Learning how to properly shape a beard is a skill that every man needs to learn… especially if he wants to grow a magnificent beard, and have it look as awesome as possible.
Beards are awesome, and actually, a lot of ladies are into them!
A beard is also, to a point, one way that a man can show off his alpha-male persona and style.
What Will I Learn?
- 1 Introduction: The Benefits of Using Beard Shaping Tools
- 2 A Quick Note About Barbers
- 3 Different Types of Beard Shaping Tools
- 4 Choosing the Most Appropriate Beard Shaping Tool
- 5 How to Know What You Need In a Beard Shaper
- 6 How to Use Beard Shaping Tools
- 7 Best Beard Shaping Tools
- 8 Best Beard Shaping Tool Templates
- 9 The Best Beard Lineup Tools
- 10 Frequently Asked Questions
- 11 In Conclusion
In fact, in many ways, a beard is not so dissimilar to a lion’s mane.
And like a lion, alpha men should consider themselves apex predators.
An apex predator is essentially a predator that “exists at the top of the food chain.”
It is a predator with no natural predators.
Of course, alpha male men are not technically predators. The goal is to be powerful, self-sufficient men who are not afraid to be themselves. It is the mindset here that counts.
And not all men want to let their beards grow out like a wild animal would. And for good reason!
With even a little bit of trimming and shaping, a beard can look even healthier and more magnificent.
But what should you use to shape your beard? How do you get the angles perfect, and how can you avoid making beard-damaging mistakes by trimming or cutting too far?
And perhaps more importantly, do the different stages of beard growth require different types of shaping tools, or different angles? Do you need to use different beard shaping tools to trim your beard correctly differently during these different stages?
These are all great questions.
Unfortunately, this question is not often answered in a high school classroom. To be fair, there are a lot of men who simply never got the chance to learn how to use a beard shaping tool, what it is for, or why it is important.
So let’s start at the beginning, with choosing the best beard shaping tools.
Introduction: The Benefits of Using Beard Shaping Tools
So why even bother with shaping tools?
Why not just break out the trimmer and eyeball it?
These are good questions… and I can certainly relate to them.
Because this is literally what I used to do.
I used to just grab my trimmers, look at my beard for a minute in the mirror, decide which parts I liked the least, and trim them.
Sometimes the outcome was decent… but oftentimes, it would come out looking at least a little bit wonky.
Needless to say, my beard styling didn’t really improve until I started doing some actual research about not only how to shape and style your beard, but also about how to choose the right beard shaping tools.
With that being said, I discovered pretty early on the true benefits of using these tools.
So let’s talk about the different beard shaping tools out there, and how each one of them can contribute to an awesome, outstanding, incredibly manly beard.
A Quick Note About Barbers
Keep in mind that barbers exist for a reason.
The good ones are exceptionally skilled at what they do, and I definitely recommend hiring one at least once every six-months or so to really shape and hone your beard properly.
With that being said, keeping your facial hair well-groomed in the interim is absolutely a skill that any man can, and should, learn.
It may take practice, but learning to care for your own beard is a lot like learning to change the tires on your car, fixing a broken faucet, staying on top of your bills, and shining your own shoes.
It is a skill that EVERY POWERFUL ALPHA MAN SHOULD LEARN.
So, with that being said, let’s press on.
Different Types of Beard Shaping Tools
There are many different types of beard shaping tools. So let’s break it down and talk about the important ones.
The Comb-Shaper Combo
A comb-shaper combo tool is basically a curved piece of either wood, metal, or plastic that you can use as a guide for trimming your beard… but that also includes a comb.
This comb serves two basic functions. First, it helps you to manage the beard by combining it down, while getting a closer look at how the shaper is going to lay against it.
Second, it gives you the ability to comb and hold the shaper with a single hand, while holding your trimmers in the other.
This is probably the most common of all the different types of beard shaping tools, though it does come with one downside.
Most of these tools only give you one or two angles to work with, maximum.
So if you buy one and end up not liking the angles, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and try something else.
One additional thing to note is that there are different styles of combs that come with different shapers.
