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I'm travelling for several months and don't have space to pack a beard trimmer.

I don't want to shave every day or so; more like every couple of weeks, but I find it's really difficult to get rid of that much beard with just a disposable razor. It's typically taking around 40 minutes.

I've tried to get rid of the worst of it with just scissors but it was a non-starter.

Does anyone have any bright ideas? I'm sure this must be a common problem for backpackers.

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    Hi Andy, Welcome to Lifehacks Beta. We hope you enjoy yourself here. Is there any reason that you cannot stop at a barber shop for a clean shave? Maybe you will have to shave more often than anticipated. – Stan Apr 1 at 4:44
  • @stan sorry about the typo - it was a cellphone autocorrect. Normally I only shave about once a fortnight anyway, and even then I use a hair clipper, so you can see I'm after something that's very low maintenance. I've found barbers don't want to undersell themselves by doing a quick "hack and slash" with the trimmer; they want to do it properly with a cutthroat which takes time and is quite scary. If my GF would allow, I'd probably just let it grow for the whole 6 months! – Andy Apr 2 at 22:47
  • Pair of scissors and a disposable razor mate. – Dean Jun 24 at 7:00
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I hear you.. shaving 2 weeks worth of growth off your face with a (disposable) multi-blade razor is a pain: Usually the bristles immediately clog and wedge themselves into the spaces between the blades. This will end up with your razor irritating your skin and not cutting much anymore..

One solution:

Get rid of the space between the blades by only using one blade: Get a straight razor see Wikipedia (possibly a Shavette with disposable blades to avoid the need to strop and hone)

Advantages:

  • easily transportable
  • independent of electricity
  • quite a decent shave
  • not many things will make you feel as manly as shaving with a straight razor
  • if you attack your face with a really sharp blade first thing in the morning, not much worse can happen for the rest day.. :-)
  • Hmm that sounds a bit hardcore but I agree the problem is clogging between the blades so I will have a look for single-blade disposables and see if that helps – Andy Apr 2 at 22:51
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I carry a small, battery powered electric shaver. These are small and light and easily carried.

Any half-decent such shaver will cope with a few days growth, so you don't have to carry spare batteries.

Even if you don't normally use an electric shaver, you can put up with one while travelling.

  • Thanks, I think I'll look for a small one when I get back in preparation for my next trip. – Andy Apr 2 at 22:49
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I know what you mean. I'd rather not have to carry extra gear, especially that needs a charger. Good scissors for me are the way to go. Perhaps the ones you tried are not designed for the task?

I'd be trying some beard trimming scissors, but you will definitely need a mirror. Or get someone else to carefully do the work.

  • Hmm thanks, I didn't realise such things even existed. Actually the reason I found it impossible to use scissors was because of the mirror reversing everything. It was like trying to ride one of those bicycles with the backward handlebars - I kept turning them the wrong way and couldn't get the hang of it at all. Maybe that's something that could be fixed with practice! – Andy Apr 25 at 14:25
  • It's difficult! Just go slowly. (Also, perhaps a single blade old school razor where you replace the blade, will not clog so easily. I had one and it gave a great shave, but it cut far more easily. Probably not a good on the road where walking around bleeding will get unwanted attention.) mensbiz.com.au/… – Stefan Apr 26 at 0:12
  • If you don't want a mirror to reverse the image, obtain two mirrors, place them so their edges touch and they are at 90 degrees to each other, then look straight into the joint – Caius Jard May 24 at 13:10
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If presentation is not an issue, I'd carry a good quality swiss army knife; I routinely trim my beard with the built in scissors and they work well. It's useful for many other things too, though difficult to take on a plane

enter image description here

If you're after maintaining a neat beard or designer stubble look, it's hard to beat a battery powered beard trimmer for neatness, portability and utility - I use mine for plenty of other things, including hair and even removing scratchy labels from clothing. Trimming once a fortnight I doubt I'd get though more than a couple of sets of batteries

enter image description here

If you're after a life-hacky way to remove hair, you could consider burning it off with a quick pass of a gas flame - a high speed pass, as many juveniles have found when leaving the gas hob to run for too long before lighting it/filling their mouth with gas from a cigarette lighter before imitating a circus act, is effective at singeing hair to the extent that it goes brittle and can be brushed off, without burning the skin

Lastly, if you're really struggling for space it may be worth noting that hair cutting is pretty much a universal need for human beings and it's doubtful you'd travel for months on end without happening upon somewhere local that will remove your excess hair, or a shop that will provide you with something that can hack the worst of it off. Like so many things we think about when packing for travel in order to remain connected to the lifestyle we have at home, ask yourself whether it's truly needed at all, and if it really is - is there some reasonable amount of money (a highly portable and versatile travel accessory :) ) for which one can procure the relevant details locally rather than attempting to carry things to cater for every eventuality

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You don't talk about how you are going to manage the hair that grows on the top of your head. Manage your beard the same way.

  • Just let your hair grow until you get done hiking, do the same for your beard.
  • Barber, you pay them to cut your hair every couple of months, have them cut your beard as well. (more money then space)
  • Every month or two go to your favorite discount store and buy a cheap set of electric hair clippers, they can be had new for less then $20. Use the number 2 guide and cut both your hair and beard. This can be done by yourself, you don't need a mirror, but it helps for getting around your ears. You will want to trim your mustache with scissors every couple of weeks. (cheap as paying a barber for haircut only), donate the clipper when you are done.
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Why not use hair remover like the ladies do in their legs?

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    Too close to the mouth. – Lawrence Apr 6 at 11:19
  • Strange.... Just tried it and it works for me? I just kept my mouth closed... – Jacques Ramsden Apr 12 at 18:55

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