Teach a rookie to groom facial hair!

I am a 34-year-old male. Historically, the men in my family have not been strong facial hair growers. I am no exception to this. Throughout my adult life, I have been able to go three or four days without shaving before any stubble becomes noticeable, and that’s been just fine by me. Because, you know…I’m lazy.

Several weeks ago, however, I was having a conversation with my girlfriend that caused me to become curious. She’d mentioned that she kind of liked facial hair, but I told her that usually by the fourth or fifth day, it gets itchy, so I have to shave it off. However she and another friend I’d talked to said that you just kind of need to fight through the itchiness until it grows out some. So I decided to give it a shot – for science!

Four weeks later, I’ve fought through (most of) the itchiness and managed to grow out what some have generously called a goatee. I kind of like how it looks, much to my surprise. And I’ve even gotten several unsolicited compliments on it. The lines coming down from my mouth are still a little thin, but I have a nearly legit mustache, and the hair on my chin is kind of full and bushy.

Which leads me to a question I’ve never had to ask before: what the hell do I DO with this thing? I don’t have any sort of beard-grooming tools. I’ve been shaving around it, but I’m feeling like the hair on my chin is a little too bushy right now. I’m black, so all of my hair is normally really close-cropped, but the hair under my chin is now long enough that I can actually pull on it, which I’m not crazy about.

So, how do I trim it and keep it neat without just shaving it all off? And how far beyond my chin and into the neck area am I supposed to let it get? How do I guarantee that I can send women and small children into shrieking fits at the mere manliness of my new facial hair? Any and all advice is welcome. :slight_smile:

I just use a sharp pair of scissors to trim my beard. (You do NOT want to use a dull pair of scissors.)

The underside of your chin should remain pretty much shaven. (I leave a little bit under my chin line just to make it appear a little fuller.)

It’s been a long time since I kept a beard going but the two things I recall being necessary were:

  1. Keep neat edges - when I was growing a beard I made sure to maintain a border. Just pick an edge where you want your beard/goatee/mustache to end and keep it sharp. If you’ve got facial hair spreading randomly it just looks like a garden being slowly overgrown by weeds. I shave with a plain old safety razor and that worked fine. You may want to look at a few photos of guys with the same style as you to see what looks good for your face.

  2. Keep a uniform thickness - pick up an electric beard trimmer (any big store will carry them - Target, drugstores, etc), it’s an electric shaver with a depth guide, much like those cutting guides you’d put on a regular hair clipper. It takes a while for facial hair to fill in (meaning complete skin coverage, as opposed to a bit here and a bit there) but you want to keep it all at the same length. If you’ve got random tufts that are longer than others it’ll look like the unkempt garden thing again. Use the trimmer to buzz it all to one length.

That’s about it - nice defined shape and even thickness and you’ll be looking sharp.

I use scissors, but they come with a learning curve. So be open to a mistake or two you have to shave away. The beard clippers with the different length head attachments are basically as foolproof as mowing a lawn.

If you decide to grow a full beard, I suggest shaping out a neckline that follows the natural continuation off of the curve of the back of your ear. You can easily trace/imagine that path with a finger. Beards are never a substitute for a jawline, and chinstrap beards doubly so. A natural neckline is actually much more flattering than a chinstrap that’s trying to remind everyone of where you wish your jawline was.

31 year old male here and I’ve had a goatee for most of the past 14 years. Yes I could grow one in high school. Unfortunately, my dad has only had beards or mustaches. He was never able to train me about goatee care, so anything I know may only be applicable to me and no one else.

As others have said, you will need a beard trimmer before it gets too late. The hair keep growing and it can definitely start looking scraggly with weird random hairs going in many directions. A trimmer helps keep everything at an equal length (I use a 5 for the chin and a 4 for the lip). If this is a temporary thing (less than a year), just get a cheap $20 one.