For example… some comb-shaper combos have fine-tooth combs, while some have broader-toothed combs.
So if you decide to go in this direction, make sure you pay attention to that… and get the one you want!
Multi-angled shapers are a bit different. Yes, comb-combo shapers my have a couple of different curves, but some multi-angle shapers have as many as seven different angles, if not more.
There are some comb-shaper combo tools that still fit into this category… because technically, any shaper with more than one angle is a multi-angle shaper.
But there are also shapers out there that give you 4 or 5 different angles, that don’t come with a comb or anything else.
The upside to these types of shapers is that they give you more than one angle.
The main downside? You sometimes need to use a comb along with them, which will require your other hand… meaning that before you trim, you’re going to have to hold the shaper in place, pick up your trimmer, and then make the cut.
Flexible Beard Shapers
Most beard shapers are made of sturdy, rigid wood, metal, or plastic… but flexible shapers are different.
Virtually any shaper that has flexibility to it can go in this category, but most of the trimmers in this category are designed for the neckline.
Why? Because the neckline can actually be a bit difficult to chart out with a rigid trimmer.
The neckline is an angled line, so it makes sense to use a flexible shaper for planning to shape this curved part of the body.
The upside to this type of tool is that it can make angled cuts look a lot better.
The main downside? Some of them are downright frustrating to use because of how they can move around… and even the good ones are really only useful for one specific type of cut.
You cannot, for example, use a flexible beard shaper meant for the neckline for your cheekbone line.
(At least… not with any shaper we’ve seen!)
Beard Styling Stencil Pencils
Some beard shaping guides or stencils come with actual pencils that you can use to ‘draw the line onto your face’ for more accurate trimming.
There are mixed reviews about these types of products… but as a general rule, not every man is going to like the ‘pencil’ part of the process.
To be fair, pencil lines can be very easy to mess up… and they can also be misleading. This is a technique that can go really well… but it is also a technique that can really get wonky if you don’t get it just right.
Holding up a rigid shaper, on the other hand, and trimming around it… well, it is understandable that this really helps to diminish the margin for error.
You can try using a pencil to trace the outline for your beard. But in my experience, this just doesn’t work as well and I don’t really prefer it.
Choosing the Most Appropriate Beard Shaping Tool
Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about choosing the most appropriate beard-shaping tools for your beard style.
That last part really is the key.
On one hand, you need to consider the material. But that is more of a personal preference.
When it comes to the features… well, you may want to do your homework, because different features are going to give you different outcomes.
Let’s start at the beginning, and talk about how to know what you need to know!
How to Know What You Need In a Beard Shaper
The best way to figure out what beard shaper you should buy is to look at where your beard is now, and where you want it to be three-six months from now.
What stage of growth is your beard in right now, and where do you want it to be?
Answering these questions will do the most good to help point you toward the best shaper for you.
So to get as detailed as we can in answering this, let’s go in-depth with an overview of the different features to consider.
Beard shapers can be made of many different types of materials. Choosing the proper material is important, because this will help you to set the tone for your own personal style, and motivate you to take the necessary steps to shape your beard the way YOU want it shaped.
In other words, you want a beard shaper that is going to make you want to get it out and use it… not a shaper that is going to sit on your shelf and gather dust.
I have literally heard some men say that they like shapers… but are just too lazy to use them!
Do not fall prey to this laziness, my friends. You will be so proud of your beard when you take care of it.
So let’s go over the different materials.
Wood beard shapers are probably the coolest of the shapers.
Why? Because they are made of wood… and wood is super cool and manly.
Wood shapers look great, work very well, last a long time, and hold up well to stress.
You really can’t go wrong with them. And while they may tend to be a little bit more expensive than plastic shapers, they are still pretty economical.
Personally, my favorite beard-shaper I’ve ever owned was wooden. But it also had a comb on it, and I wasn’t always a huge fan of the comb when used by itself.
I would tend to run a brush through my beard first, or the wooden comb could catch and end up feeling a bit ‘harsh.’
One of the biggest downsides to wooden shapers, however, is that you cannot see through them.
