So many men nowadays are going for the sleek, smart, and chiselled beard look – which let’s face it, looks great!
If you’ve decided to grow your beard out, or you’ve had it in its unruly state for quite a while, or maybe you have a shorter length that you just want to add some sharp lines to, and have been wondering how some men get their beards to look like they’ve just stepped out of the most elite barbers in town, then you’re definitely in the right place.
As today, I am going to be assessing the best beard shapers the UK has to offer.
What is a beard shaper?
Some people may find it difficult to get the straight edges and neat lines of their beard just so and that’s where the help of a beard shaping tool really makes all the difference. Most are made out of plastic, but some you’ll find are also made of wood, and allow you to either guide your shaver or trimmer along the edge of the tool or mark up on your face to give you your facial template.
Placing the tool between the hair that you want to keep on your face next to the side you wish to tidy up, you are guaranteed to get the sleek lines you are hoping for, without having to spend a fortune at a barbers or salon.
As I’ve mentioned before I do like to keep a relatively clean-shaven look, but after broadening my horizons I’ve been enjoying growing out my facial hair to a point where I’m ready to use all the latest gadgets to see what I can really achieve with my new found love of beard grooming. I’ll be honest and tell you now that I have not actually used a beard shaper before, not really feeling the need to and maybe being a little bit lazy too, so this was definitely a learning curve (no pun intended!) for me too.
What looks can I create with a beard shaper?
Thanks to their differing edges and multiple options you can create the following:
- Curved edge and curve cut
- Straight edge and step cut
- Straight or curve neckline
- Styled moustache
- Tidy sideburns
- Straight or curve goatee
We’ve got 5 of the best beard shapers currently on the market, so let’s delve straight in.
The Beard Mate Shaping Tool
Starting off the list – The Beard Mate – a shaping tool that looks more like a boomerang according to my teenager that watched me open it, but nevertheless I was keen to try it out.
As beard shapers go, it was stylish looking, black in colour and made of plastic. The packaging it comes in means that you can store it in there, should you wish when not in use, to keep it clean and protected.
The shaper gives you options for multiple looks so depending what you want to go for, you can do most using this one tool. This is great because you won’t be buying endless gadgets and devices that will clutter up your bathroom space.
There is a curved edge which will obviously give you curved edges, and it will also enable you to get the perfect angle on your jaw and neckline. The straight edge (which will also help you achieve a step cut) will give you those sleek lines that, alone, can be difficult to perfect. You can tidy up your sideburns too as well as use the two combs and symmetry indicators.
Now I’ll admit it took me a little while to figure out the best way to hold it against my face, but after a few attempts, I think I got the hang of it.
I went for the curved edge because I’d never had a perfectly straight edge to my beard before, I thought it may come as a bit of a shock if I then had this completely chiselled look to my face – that would come in time though (more on that shortly).
Unfortunately, there weren’t any instructions as such, apart from a few pictures on the packaging. So I hoped for the best and got to it. Holding the shaping tool against my face, positioning it exactly where I wanted to get rid of the hair and using my trimmer, I began.
The tool wasn’t too difficult to hold after all my faffing! Although the only gripe I had was that because it’s a dark colour, it could make it a little bit of a pain to know I was getting the same length as the other side, but I suppose that is what the symmetry indicators were for (although it will take me longer to work those out!).
The end result was impressive though. I had achieved a nice curve along the edge of my beard, and I really did like it. The trimmer was easy to use alongside the shaper and I could definitely get used to doing this on a regular basis. Sitting in the middle of the price scale, let’s see how the others faired against the first beard shaping tool.
K-Brands Beard Shaping Tool
This shaping tool is similar to the previous one in looks, giving you the curve cut and step cut option, along with two combs and symmetry indicators. You do also get a pencil which means you can trace along the edge of the tool onto your face. And this is what I decided to do – I thought I may as well try as many different methods as I could in order to find the most comfortable and easiest one for my needs.
Firstly, I gave the comb a go, getting all my hair to sit in the same direction is something that doesn’t always happen so I combed as much down as I could in order for me to be able to draw a straight line with the pencil.
