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How Do I Trim a Goatee?

Trimming a goatee requires precision and patience. Start by defining the shape with a trimmer, then shave the excess hair outside the lines. Use scissors for length control and comb through to ensure evenness. Remember, symmetry is key. Want to master the art of the perfect goatee? Keep reading for detailed steps and expert tips to elevate your facial hair game.
Megan Shoop
Megan Shoop

Trimming a goatee generally involves closely shaving the cheeks, while leaving the hair on the chin intact. Men preferring a short goatee can trim it with scissors or a beard trimmer. Some men also shave their upper lips, while others choose to complement their goatees with a mustache, creating a border of facial hair all around the mouth.

Daily goatee maintenance usually involves shaving the area all around the goatee so that it is completely smooth. A man using an electric shaver can simply position it along the outer borders of his goatee and shave away the surrounding stubble. Those using bladed razors should carefully spread shaving cream only on the areas they wish to shave, leaving the goatee visible. Clear shaving gels provide a see-through option that give men more precision to trim a goatee around the edges.

A neatly trimmed goatee.
A neatly trimmed goatee.

Goatees are often short, ranging from about 0.25 inch (about 0.75 cm) to about 0.5 inch (about 1.25 cm) long. Scissors provide an inexpensive manual way to trim the hair, though they are not always precise. Trimming with scissors is usually done by using the fingers to gently pull the beard hair out straight, away from the skin, and then clipping it one section at a time. Using the fingers as a guide for length can prevent the goatee from becoming too short.

Longer goatees will require less frequent maintenance and trimming.
Longer goatees will require less frequent maintenance and trimming.

Electric beard trimmers can provide a fast, accurate way to trim a goatee. Plastic, comb-like trimmer guards slide up and down the trimmer blade, allowing every man to choose his preferred length of facial hair. Simply guiding the trimmer against the growth pattern of the hair cuts it to the desired length in just a few minutes. This process may be done every few days, unlike shaving the cheeks.

A manual razor can be useful in shaping goatees.
A manual razor can be useful in shaping goatees.

Gently brushing or combing out the goatee with a small comb usually rids the face of stray, freshly-clipped hairs. This should be done shirtless or with a towel wrapped around the shoulders to keep stray, clipped hairs off of clothing. Facial hair maintenance is daily practice for most men, so taking care if it before getting dressed is best.

Men preparing to trim a goatee for the first time may want to use a template. These look like small, plastic masks that fit around a man’s mouth and chin, allowing him to trim the hair around the edges of the template. This ensures that the goatee is perfectly symmetrical and makes future maintenance relatively simple. A template usually shields the upper lip, but men may shave away their mustaches after using the template if they like.

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Discussion Comments


It's not easy to trim a goatee. It took me a while to get it right and I had to get help from a friend for the first couple of times.

The hardest part is making all the hairs the same length. The tips mentioned in the article are good. I use a small beard comb and cut the tips with a small scissors. I use an electric trimmer to manage the shape in between trimmings.

Getting the angle right can be difficult and takes some practice. I like to do some simple measuring with my comb on both sides of my face to make sure that everything is even.

Applying a few drops of beard oil also makes my goatee look nicer in between trimmings.


@turquoise-- I grew out my beard first and when it was the length I wanted it to be, I used a razor to clean my cheeks and then a beard trimmer to give the goatee a nice shape. I trim it every once in a while to make sure it looks nice and clean. I think it's easier to do the shaving and trimming last, less trouble.


I have a question for those of you who have long goatees. Did you grow your beard first and then shape it into a goatee as the last step or did you trim it regularly while the beard grew?

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    • A neatly trimmed goatee.
      By: ArenaCreative
      A neatly trimmed goatee.
    • Longer goatees will require less frequent maintenance and trimming.
      By: Peter Polak
      Longer goatees will require less frequent maintenance and trimming.
    • A manual razor can be useful in shaping goatees.
      By: Ian 2010
      A manual razor can be useful in shaping goatees.