This can make getting the perfect angle a bit more difficult.
Metal beard shaping tools are also awesome. In fact, a good stainless steel beard shaper is not only cool, but will also last you forever if you take care of it.
Metal shapers tend to cost a bit more than other types of shapers (sometimes… not always).
But you make up for this extra cost with durability.
Of course, as with wood shapers, you cannot see through metal shapers.
And that is a bit of a downside.
Plastic beard shapers are probably the most popular, for a lot of different reasons.
They tend to offer not only the best bang for your buck as far as prices are concerned, but also some of the coolest styles available.
Plastic can be a durable material, as well. But keep in mind that plastic combs have their upsides and downsides.
A plastic comb will tend to wear out faster than a wooden or metal comb, but it can also have finer teeth and be more gentle on the hair.
These are upsides that are difficult for metal or wood beard shapers to match.
Another big upside for plastic shapers is that they can be transparent.
A big downside? They tend to break more often when dropped.
Choosing the Correct Angle
Unfortunately, choosing the proper angle for your beard shaper can be a daunting task, and you almost need to just order one to see if you like it… because without a frame of reference, this can be a tough thing to ‘eyeball.’
With that being said, there are still some things you can do to help you with your choice.
Try thinking of a beard shaper in terms of the two most extreme types of angles… a straight line, and a VERY curved angle.
Which one appeals more to you?
Would you rather have an extremely straight line, or an extremely curved line?
Then, after answering, follow it up with this question.
Do I want my beard to be shaped to that extreme degree, or do I want a ‘moderate’ amount of it?
If you don’t want your beard ‘extremely straight’ or ‘extremely rounded,’ then consider going with the ‘moderate’ choice… something in the middle, but towards the edge that you would prefer if you were going to go with an ‘extreme’ choice.
Using this method, you can usually find a great starting point… and then work your way up from there.
Keep in mind that it might take some trial and error to get this right. You may not always love the first beard shaper you buy… and that is ok.
The key is to eventually end up with a shaper that you love… that you can then use for the rest of your life, or at least until you end up changing your style!
The good thing about this strategy is that it won’t cost you much, as beard shapers tend to be pretty inexpensive.
Even the most expensive beard shaping kits usually won’t cost you more than $20!
Should You Buy a Kit That Comes With Different Accessories?
There are quite a few beard shaper kits out there, and they actually offer a lot of value for the money… especially if you’ve never had a shaper before.
I’ve seen a lot of kits that come with a comb, beard oil, beard balm, and other beard products… and the great thing about these kits is that, if you’re just now starting to take beard grooming and beard care more seriously, they can open you up to trying new products that you might not have tried before.
Granted, the shapers that come with these kits may not always be your favorite… and you may end up replacing them after a while.
But if you can find a kit that has a shaper in it that looks like a model that could work for you, why not give it a try?
What Other Products Will You Need to Make Full Use of a Beard Shaper?
Here is a list of some of the other beard-care tools that you will likely want to buy in addition to a quality shaper.
These tools will all help you in different ways, and it is very strongly recommended that you grab them if you don’t have them already.
If you are just starting out, consider buying a full-range kit that already contains most of these products in it. Or, you can piece your collection together by buying them separately.
Trimmers. You will need these to actually trim your beard. Cordless electric trimmers work best… but a good corded trimmer can also do the trick!
Scissors. They may not be quite as necessary as trimmers, but you may still find yourself needing a pair, especially when it comes to your moustache.
Beard Oil/Balm. After you trim your beard, you still need to maintain it. That’s where beard oil or beard balm (or even both) come into the picture.
These products will help to keep your beard looking fresh, help to keep it moisturized, and also help to make styling easier.
As a side bonus to this, they will also make it smell awesome!
A quality comb. Whether or not your beard shaper has a comb, you will probably still want a good beard-comb, just in case the comb on your shaper doesn’t check off all the right marks.
A quality beard comb should be just thin enough to do a great job, while being just course enough to pull through your beard without hurting you!
A quality razor. Whether you choose to use a straight-edge razor or a safety razor, you are going to need this part of the puzzle if you really want to clean things up neatly.
