Well hello there! We’ve gotten a few emails about how to use vacuum beard trimmers, so we thought we’d write a quick post about how to get the most out of them. They’re a bit exotic in that most electric shavers do not feature a vacuum that sucks up all the whiskers and hair you shave off your face, but they’re really very similar to regular beard shapers and trimmers.
With that in mind, there are a few things to keep in mind when using a beard trimmer with a vacuum attached to it, so here we go:
General Vacuum Trimmer Tips
We’ll start with not-so-common-sense pointers:
Make Sure You Wash Your Beard Before Using a Vacuum Trimmer
It’s always better to trim clean hair, especially if you’re trimming down to a stubble beard. Give your beard a good wash either in the shower or at the sink, using warm water and a nice cleanser (you can even make your own beard wash). The water will actually help to soften your hair, to help the trim go more smoothly.
This is important whenever you use any kind of beard trimmer, but double so when you use a vacuum beard trimmer, because dirty, oily whiskers that get captured in the hair trip on the device’s back can get gnarly real fast—especially if you don’t tap them out after every use.
If you remember one bit of advice from this post, please make it this one—even the best-reviewed vacuum beard trimmers won’t work that well if you’re using them on a dirty beard. Cleanliness may or may not be godliness, but cleanliness is absolutely the best strategy when using a beard trimmer.
Make Sure Your Beard is DRY Before Trimming and Vacuuming
Next, dry your face and facial hair with a nice, soft towel. If your hair is too damp, the vacuum beard trimmer might get clogged up a little too easily. And, while it might not directly damage the device itself, wet hair stuffed into the whisker tramp can get to smelling funky. Avoid that if possible.
If You Want to Capture Whiskers, Go SLOWLY Over Your Face
Now you’re ready to trim. The best approach to trimming down a beard is to take things gradually, by setting your trimmer to cut at a longer length first. Even if you’re planning to go from a long, magnificent beard to a 5 o’clock shadow, you’ll still want to do this, since your vacuum trimmer will struggle to cut long hair if it’s set to a very short length.
Empty the Hair Trap After Every Use
Pay attention to the vacuum compartment, and empty it out if you notice that it’s full or if your trimmer doesn’t seem to suck up hair anymore. If you’re just tidying up 2-4 days of growth, you won’t need to worry about this.
We alluded to this above, but this is one of those tasks that most guys overlook, but it can make a big difference in how your device performs—and smells!
Shorten Your Trimmer Length Bit By Bit
Gradually adjust the combs on your razor shorter and shorter, as you progress in trimming down your beard. You can opt for a simple, even all-over trim, or you can approach it like a sculptor and take your time shaping your beard—there’s no wrong way to do it!
The reason we give this tip is because not only is it easier to get a better trim when you shorten the trimmer length after each pass, it creates a situation where your vacuum trimmer will catch more whiskers as you shave. Go too quick over LONGER whiskers, and your beard trimmer can’t catch everything that flies off your face. Go slowly over shorter hair, and it catch a LOT more.
Even Though You’re Using a Vacuum Trimmer… Tidy Up!
As much as we’d like to imagine that a beard trimmer that vacuums whiskers catches everything, the sad truth is… no device does that. Some are better than others, but no device catches everything.
So give your sink a quick look and gather up any strays hairs that have eluded your vacuum’s vortex. Your wife / girlfriend / partner / roommates / will thank you!
OK, now for the other really important tip:
How to Clean a Vacuum Beard Trimmer
If you decide to buy a vacuum beard trimmer, it’s important to know how to keep it clean. When your trimmer starts to get clogged up, the vacuum effect will start to malfunction, and the blades themselves may have issues as well. Thankfully, keeping a vacuum trimmer clean is pretty easy!
Disassemble It To Clean It and Make Sure You’re Taking It Apart Correctly
Trimmers from different brands may have different assembly requirements. Consult the manual to make sure you open or remove your compartment correctly, without accidentally breaking anything.
Remove Hair from the Shaving Head
Next, tip out the excess hair into a garbage or compost bin. There may still be a bit of hair residue left in the container, so you can brush it out with a dry brush (some razors will come with one).
With most vacuum trimmers, you can also rinse out the vacuum compartment, but double-check to make sure it’s true for yours.
After all that, check the shaver head. This is the area that guys usually forget to check, because they think all the hairs are in the whisker trap. There are ALWAYS whiskers that get caught in the shaver head—and that’s true for even high-end, deluxe models—so check there to make sure your device is truly clean.
Clean the Blades
Then, also take a moment to wipe down the blades with a dry brush or to rinse them under the tap. If you really want to go above and beyond, use a cleaning spray that will both sanitize and lubricate them, for better long-term performance.
Be careful to make sure the body of the trimmer or any of its electrical components don’t get wet.
Dry the Shaver and Reassemble It
If you’ve used water, let the trimmer air dry somewhere safe. Then, carefully replace all of the parts, and store the trimmer somewhere safe until the next time you need to use it. If necessary, you can also apply a drop of blade oil to the underside of the blades in order to protect them and enhance the glide for your next shave.
Clean Your Trimmer After Every Use
Get into the habit of cleaning your trimmer and emptying out the compartment after every use. This is the best way to guarantee that your vacuum trimmer will keep working beautifully for a lot longer, saving you the need to buy a replacement.
A Clean Device is a Long-Lasting Device
Vacuum beard trimmers are a fantastic tool—and one we wish more people knew about!—so we hope there’s something here that helps you use your device. Be good, have fun, and happy shaving!
Michael Morris is the head writer here at Rough and Tumble Gentleman. He's got a ducktail beard and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's married to the woman of his dreams and lives in Brooklyn, NY.