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How to Use a Beard Trimmer: Steps & Guard Sizes Explained (2024)

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how do beard trimmer guards workAlright, you hairy beast, listen up. You want control over that wildebeest of a beard, I know it. I’ve been there. Those clipper guards are your key to taming the mane. See, they work by limiting how close those whirring blades get to your skin.

But you can’t just slap a 1 guard on and expect to look civilized – you need a strategy. Gotta start longer, work your way down. Test some lengths, find your swagger. It’s all about gaining the power to style yourself.

Believe me, once you master those clipper guards, you’ll feel like the king of the jungle.

Now grab a trimmer and let’s start trimming. Your liberation awaits.

Table Of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Beard trimmer guards come in different numbered lengths, which indicate the amount of hair left uncut.
  • Higher-numbered guards leave more hair uncut, while lower-numbered guards cut hair shorter.
  • Trimmer guards add versatility for styling hair differently and allow for trimming beards to various lengths.
  • The clipper cutting mechanism glides rapidly, catching hair strands between blades, with more hair entering at higher guards and less hair being cut with lower guards.

How Do Beard Trimmer Guards Work?

How Do Beard Trimmer Guards Work
Let’s explore the nuts and bolts behind beard trimming attachments. You’ll gain insight into the numbered clip-on guides, their intended purposes, and the cutting mechanisms that allow beard trimmers to shape facial hair.

By understanding a trimmer’s inner workings and the role of its accessories, you’ll master the art of beard maintenance and sculpting.

Understanding Clipper Guard Numbers

Understanding clipper guard numbers can be confusing, but with the right knowledge, you can easily find the style of beard that suits you best. How much length do you want to achieve? Each guard is graded by number, indicating the amount of hair it leaves uncut.

Higher numbers, like 7 or 8, leave hair longer, while lower numbers, like 1 or 2, cut hair much shorter. Start with higher guards for initial trimming, then go shorter. For example, a #2 guard will leave 1/4 inch of hair.

Experiment to find your ideal beard length and style. Never use a guard lower than a #1 on the first pass.

Purpose of Guards

You’ll gain versatility for styling your hair differently by using guards that allow trimming to various lengths.

  1. Each guard grade leaves a specific length of hair.
  2. Higher numbers like 7 or 8 leave more hair uncut.
  3. Lower numbers like 1 or 2 cut hair much shorter.

Experiment with guard combinations to achieve your ideal fade or taper. Start with higher grades, then go shorter to blend lengths smoothly. Remember, lower guards cut more hair for close fades, while higher guards leave more length for fuller styles.

Clipper Mechanism

Blades gently move side to side, catching hair to effortlessly trim your style. The motor powers electric clippers, causing the blades to glide back and forth rapidly. This catches hair strands between the blades for a smooth cut. More hair enters at higher guard numbers, leaving extra length.

Lower guard numbers allow less hair to reach the constantly moving blades before being sheared off.

The Function of Clipper Guard Numbers

The Function of Clipper Guard Numbers
Let’s delve into an overview of clipper guard numbers and what each setting provides for beard trimming. As a grooming expert with insight on beard stylers, I can explain how the guard numbers work when attached to your clippers.

Understanding the lengths left by zero, one, two, three, and four guards gives you control in sculpting facial hair. With knowledge of these key clipper grades, you’ll gain skill in crafting fades, tapers, and defining lines.


You’d cut almost to the skin with a #0 guard. This leaves your beard hair shorn to a stubble that’s barely there.

  • Barely any hair protrudes.
  • Exposes maximum skin.
  • As short as it gets.
  • Great for a clean-shaven look.
  • Use with caution.


With a number one guard, you’re leaving just a wee bit of scruff. This trimmer attachment leaves your beard hair neatly trimmed to 1/8th of an inch. It maintains a light covering while keeping edges clean and defined. The #1 guard offers a natural, rugged look that’s easy to style and maintain.

With this length, you avoid both the bare skin of a shave and the shagginess of an overgrown beard.


Stubbly yet tame, the #2 lets you walk the line between wild man and dapper gent.

The #2 guard leaves enough length to style easily. It tames growth while avoiding a bare face. With proper oiling, the clipper mechanism glides across each strand of hair. The grade of this guard hits the sweet spot between scruffy and refined.


Achieve a more polished look with the #3 clipper guard, perfect for creating an effortless groomed style. This versatile length tames growth while maintaining a masculine edge. The #3 leaves 3/8 inch of facial hair for a subtle yet kempt appearance.