Again, I went for the curve cut – I held the plastic tool against my face and traced the lines on both sides, making sure they were even. From there I used my normal beard trimmer and got rid of the unwanted hair, up to the line. Now, although I had drawn the line on my face using the tool as a guide, I still had to make sure my hand was steady enough that I didn’t go over it, leaving me with an uneven result. For this reason, if you don’t have the steadiest of grips and may not have the patience to use this method, feel free to use the shaping tool as I did with the previous one and you will achieve the same great results and be really impressed.
This is the cheapest priced tool on our list and it really is worth it. It can be difficult to have faith in something with such a cheap price tag because we’d automatically think it’s not going to be any good or last very long, but this doesn’t feel cheap and I was really surprised when I received it. Next time I’d like to use my trimmer along the tool’s edge to see how it fairs. It was quite easy to hold against my face, I was left with an even trim, and all in all was happy with the K-Brands shaping tool.
Beard Ninja Beard Shaping Tool
For the next beard shaper I changed things up and decided to go for the step cut – a look I hadn’t gone for previously but thought why not. So, let’s find out how the Beard Ninja faired when giving me such a bold look.
The biggest difference to the first two you’ll notice is the colour – or lack of. The whole tool is transparent, which is extremely useful, and I found it made the process a lot easier and quicker. Being able to see through the tool to exactly where you’ll be trimming down to means there’s less chance of any uneven bits or mishaps. Being made from plastic and having an anti-slip silicone grip in the middle allows you to hold it against your face, controlling the movement of it more easily.
The tool gives you a lot of options which is brilliant and it won’t take up much room when not in use. The angles enable you to achieve the perfect neckline, curve cut, step cut, curve or straight goatee, sideburns, shaped moustache. You also get symmetry guidelines and guide dots, as well as nose guidelines which will all be of some use when you change up your look.
So, holding the shaping tool up to my face, I lined it up and having no problems with slipping I proceeded with my trimmer. I was surprised how quickly I got through the first side of my face and being able to see everything clearly was great for the second side. I knew exactly where to place it, thanks to the guides and I could simply look through the mirror and check out both sides to make sure they were even. I really liked this tool and it was extremely easy to use. I must say I was impressed with my new look too – the angles were defined and symmetrical and I was quite surprised that I had managed to create this look without leaving the house!
When I’d finished I washed it under the tap and dried it, before placing it back in the convenient wallet it came in. I popped it in my bathroom cabinet and knew it would be clean and ready to use next time.
The Beard Ninja Beard Shaping Tool is one of the more expensive on our list, but after using it and getting great results, I think its totally worth the money. With so many options you could have a new look every week. Paying the one-off price and not having to shell out at the barbers to achieve these results will make a big difference to your pocket, as well as your confidence when you become the one who gives everyone else beard envy!
LucBuy Beard Shaper
Another beard shaper here that is transparent (you can get other colours and designs, but we went for this one as it had everything we needed for this article). Similar to the others on the list, the edges give you scope to achieve the step cut, curve cut, straight cut, as well as styling your moustache, goatee, neckline, and forehead line. You get a mini comb on one of the sides too so you can smooth down any wayward hairs before trimming. Markings all along the sides will help measure your distances and edges to ensure you are symmetrical and maximise that sharp look.
Now I had got the sleek lines of a step cut, it was only right that I followed on to my neckline – there wasn’t much point having a well-groomed face if my neck looked out of controlled and unkempt.
Holding the tool up to my neck, I noticed that the edges were quite thin meaning I could get my trimmer close to the edge to give precision and an overall tidy appearance (the thinness of the edges doesn’t take away from the sturdiness of the plastic – it is still a well made tool). There wasn’t anything in the way of grip, but it was easy to hold, and I felt like I had good control of the tool. Again, the fact that it was transparent and durable meant nothing was blocking my view while holding it up to my face.
When using the neckline edge, I simply held the opposite end, almost like a handle. Keeping it steady, I trimmed right up to the edge of the tool and the results were a smooth neckline that now matched the rest of my appearance – sleek and well groomed.