This is especially true on your neck!
A beard brush. This becomes an even greater necessity as your beard grows longer.
After a certain point, you will definitely want a brush to go through your beard with before you run a comb through it.
Plus, a brush has a way of really helping the beard to lay down and style well after a trim. A comb doesn’t quite do the same job!
Beard Wash. Never use regular shampoo or body wash on your beard! Buy some high-quality beard wash that will help to keep your beard moisturized and healthy!
How to Use Beard Shaping Tools
Alright… we’ve discussed the ins and outs of buying your own beard shaper.
Now, let’s talk about how to use it correctly.
Here at Male Ambition, we want men to live their best lives.
And that includes looking as good as possible, every day.
Grooming is an important part of every alpha-male’s life… and leveling up this skill is essential to becoming a true, powerful apha that other men (and women) admire!
While it is true that there is more hair on the body than just the beard, it is also true that men should take charge of their appearance and groom all of their body hair to look as good as possible.
Their style should reflect their own unique personality… but they should also execute it with skill and a keen eye for detail.
With that being said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually use a shaper.
Step 1: Decide What Style of Beard You Want
This part is pretty simple… but still important.
You need to decide on a style of beard.
You should be honest with yourself about the length of your beard, of course. You must also think about the future.
Yes, you might want a long, elegant viking beard. But if you only have two inches to work with right now, work with that… and make it look as good as possible!
If possible, think ahead and choose a shaper that will help you to grow into the perfect beard style that suits you.
Step 2: Choose Your Shaper
There are many different shapers on the market… and in all truth, you may even need more than one to achieve the style you want.
Remember that there are several angles that you are going to need to use the shaper for.
So plan ahead, and make sure that you choose a shaper (or shapers) that will give you the exact kinds of lines you will want in these areas.
This obviously might take a bit of trial and error… which might seem scary.
If you are too worried about ruining your beard, you may want to go to a professional the first time, watch how they use a shaper on you, and then emulate their style when you trim it next time.
You can also watch some YouTube videos on how to trim your beard with a shaper, just to work out the kinks.
Once you’ve chosen your own shaper/shapers and made your purchase, it will be time to move on to the next step.
Step 3: Apply Your Beard Products
It is important that you apply any normal products you use in your beard before you trim it.
Because you want to see how your beard looks in its regular, natural form… the way you usually wear it… as you comb it down and prepare for the trim.
What you don’t want is to trim your beard, apply your oil/balm, and then realize that it doesn’t look as good post-trim with the product in it.
So use your regular method for applying your oil/balm before starting the trim.
Step 4: Start With Your Top Line (the Cheekbone Line)
This is the first line to start with, and is a very important line to get right.
This line will extend from the bottom corner of your sideburns, all the way to where your beard meets your moustache.
There is a lot of style that goes into this line, as well. Some men want a straight line here, while others want more of a curve.
This is your choice… so choose wisely!
One tip that you may want to pay attention to is this… make sure to keep this line as high as possible.
The reason for this is because, if you trim it too low, by the time you trim your lower beard, you may end up with less thickness than you would like on the sides.
So keep that in mind!
At any rate, this is the first cut where you will want to use your beard shaper. You will comb down your beard hair, and hold the shaper up to your face, examining it in a mirror to see how it looks.
Make sure to read the instructions that come with your shaper as well, as they will likely tell you exactly how to place that specific shaper for maximum effectiveness.
You can make micro-adjustments to the line before trimming it. Take your time and get it in the perfect spot, then trim the hairs away from it using a wireless trimmer.
Clean the lines up nicely, then pull the shaper away… and you should have a beautiful line!
Do the exact same thing on the other side, and you’re good to go for this one!
Step 5: The Back Line (Under the Ear)
The backline can be found by locating the vertical line of the back of the sideburn, and following it straight down, past the ear, and down onto the neck.
Beards will tend to grow back onto the neck and under the ear, and trimming this down will really help your beard to look more ‘groomed.’
As a general rule, you will want to trim this line straight down, using the back of the sideburn as a guide for where to place that line.