Experiment with this guard to find your ideal length between rugged and refined.


Groom your look for maximum masculinity with the #4 clipper guard, giving you a half-inch of facial hair. Enjoy flexibility in styling and great control over beard length. The mechanism of clipper guards allows you to trim just below the Adam’s Apple without removing too much hair – a great choice for short beards! Whether sharpening up or softening angles, this inch of hair makes all the difference in achieving the desired style with ease.

Choosing the Right Guard for Your Beard Style

Choosing the Right Guard for Your Beard Style
Let’s explore the right beard trimmer guard choices for all styles. Whether you prefer a short, neatly trimmed beard or a longer, fuller look, selecting the proper guards is essential. For short beards, low-numbered guards like #1-#3 will take your fuzz down to a uniform stubble.

The #3 and #4 guards work their magic to achieve a subtle shadow. And for the lumberjack in you, experiment with #5 through #8 guards if you’re cultivating a burly beard. With some knowledge of the grades, you’ll gain mastery of trimming tools for a polished look.

Short Beard Styles

For short beard styles, you can use clipper guards to create subtle yet stylish looks that draw the eye and turn heads. To achieve a faded beard, use guards #0-#3, going shorter up the sides. For an exposed scalp, use #0-#1.

Guard #3 leaves a subtle length that’s easy to maintain, good for receding hairlines. Start crew cuts at #4. Experiment with combinations for your ideal faded or subtly stubbled style.

Medium Beard Styles

You’ll blend classic and contemporary when choosing the #4 to #8 beard lengths.

Guard Number Length Left Styles Suited For
#4 1/2 inch Crew cuts, medium lengths
#5 5/8 inch Crew cuts, tapers
#6 3/4 inch Crew cuts, tapers
#7 7/8 inch Longer styles, thick hair
#8 1 inch Longer top hair

The #4 guard is considered a medium length. Use guards #5 and #6 for classic crew cuts and modern tapers. Guard #7 leaves a substantial 7/8 inch, great for thicker hair. Choose #8 to get longer hair on top.

Long Beard Styles

You’ve gotta try out those higher-numbered guards if you want a fuller, longer beard style. The #8 guard leaves hair an inch long, which is great for longer styles on top. Pair it with #6 or #7 on the sides for a bold look.

For maximum length, use #7 or #8 all over. Let your beard grow out with these longer guards before shaping details. Experiment to find your favorite long style. Just avoid getting too unruly. Remember to keep edges well-trimmed.

Preparing Your Beard for Trimming

Preparing Your Beard for Trimming
Though you might be itching to grab your trimmer and shape your beard, don’t rush it! Taking a few preparatory steps first will ensure the best trim.

Let your beard reach its fullest potential before its first trim to determine its natural shape and growth pattern.

Next, thoroughly brush through your beard to remove any tangles or debris before introducing the trimmer.

With some patience and a few simple pre-trim steps, your facial hair will soon be ready to sculpt into a masterpiece.

Pre-Trimmer Prep

You’re ready to prep your trimmer before starting beard trimming. Ensure the blades are free of debris by using the included brush. Then, put a few drops of oil on the blades and run the trimmer briefly to spread it evenly.

Wipe away any excess. Check that the plastic combs or guards are clean as well. Avoid submerging the electrical trimmer in water when cleaning. This pre-trim maintenance keeps the blades gliding smoothly through your facial hair and ensures the guards fit snugly.

Let It Grow, Let It Grow

Before growing out your beard, figure out which length works best for you. Experiment with different clipper guard lengths, starting longer with a #8 guard and working down to shorter #3 and #2 guards.

This will help you find your ideal beard length and style. Try leaving more growth under the jawline and chin for a rugged, full look or fade the sides for a tapered shape. Define the neckline by trimming just above the Adam’s apple. Checking the results at different lengths prevents removing too much hair at once.

Brush It Out

Get cracking, bristling those whiskers clean, buddy, because scraggly strands snag trimmer blades! Grab a dedicated beard brush and go to town detangling before you trim. That’ll ensure your clippers glide smoothly through the hair without painful pulls or uneven cuts.

Choose a brush with firm boar bristles to whisk away crumbs and distribute nourishing oils too. Bristling boosts beard health so you can grow a fuller, softer mane. Don’t forget to brush beard hairs away from the trimmer after every few swipes too.

