How to Shape a Long Beard

Last Updated April 2019

With a great beard comes great responsibility.

When you’ve spent so long growing a righteous beard, it may seem a little nonsensical to go and hack it all off, but unfortunately, without a little love and care, you’ll find that your beard is growing wild and unruly. In order to get your beard back under control you need to spend some time trimming and shaping it on the regular.

So how do you go about this without making a mess of it all? Shaping your beard is a time consuming process that can be a little daunting, but with a little bit of care and attention to detail, you’ll have your beard looking great in no time. It’s important not to neglect this duty, as keeping your beard shaped and styled will contribute greatly to your overlook. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to shape your beard.

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How to Shape Up a Beard

If you’ve never shaped your beard before, or you are looking for ways to improve your style so that you can show your best face to those around you, then finding a way that works for you can be tough if you don’t know what you’re doing. There’s a lot of technique that goes into finding the perfect shape, and it may take some time to identify the way that works the best for you. There are several key steps that you must follow no matter what the beard style you end up going for. Here, we take you through the steps that will allow you to boast a beautiful beard.

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Decide on the shape of your beard

Before you start, you need to have some idea of how you want the final product to look. The shape of your beard is going to be largely dictated by the shape of your face. That is, if you have a wider face, your beard will need to be fuller so that everything is kept in proportion. Similarly, if you have a slight bone structure, you will want to consider a sleek beard that you can keep styled in order to not overwhelm your streamlined look.

We will focus more on how to shape your beard to your face in the following section, but the general idea is to keep everything in proportion. It’s not just your bone structure that will influence the shape and size of your beard, but also your hairstyle too. Longer hair may require a fuller beard in order for your look to work. So before you get started on the actual trimming and styling, make sure you know what you want the end result to look like.

how to shape up a beard

Focus on the beard itself

Once you have your dream beard in mind, you can begin the trim. However, before you start actually cutting anything, make sure your beard is prepped for the job. Give your whiskers a brush so that you get a feel for the true length of the hairs. It’s important to make sure that you brush the hair all in one direction. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be able to see where you’re overgrown. These are the areas that you need to focus on first. Using either a beard trimmer or a pair of grooming scissors, trim the hairs until they reach the desired length and fit into the shape that you’re going for.

Neaten up your sideburns

Once your beard is looking great, it’s time to focus on your sideburns – an immaculate beard means nothing if your sideburns are unruly. The sides of your face require just as much care and attention as the beard itself. When focusing on your sideburns, be sure to taper and blend so that your beard seamlessly integrates with the sides. Don’t forget to clear away any stray hairs that are growing above your beard around your cheekbones.

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Don’t forget your neckline

You’re not a caveman, so why would you leave the hair on your neck when you’ve done such a great job shaping your beard? Excess hair on your neck can really draw attention away from the sweet style that you’re creating with the beard. For this part of the job, it is best to employ a beard trimmer or a good set of clippers so that you can easily remove the neckbeard no matter the length.

You don’t want to trim too high as this can make your beard look small, however, leaving this region to grow out will make you look more wild and untamed. Defining your neckline properly requires due care, and choosing a neckline that sits around 1 to 1.5 inches above your Adam’s apple is a pretty good ballpark to aim for.

Put on the finishing touches

Once you’ve taken care of your beard, sideburns and neckline, you can put the finishing touches on your new look. There are other areas that can require a little bit of work in order for everything to be perfect. Firstly, the mustache may need specific trimming so that it doesn’t hang over your upper lip. Secondly, though you may not have thought of this but now is a great time to give your nostril hairs a trim. Once you’ve taken care of the last few problem areas – you’re done!

Alternative Beard Trimming Methods

What works for one man isn’t necessarily going to work for another, and as such, the technique you use to trim your beard may not be the same as other methods you read about. The beard-shaping process is highly personal, and as such, you should find a way to do it that allows you to be consistent without causing you frustration. While some men want to stick to the tried and true methods, you might find that employing certain tricks and tips can make your experience a whole lot easier.

For instance, when trimming your neckline, you may wish to stand in front of a three-way mirror and imagine lines running from your ears and under your jaw and trim around that. Or, you may want to tilt your chin down to produce a double-chin so that you can see where your natural skin folds mark your neckline. Another method of tackling this part of the process is to use two fingers to measure the distance above your Adam’s apple that marks your desired neckline.

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How to Shape Your Beard to Match Your Face

Your beard is a very personal thing. While it’s certainly complicated enough on its own, the shape of your face can influence how you carry your facial hair too. Without working with a style that compliments not only the beard you want but the shape of your face as well, you’ll find yourself with an unbalanced and strange look. Here, we give you guidance on what sort of beard to choose to match your face shape.

Square face

A square face comes with a strong jaw, and your beard can take many forms depending on how you feel about that. A shorter beard is best suited to those that want to enhance the jawline, whereas a longer beard with a mustache can help you to create a softer look.

Round face

A round face will benefit from a beard that can create a slimmer, streamlined look. A hard line along your cheekbone will accentuate your bone structure, and keeping it short on the sides and longer around the chin will help to elongate your profile.

Rectangular face

For a rectangular face, the best beard styles are those that are able to soften your angles. Full sides with a shorter bottom is the best way to achieve this, but what you want to avoid at all costs is a mustache on its own.

Oval face

If you’re lucky enough to have an oval shaped face, then you have the ability to wear basically any shaped beard you can imagine. You want to stay away from longer goatee styles, as this will make you look overstretched. Aside from that, whether you want a mustache, full beard or a scruffy shadow, you’ll be able to carry it well.

