You'd think growing a beard would be easy. Just stop shaving, right? But it's not that simple. Your facial hair, no matter how long, requires some tailoring. "Properly trimming a beard is an art," says Mike Gilman, founder of the Grooming Lounge. "Too tight and you can look scary, too long and you can look scarier." Most guys who grow a beard know to clean up the random hairs that appear on the upper cheeks, but the neck tends to be a problem. You see, when your whiskers are clipped too close to your jawbone, the resulting beard looks too perfect and it makes you look rigid and uptight. But if the hair is left to creep down the front and sides of your neck, it looks sloppy and—we're just going to say it—makes your face look fat. Aim for an inch or so just above your Adam's apple. Use a beard trimmer with guards to maintain the beard length you want. Clean up your neck with a razor or a guardless trimmer, then set the trimmer's guard to a 1 or 2 and fade the line for a more natural finish.
Too tight and close to jawline
Clear this before it mixes with chest hair
A simple, solid trimmer with little mess and a good battery life: Vacuum trimmer, $50 by Philips Norelco
Gilman offers up the guidelines to trimming your sideburns: "They should end anywhere between the mid-ear or a little bit higher typically. The key is to do the 'Frankenstein Test' to make certain the side burns are level with one other. Looking at a mirror using two pointing fingers from each hand and matching them up to make sure they are the same level."