Don’t get me wrong, I love having a beard, but at some point it becomes extremely inconvenient. That point is usually when I become more aware of my beard than the meal I’m trying to enjoy.

Killing your beard is a scary thought, and going from full grown to clean cut will shock even the most loving of friends and family. I have many friends who have asked me how I manage my beard, so I decided to write a little how-to guide. Here is the step-by-step process of how I preserve my beard in the midst of downsizing.


The Tools

In order to pull off a clean cut it is worth investing in the right tools. What I recommend:

• Scissors (preferably for cutting hair)

• Hair comb

• Beard or hair trimmer, with guards

• A large mirror

Step 1. Comb that mess.

Start of by taming the craziness that is happening on your face. Comb out any knots or tangles before breaking out the trimmers.

Step 2. The sides.

Patience is key. Slow and steady wins the race.

Put a lengthy gaurd on your trimmers, and slowly start the trimming process. I usually start with the side of my face, above my jaw line.

Remember to keep things calm and slow, you can’t add on any hair once you have shaved it off, so it’s wise to move in steps and take your time.

Pro tip: For a closer trim, start with the highest guard, then move your way down.

Step 3. Laugh.

Short on the sides and long. This can’t stay.

It’s a scary process, but at some point your beard will be out of proportion, and it becomes amusing. Take time to laugh, and document the situation with pictures.

Step 4. The scissors.

Patience is key. I start out by combing the bottom of my beard, then slowly cutting small groupings of hair. Don’t just grab a fist full of beard and start hacking. Slowly and methodically thin and sculpt your beard to its desired shape and length. Remeber it’s okay to move slow with short cuts.

Awkward half trim.

Almost there. I trim one side at a time and backtrack for touchups.

Make sure you hit every area, when you grow out your beard it will get thick, it will need equal amounts of thinning throughout. Notice the healthy fear in my eyes. Slow and steady.

Step 5. Final touches.

You’re almost there, don’t lose focus now. Trim up your mustache, start out with a higher guard first, and clean up any rogue hairs. Finish strong.

The Final Product.

It’s quite the before and after. I still have my beard, I can enjoy a meal without it demanding attention, and my wife isn’t mad that I clean-shaved my face.

Protip: If you are married be sure to thoroughly clean up your clippings, you and your wives will thank me.

Good luck.


This post was inspired by my good friend Adam Clark, who recently had a trimming disaster. Also, a big thanks to my beautiful wife, Allison, who helped me take pictures for this post, (she also loves my beard).