This is another place where you can sometimes use a beard shaper to help you.
Some shapers include a template for the entire side of the face. And if your shaper contains such a template, then you can hold it up to your sideburns, follow that line down, brush the hair down, and trim accordingly while holding the template where it needs to be.
Don’t be afraid to take it easy on this line, and clean it up slowly.
Take some off, take a step back, take a look… take a bit more off, take a step back, take a look, etc.
Remember that you can always take more off… but if you take too much off, you’ll have to wait weeks, or even months for the hair to grow back correctly!
Trimming the back line will make the beard look so much cleaner!
Repeat on the other side, and you’ll be done with this step!
Step 6: The Neckline
This is the final stage of beard trimming, though it may or may not involve the use of your shaper tool.
This really depends on what type of shaper you’ve purchased, and whether or not it was meant to help you trim up the bottom part of your beard.
With that being said, one of the biggest mistakes that guys usually make when trimming their neckline is that they draw their line too high up, too close to their jawline.
If you’re not careful, you’ll remove all of the body from your beard this way!
You want to keep the trimming line lower, about a finger-width above the adam’s apple.
If you have a shaper tool with a neck line stencil guide, use it here. Get a straight line across the neck, about a finger-width above the adam’s apple, and trim the hair below it.
Best Beard Shaping Tools
Alright. Now that we’ve gone over how to properly use beard shaping tools, let’s go over the best beard shaping tools available.
Which ones should you buy?
Which products are going to give you the best bang for your buck?
We’ve actually done a lot of research about this, and have also put our own experiences with beard shapers to the test.
And what follows are some of the best beard-shaping tools available online for getting the best beard shape possible!
Let’s dive in.
Best Beard Shaping Tool Templates
Aberlite Beard Shaper Kit
The Aberlite Beard Shaper Kit gives you a multitude of shaping surfaces, making sure that you have the perfect angle for virtually any style you might want.
The shaper itself is made from clear plastic, features long edges, is 100% transparent, and even sports an anti-slip rubber center so that you can hold it steady as you trim.
It’s priced at less than $15 as well, which makes it as affordable as it is awesome! It also comes with a professional barber pencil.
Pros & Cons
BeardClass Beard Shaping Tool
This 8-in-1 multi-liner beard shaping tool gives you 8 different useful beard shaping tools built into one product… which, honestly, is not only pretty cool, but also works really well.
You can use this tool for curved or straight cheek lines, extra clean neck lines, goatee lines, and even perfect sideburns. Plus, it has a comb built right into it… making it easy to use with one hand.
This kit also comes with a pair of beard scissors, which make it an even better deal. Priced just below $15, this kit is another top-contender on our favorite beard-shapers list!
Pros & Cons
Beardoholic 9-in-1 Advanced Beard Shaping Tool
This completely transparent, 9 in 1 beard shaping tools also ships with a pair of beard scissors and a pencil. It’s also a bit cheaper, priced at just below $13.
But don’t let the lower price-point fool you! This is a super-cool beard shaper, for a number of reasons.
For one, we loved the durability of the plastic. Second, we think the angles on it are pretty much spot on.
Third, the fully transparent plastic gives you the ability to see everything you’re doing while you trim, while the angles give you several options for styling your beard to look exactly how you want it to look.
It’s just a super-cool shaper with some fantastic angles, and should definitely be on your radar if you’re looking for something sleek, but also exquisitely manly!
Pros & Cons
The Best Beard Lineup Tools
If you’re more interested in a high-quality shaper, and just want a lineup tool that will tend to have the best odds of working for you, then we really have to recommend the Manecode Beard Shaping Tool.
Manecode Beard Shaping Tool
This beard shaping tool is our favorite singular shaping tool.
If you want the tool that is most likely to work for you, then this is the guy you want to take a closer look at.
The Manecode Shaper actually comes with quite a few accessories, giving you literally everything you need to get started.
It comes with a comb, the shaper itself, a pair of scissors, and even a bag to hold everything in!
The shaper itself is made of transparent plastic, and contains all of the classic angles you’ll need for a full beard trim.