Don’t use an electric razor designed for shaving to trim your lines. I’ve used them before and I would eventually make a mistake. I stick to razors (Mach 3). To keep a good line, I cheat and use my off hand to cover my goatee/create the line while shaving with the other.

How far under your chin should you let it grow? Can’t help you there. It would be best to experiment. At least get it to round the corner so to speak. I personally love having the hair long at the bottom because it’s fun to stroke it and imagine I look pensive. I never grow it because it would just look weird compared to everything else.

Handlebars are always a good choice.

I don’t even want to think about how many years it would take for me to do something like that. :slight_smile:

And thank you for all of the advice so far…I’m on it!

I think that depends on the chin. I have an underbite and a bit of chin flab. Both of these make a little bit more below the chin look better. I personally keep in perfect alignment with where the mustache is when I let it grow out.

Also, I tend to prefer to keep the beard shaved down as far as I can and it still look a complete beard (and not one that is just being started). It minimizes stuff getting caught in it.

Oh, and keep a nice straight border away from your lips, as that can get weird, too. (It’s even more important if you’re goatee includes a mustache.)

Advice from an expert.

I’ve always wondered how people get those really thin jawline beards. No way would my hand be steady enough for that. I have enough trouble getting my sideburns approximately equal lengths.

I’ll second the trimmer. It’s a good thing to have around anyway, even if you go back to clean shaven. You can use it to manscape (if required/desired), have someone trim the back of your neck to delay a proper haircut, femalescape (if you are of the proper persuasion, and can persuade someone to let you. :D), or trim sideburns.

Trim to desired length (and even if you’re growing it out to a longer length, trim periodically to keep the scragglers in check), trim close to get the outline, and shave the rest with a standard razor of your choice.

Proud beard wearer of 15+ years.

Thirding the trimmer, while using a regular old razor (Gilette Fusion, in my case) to keep the nice straight-line edges.

Also, rub some shampoo and conditioner in that stuff on the same schedule as you wash your head hair. The people whom you are kissing will thank you for it.

–Zeriel, beard-wearer for 10+ years.

If you don’t have a strong beard it often looks bad. I don’t have a heavy beard, I can almost get by with shaving every other day. And no matter how long before I shave it never grows in complete enough to look good. Not every man can grow a decent beard.

You can usually find a Wahl beard trimmer on sale. Those are the best for keeping the beard trimmed. In some ways it’s easier to be clean shaven 'cause you still have to take time to shape your beard. Nothing looks sloppier than an unkempt beard

I use a comb and an electric clipper. I kinda push the comb in through the hair, parallel to the skin, then clip off whatever is so long that it protrudes through the comb. So the thickness of the comb determines the length of the hair. It took me years to figure this out, and it might not work for you.

Wait? So, Asimovian has been replaced with evil-Asimovian? I’m not sure what to say…

He was always evil-Asimovian. He just got tired of shaving the evil-beard every twenty minutes.

I haven’t shaved since I left a job at Burger King, just out of HS, almost 30 years ago. Mine grows plenty thick full face, so the details of what I do are useless to you, because you will probably never be able to grow my style (the women who like beards like it). So, skipping details, I have to second everyone who says get a trimmer, but I also have to add: Get a pair of small scissors. There are some things a trimmer isn’t any good for. I use a pair of long thin ones that come to a point, sort of like surgical ones, except smaller. Once you find a style you like, you will wind up making mistakes w/ trimmer & scissors, and so have to get it shorter than you want to erase the mistakes, but within a year, you should be able to do it right every time. Just don’t cut it when you’re drunk :smiley: you WILL screw it up! The voice of experience, here. :smack:

I <3 my sweetie’s beard, I think men ought to have hair :slight_smile:
sometimes he does not get the spot under ears/where jaw ends properly.
That spot must be hard to see… I have a hard time seeing it on myself!
I even it up for him with a comb and scissors… VERY carefully indeed :smiley:

So where’s the good-Asimovian?