Triangular face

With a triangular face, you really want to create a balance to your look. Keeping your beard longer at the sideburns will help to create a balance to your look. By keeping your beard shorter around the chin, you’ll be able to make your jaw appear wider.

How to Determine Your Face Shape

We’ve talked about how to style your beard to accentuate your facial features, but how do you determine what shape your face is to begin with? It can be hard to assess this quality about ourselves without a point of reference, and without knowing this key information, the beard style you choose may not give you the look that you’re hoping for.

There’s actually a very formulaic way to determine the shape of your face that involves measuring each aspect of your face individually. Here, we guide you through the process so that you can choose your perfect beard style.

Step 1: Prepare for the task

In order to measure your face properly, there are several things you need to do in preparation. First, find yourself a measuring tape. It needs to be the kind that bends, like the kind that dressmakers use. The next thing you need to do is ensure that your hair is tied back and that your face is free of things that will get in the way of your measurements. Without doing this, you’ll find that your measurements are off, which can throw out your calculations. Next, make sure you have a notepad and pen, as you’ll need this to record your measurements. The last thing you need to do is get comfortable in front of a mirror so that you can begin.

Step 2: Measure your forehead

The first measurement you need to take is of your forehead. It’s important that, for this step, you measure the widest part of your forehead in order to be completely accurate in your calculations. This region is usually located halfway up your forehead, equally distanced between your hairline and your eyebrows. Make sure you measure all the way to your hairline on either side so that you are as accurate as you can be.

Step 3: Measure across your cheekbones

One of the hardest parts of determining the shape of your face is getting a good measurement across your cheekbones. The reason why this step is so hard is because of your nose. Depending on the prominence of your nose, the bridge will inevitably add to the width of your face by pushing up the measuring tape as you’re trying to get a reading.

With this in mind, find the widest part of your face by feeling along your cheekbones until you find the most bulging part of the bone. This is where you want to hold the ends of the measuring tape. Hold the tape in a straight line so that you can get a measure on the width of your face. You may need to hold the tape away from your face but in line with the widest part of your cheekbones if your nose is getting in the way.

Step 4: Measure your jawline

The process of measuring your jawline is going to be a little different to the rest of the measurements you take, as you are going to do it in two parts. It is simply too difficult to get an accurate measurement by trying to hold the tape along your jaw from ear to ear. Therefore, the best way to get a good measurement is to measure each side separately.

Feel for the corner of your jaw right below your ear, and use the corner as the starting point for your measurement. Hold the tape along the line of your jaw until it reaches the middle of your chin. Be sure to record the length before repeating the process on the other side. Once you’re done, all you need to do is add the numbers together and that will give you the length of your jawline.

Step 5: Measure your facial length

The last measurement you need to take is the length of your face. Again, you may find that your nose can get in the way, depending on the size of it, so if you are finding that you are having trouble, hold the tape measure away from your face so that you can get the true length. The start of the measuring tape should be held right at the center of your hairline, and you need to measure all the way down to your chin.

Step 6: Determine your face shape

Once you have all your measurements, it’s time to determine what shape your face is. Your facial shape depends on the proportion of these measurements. If the width and length of your face are the same, then your shape is either round or square, depending on the angularity of your jaw. A face that is longer than it is wide can either be oval or rectangular, again, depending on the angle of your jaw. A triangular face is wider at the top than it is at the bottom.

Items You Need to Shape Your Beard

A bearded man absolutely requires a number of tools in his grooming kit in order to keep a well maintained beard at all times. Without these, you’ll find it difficult to keep your beard in line and will find yourself sporting a wild and unruly growth.


Trimmers or clippers are the easiest way to keep your beard under control, but you might find that they don’t give you the finesse you need to truly control the finer details. However, the trimmer will give you the ability to get through the neck area with ease, and allows you to create strong lines across your cheek. When combined with another tool, like a comb, you can increase the control you have with the trimmer.


We mentioned how a comb can help you when it comes to getting a finer control on how you trim your beard, but it’s also a very useful tool by itself. Carrying a comb with you wherever you go can ensure that you keep your beard restrained as you will be able to take acre of any unruly hairs no matter where you are. A combed beard is a clean beard, so do your image a favor by keeping a comb in your back pocket.


Your grooming scissors need to be sharp and of a good quality if you want them to the best job for you. Beard scissors have long blades to enable you to get through the thick hair. However, mustache scissors are usually shorter and allow you to shorten those specific whiskers. If you want a one size fits all solution, you can choose a set that has a medium length blade so that you can hit all areas.


The last essential item that you absolutely need to have in your grooming kit is a brush. Unlike some of the other tools, you will use a brush every day to tame the beast as part of your morning ritual, so leaving it out of your kit will lead to a beard that has a life of its own.


Being able to grow a beard is one thing, but it takes dedication and commitment to keep a well styled and great looking beard. Without the extra effort of keeping your facial hair manicured, you’ll find yourself looking more like a caveman than the stylish man that you are. Rather than let it grow wild, take the time to learn how to properly shape your beard so that you can keep it under control and create the image you are looking for.

It’s not only the shaping technique that requires attention, but you need the right tools to do it. We recommend that you get yourself a great set of trimmers, scissors, brush and comb so that you have everything you need to take care of your beard. Don’t be afraid to try new things with your look – the more you practice, the better your beard will look.

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