I wonder how many of the people who write beard grooming tips online actually have beards? So many of them seem to come from beauty magazines and sites where you really can’t tell who the writer is. Many of them are probably just putting out beard grooming tips to try to attract readers.

But I’m a real guy with a real beard, and I know a few things about making a beard look great. Consider these 13 beard grooming tips and see if they don’t help you make your beard look better too. Keep in mind that this advice is provided to you as suggestions and guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules, but still, I think you will benefit.

Here’s are the 13 beard grooming tips I have for you:

1. Decide whether to groom it yourself or let a professional do the job. Many guys only work with pros for beard trimming, but some would never let anyone else work on their beard. Decide for yourself which approach is best.

2. Get the right tools for the job. This includes barber’s scissors and a beard trimmer. For example, the best Wahl beard trimmer is a heavy-duty stainless steel model that feels like a real tool instead of a toy.

3. Choose a good comb. A nice wide-toothed comb is best for most beards, and you might want a fine-toothed comb for a carefully groomed mustache. Look for something labeled specifically as a beard or mustache comb.

4. Have two good mirrors. You need a big wall-mounted mirror to see how you look overall, but you also need a handheld mirror or a three-way mirror setup so you can see the sides. If you’ve trimmed your beard and haven’t looked at the sides in a handheld mirror, you may not look as good as you think you do.

5. Avoid trimming wet hair. Beard and mustache hair appears longer when wet, so trimming when wet can mean it’s too short and uneven when dry. A dry, clean beard will trim up the best.

6. Learn to use a comb when cutting. Just like barbers do, you’ll get the best results when you comb through your beard and learn to cut on the outside of the comb. This takes some effort to master, but it will give you even results and keep you from cutting off too much. Look up more beard grooming tips related to comb cutting if you don’t completely understand this.

7. Trim from the top down. When trimming a long beard, most guys find it easiest and most effective to trim near the ear on one side, then down to the bottom on that side before doing anything on the other side. Switching back and forth from side to side or working your way up from the bottom doesn’t work as well.

8. Don’t overdo it. When using a beard trimmer or scissors, start long. You can always cut off more, but you can destroy a great beard by over-trimming. A big mistake is easy to make if you set a trimmer too short.

9. Groom your mustache by first trimming straight down. Using a beard trimmer or scissors, start in the middle and work your way to the sides, evening things up and reducing length as much as you want. Don’t trim at the top edge or come too close to the lip for the best look.

10. Maintain sharp lines. Keep the cheek line natural if it’s not too high and not too irregular — or trim it to a clean line. The neckline always needs to be trimmed for a well-groomed look. In many cases, you can trim the neckline with a good beard trimmer and don’t need to shave with cream and a razor.

11. There’s nothing wrong with a little shaving. Even if you want a relatively natural look, there’s nothing wrong with shaving a few stray hairs on your cheeks or neck. Even a huge natural beard needs some maintenance around the edges. This is perhaps one of the most-often-overlooked beard grooming tips.

12. Beards need to be washed. There are guys who advocate not washing your beard to maintain natural oils, but this leads to skin problems and too much oil over time. Comb your beard to detangle it, then wash with a very mild shampoo and apply a beard conditioner. The right conditioning and finishing product will make you look and feel better.

13. Don’t blow-dry your beard. Some guys recommend this, but it’s not necessary and is harsh on your beard hair. Even worse, it tends to damage the skin of your face, and there are enough environmental factors as well as the natural signs of aging impacting your face without adding to them.

While these beard grooming tips don’t serve as step-by-step beard grooming guide, there’s enough good information here to dramatically improve the look and feel of your beard, whether you like it long or short. Pay attention to your beard and you can have great facial hair that will be the envy of your friends.

Remember, if someone insults your beard or makes a rude comment about your beard, it usually means they’re jealous.