Beards During A Pandemic

Can You Do A Self Beard Trim or Self haircut?

Ron Lyons 
Former police officer, writer and owner of Tactical Beards. Lyons offers insights, tips, tricks and wisdom regarding one of man's most coveted items: the beard.

In The Beginning: I Need A Haircut And A Beard Trim

One of my biggest fears during the pandemic of 2020 (aka the Coronavirus or Covid-19 pandemic) has been that I would have to shave off my beard. Honestly, it takes so long to grow a great beard that the idea of cutting off months of growth in one 10 minute clipper session scared the hell out of me. But, the reality is that we all have to take steps to keep ourselves (and more importantly, our families) safe. So, would this damned virus end up costing me my beard? No, but would it take a few inches? Yes. Now before you get started calling me all kinds of names for losing a few inches of bearded greatness, let me explain how this all came about. There's more to it than you may imagine.

First of all, I haven't had a beard trim of any sort in a year. When I say no beard trim, I mean sero, nada. So, I was looking particularly rough and caveman like which is totally cool, but not the best look when you are having online meetings with customers, suppliers and such. Not only that, but the hair on top of my head had also grown to amazing new Bee Gees proportions. Barry Gibb didn't have anything on me. I saw the writing on the wall (and the look on my fiance's face) quite often when the subject of my untamed man mane came up. 

The odd thing about my beard is that the portion that grows on my actual chin grows so fast and the rest grows at a normal pace. In short order, I can have a real thick, high quality beard around my chin and a thinner, less prominent portion elsewhere. What's really bad is that the sideburns (or licks) tend to grow out and get really poofy making my already somewhat round face look even more round. Not a good look for me! [COMMENT BELOW: Do you have the same problem? Does a portion of your beard grow faster than the rest? Do your sideburns grow out as much as down?]

I finally decided to give myself an "at home" beard trim and haircut. I know, crazy, right? I am no barber, but these days, my barber isn't either. Thank you Coronavirus. So, I rounded up the beard trimmer, the guards and a handheld mirror. I also got my hands on a comb and scissors. Next, I watched a dozen or more YouTube videos on the subjects of beard trimming and giving yourself a haircut. Needless to say, this isn't the way your would usually do things, but for right now, it's the only way.

First, The Haircut

I started off with the hair on my head. I figured that if I was going to gaff something, let it be that and not my beard! Seriously, I'd rather lose my head hair than my beard hair. So, with the longest guard equipped on the trimmers, I went to work. I had decided that I would give myself shorter sides and leave some hair on top in a form of older dude fade, if you know what I mean. Up and out they all said, so up and out is exactly how the trimmers went. Long lengths of hair started to collect on the floor and my nervousness got better and better, meaning, it was looking ok! 

As the time passed, I used the mirror and progressively shorter guards on the sides and back of my head until I had the look I wanted. Next, on to the top. First, a full dousing of my hair (wet is the way to go I learned) then a quick towel dry. Next, I took section by section and did the cool thing that barbers do with their fingers where they pull up a section of hair and cut it off along the back of their fingers. Super sweet! It was working! 

The hardest part to me was the front, just above my forehead. There, I just tried to keep the basic shape already there and shorten it just a bit. Ultimately, this strategy worked. Would my hair look ok once washed, dried and styled? I'd soon find out.

Next It Was Time For A Beard Trim

Enter the scary part for me: the beard trim. Worse, not just a beard trim, an "AT HOME BEARD TRIM." So, having watched the YouTube videos, I decided that i definitely wanted to thin out the big, giant tuft at my chin then pull in the sides to thin my face out. One of the greatest beards there is (well, the man who wears it) said that you shout square this portion of your beard off in front if you didn't want the V-taper look. Ok, cut number one, done. Straight across the chin area with a straight comb and scissors. Mission accomplished. The chin hair was quite a bit shorter and squared off. 

Now why did I want it so much shorter? because, I am simply ready for my beard to all be the same length and to grow more fuller from jawline to chin. Since the hair along my jawline takes its freaking time and I end up looking like a hippy billygoat while waiting, I decided to get the shorter version of what I really want. Now I will work to keep it trimmed to this shape as the slower parts of my beard grow, always knowing that my chin will win any race.

After that, i did the downwards strokes that everyone recommended with the clippers on the sides. Perfect! Next I just went through and did a little shaping and detail work and called it a deal. Probably the most important part of this experience is becoming empowered to do what YOU want to do. It's your face, your beard, so get it! Never feel pressured to do anything that you don't want to, whether thats growing or trimming your beard.

Now, I have to admit that it's odd having a much shorter beard, but gaining the early vision of what it will grow into now is just what I needed. And, it WILL grow, thats a face. Maybe not as fast as I wish in some places and too fast in others, but welcome to living with a beard.

So how about you? what's it like living in quarantine with a beard? Share your thoughts below and lets connect! I'd love to hear your story. 

1 comment

  • I cut the hair on the top of my head with a “Flowbee”, my ShopVac sucks the hair up into the cutters which adjust for length. I use the taper piece on it to do the sides, and finish the sides and back with a Wahl hairclipper and #4 attachment.

    I use the Wahl #1 attachment to do my beard, and a beard trimmer for edging. I keep my beard shorter because the gray hair gets more wiry now. I’ve been cutting my hair this way for 25 years, and never see a barber.

    I also cut both of my grandsons hair the same way, except they prefer the same length on top and Wahl #3 on both sides.

    TC Sullivan

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