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How To Trim a Beard: Mountain Man to Businessman Beard

Andrew Carruthers

Author Andrew Carruthers | Education Director for Sam Villa

We listen very closely to the chatter on social media and to the specific comments and questions from the people we meet on the road.  One of the major sources of conversation is “where are men’s trends headed”.  The reason it is such a hot topic is that the last few years have had some massively impactful directives in the form of super sharp barber influenced haircuts diametrically contrasted by the “I just lived in the Appalachian Mountains for 3 years” beard!  When hardcore statement looks like these survive years of popularity, of course the question is, “what’s next?”.

First off, lets just get one thing out of the way… the above mentioned trends aren’t quite on the endangered species list yet and we don’t suspect they are going to disappear completely anytime soon.  Why? #1, Because most dudes just don’t change that fast and #2 they are looks that make men feel manly… which feels oh so good.  We already are seeing the tides recede (I probably shouldn’t use that word when talking about men) on these looks and the early adopters in our clientele are looking for something fresh.

Let’s talk about facial hair first.  David Boyd, Sam Villa ArTeam member and master of all things masculine, calls facial hair “man makeup,” which I love!  That's exactly what it is… it can detract from certain features, add fullness to an area that is lacking (think jaw line), or highlight an attractive element on the facial structure.  This trend is shifting into more tailored looks and away from the epic mountain man.   It’s all about suitability now meaning that some guys will continue rocking the mega beard if it’s what suits them best but most will be wanting to refine their chin scarf into something more attractive. Barbers rejoice as the straight shave is also back in fashion!  On that note… we have had tons of requests for a beard trimming video so I let my beard get a little out of control and filmed a fun step by step for you all.  That video is embedded here in the blog post for your enjoyment. You can also use the step by step below as a guide.

Step by Step for the Beard Trim


Begin by brushing the beard with the Sam Villa Large Oval Boar Brush. The boar bristle helps to loosen up the beard as well as distribute the natural oils.

Comb through with the wide teeth of the Sam Villa Long Cutting Comb to make sure there are no tangles.


Place a #8 guard on your favorite clipper and cut against the grain of the beard combing the hair back into natural position with every pass. This guarantees that every hair will be cut consistently.

Beards tend to grow in multiple directions so go across the grain in a side to side movement with your clipper to catch any hairs that don’t grow downward.

Switch to a #4 guard to knock down the length of the mustache so that is slightly shorter than the beard – use the same movements against the grain and side to side for consistency.

Hot Tip:  For a shorter beard, simply use shorter guards. Be careful though! Start with a longer guard and work shorter. Your guest may have invested a lot of time into that beard and if you cut it too short, they are not going to be happy.


For the mustache, cut a line at the bottom edge of the top of the lip with your shears.

Staying at the bottom edge avoids creating a “white wall” effect between the lip and mustache. I like the Sam Villa Signature Series 5.5” Swivel Shear for outlining because I can get into multiple angles without bending my wrist in odd positions

Utilize a shallow point cutting technique along the line you just created to keep a natural looking edge.

Comb the hair at the sideburn back towards the ear and point cut the hair that sits past the natural hairline. Comb the hair forward and remove the excess hair as well to create a nice frame for the face.

Switch to a T-Edger to outline the neckline. Visually sculpt from the outside in towards the neck and then clipper from the skin to that line to define.

Hot Tip:  Have the guest keep their chin up during this process as it will create a bit of graduation underneath when they return to natural head position.

Brush the corners of the beard back towards the ear and remove the corner. Beards can become very square when they are trimmed and this step keeps things a bit more rounded


Place the comb into the hair at the sideburn vertically with the tip of the comb at the top of the sideburn. Lift the bottom of the comb away from the jaw creating a tapered line and remove the hair with the T-Edger. This creates a lean shape at the top of the sideburn and leaves weight at the bottom of the jawline.

Hot Tip:  If the guest already has a very strong or square jaw, keep the angle very shallow to keep the beard more lean.

Reverse this angle to taper up into the haircut.


Use the T-Edger to remove any excess hair outside of the beard outline or for a cleaner look, break out the straight razor!

Brush through the beard one more time to remove any loose hair.

Apply 2-3 drops of Redken Diamond Oil by working into your hands first and then massaging into the beard for softness and control.

So what’s the evolution from the barber influenced classics that have been at the forefront of men’s hairdressing?  At the small end, it’s purely about texture.  Instead of a 50’s/60’s inspired sleek side part finished with high shine pomades sitting atop a lazer etched fade, now you will see natural curls or carefully crafted disrupted texture perched above that same fade and finished with more matte finish products such as Redken Fashion Waves 07 or Redken for Men Firm Grasp texturizing hair clay.  Also the direction of the finish is flowing towards the face as well as away.  I think we were all a little scarred from the abuse of the Clooney Caesar cut back in the 90s so it’s been a while since we’ve seen a trend of hair laying on the forehead… oh wait, I forgot about emo bangs… lets just pretend that trend didn’t happen (If you search hard enough, you may be able to find me wearing an Anthony Keides version during the early 2000s… we all make mistakes).  Anyway, this is a huge movement in the European market and we are seeing that influence hitting here in the US with our early adopters.

Thanks to the mega success of Sons of Anarchy, there is definitely an influence of biker heritage in current men’s hair trends.  We are seeing longer lived in hair making its way back into mainstream fashion.  Again, it’s about masculinity… our guests are literally looking for that “I’ve been riding my Harley for the last 14 hours” texture.  The specific lengths aren't super long and the shapes aren’t complicated.  Imagine a typical mens square layer between 4-8 inches long with a rough disrupted texture.  For now, on these longer designs the hair direction is still going back away from the face… picture a dude working on his motorcycle, he still has a little oil on his hands, and runs his hands back through his hair.  This may shift as the European crowd is embracing the early 90s british mod revival… picture Noel Gallagher from Oasis.  It’s not always a sure thing wether the European influence will infiltrate the US shores so we will keep you up to date as this trend develops.

At Sam Villa, we always want to inspire you with new thoughts and trends to keep you at the leading edge of your community.  We also want to stay relevant to what is happening in your neighborhood with content that is usable behind the chair.  So… let’s keep this conversation going!  What do you see in your male clientele?  What are your thoughts on beards, barbering, and bikers?  We truly want to hear from you, so please connect with us through the comments area below.  Now, if you will excuse me… I’m going to go ride my Harley ;-)

Love life,

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