First off, this isn't about trimming techniques or Dos and Don'ts. I use a similar electric trimmer to the one the OP posted in the following question: What to do if your shaver broke halfway through shaving? I also already follow the rules mentioned in the top-answer of the above question.

I don't have a beard, and I don't shave close. That's why I used the term facial hair. I have a certain facial hair style I want to accomplish every time I trim my facial hair again.

quick sketch of my personal style

So I actually have two questions:

  1. How do I trim my facial hair symmetrically?
  2. How do I achieve the same facial hair style every time I trim?

To trim symmetrically I just use my good eye and move my head from left to right and trim here and there, until I find it symmetrically.

If my last trimming-session isn't that long ago, I can still see where the hair is shorter; I see the trimming-lines and try to follow them again. But if I trimmed a long time ago, I can't recognize where I trimmed last time.

I thought about something like a template. But what would that be made of and where could it be fixed?

I hope I'm not the only one bothered by this.

  • do you have a photo or drawing as a frame of reference? Depending on the complexity style the techniques could vary significantly – Phlume Jan 7 '15 at 15:56
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    @Phlume I added a quick sketch of my personal style. Dark brown is my normal hair, and light brown is facial hair. My neck is shaved close, so are my cheeks(except at the jawline). I think you get it. – Alex Jan 7 '15 at 16:13
  • Would someone reduce the picture size, it is too big – vladiz Jan 7 '15 at 16:16
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    @Stefan Shrinking is far more easy: just add "m" after image name. OP provided i.stack.imgur.com/P7oiM.jpg, so by adding "m" you get i.stack.imgur.com/P7oiMm.jpg :) Also, don't forget that it works only with imgur images. – nicael Jan 7 '15 at 19:29
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    @Shokhet I do use the trimmer guards. Length isn't the problem. The problem is to have the lines, where the length changes, at the same spot every time. – Alex Jan 8 '15 at 5:17
up vote 6 down vote accepted

One way to accomplish this is to buy some window cling inkjet paper, then take two photographs of your face. One head on, and one from the side (pick the side that's looking better). Cut the head on face in half, and mirror one side of it to the other. Also take the one side photo and mirror it. You should have three images - one head on, and one right, and one left. All of them should only have original imagery from one side of the face, though, due to the mirroring. Expect them to look/feel strange - your brain recognizes your face very well, and when presented with an altered face it'll notice and tell you something is wrong. Ignore that.

Print these out a little bit smaller than life size onto the window cling inkjet paper, and place them on your mirror at a comfortable height. You should now be able to look at yourself through the window cling from the front and both sides. Even with full color, you should be able to see your face through the window cling, but depending on the cling, printer, and images this might be difficult - adjust the image transparency or brightness and try again. You'll also have to adjust the size a little bit. Since your mirror self is in the distance and visually smaller, the printout will need to be slightly smaller than life size, but not by much.

Now you should be able to very closely attain a consistent, symmetrical look.

Warning: Most faces aren't perfectly symmetrical. Don't blame me if you find out that one ear is slightly higher than the other, or that your eyes aren't exactly perpendicular to your nose/mouth. If this does turn out to be a problem, then make it as symmetrical as you can, then take three pictures without using any mirroring.

Hunt down someone with a 3D scanner and 3D printer. Get your head scanned while wearing cheap sunglasses. Ask someone to draw a guide over your face using the 3D model where you want the cut edge to be and join it up to the glasses frame (or overlay the ear and nose part of the glasses frame and join it up with the guide). 3D Print out the guide and join it up with the real glasses (or print out the complete glasses frame and the guide).

Pop out the shade lenses and put on your guide glasses and trim away you can trim even in the dark.

You could get quite creative with the guide profile and impress the ladies who will think you have a very steady hand.

Yay another point for 3D printing (you can do the same with some stiff wire and no 3D printer).

The beard neck line can be difficult to keep symmetrical.

One technique I use is to get a piece of string a couple of feet long, place it above my Adam's apple, loop it over my ears and pull tight.

Voila! The string follows the contour of your jawline, giving you a very clear line to follow with the shaver.

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