How to shape up your hairline

Shaping up (sometimes known as "edging up") your hairline is the process of defining the neatness of a hairstyle. The groundwork for it is already laid anatomically by your own unique hairline structure, so you have a simple guideline to follow with your clippers, trimmer or razor. Still, just because your hairline has already done most of the work for you doesn’t mean that there isn’t a high risk of error when shaping up your own hairline.

Make sure that the area you are working in is well-lit. Do not use natural light for this task.

Position your two mirrors so that they allow you to view both your frontal hairline and your rear hairline. Ideally you should be able to view all areas of your scalp with slight head turns. The best way to do this is to have a mirror directly in front of you and one directly behind you.

Brush your hair to embolden your natural lines.

Using your dominant hand, trim along the hairline carefully with your clippers or trimmer. Start from the front first keeping the natural lines at the temple even in position and length. Make sure you target only the overgrowth of hair which is distinguishable by its stubble, and that your grip is comfortable no matter which area you are trimming.

Continue the process around the rest of the head, trimming along the sideburns, behind the ear, the nape, and then to the back of the neck. Do this gently using intermittent cuts to avoid mistakes.

Brush your hair to get rid of excess hair and to embolden the outline again.

Trim away the excess that is beyond the border of you defined hairline to a clean shave. You can enhance the sharpness of the shape up even further using a straight razor for this step, beginning at the outline of the shape up and shaving gently against the grain. However, it is not advised that you do this without the help for the difficult to reach areas.

Brush once more to clear up the area.


When using a razor, make sure that you trim with the grain for effective results. Clippers or trimmers are equally as good going to or from the grain.

Make sure that any clippers or trimmer you use is calibrated correctly to avoid jerking.

Oil your clipper blade before you use them.

Have a helper on standby should you run into any difficulty, like awkward handling.


When using a sharp razor, be careful not to cut too deeply to avoid harm.

Using shaving cream during the process aids a smoother trim but can also scupper your view of the hairline you are working to.

Things You'll Need

  • Clippers, a trimmer or a sharp razor.
  • Shaving cream (not always necessary)
  • Brush
  • Two mirrors
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About the Author

Di Davidson-Amadi has been writing business, technology and lifestyle-related topics for recognized publications such as “Square Mile” magazine, “Canary Wharf” magazine and “The City” magazine. He graduated from Brunel University with an English literature and film and television studies diploma in 2010.