Trimming The Designer Beard: The Long And The Short Of It


There’s a lot to be said for sporting a short beard style. Long manes are magnificent and we applaud those who have the patience to maintain those lovely locks, but often a short, snazzy style can really cut it in the workplace – and everywhere else for that matter!

When we say ‘cut it’, this is the all-important aspect to keeping the short beard looking its best. Here at Real Bearded Men we offer you the ultimate tips to trimming beards, as well as advice on short beard styles, to keep you looking smart and sexy even at the end of a long day.

trimming the designer beard

Defining the Short Beard

There are so many styles of short beards that it’s hard to know where to begin, but much of your choice will depend on the shape of your face, the color of your hair and the denseness of beard growth. For a few ideas, check out our ‘what might suit you’ blog, but remember, any design can be easily altered by adjusting the shape of the mustache, the length of the sideburns and the way the beard itself is trimmed into shape and fitted to your face. Many shorter styles particularly suit square or oblong faces because the lack of thick hair won’t hide your basic face shape. However, there are exceptions to the rule and every guy out there is different, so don’t be afraid to try out a few designs before settling on one that not only enhances your appearance but one you feel comfortable with too. Unless you have already settled on a design based on the Goatee, maybe start with a Boxed Beard – these are simply beards with sideburns that are the short alternative to a full beard, giving a classic look with a sculpted and dapper presence, with the coverage to suit many more face shapes (round or oval, for example) as they hide more of the surface area.

Defining the Short Beard

Pre styling tips

Well, firstly you need some facial hair! If you’re new to the beard-growing phenomenon, it’ll take about 4-6 weeks to produce something that can be styled into a short design, and in the process you’ll discover several variable stages of growing a beard that you’ll have to live through to get there. However, how fast (and how thick) your hair grows can depend on many factors including genetics, lifestyle and even food intake, so ‘how long’ is as long as a piece of string! If your desire is designer stubble, obviously you’re likely to cut down the growing time considerably, but whatever your intended final length, it’s good practice to start conditioning those new hairs (and the newly covered skin) within a few weeks, and when you have about 2 cm of growth, consider yourself ‘bearded’ and maintain it accordingly.

prestyling tips

If you already have a full beard but want to cut it down to size, you have the advantage of not having to wait. Be aware, though, it’s not just a case of cutting aimlessly as you’re likely to make a mistake that’ll have you reverting to a clean shave at the drop of a hat. It needs time and planning…

  • Beard care should start with arming yourself with a natural wood comb or brush. Using one of these (or both) will help bring the hairs into order without static or the dreaded beard-tug, all the while straightening and strengthening the hair by massaging the follicles and optimizing blood circulation, which in turn stimulates the growth process. Best to brush when the hairs are dry, by the way, or after product use.
  • If you already own a bushy beard and you’ve combed it straight, now’s the time to reduce the length. You might grab for the nearest pair of scissors, but unless you look like Neptune, don’t be tempted to go this route. For the best trim use a beard trimmer which is not only quick and safer than the pointed scissors but also gives an even, precise trim to the length you choose on the trimmer settings. If your trimmer has a comb attachment, use it!
  • If you have a new beard, the trimmer should be used to run through the lengths of the individual hairs which are often not equal. Amazingly you’ll find your hairs grow at different speeds and in different directions, so these combing and trimming procedures are the basis of your epic new look!
  • While deciding on the style, don’t be afraid to try out different trimmer guard lengths. Perhaps the main beard could be a grade 3 or 4 trim but the sideburns a grade 2? Before settling on a particular design it’s good to experiment a little!

How to trim

The most effective – and attractive – short style is one that is kept well trimmed and razor-sharp neat. Just because you’ve decided against a ZZ Top look doesn’t let you off the hook in the maintenance department, although without the hassle of outlandishly long hairs (and once you’ve got your new style established), it will only take a few moments a day to literally keep it in trim! Those moments are well worth the effort.

how to trim

  • Once you’ve firmly decided on the style, envisage where to shave or trim the cheek and necklines. These edges need to be neat and symmetrical as they define the detail of your beard style. Until you gain routine experience, it’s better to start with them a little longer (with the bearded area bigger) then slowly drawback to the exact line, than to trim too enthusiastically and wish you hadn’t. Superglue isn’t a de rigueur look and we don’t think it ever will be! So proceed with a steady hand with the trimmer guard removed and take time and care to get it right.
  • For the neckline, short beards really don’t need this cut too high unless the style is defined by it. Approximately one or two finger’s width above the Adam’s Apple is sufficient, and our neckline guide will help you to understand how this works. As with the cheek lines, better to leave it long and adjust accordingly than dive in and regret later.
  • Look at your other facial hair areas with a critical eye. With a short beard, these areas will become more noticeable to others. For instance, eyebrow, ear and nostril hairs will all be more obvious, as well as neck hair and the edges of your sideburns. If you’re happy with them, that’s great, but trim back if they seem too dominant for your face. Your mustache may also need a shorter trim than the beard length or again it could look too prominent. With a full beard people notice its length and grisliness or softness; short beards focus on lines, overgrowth and symmetry.
  • However you trim, it’s imperative that everything, everywhere, is symmetrical. Without symmetry, the whole look will be ruined, and eyes will be drawn to such a faux pas from every angle. If you have difficulty with symmetry we recommend you visit your barber. He’ll set things right for you from the beginning and you can go back any time to keep things on track. It’s worth the time to do this if need be.


Routinely trim the hair length - a short beard should be kept... short! Keep the sideburns tidy, clip away stray hairs, keep the mustache in check and comb out the beard. Your new snazzy beard should be kept smart and well-groomed.

Comb maintenance

  • Daily maintenance will go a long way – every other day at most – with a little trim and check here and there.
  • Cleanse your beard 2 or 3 times a week using a specially formulated beard wash. This will remove dirt and grime both in the hair and on the skin without stripping out the natural oils needed to keep them looking and feeling in good condition.
  • Additionally, supplement the naturally occurring oils with beard oil and beard balm. The rigors of our modern daily lives, as well as our varying climates, often leave our hair, skin and beards compromised, so Real Bearded Men specialize in producing all-natural washes, oils and balms to lessen the effects of these unavoidable counterproductive elements. Also, hair that is trimmed very regularly, even with the sharpest of tools, can leave it exposed to rough edges, and applying these products will help to seal the ends and keep the hair soft and hydrated.

beard maintenance products

Deciding to sport a short beard is a straightforward step to make, and once established, a quick daily routine to keep it in its prime is easy and rewarding, giving you a sophistication that no other style of beard can bestow. Have we persuaded you to try out a short beard style? Or are you already the proud owner of one? Let us know, share in your pic’s, we’d like to see it! Meanwhile, check out our other informative blogs here.


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