A guy’s guide: How to fade a beard

Developing surgical-like precision when styling your beard is a skill learnt only through practice. If you’re reading this post you’re lucky for two reasons. Firstly, you can actually grow a beard worth styling into a clean fade (many guys aren’t able to developing a majestic fur coat on their face), and secondly if you mess up, there’s always another chance to try when the hair regrows.

Knowing the way of the fade is a desirable skill for any bearded brother sporting the “business at the front, party at the back” look. So whether you’re aiming for the rugged tapered beard look worn by the likes of Jason Momoa or the faded beard into a short hairstyle like the fearless Viking king, Ragnar Lothbrok of – this essential guide will outline each step of the process.

Step 1: First things first

Get your work area clean – wash up and dry your beard. We want to set a base length for your beard. Depending on your current beard length and the final length you want the fade to end in, set your beard trimmer to the appropriate length and hack away. I generally prefer to start with the longest setting, this way, if you mess up any of the following steps, you still have some hair left to work with. The point of this step is to rid your face off any unwanted excess bulk. If you’re aiming for a neater looking fade, feel free to start off with a shorter setting  on your trimmer. Some trimmers tend to work better for fades than others – if you’re due for an upgrade check out this guide to find the best clippers for fading.

Step 2: Start at the bottom

Brush your beard in a downward direction, flowing with the grain. This gets rid of any loose hairs and starts to neaten the beard for the following steps. Now you’ll want to begin cleaning up the neck line starting from the bottom. Set your trimmer to the shortest setting and begin cleaning your neck area starting below the Adam’s apple and working your way up to the area where your neck meets your jawline. Repeat this step around your neck until you’ve created a neat bearded jawline. To finish off this step, grab your razor and clean shave the area you’ve just neatened – paying careful attention not to exceed the neat bearded jawline you’ve just created.

Step 3: Define the line

First you need to decide how sleek you want your cheek line to appear. If you’re going for that extra clean look that would suggest you might be a fan of the steampunk genre, then you’re going to want to pull out your razor, probably even your safety razor if you’ve mastered that skill, and start fluffing away a neat line above your beard toward your moustache. If this sounds a too much of a nuisance, feel free to use your electric trimmer on the shortest setting. The second area you’ll want to clean up is the area between your ears and your beard. Again, apply the same logic with your razor or trimmer to remove any straggling hairs in this region, creating a neat vertical line downwards.

Step 4: I “Moustache” you a question

Neaten your moustache with a few gentle brushes. Now depending on which style you opted for in step 3 above, you’ll either be aiming to create a perfectly neat line or for a more natural look you can simply use your trimmer to get things in order. I generally use my trimmer for this step. Bear in mind, if you want your moustache to touch your beard at the sides of your lip you need to keep your moustache long enough to do so – start trimming with the longest setting or guard, and keep adjusting to a shorter length or until you’re satisfied with the length.

Step 5: The magic – the fade

Here’s where the magic happens.

  • Find the area of your jaw line where your beard is longest. Find the setting on your trimmer that matches the length of your beard at this point – and change the setting, one shorter, now trim roughly one inch upwards.
  • Shorten the trimmer setting once more, and fade another inch upwards – being careful not to wander below that line.
  • Continue in this fashion, repeating these steps until your sideburns fade seamlessly into your hairstyle – and repeat on the other side of your face until your appearance matches that of a mythological Greek god.

This may sound like a lot of effort at first, but rest assured, the process gets easier and quicker over time as you begin to master this skill. As always, if you have any questions or any other tips to provide on the subject, feel free to drop a comment below.

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