The Art of Scissor Trimming

  • Post by  Jacob Smith Mar 09, 2015


Trim Trimmy Trim, Trim Trimmy Trim, Trim Trim It’s True



The Art of Scissor Trimming



scissor trimming

So, unbeknownst to me, individual hairs on your face actually grow at different speeds, or lengths over time, or, dammit, whatever, you get the idea. What this means, though – in terms of what your beard is doing, how it will look, and, ultimately, how you’ll feel about it – is that, after, say, three or four months of steady, unadulterated growth, the edges or outermost perimeter of your beard will look ‘loose,’ ‘scraggly,’ or perhaps even, dare I say, ‘ratty.’ However, this is no cause for alarm, because there’s actually a surprisingly simple, painless and very efficient way to deal with this situation, and it won’t cost you a dime (unless, of course, you don’t happen to have a pair of barber-quality sheers laying around the house, in which case it might amount to a one-time expense of $20; and yes, you’re correct, I’ve given it away, we’ll be discussing trimming your own beard, at home, WITH SCISSORS).


I’m going to assume for a moment, and I think it’s safe to do so in this particular forum, that most all of you have, at one time or another, trimmed your beard with a set of clippers, buzzers, or whatever you like to call the noisy thing that they cut the hair on your head with. There’s no shame in it, because, for a shorter beard, it’s without question the quickest and easiest way to clean up your beard, while simultaneously guaranteeing yourself the most consistency, as far as uniformity of beard-hair length. I, myself, own a Wahl trimmer that I had previously used on several of my shorter, younger beards, but now reserve for tidying up the hair on other parts of my body. It’s a good thing to have around, but, lest ye forget, it has absolutely no functional value when it comes to maintaining a beard any longer than, maybe, one month (approx. ½ inch) of growth. Beyond that, my friends, and you’re in the big leagues, and you get to (or have to, which I suppose is a matter of perspective, but if you think it’s such an imposition, then maybe you’re not ready for the awesome responsibility of having a great, bushy beard, but, then, who am I to judge) trade in your aluminum bat for a classic, timeless wooden Louisville slugger.


The other day, while looking in the mirror and combing my beard, I realized that I had developed a pretty gnarly discrepancy in beard-hair length, and it was becoming pretty noticeable, especially around the edges of my beard, and, perhaps most prevalently, around my chin’s whiskers. So, I delved into the riches of the internet to do some research, concluded that this was not at all an exceptional occurrence, pondered all of the possible implications of trimming my own beard with a pair of scissors, decided it was probably wisest to sleep on the notion, had at least one unpleasantly vivid nightmare tantamount to the kind where your teeth all crumble out of your mouth (but, of course, about my beard) and finally came home from work the next day ready to tackle operation trim-my-own-beard-with-a-pair-of-scissors (albeit obviously hesitantly).


trimming your beard


Now, I cannot stress vehemently enough that, if this is your first time scissor-trimming your beard, as it was for me, then keep it simple stupid. Sorry. That was harsh. But seriously, don’t undertake more than you can masticate, by which I mean, let this first run serve strictly and solely as a matter of tidying your uneven whiskers, and not, I repeat NOT, a full overhaul or reshaping operation. Baby steps. I think the most important thing to remember, even before you pick up the scissors (just to have in the back of your mind), is: don’t take off much at all. Barely touching the ends of your hairs will do more than you think, but will prevent you from making any irrevocable moves. It’s just hair, and it will grow back, but you’ve been working on this beard for quite a while, and you probably don’t want to throw all of that progress away on a whim and some impatient scissor work.


Begin with a clean, dry beard. Dry is very important because your beard is only its true self when it’s dry. You’ve seen it after you get out of the shower and it’s sopping and dangling beneath your jaw like the gross, pink part of a turkey’s face. So, you’re going to want to trim the beard that you and the rest of the world see on a daily basis, and that’s a dry one. You’ll also want to comb or brush your beard out, fluff it up, get it really poofy (?) so that you can see how the hairs line up. Then, when you’ve got the right angle or line of sight on the edge, just give it a snip, then another, and another. But just remember, little by little is the way to ensure that you don’t go into work the next day and have to explain to your coworkers why you shaved off your beard.


If your trimming operation goes as swimmingly as mine did, you’ll probably be pretty pleased with yourself, your beard and your ability to convert seemingly useless internet research into functional, real-world knowledge. And, you may just decide you can do it again in another few months or so, even maybe tackling a somewhat more comprehensive trim next time, perhaps amending the shape of your beard a bit. Who knows?! Anywho, trim responsibly friends. Farewell.

scissor trimming your beard

 So, just to recapitulate…


- Start with a clean, DRY beard.

- Comb/brush your beard out until it’s most voluminous.

- Approach delicately with scissors.

- Begin, first, by only trimming those rogue strays.

- Then, trim, bit by bit, along the edges of your beard in order to even the lengths of your beard hairs.

- Call it a day when you’ve decided that you’re happy with the new outer edge of your beard.


DON’T TRIM TOO MUCH AT ONCE! You can always go back and trim more, but taking off more than you meant to will mean either shaving your beard completely or wearing an awkwardly misshapen beard until both your beard and your confidence are ready for another go.



- Jacob Smith