Is a Professional Beard Trim Worth It? (4 Good Reasons & Practical Tips)

A professional beard trim is a simple pleasure that can also be the most extravagant purchase you make in a week. Like any service, what you’re paying for isn’t the cut itself but the barber’s skill, hence the sometimes hefty price tag. So how do we know when going the extra distance is worth it?

A professional beard trim is worth it whenever you think of changing your style, if you are attending a special event, or in cases where your beard feels unhygienic. However, going to an expert becomes less and less sensible the more trims you have close to one another.

In this case, personal preference greatly determines how worthwhile a professional beard trim is for you. Read on to know why you should and when to get your beard professionally trimmed.

Why you should get your beard professionally trimmed

man getting a professional trim

While style and comfort are the benefits most commonly associated with professional beard trims, there are not-so-obvious reasons to consider trimming, too.

  • Professional input and guidance
  • Try out a new style
  • Comprehensive beard care
  • Be part of the culture

Professional input and guidance

Getting input from anybody other than yourself ensures your trim is symmetrical and isn’t missing a spot, but a professional’s benefits go beyond that.

A professional barber can figure out which direction you should be shaving or combing and what products you should or shouldn’t use. They can also tell you where the shave line around your jaw is. These bits of information don’t even include the tricks of the trade a master barber may unveil, but they are a good starting point.

For the direction of your hair’s growth, known as the grain, you may be able to get a feel for it yourself. However, this is harder if you already have over an inch-long beard. Remember what your barber tells you so that you can shave against the grain. This helps reduce damage to your follicles.

For the shave line, where your beard ends and your neck begins, a barber can prevent hairs that shift above the jaw line when you smile. This imaginary line can be tough to shave around once you have more volume, so get a feel for it with the barber. They can also help keep you from growing an unwanted neckbeard. 

Trying out new styles

Different styles work or don’t work for specific hair types and lengths. A professional can help you sort through your options or tell you how plausible your desired transformation is.

Any shaping of your beard to make you look like a Viking prince, an Italian composer, or even a stylish modern CEO is only possible if you are skilled or intelligent enough to go to a professional. But be warned: the thickness and length of your beard may put some styles out of reach, no matter how skilled your barber is.

Comprehensive beard care

According to a survey by the International Dermatology Institute, 79% of males notice at least one problem with their beards daily. Improper beard trimming is an unspoken contributor to this scary percentage.

Ingrown hairs, razor burns, and unusual coarseness indicate a lack of good beard care. A professional barber should be able to fix and diagnose your issues here, so long as you are honest with what you’ve been doing as part of your hygiene routine.

Be part of the culture

While the subculture of the barber shop is more closely associated today with the context of the Black community, it is undeniable that a trip to the barber can be a special ritual in any person’s life.

Depending on the relationship you can build with a specific shop or barber, you won’t just make a transaction with money and basic service; you will spend time gaining an ally on your quest to achieve a glorious beard. The atmosphere and the physical motion of a professional trim may also provide some stress relief.

When should you have your beard professionally trimmed?

professional barber trimming a man's beard before an event

Deciding when to get your first professional trim differs from determining when to take follow-up or spur-of-the-moment trims. 

It’s a good idea to get a professional beard trimming just before any event where you want to look your best, after you’ve felt overcome by the unruliness of your hair, or anytime you feel like you need a change. Depending on how long or thick your beard is, you might need to schedule the trim a few days in advance. 

If you’re growing out your beard for the first time, it’s highly recommended you go to a professional in the first month, the third month, and the sixth month of your beard growth. However, you can opt out of the third and sixth-month trim if you’re confident enough with your trimming skills.

Within the first month, your barber will help define your cheek lines and add shape to your beard. This can be especially hard for beginners to do, so a professional’s touch can ensure you won’t accidentally chop off too much facial hair.

The third and sixth month is mostly for taming and maintenance trim. You can do this yourself, but again if you’re not confident enough to trim it yourself, your barber can keep your beard in shape.

How often should you get your beard professionally trimmed?

Depending on how big your beard has grown, the look you’re going for, and how much you trust yourself to make minor adjustments to your hair, you’ll be able to delay returning to the barber without much concern.

As a rule of thumb, if your beard is mostly stubble, then don’t go more than a week without a trim. If you have an inch or longer beard, no more than three weeks. If you have a beard longer than three inches, then not more than six to eight weeks (based on whether or not you care about looking wild).

For shorter beards, after your first professional trim, you can avoid going back for a few months to the barber for your beard and not lose out on much, so long as you keep to a good private trimming routine. The exception to this rule is if you’re interested in keeping a fade in your beard.

What do I tell my barber for a beard trim?

If you’ve just sat down in the big comfy chair and it’s your first time getting a beard trim with the barber, or your first time in general, there are a few things you should think to ask:

  • Say how long and how voluminous you want your beard
  • Say what shape, if any, you are going for
  • Mention braids and coloring ahead of time if interested
  • Decide what you will do about sideburns and/or mustaches
  • Ask where your jaw’s shave line is
  • Ask for what products to use

Do hairdressers do beards?

Hairdressers and barbers are both professions that require certifications, and while some of their training overlaps in the subject matter, they are different professions.

You shouldn’t expect a hairdresser to do your beard unless you ask them beforehand if they feel comfortable doing so. On average, they will not be as knowledgeable about beard trimming as a professional barber, but they will also likely know more than the average person.