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Trimming Vs Shaving a Beard (Differences, Pros, Cons!)

Over the years, I have personally experimented with various techniques and styles when it comes to my facial hair. Sometimes I shave completely, sometimes I keep a heavy stubble using a trimmer, and sometimes I wear a full beard and just trim it up as needed.

Trimming facial hair, beard hair, chest hair, or any kind of hair involves using an electric trimmer that allows you to shorten the hair to a pre-determined length by using a guard with a specific length. Shaving hair, on the other hand, involves cutting the hair down to the surface level of the skin, essentially removing the hair completely. Most men should master both techniques.

Read on to learn more about the difference between trimming vs shaving and why you need to use both when styling your facial hair.

Trimming vs shaving your facial hair – what’s the difference?

If you are just starting to deal with facial hair (or any other hair, for that matter), then you might be a bit overwhelmed with everything that goes along with it – razors, blades, electric trimmers, creams, soaps, etc.

Generally speaking, you will use a trimmer when you just want to shorten the length of your hair but don’t need a clean look. You could trim your facial hair super short to keep a heavy stubble look or you can let your beard grow out a bit and then use a trimmer to keep the length where you want it.

If you want to remove hair completely (well, at least above skin level), then you will need to shave with a razor. Generally, you will use a razor to cut off your facial hair completely or to clean up the edges around your beard.

The important thing to remember is that you will need to rely on both of these things at certain points, depending on what style you are going for in the moment.

trimming vs shaving your beard

Need a clean, professional look? Go clean-shaven.

Looking for a scruffy, casual look? Rock the heavy stubble.

Looking for a super masculine, rugged look? Grow out the beard!

Still, everyone will struggle with certain aspects of managing their facial hair so I understand completely if you aren’t too keen on shaving.

Pros and cons of trimming your facial hair

Like I said before, I’ve had a beard trimmer for as long as I’ve had a beard – about 20 years now – and there is definitely a time and a place for these in your routine.


  • Just takes a few minutes
  • You don’t have to worry about dull razor blades
  • Almost no chance of nicks or cuts
  • Less irritation
  • Don’t have to trim every day


  • Trimmers are more expensive initially
  • Some trial and error is involved to find the ideal length
  • Edges won’t look as clean
trimming beard edges with a trimmer

Pros and cons of shaving your facial hair

As someone who keeps a clean-shaven face for around half the year, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve shaved this face.


  • Clean, neat, and professional look
  • You can treat yourself to a luxurious shaving experience (hot towel, brush, soap, aftershave, etc.)


  • Takes longer
  • Possible razor burn
  • Possible razor bumps
  • More irritation overall
  • Might have to shave every day to keep the look
shaving face with a shavette

Is trimming facial hair better for your skin?

When you have a long beard, debris and other bacteria can easily rest inside it, leading to acne or other bumps. Therefore, it is very important to regularly clean your beard with a gentle facial cleanser and exfoliator to rid of debris.

If you would rather not clean your beard as much, you may consider regularly trimming it to make it easier to manage. A shorter beard will also allow you better access to the skin underneath, minimizing issues.

Regularly trimming your hair will help to rid of dead skin cells, excess hair, debris, and oil. This will help your skin look more youthful and radiant. Your beard and face will also require less maintenance if you have problematic skin. 

Regularly trimming your facial hair can boost your skin, but if you haven’t trimmed it in a while, make sure to give it a good shampoo and conditioning to keep it in tip-top shape!

Here is an excellent video that covers trimming and maintaining your beard:

Does trimming a beard help it grow?

Trimming your beard occasionally is a great way to speed up your beard growth, but not in the way you might think.

It has been proven over the years that trimming or shaving your facial hair won’t make it grow back any faster.

Keeping your beard healthy with an occasional trim, shampoo, and conditioning will allow it to look fuller and make it easier to manage. For an established beard, you should plan to trim things up about once a week or so to keep the length where you want it and to make sure that the edges don’t start to wander.

Invest in a high-quality beard trimmer or even just a nice pair of grooming scissors and you’ll have everything you need for the job.

Trimming your beard regularly will keep split ends at bay, smooth out uneven growth, and generally help prevent looking like Grizzly Adams on a daily basis.


Trimming beard hairs may be a better option for you if you’re not a fan of shaving. You can still maintain a neat and clean beard by using a small pair of high-quality scissors or using a beard trimmer with a longer guard.

Does trimming facial hair make it grow quicker?

The time that it takes for your beard to grow mostly depends on your genetics and hormones.

Trimming your beard regularly with a high-quality pair of scissors or a beard trimmer with a longer guard to cut away split ends may also help your beard to grow more quickly because the hair will be healthier.

Even if your facial hair grows slowly, keeping your beard trimmed will make it look more full even if it’s not longer.

How long should you let a beard grow before you start trimming?

Before you start trimming your beard with an electric trimmer, you should allow the beard to come in nicely and start to take shape on your face.

You should wait at least four weeks to see how your beard will take shape and learn how your beard hair grows. For instance, hair will grow in different directions in different areas of your face, leading to natural unevenness in the beard. If you trim it too soon, it could become lopsided. 

If it starts to look too scraggly during this period, you can use scissors to cut off some loose ends. Be careful with this as you want to maintain the natural shape of your beard as much as possible during the four-week period. 

When should you trim or shave a beard neckline?

You should regularly trim your beard neckline to maintain a neat appearance.

After establishing your beard for about 4 weeks, go ahead and shave in your neckline. From that point, keep the neckline trimmed or shaved about once per week to keep it looking neat, depending on how dark your beard is and how fast it grows.

A good rule of thumb is that when the facial hair on the neckline has grown to about 3 mm in length, it is a good time to cut it. 

Personally, I like to trim up my neckline and cheek lines every other day and then shave them about once a week.

Also, be sure to follow a proper guide to trim your neckline to avoid looking ridiculous.

What should you use to trim a beard?

Start with using a good beard trimmer such as this one.

If your facial hair is long and hasn’t been trimmed in a while, start using the longest guard possible and work your way down. A trimmer is great for a quick cut or a fine cut around the neckline.

Another tool you can use is a pair of high-quality beard trimming scissors like these. This helps to cut pesky hairs that are sticking out and maintain a neat and refined appearance of the beard. 

What about trimming vs shaving chest hair?

When it comes to chest hair, my advice is just to set your trimmer to the lowest setting and trim it off.


Well, we tend to shave our faces pretty frequently. As a result, our face gets used to being shaved and over time it tends to respond a bit better with less irritation, ingrown hairs, etc. Your chest, however, rarely gets shaved, so you will have to deal with a lot of potential irritation.

Not to mention it is a lot of surface area to cover with lots of new and unfamiliar angles.

Don’t end up like Seinfeld.


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