I brushed off the hair that had fallen onto the shaper and I was good to go for next time, storing it away until I needed it again.
Aberlite Beard Shaper
This beard shaping tool from Aberlite is the most expensive on our list and for good reason – they make some good quality male grooming products and this one is no different. Made from high grade plastic and using a non-slip rubber grip in the middle of the tool which helps you keep a handle on it while in use, it’s quite easy to see why it has such a high price tag.
But what makes it different to the others I’m reviewing today? I want to say that it features some really nifty extras, but in all honesty, it does the job that the others can do. It has four tapered edges, whereas some of the other shapers only have two or three. I like the fact that you get the smaller edges which can be used for your sideburns, as well as more intricate detailing. You do also get a pencil with it, so that’s an added bonus, but let’s see what happened when I put it to the test.
Similar to others, the Aberlite shaper is clear which is ideal when using on those fiddly and hard to see parts. It also boasts that it is shock resistant, ensuring that when your trimmer comes close to the tool it won’t split, crack or shatter. This is always reassuring, and I was happy so far with the general look and feel of the shaper.
After my beard had grown enough I decided to go back to where I’d began and opted for a gentle curve. Although I do like the polished look, especially if I’m attending a wedding or some event that allows me to wear a suit, but for the more laid back appearance, the curved look is definitely one of my favourites while still looking smart and approachable.
I correctly positioned the shaping tool against my face using the bottom as a handle. The rubber grip was enough to keep it steady and I felt confident holding it in place. I decided to shave with the tool against my face, instead of using it as a guide along with the pencil. Though if you do use the pencil, rest assured that it comes in white which will make it much easier to wash off when you are finished. Again, you shouldn’t have any problems holding the shaping tool in place as you draw your lines.
Using my trimmer was easy, however, I’ll admit to it still feeling a little odd to hold something as you’re shaving, but trust me, you get used to it. After the first half was done, I looked in the mirror to compare the before and after and I was surprised at just how much my beard looked untidy before grooming. I’d advise doing the before and after look to anyone, just to see how much of a difference the tool makes.
Onto the opposite side now and I lined it up exactly how I had previously to ensure I would get a symmetrical result. I trimmed right up to the plastic edge and was pleased again with how the tool felt when the teeth got closer to it. There was no pulling, no snags on the plastic and it was just a pleasure to use. The transparency helped a lot when doing the second part of my face and I can’t recommend using one of the clear shapers enough. If you’re new to using one, I’d say it’s a must.
As I did with the other shapers when I’d finished, I ran it under the tap to get rid of any hairs that had fallen onto the plastic. I then dried it and stored it away in the little wallet it came in.
It may take you a while to get the hang of using one of the beard shaping tools, but don’t let that put you off. Have a little patience and enjoy trying out different styles. You may, like me, even find yourself sporting a whole new look that is now your favourite.
Holding a gadget in one hand while shaving with the other can take some getting used to but persevere with it and you’ll be a dab hand in no time. And who says men can’t multitask!
All of the looks can be achieved without even leaving the house, without spending money week after week. Not only that, but I honestly found that it did improve my confidence. From once preferring to keep my facial hair as trimmed as possible so it was less maintenance for me, to now enjoying giving my beard a little groom and trying out new styles – the beard shaping tools have been a real eye opener.
They’re not only great for home use though, but ideal if you want to take it away with you. It’s small enough to fit in your bag or larger luggage (just make sure you put it flat), so even when you’re on holiday or working away you can achieve the looks to suit wherever you are and whatever mood you’re in.
They really do not cost the earth, and if you are looking for a starter tool or just something to achieve the very basics of grooming then we’d suggest the K-brands beard shaping tool. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a multi tool that will give you the option to create a lot of different looks then go with the Beard Ninja beard shaping tool. Any of the others in between will all do a great job too and whichever one you do choose to buy, you’ll definitely be saving money in the long run.
With costs rising and so many things becoming increasingly expensive, we’re sure our readers will welcome a much needed solution to their needs of a well groomed beard. The upfront cost is so little compared to what you would expect to spend on trips to the barbers, so as I did, take the plunge and you will not regret it.