Influenced by the widespread popularity of African American and Middle Eastern male grooming techniques through social media sites like Tiktok and Instagram, male personal care has evolved into an art in itself.
Popular across race and culture, these grooming trends have created a universal style appreciated by many, and perfect for those looking for a little sharpness and flair with their hair and beard.
The latter in particular has seen a distinct increase in popularity over the past decade, and beard shaping and maintenance has become as much of an art in the 21st century as it was in the 19th.
This is perhaps best exemplified in the beard ‘line up’. But what exactly is this, and how is it done?
What Is A Beard Line Up?
The rise in male grooming saw a different approach taken to traditional masculine components like the beard, seeing men grow large amounts of facial hair, which they then maintain with various oils and balms specifically aimed at this burgeoning market.
Following the trend for hair line ups, originating in black culture but popular in countless others, barbers and stylists began taking the same approach to facial hair, offering sharp lines and symmetry to something that could once only be wild and unkempt.
Just like the hair line up, which focuses on creating a clean, uniform hairline, the beard line up sets its sights on the overall shape of the beard, from the shape itself, to the hairlines on the cheeks and around the mouth.
As with any form of grooming, there is some preparation involved before you get to trimming.
As any barber will tell you, any good beard groom starts with shampoo and conditioner.
For this, you can use your regular shampoo and conditioner that you would use on your head, although there are specially formulated beard products available.
Once you have done this, you should rinse through and pat dry with a clean towel.
Once you have patted it dry, you should allow it to continue to air dry, making sure there are no hidden pockets of moisture before you begin to trim it.
This process can be expedited with the help of a hairdryer – just make sure you use it on a cold setting so as not to burn your face, give yourself dry skin, or frizz your beard hair.
For a proper job you need the proper tools, which for a beard groom is a wide toothed comb to remove lugs, and a quality beard trimmer for the line up.
The Cheek Line
This is one of the most important elements to create a perfectly lined up beard, and can really make or break the overall shape and symmetry of the final product.
As such, there are steps that can be taken to make sure you do a good job.
First things first, you need to decide on the line you want.
This should rise up from the tip of the mustache to the sideburns, following the natural line of your cheek to look natural.
Draw a straight line from point to point. To make this easier you can use a white pencil to clearly define your desired angle.
This could be white eyeliner, or a professional barbering pencil available online.
Using a trimmer, cut the hair above the cheek line, making sure not to cross the pencil line.
This should be done without a guard, as this will ensure as clean a line as possible.
Start at the sideburns and work your way down, either shaving downwards, or shaving a line across the cheek and working up.
Then comes the finishing touches. For those wanting a more rounded look, use the trimmers without the guard on to smooth off the sharpness and create a softer look.
Then comes the neckline. For many, this can be the trickiest part, as the rounded angle of the jaw and neck can cause mistakes and slip ups.
The best way to begin this is by choosing a side, and starting below the earlobe, working your way along the line where your head meets your neck.
Take it slow at first, until you get to roughly two or three centimeters beside your Adam’s apple.
Then do the other side, working slowly down in the same fashion, and stopping at the same point on the opposing side.
There is bound to be some unevenness, so this is where you can adjust accordingly, creating the cleanest line as possible, before joining both sides up above the Adam’s apple.
Then shave downwards, clipping all the hair from the shaved line to the base of your neck.
The last part is where you can work on the line some more, neatening any areas you think aren’t straight, and tidying up the whole shape.
To reinforce the straightness of your lines, both on the cheek and neck, use shaving cream, applying a little around each line, and then take a straight razor (if you have one), to create even crisper lines.
If you have a fade, or if you are bald on top, you could also use your trimmer with the appropriate guard on to fade your sideburns into your shaved head.
Start longer at first, working shorter until you get a feel for what is right.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about lining up a beard, and the best methods to do it yourself.
This modern trend has shown that personal care is for everyone, even the hairiest amongst us.
So, if you are looking to sharpen up that facial hair, and add a bit of style to your look, then why not give it a go?