I know, I know – you made good use of your quarantine – and work from home – time growing an amazing beard. Well, it’s a new year, so why not spruce up that look a bit? No, not shaving it off (as a beard owner, I wouldn’t advocate for removal), but how about some trimming, or even straightening? I spent some time with three different products from Aberlite, and can tell you how they perform.
The first thing you probably are thinking of doing is some trimming, or maybe even thinning things out – that’s where a good trimmer, like the Aberlite Trim ($69.99) can come in handy. Frankly, unless you’ve got a good pair of true barber scissors, a good trimmer (I tend to like cordless, especially for travel) is your best bet.
The Aberlite Trim fits easily in the hand, and has a decent – but not overbearing – weight to it. It’s a plastic shell, but in that you’ve got the oscillating motor to get things working, and of course the Li-On battery providing the juice. In this case, you can get 90-100 minutes of run time (depending on the speed you run things at) and can charge it back up in the same 90 minutes.
If you like, you can plug the Aberlite Trim directly into a cable, or you can put it in an included stand (that the cable runs through). Really just depends on how much counter space you have. When it comes to turning on the trimmer, there is a small “safety” built in. This is a good thing, as I’ve had a trimmer get powered on while traveling, and then get to my destination with a dead trimmer. In this case, you hold down the power button, and it counts down from 3 and then powers on.
Once it’s running, the same LCD display shows you how many minutes you’ve got left (good for not ending up with a half-trimmed beard), and you use the power button to step the speed down, or cycle to turn it off. As you can see in the photo a few up, there are a few different cutting heads included, as well as some length guards for getting some easy-set beard trimming on. I used it for cleanup on my own beard, and it handled things without a problem, just as well as the trimmer I use regularly.
I then tried using the Aberlite Trim to cut the hair on the top of my head, which is something I do with my regular trimmer. Though I keep things pretty short (a size 1 guard, which is 3mm or 1/8″), I found the motor in the Aberlite Trim was struggling a little bit. It was fine if I moved pretty slow, but if you went fast the blade would bind up a little. And you know what, that’s fine, this is a beard trimmer, and not a hair cutter. Though, at $70, some dual-purpose action would be nice. So, bear that in mind if you also use your trimmer to cut your hair.
Now, once you’ve got your beard and ‘stache trimmed (or maybe you don’t want to trim it) you might be thinking about trying to tame some of the bushiness with a straightener. Here, we took a look at two different ones, the Aberlite Pro (corded; $120) and the Aberlite Go (cordless; $90). These seem to work very much the same way that my wife’s ceramic hair straightener works, in that you’ve got elements heating up, you run it through, and voila, straighter hair.
Of course, for a beard, you can just run a regular straightener through. For both the Aberlite Pro and Aberlite Go, you’ve got a literal comb created here, with some tines that heat up, and others that are longer – and unheated – so you can keep the super hot parts away from your skin. On the corded Pro, you’ve got a power button that you press and hold to turn it on (like with the trimmer), while the cordless Go also has that, and the addition of a physical slider switch that you can turn the thing on/off with (good for not melting your luggage).
The Aberlite Pro has 8 heat settings on it, from 250?F to 400?F. You can see which one you’ve selected via the small LCD, and then you can watch the actual temperature climb on the display as well, so you know when it’s ready. The cordless Go eschews the display for three LEDs at the three temperature settings, letting you know what you’ve selected. In practice, as I used the same range on both (340-360), both straighteners worked just like they’re supposed to. If you have any moisture in your beard (say, post-shower) that will get turned to steam in a hurry, so be careful about that.
As you can see by the photos above (before on the left, after on the right) both straighteners did the job they set out to do. For me, I’ve become so used to seeing the wave, it was a little odd to see the beard so straight and orderly. Then again, I did enjoy getting the sides smoothed out. And, as an added benefit, if you’re fighting tangles when you comb your beard, these will take the tangles right out.
As to whether a straightener is for everyone, that’s something you need to decide. I didn’t use it every day, but once or twice a week kept things orderly. While I am sure to use a beard oil or beard butter most days (I like the stuff from Detroit Grooming), you definitely want to get some product in there after using a straightener. You’re putting a high dose of heat on the beard (and near the skin under it) so getting moisture back in there is a really good idea, particularly in the cold, drier months.
So, what’s the overall summary of these products? I found the Aberlite Trim to be an average trimmer, and perhaps priced a touch high for something that is facial-hair only. For the straighteners, they both worked quite well (just be careful not to accidentally bump the button to change the heat, which both my wife and I did). You just really need to decide if you want a narrower handle for small hands (if so, go for the cord), or if you want easy travel and have larger hands (then the cordless is for you).
Whatever you decide, Aberlite has some options for you. Even if you’re happy with the length of your beard, they’ve got some other items out there that can help you keep a cleanly-defined line when you shave your neck, as well as other grooming accessories and protectants. aberlite.com
Tech Specs from Aberlite
Aberlite Pro Beard Straightener
- Model: B500
- 205 x 40 x 30 mm (8.07 x 1.57 x 1.18 inches)
- 225 g?(7.9 oz)
- Input voltage: 100-240V 50/60Hz, 30W. World-wide dual voltage.
- Plug type: U.S. type. Can be used anywhere in the world with the right plug converter.
- 360-degree rotating cord
- 8 temperature settings, from 250?F to 400?F (120-200?C)
- MSRP: $120
Aberlite Go Beard Straightener
- Model: B400e (GO 2.0)
- 195 x 42 x 28 mm
- 220 g
- Battery Capacity: 2600mAh. Lasts up to 15-30 min on a 3.5-hour single charge.
- Output Voltage: 7.2V DC
- Input voltage: DC 5.0V from the USB-C cable.
- Plug type: USB-C cable. Can be used anywhere in the world.
- 3 temperature settings, from 310?F to 400?F
- MSRP: $90
- DualCut: Maximum trimming precision with 3x more blades.
- High quality blades: Tempered steel blade never dulls, rusts, or breaks.
- Advanced lithium-ion battery delivers maximum power for high-performance cutting.?
- Up to 90-100 minutes operating time.
- LCD display indicates remaining battery time.
- Charging Stand delivers full charge in 1.5 hours.?
- 3 cutting elements: precision trimmer, full-size trimmer, and extra-wide trimmer
- 4 beard/hair trimming guards:?3/16 in (3mm),?15/64 in (6mm),?23/64 in (9mm),?15/32 in (12mm)
- MSRP: $69.99