Style

Expert at-home grooming tips for men

How to trim, shape and clean up — properly.

How to trim, shape and clean up — properly

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

I recently gave myself another reason to stay inside: I tried cutting my own hair. At home. Alone. It did not end well… and if you've found yourself in a similar situation, you too have realized how vital our barbers are. So, while we're temporarily in this vulnerable position of being left to pluck, cut and shave everything on our own, I reached out to some of the best barbers I know for their expert advice on at-home grooming for men.   

Tips for a better buzz cut 

"If you are brave enough to give yourself a buzz cut during quarantine, now is the perfect time; buzzcuts require less maintenance, less shampoo, and less time drying. Not to mention, it feels great on your pillow! Always start with a larger clipper guard. This allows for the option to go shorter later on if you prefer. You can always cut more hair off. You can't put it back on. And make sure your clipper guards are secure to your machine — if your clipper guard isn't secure, the moment it starts encountering tension, it will fall off and you will end up with a bald spot." - Sebastian Narciso, barber

(Already have a close shave or fade? Check out the tips and tutorial for cleaning it up here.)

Thinking of taking a little off the top?

"Do watch a few hair tutorials on YouTube or Instagram (I have a couple tutorials on beard trimming and styling your outgrown hair) before starting... it will give you some confidence going into the haircut.

Don't try and give yourself the same haircut your barber gives you. They've spent years training and mastering their craft and trying to replicate their work on your first attempt is a very steep mountain to climb. I encourage you all to try and stick it out for a few more weeks until you can see your hair professional." - Darren Jansen barber and stylist 

Ear and nose hair: pluck, trim or wax? 

"I've always used a trimmer. Use the corners of the machine and carefully trim any hairs that don't belong. I think waxing is a great way to remove the hair and not have to deal with it for a couple of weeks, however, waxing is one of those things to leave to the professionals. So, in the meantime, grab yourself a great nose hair trimmer." - Mikka Gia, barber, owner and founder of The Groomed Society and Mobile Barbers to go TO

Try this if your hair looks thinner the longer it gets

"How long the hair is, definitely has an affect on how full your hair looks. Freshly washed hair always looks fuller — use a chemical-free shampoo. I like to dry hair completely before applying product, [which], must be as lightweight and matte as possible. My hair is straight so I use Osis brand powder, which gives a good amount of volume and texture with a small amount of hold. I'll finish my comb-over style with a touch of Osis hairspray; sea salt sprays and super-dry clays are also a great way to go. For guys with wavy to curly hair, I like a little bit of moisture in the product because their hair is typically dry." - Patrick Paglialunga barber at Garrison's Barbershop 

Taming unruly eyebrows at home 

"Tweeze those unruly hairs in the middle, then using a small manicure scissor and comb, comb the extra long wiry hairs upwards and trim the hairs ever so lightly following the natural contour of your eyebrow shape." - Joseph Bumbaca, manager and male grooming specialist at Maverick Studio for Men

Avoid itch when growing out your beard

"If you plan on growing your beard out, its very important to use a quality beard oil. Layrite Beard Oil is a favourite in our shop. It's a thicker oil that hydrates the hair and the skin beneath." - Nick Miller, owner of The Bald Barber Barbershop.

The secret to avoiding razor burn

"Key here is making sure razors are sharp. Shave after a nice hot soak or shower; [shave] with the grain on the first pass, and then against on the second if need be. Hydrate [the skin] afterwards with a lotion to soften and protect, and finish with some after shave for a nice smell as well as for another coat of protection." - Peter Gosling, co-owner of Glassbox Barbershop

How to shape your neckline

"When shaping your neckline, first, look down and notice where your neck creases. That's a good guideline to use. With a trimmer, make three small cuts along the crease, one in the centre, between your chin and Adams apple, and on each end, closer to your jaw. Carefully make cuts to join them together, making an even bottom line. If the trimmer has guard attachments, you can clip one on and carefully go over the line you just made to soften the transition." - Patrick Paglialunga

How to shape your cheek line 

"To create a soft cheek line: use a trimmer and hold the blade vertically, in one clean pass, start at the corner of your lip and arch up to the base of your sideburn. This creates a simple and esthetically pleasing curvature. If you try to create too sharp of a cheek line, you will focus hard on getting it exactly even, which often results in making [many] adjustments. In worst case scenarios, you may also jeopardize your beard all together. Leave the hard work for your barber." - Sebastian Narciso

To get it all right: invest in the proper tools

"For razors I would love every man who still shaves to replace their current [plastic razors] with a quality, safety razor, like these from Rockwell Razors. Less long term cost, much more environmentally friendly and your skin will thank you." - Joseph Bumbaca

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