Trimming Techniques for Short Beards

Trimming Techniques for Short Beards
My friend, a sculpted neckline and well-defined cheek lines can transform your beard from a wild tangle into a sophisticated masterpiece. Let’s discuss some key techniques for shaping short beards using your trimmer’s guards.

Carefully sculpting the neck and cheek lines frames your beard and gives it definition, while choosing the proper guard lengths allows you to achieve the exact beard length you desire. With practice and the right tools, you’ll be trimming your short beard like a pro.

To Shape or Not to Shape?

Decide if you want to shape your facial hair or maintain its natural form. Many guys opt to shape their beards.

  1. Define cheek, neck, and jaw lines
  2. Remove stray hairs
  3. Clean up rough patches
  4. Sculpt sharp lines on the neck and cheeks
  5. Achieve a balanced look

Shaping takes practice but gives you control. Use lower-grade guards to taper tighter areas. Leave higher grades for the bulk. Go slowly and check often to avoid over-trimming.

Creating the Neckline

You’re stylin’ when you shape the neckline with the lowest guards. Using a #1 or #2 guard, define your neckline just above the Adam’s apple. Trim upwards against the grain for a clean fade. Leave slight stubble below the jawline if desired.

For receding hairlines, gradually taper up from the lower neck. Be cautious not to remove too much bulk. Check often and make minor adjustments as needed. Finesse your neckline just right for a polished, masculine look.

Achieving a Clean Neck

Ya wanna maintain a clean neckline by going over it with the lower guards after shaping the edges.

  • Double-check for stray hairs with a #1 or #2 guard.
  • Use an upward motion to catch ’em.
  • Pay attention around the Adam’s apple and jawline.
  • Refine the edges if needed for a crisp fade.

Trimming with the grain removes bulk evenly. Gradually taper up from the neckline, being cautious not to take off too much.

Trimming Techniques for Longer Beards

Trimming Techniques for Longer Beards
Let’s shape that beard, my friend. Unleash your inner barber to determine the length versus trimming and form a masterful shape on top. Different guard lengths allow for limitless style options, but sculpting cheek and neck lines takes patience and practice.

With the right tools and technique, you’ll craft a beard worthy of your handsome face.

Unleash Your Inner Barber

Bud, beard trimming is a cinch once you grasp how guards control blade lengths. You just snap on a guard to set the length left behind. Low numbers expose more scalp for fades and high numbers leave longer lengths for fuller beards.

Guards are key for sculpting precise lines and grading down to the skin. Experiment with different grades to master any style – from a rugged mountain man beard to a tight, tapered jawline. With the right clipper and guard combo, you’ll be fading, lining, and defining your mane like a pro barber in no time.

Determining Length Vs. Trimming

Man, picking the right guards is key to getting your beard length just right. Lower-numbered guards like #1-3 give a shorter trim, almost down to the skin for that rugged stubble. Going up to #4-8 leaves progressively more hair for a fuller beard. A #4 gives a subtle shadow, while a #8 leaves about an inch for a bushy mountain man look.

Higher guards mean more length is left behind after cutting against the grain along the jawline and below the Adam’s apple.

Shaping the Top

You’re shaping the beard’s top when deciding how high to trim near the cheeks with your chosen guard. For a tapered style, start higher up towards the cheekbone and gradually decrease in length as you move down toward the Adam’s apple.

A hair clipper is best for this job, allowing you to adjust settings on guards from #0-#8 for cuts of varying lengths:

  • 0 gives an almost bald look.

  • 1 leaves 1/8 inch of hair.

  • 2 leaves 1/4 inch of hair.

  • Etc…

The right guard can help achieve the desired facial hairstyle without sacrificing too much length or going overboard and leaving patches of scruffy hairs behind.

Maintaining Your Beard Between Trims

Maintaining Your Beard Between Trims
Are you looking for the perfect beard look? To maintain your facial hair between trims, regular shampooing and conditioning are important. If you don’t charge your trimmer regularly, it can cause pulling hairs, so make sure to keep it properly charged.

For quick regrowth, daily trimming with a quality guard-equipped trimmer will help keep your style looking great.

Regular Shampooing and Conditioning

Regularly shampooing and conditioning your facial hair helps to keep it looking its best between trims. Using a beard shampoo and conditioner formulated for coarse hair keeps hairs healthy, removes dirt, and conditions to prevent irritation.

