As majestic as a beard can look, it can also be a hassle to maintain its shape and condition. Trimming your beard -regardless of its length- is one of the grooming aspects that many men confuse or get wrong, but after years of practice and research, I’m glad to say I can help!
If you’re wondering whether you should trim your beard with or against the grain, the answer depends on the length you want. Trimming against the grain is more suitable for men who want shorter beards as it removes more hair, whereas trimming with the grain is better for longer beards as it removes less hair.
Today, I’ll be explaining the differences between beard trimming with and against the grain. I’ll also help you choose the right direction for your grooming needs and share tips on how to properly trim a beard of any length.
Which Direction Should You Trim Your Beard?
When it comes to trimming their beards, many people find it confusing to choose between going up or down.
If you too can’t decide whether to trim your beard with or against the grain and always end up “winging” it on the spot, the common answer is that it depends on the result or final look you’re trying to achieve.
This means that some men will get their desired beard look by trimming with the grain, while other guys will get the beard look they want by trimming against the grain. To make things easier for you, here’s a simple guide to follow:
- If you usually use electric razors to maintain your beard, then it’s better to trim against the beard (or go in the downward direction) to help reduce hair bristling a little.
- If your goal is to just clean up your mane a bit, then trimming with the grain of the hair is still the more efficient way.
- If your beard is on the fuller and thicker side, it’s best to trim with the grain. Keep going in the upward direction until you’re happy with the look.
Which is Better, Trimming Your Beard With or Against the Grain?
As we discussed earlier, trimming your beard with or against the grain of the hair comes down to your personal preference and the goal or look you want to achieve. The same goes for deciding which direction is better; it depends.
Generally, trimming against the grain is more popular among men who like to keep their beards short, whereas trimming with the grain is more suitable for guys with longer beards.
Trimming with the hair grain is a simple way to improve the blending of your beard hair and support its natural growth. This is a result of how this technique cuts your hairs in various lengths.
On the other hand, using the same guard level while trimming against the grain gives you shorter hair than if you use the same guard setting for trimming with the grain.
What’s more, Some folks prefer trimming with the grain because they find it quicker and easier. Going up with the grain gives you more control over the amount of hair your trimmer removes, as well as over the pressure you exert on the device.
The bottom line is, you should decide for yourself which technique works better for your grooming needs. Try trimming with the grain first and if that doesn’t provide the look you want, you can try going against the grain in an upward direction.
Even if you end up messing up, you shouldn’t panic. You can get it right the next time your beard grows back!
Keep in mind that when you try trimming, either way, it’s wise to begin the process using a relatively long guard setting to avoid cutting too much hair by accident.
Should You Brush Your Beard With or Against the Grain?
Brushing goes hand in hand with trimming and follows pretty much the same rules. What we recommend is for you to brush your beard hair against the grain after drying it.
This way, your beard hairs are out and up, which makes trimming easier and helps you notice differences in length.
How to Trim Your Beard Step by Step
Now that you know which direction to trim your beard, it’s time to get down to business. The following is a simple guide to help you properly trim your beard depending on its length.
- Use an electric trimmer and a guard to keep your beard at the desired shortness.
- Begin with a longer guard then make your way towards shorter guards until you reach your desired length. Remember, once you cut your hair, you can’t glue it back!
- Once you reach the length you want, take the guards off. Then, using the bare clipper’s point, outline the mustache, cheeks, and neck for a cleaner look.
- Take care of the fine hairs and the skin beneath your beard using a mild beard lotion or moisturizer. This can also help relieve beard itching.
- Like the previous beard length, start with a longer guard then make your way towards shorter guards until you reach your desired length.
- Similarly, take the guards off once you get to the length you like and use the bare clipper’s point to clean up around the mustache, cheeks, and neck.
- With this beard length, it’s better to trim with the grain to avoid bald patches.
- Next, use scissors to remove any stray hairs.
- Medium-length beards require daily cleansing with beard/face wash paired with a beard lotion to keep your hair soft and your skin hydrated. You may also need a beard comb or brush.
- When working with more length, you’ll probably get the best results by trimming the cheeks, chin, goatee, and neck area in different manners. I find that most guys look their best when their beards are shorter on the cheeks or sides and grown out more below these areas. To achieve this, use your electric trimmer with a #3 or #4 guard on the cheeks. For the rest, use scissors and a comb.
- On your chin and goatee, comb your beard hair down and trim in little sections across the comb. You can incorporate some diagonal point cutting. At the bottom, don’t cut straight across. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like you have a bowl cut on your chin — yeah, not a good style.
- Keep your long beard hydrated so it stays looking majestic as ever. Ideal products, in this case, include a beard/face cleanser, a beard conditioner for hydration and styling, and beard oil for softness and healthy growth. You’ll also need a beard comb or brush.
So, should you trim your beard with or against the grain? The answer depends on the length you want to achieve.
Trimming against the grain is more suitable for men who like to keep their beards short as it removes more hair. On the other hand, trimming with the grain is better if you want to maintain a longer beard as it removes less hair.
If you’re looking to buy a reliable trimmer for your thick beard, check out our top 8 recommendations here.