduce the appearance of ingrown hairs and moisturizes the skin to leave it feeling stronger and more resilient.
We recommend applying a small amount of this unique cream to your face after trimming, shaving, or shaping your beard. Allow it to absorb before continuing with your post-grooming skincare routine.
Soften Strands With Beard Oil
Next, work a beard oil, such as Grooming Solutions Nourishing Beard Grooming Oil, through your remaining facial hair. This unique oil is formulated with 99.8% naturally-derived* ingredients, including a blend of aromatic essential oils. The lightweight formula helps tame coarse facial hair of all lengths while refining the skin underneath for a smooth, nourished feel. It's suitable for all skin types and absorbs easily with a non-greasy finish.
*We consider ingredients to be naturally derived if they retain more than 50% of their molecular structure after being processed from a natural source.
Keep Your Skin Well-Hydrated
Lastly, finish your routine with a hydrating facial moisturizer, like Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. This alcohol-free moisturizer for combination and oily skin types contains glacial glycoprotein and micronized amino acids. It sinks into the skin quickly and provides long-lasting hydration without a greasy or sticky feel.
When used consistently, the non-comedogenic moisturizer helps minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, which is a common skin concern amongst men (particularly those with oilier skin types). It also helps keep the skin hydrated and shine-free for up to 24 hours. We recommend applying this refreshing formula morning and night for skin that looks and feels balanced, fresh, and hydrated. In the daytime, follow it up with a lightweight facial sunscreen to help protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.