Tips on Managing Male Facial Hair and Sideburns

Changing your razor blades regularly ensures a neat, smooth shave.
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Shaving everyday can keep your stubble at bay, but when you've got facial hair, the routine can get a little more complicated. Whether you have a beard, mustache, goatee, sideburns or other form of facial hair, you've got it keep it neat and trimmed if you want it to look good. That doesn't mean that it has to be difficult, though -- with the right tools and techniques, you can easily manage your facial hair and sideburns so they always look polished.

1 Use the Right Tools

The key to managing your facial hair and sideburns is having the right tools on hand. A good razor is obviously important, and multi-blade styles usually offer the smoothest shave. However, if you are prone to razor bumps, use a single blade style so that you don't shave too close. With disposal razors, you should change your blade or cartridge every three to four shaves to prevent it from becoming dull. You also need a shaving cream or gel to lubricate your skin so the razor glides across it more easily. If you have a beard, mustache, goatee, sideburns or other facial hair, you should also invest in a beard trimmer. This electric tool can help you maintain an even length for your facial hair and ensure that there are no bald spots. You can also use it to keep your sideburns and neckline clean and neat.

2 Trim Regularly

Most facial hair looks best if it’s kept tight and neat, which means trimming regularly. If you have a beard, make sure that the hair at the bottom doesn’t extend down your neck by trimming it with a beard trimmer to create a defined neckline. If you prefer a hipster-style beard, use your trimmer on the highest setting so the hair grows fuller for a natural appearance. But shape the hair on the upper part on your neck so that your beard doesn't grow into your chest hair. If you're tending a mustache, make sure that the hair never extends below your upper lip. Trim the middle of your mustache first, and then move over each side. In most cases, you won’t need to trim the hair at the top of the mustache. If you have more complex facial hair, such as a goatee or soul patch, you may need to use both a razor and a beard trimmer to get the shape and length right. It may take a little practice to figure out the best trimming technique.

3 Get Symmetrical

Sideburns can be tricky to maintain because symmetry is so important. When you’re trimming and shaping them, keep them even by always looking straight ahead into your mirror rather than turning your head. For most face shapes, sideburns look best when they're about 1 inch wide, but you can play with width until you find the ideal look for your face. To make sure you trim them evenly, use a comb that's the same width as your sideburns, and hold the comb up against the sideburns so you can follow the comb's smooth edge with scissors. A trimmer's guard can help you get the width right. Your sideburns will be an even length if you place an index finger at the bottom of your left and right sideburns and look in a mirror to make sure your fingers match up. If one is shorter than the other, trim it to match, doing the index-finger test again to ensure that they're even.

4 Keep It Clean

If you want your facial hair to look its best, you need to keep it clean. When you shower, run your usual shampoo through your beard, mustache, goatee, sideburns and other facial hair. Once it’s rinsed clean, rub a small amount of moisturizing conditioner through the hair as well. The conditioner will prevent the shampoo from drying out the skin on your face and causing irritation.

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.