Are you the type who wakes up in the morning, looks at the face in the mirror with half-closed eyes, picks up the trimmer, and immediately starts trimming? There are those who trim their beard the mechanical way.

According to Mac Ashraf-Zadeh, beard specialist of New York City’s Fellow Barber, any effort to DIY your beard must start with a visit to a professional. An amateur beard DIY will fare better if the beard he maintains every morning has been shaped earlier by a barber. Otherwise, he will be reinventing himself every day, and run the risk of not recognizing his invention one day.

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Mac has the following guidelines to remember before you decide to take a swipe with the whirring razor:

  1. Visit the barber and discuss the look you want to achieve with your beard. That will be your “template.” Trim any outgrowth every day; that way, you don’t lose sight of the template.
  2. Use a comb to brush against the grain of your beard. This will help you attain an even trim.
  3. Use a cartridge razor to remove hair that grows outside the beard area, such as the cheeks or the side of your neck. If your beard line isn’t so well-defined, or if you’re confused about its shape, visit your barber and let him define a beard line that complements your face.
  4. When trimming your sideburns, make sure they’re even. Levelling them using your ears as the basis isn’t advisable because most ears aren’t even.
  5. There is no hard-and-fast rule about how to shave the neck hair in relation to the beard. Fake lines between neck hair and facial hair may look unnatural. If it’s really necessary to keep the neck hairless, refer to a barber to find an even line. If the all-natural shape is acceptable, go for the beard fade. You can do it yourself by shortening your trimmer guard by a couple of levels when you’re shaving your neck and under the jawline.

Rinse and condition your facial hair after trimming.