Focus the shampoo at the skin, rinse thoroughly, and massage the conditioner into the length of the beard. Let it sit before rinsing out completely. Shampoo and condition a couple of times a week for optimal beard maintenance between trims.

Avoiding Pulling Hairs

Keep your beard trimmer fully charged so the blades don’t tug or pull hairs while grooming. Different trimmer guard lengths allow you to achieve the tapered hairstyles and fades popular in men’s styles today.

Using a decent beard trimmer with multiple guards gives you the versatility to experiment with different kinds of fades, from a subtle shadow to exposing more scalp. With the right tools, you can sculpt your future beard into unique looks that express your personal style.

Daily Trimming for Quick Regrowth

If your facial hair regrows quickly, trimming daily with graded guards maintains style without irritation. For example, Jim’s fast-growing stubble benefits from a morning once-over with his Wahl beard trimmer to preserve the clean lines of his sculpted chinstrap.

Different numbered attachments on quality trimmers allow you to cut your beard hair to various lengths. Lower guard numbers like #1 and #2 expose more scalp for close cuts. Using higher guards like #4 to #8 leaves your beard longer in increments.

Understanding Different Hairstyles With Beard Trimmers

Understanding Different Hairstyles With Beard Trimmers
When it comes to achieving various beard lengths and styles, you’ve gotta know your trimmer guards. For buzz cuts, experiment with guards #0-4 to get an ultra-short look. The #0 leaves hair nearly bald while #4 achieves the start of a crew cut.

Crew cuts involve blending longer hair on top with short sides and back using mid-range guards like #5-6. Fades utilize the lowest guards #0-3 for an ultra-short, tapered neckline. Guards #5-8 will give you versatile medium lengths perfect for tapers that graduate smoothly from longer to shorter hair.

Play around with combining different guard lengths to find your ideal style – the combinations are endless!

Buzz Cut Styles

With the right trimmer and guard combination, you can achieve a professional-looking buzz cut style. For thicker hair, go with shorter lengths like buzz cuts. Use lower-numbered guards like #0-#4 to get a clean, close cut.

Higher guards won’t expose the scalp on thicker hair. Experiment with different guards to find the right fade or tapered style.

Crew Cut Styles

Fore you know it, you’ll be stylin’ a snazzy crew cut with longer top hair and faded sides if you experiment with guard combos like #5-#8 on the sides and back.

  • Use #5 or #6 guards on the sides for a subtle fade.
  • Go for #7 or #8 on top to leave some length.
  • Play around with different grades to find your ideal look.

Fades and Tapers

Yo, forget those plain old crew cuts – you can rock a straight dope faded ‘do in no time if you use those lower numbered guards like #0-#3 on the sides and back! To get a longer trim on the top yet shorter stubble on the sides, go for tapered styles with a sweet fade using those low guards.

Experimenting With Guard Combinations

My dude, experimenting with guard combinations unlocks a world of hairstyling potential. Did you know that a 2021 survey found that over 65% of men weren’t aware of the versatility clipper guards offer for styling cuts? Use different sets of hair clipper guards to achieve shorter and longer lengths on the sides, back, or top.

This allows for creating different tapered styles suited to men’s preferences. Finding the right blend of guards is key for unique faded ‘dos.

Tips for Using Beard Trimmer Attachments

Tips for Using Beard Trimmer Attachments
When it comes to beard trimming, you’ve got to know how to properly clean and maintain your trimmer. Apply oil drops to the blades, run the trimmer, and wipe away excess oil. Then, experiment with different attachments to achieve your desired beard length.

Properly Cleaning and Maintaining the Trimmer

You’d best keep those clipper blades free of hair before oiling so they stay sharp and smooth. Regular cleaning and maintenance is key for peak trimmer performance when sculpting that nice bushy collection of facial hair.

Remove the head and use the included brush to clear away any built-up hair between the blades. Make sure to fully reassemble all the different parts, then run the trimmer briefly to shed any remaining hairs before applying lubricating oil drops.

Proper care will keep those manual clippers gliding smoothly through your thick hair at different speeds for the perfect trim every time.

Applying Oil and Removing Hair Buildup

After completing that meticulous cleansing, spread oil drops across the blades and run the trimmer briefly before wiping away any excess, ensuring smooth, snag-free performance for your next detailed styling session.