Price at under $21, this is definitely a product to take a look at if you are just getting started on your beard shaping journey!
Pros & Cons
The Manliest Beard Shaping Toolkit on the Planet
If you’re looking for hands down, the manliest beard shaping toolkit, look no further than the Alpha Vikings Beard Care Grooming Kit for men.
The shaper in this kit is made of wood, and contains a course comb. The angles on this guy are not necessarily high-tech. But if you’re into a more primitive style of grooming, this kit will definitely appeal to you!
It contains a maple-wood beard brush, barber scissors, a beard shaper, an apron, a wooden comb with a leather pouch, and even a stylish canvas bag!
Everything about this kit says powerful alpha male… and we love it!
Pros & Cons
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about beard shaping tools!
Hopefully, this Q-and-A section will help to clear up some of the most pressing queries that come through our channels here on Male Ambition!
Q: How to Make a Curve Cut
A: Making a curved cut on your cheek line or back line is best done with the help of a quality beard-shaping tool that contains a curved angle that you think would be a good fit for your beard.
Any of the tools listed above could work.
You can also try to eyeball this line… but be careful! This is difficult to master even for a trained barber. And if you try to eyeball these lines yourself, there is a good chance that you will end up taking too much off… which cannot be fixed until the hair grows back naturally!
Q: How to Make a Step Cut
A: A step cut is a layered cut, but one in which the layers do not blend together.
This isn’t very common on most beards… but it can be done.
As a general rule, you won’t want to attempt a ‘step cut’ on your beard by yourself, unless you are quite skilled at it, or are willing to risk your beard to practice it!
This is a more advanced technique that most men go to a professional barber for… and we would absolutely recommend doing the same!
Q: How to Trim Sideburns
A: Sideburns are actually fairly easy to trim., and you can usually do this at home with a smaller pair of electric clippers.
On the front side, you want to mostly keep a straight line while cleaning up all of the little stray hairs that make it look unruly.
And on the back-side, you want to trim it straight down, doing the same.
You will generally want to use the natural shape of your sideburns to guide you. Try to find the natural vertical lines, and use those as a guide to help you… so you don’t trim too much hair off or make your sideburns too thin.
Q: How to Trim your Neckline
A: Trimming the neckline is where most guys go really wrong with their beard!
For best results, do not trim too far up!
Some guys trim almost all the way to the jawline, which is usually far too high.
Instead, start lower… at about a finger-width above your adam’s apple.
Then, you want to trim in a line that is pretty much straight across the neck. Do not curve the line upwards!
This is a common mistake.
Your beard should come to a 90 degree angle when the neckline and the backline meet. You can either keep this corner sharp, or round it off to make it appear more ‘natural.’
Q: Can You Make Your Own Beard Shaping Tool?
A: Yes, you can… and some men do.
The easiest and most artistic way to make a beard shaping tool is out of wood. But in all honesty, it can also be done with nearly any type of rigid material that could potentially serve as a guide.
The only downside to this is that if you don’t already have a beard shaper to use as a guide, you will run the risk of creating an edge or curve that you won’t end up liking on your beard.
But if you are willing to take the risk, print out specs online, or even try out your design with a prototype before creating the finished product… you might be able to craft the perfect beard shaping tool for your own specific tastes!
Becoming a powerful alpha male is an all-encompassing journey. And while some men are simply not used to putting so much effort into their looks, it is still important.
At the end of the day, however, never forget that the most important alpha male trait is self sufficiency.
As alpha men, we do not groom ourselves for other people.
We do it because we want to be the best version of ourselves possible.
We always want to try to be the best man in the room. We want to be the most accomplished man. We want to be the best dressed, the most ambitious, the most adventurous, the wisest, etc.
These are qualities that truly matter.
So go with pride, alpha men… and do your best at whatever you set your hand to.
Whether that is training for a sport, succeeding at business, scoring dates with hot women… or grooming your beard with the best beard shaping tools… make every day count, and never stop chasing excellence.
Joshua Sigafus is an experienced writer trying to make the world a better place. You can reach out to him on Facebook.