  1. Apply lubricating oil to the blades.
  2. Run the trimmer briefly.
  3. Wipe away excess oil.
  4. The blades will glide smoothly.

With expertise honed from testing numerous beard trimming tools, I can provide tips for using clipper guards to achieve your ideal beard length and style. Play with different grade guards to find the perfect fade, starting longer on top and tapering shorter as you move down the neck and cheeks.

Lower numbered guards cut more, while higher grades leave extra length for bold, bushy beards. Remember to keep those sharp blades oiled for effortless trimming control when sculpting facial hair masterpieces.

Using Different Attachments for Desired Lengths

Try different attachments to achieve the look you want, from short fades to longer top styles. Lower numbered guards like #1-3 expose more scalp for a close shave, perfect for creating crisp fades on the sides and back.

Guards #4-8 leave increasing length for faded crew cuts or longer beard styles, while higher grades like #7-8 help sculpt thicker beards. Play with guard combinations, starting longer on top and tapering shorter along the neck and cheeks, to find your ideal fade length.

With the right attachments, you can trim any men’s style from a shaved head to a bushy beard.

Final Tips and Tricks for Beard Trimming

Final Tips and Tricks for Beard Trimming
Before you perfect your beard styling, avoid common mistakes such as pushing too hard or going against the grain. Top off your trimming routine by experimenting with different guard lengths to find the ideal style that suits your face shape.

Play around with fading up from shorter to longer guards on the sides to frame your beard.

Top Off Your Trimming Routine

Finish off your trimming routine with the perfect look by mastering how clipper guards work and experimenting with guard combinations for different hairstyles.

  • Higher-numbered guards leave more hair uncut, while lower guards cut hair shorter.
  • Experiment with guard combinations like #1 on the sides and #5 on top for a faded look.
  • Use #3 all over for subtle stubble that’s easy to maintain.
  • Go for #4 to #8 on top for medium to longer styles like crew cuts.
  • A beard trimmer is a great piece of engineering, allowing DIY trims to various lengths.

Avoid Common Mistakes

You shouldn’t shave against the grain or trim wet hair, as that can irritate the skin like sandpaper.

Common Mistakes:

  • Shaving against the grain: Causes irritation and ingrown hairs. Shave in the direction of hair growth.
  • Trimming wet hair: Can pull hairs more easily. Always trim on dry hair.
  • Using dull blades: Leads to pulling and uneven cuts. Oil and maintain blades regularly.
  • No guard adjustments: Limits the range of lengths. Use different guards for versatility.

Avoid these classic errors for a sweet little chin. With the right motions and habits, your beard can thrive under masterful care.

Experiment and Find Your Style

Playing with guard numbers helps you craft your chin rug’s perfect style. Traces of hair left behind each attachment lead to entirely different cuts. By following the lengths that certain guards permit, experiment to find your look.

The metal teeth move in a quick sideways motion, catching sets of hair between them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the best way to clean my beard trimmer guards?

Rinsing beard trimmer guards under running water removes accumulated hair and debris for optimal performance. As a grooming expert, I recommend detaching the guards and gently scrubbing them with a soft brush on a weekly basis.

Proper maintenance ensures that the guards fit snugly, allowing you to achieve your desired beard lengths.

How often should I lubricate the blades on my beard trimmer?

You’ll want to lubricate those clipper blades every few uses. Just put a drop or two of oil on the blades, run them for a bit, then wipe away the excess.

My beard trimmer is pulling on my facial hair. What should I check to fix this?

Mate, make sure your trimmer’s battery is fully charged so the motor has enough power. Dull blades that pull on your facial hair will damage your confidence, so keep them oiled and sharp.

How can I tell when it’s time to replace the blades on my beard trimmer?

Look for signs of wear, such as dullness or increased tugging when cutting. Consider replacing the blades of your trimmer if they no longer glide smoothly across your skin.

What are some good beard trimming techniques for styling a goatee?

Try different guard lengths to define and shape your goatee. Start longer, then go shorter to refine lines and edges. Use lower guards on the neck and cheeks for a clean fade. Experiment with guard combinations to find your ideal style.


Like a sculptor chipping away to reveal the artwork within raw stone, you can use your trimmer guards to shape the perfect beard style from your facial hair. Mastering the tools is key – each guard number provides increasing lengths, while lower numbers cut closer.

Embrace your inner artist, have patience, and let your facial hair grow. With the proper prep and technique, experiment with guard combinations to uncover the ideal you.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.