Shih Tzu Face Grooming at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Shih Tzus are known for their adorably fluffy faces framed with long, silky fur. As adorable as it looks, that lush hair around their eyes, mouth, and ears needs regular trimming and grooming.

Without it, they face higher risks of matting, tear staining, eye infections, and more.

Luckily, you can easily learn to groom your Shih Tzu’s face at home between professional grooming sessions. Doing it yourself is rewarding in many ways: you’ll save on costs, bond more with your pup, and keep their facial fur tidy and healthy in between salon visits.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know for DIY Shih Tzu face grooming, step-by-step. Let’s start by gathering supplies and setting up your at-home grooming workspace.

Getting Ready to Groom

Before bringing out the scissors, you’ll want to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Here are the must-have supplies for grooming a Shih Tzu face:

Brushing Buddies:

Trimming Time:

Bath Time Essentials:

Gentle Touches:

Sweet Rewards:

With your grooming supplies gathered, the next step is setting up a comfortable workspace for you and your pup. Look for a location that has:

  • Good lighting allows for precision trimming in trickier areas.
  • Ventilation removes allergens and keeps things cool.
  • Non-slip surface: provides secure footing and prevents injury.

Once your workspace is prepped, do an overall brush-out of your Shih Tzu’s coat before focusing on the face. This prevents accidentally cutting tangled or matted hair near the skin. Pay special attention to brushing around the eyes, muzzle, and ears.

Okay, now the fun part: learning how to properly trim and groom key areas of your Shih Tzu’s sweet little face!

Shih Tzu Face Grooming Steps

Let’s go over the step-by-step process for tackling the most common problem areas on a Shih Tzu’s fluffy visage:

1. Cleaning the Eyes (Safety First!)

Over time, Shih Tzus tend to get reddish-brown staining around their eyes from tears and saliva. Not only is it unsightly, but leaving these stains can increase the risk of eye infections.

Luckily, clearing them up is a cinch.

  • Do not use harsh chemicals! Near those precious peepers, there’s no peroxide or bleach!
  • To gently wipe stains away, use a damp cotton ball and warm water.
  • Be very gentle, and avoid touching the eyeball itself.
  • With another fresh cotton ball, dry the area thoroughly.

Repeat daily until the staining clears up. Doing this keeps their gaze sparkling white and infection-free.

2. Taming the Fringe

That signature long, straight fur Shih Tzus sport between the eyes requires regular trims. Without it, hair falls into their eyes or impairs their vision.

Here’s how to trim that fringe without going too short:

  • To split the fur between the eyes, use your fingers.
  • Hold the hair taut and snip small sections with round-tipped scissors.
  • Aim for a length that keeps hair out of your eyes without looking too short.
  • Trimming Tip: Start longer and gradually trim shorter to avoid overdoing it.

Getting the fringe length just right takes some practice. Go slow until you get more comfortable.

3. Shaping the beard

Letting a Shih Tzu’s beard hair grow too long around their chin and mouth can cause painful matting and skin irritation. Here’s how to keep that area tidy:

  • With a slicker brush, comb down the beard hair.
  • Using scissors, trim the hair across the bottom in a straight, even line.
  • Leave some length (1 inch or so) to prevent irritation from mouth movements rubbing the skin.

An evenly-shaped, slightly fluffy beard complements your Shih Tzu’s features beautifully.

4. Trimming around the mouth (delicacy is key!)

It’s crucial to carefully trim stray hairs around a Shih Tzu’s mouth. Food and water can get trapped there; otherwise, they promote infection and tooth decay.

When shaping hair near their mouth and lips:

  • Gently lift the lips up to expose the fur around them.
  • Use scissors to remove any excess poking.
  • Extreme Caution: This area is delicate; shaving too close risks cuts!
  • Less is more. It’s better to leave some hair than risk harming it accidentally.

Take great care and move slowly when wielding scissors this close to their mouth. Precision is key.

5. Ear Trimming (Optional)

Ear hair trimming is optional for Shih Tzus, depending on your preferences for length.

  • Want cute, furry ears? Just tidy up any uneven hairs.
  • Prefer short ears? Brush the fur up and trim it into a rounded shape.
  • Never cut their inner ear flap; doing so risks injury and infection.

However long you keep the ear hair, using an ear wash weekly prevents yeast and bacteria buildup inside.

There you have it—a full step-by-step guide to mastering at-home Shih Tzu facial grooming. Going slowly while getting comfortable with the process is crucial. Be extra delicate around the eyes and mouth.

With some practice, you can keep your pup’s sweet face stylishly coiffed and healthy between professional grooming. Just be sure to reward them with praise and treats for being patient with the process!

And remember, when in doubt about trimming sensitive areas, leave it to the pros. Regular salon visits for deeper grooming beyond the face are still essential.

But by grooming the most high-maintenance areas at home between appointments, you’ll better bond with your fur baby while saving time and money. It’s a rewarding investment in your best friend’s health and happiness!

Using Clippers on a Shih Tzu Face

For novice home groomers, scissors often allow better precision and control, especially for sensitive facial features. However, if choosing electric clippers:

  • Always use plastic guard combs to maintain a safe, consistent length.
  • Begin with the longest guard comb, such as a #10 blade.
  • To avoid injury, only use clippers designed for the face. Consider a cordless tool for easier handling.
  • Work slowly and carefully, cutting in the same direction as fur growth.
  • Focus on the top of the head, muzzle, and ears, which are harder to cut with scissors.

Investing in high-quality, specialized clippers like the Andis ProClip AGC2 makes the process safer and easier. Exercise caution when using electric tools near the vulnerable face area.

Trimming techniques and safety measures

Proper techniques and precautions ensure a smooth, safe grooming session.

  • Sharp is safe. Always use freshly sharpened shears and blades. Dull tools increase the risk of pulling fur.
  • Start long: Initially, leave the fur slightly longer and shorten across multiple passes for increased control.
  • Small sections: Work in quarter-inch subsections, regularly brushing to check progress.
  • Follow fur patterns: To avoid irritation, only cut in the direction fur naturally grows.
  • Know your limits: If ever unsure about next steps, stop and ask a professional groomer.

Rushing through grooming can lead to frustrating mistakes. Build confidence across regular sessions. Mistakes grow fur back; patience and practice lead to puppy perfection!

Finishing Touches and Post-Grooming Care

Put the final polish on your DIY spa session.

  • Gently wipe the face with a damp washcloth to remove loose hair.
  • To reward cooperation and reinforce positive associations, provide hearty praise and treats.
  • If needed, apply dog eye drops prescribed by your veterinarian for added moisture and protection.

Schedule regular facial grooming every 4–6 weeks to maintain tidy growth. Bathing is the first step in detangling and cooling skin.

Additional Tips for Easy Shih-Tzu Face Grooming

Implementing these tips leads to easier, stress-free grooming:

  • Set a schedule: Maintain facial fur every 4–6 weeks so growth stays manageable.
  • Pre-bath prep: Washing your Shih Tzu’s face 1-2 days prior to grooming saves time detangling.
  • Seeking assistance: No shame asking for help restraining from a second person or professional groomer if feeling overwhelmed.


Grooming a Shih Tzu’s sweet face helps them stay comfortable and accentuates their endearing features. Following the step-by-step instructions above allows for DIY facial grooming at home without stress or safety risks.

Key tips include properly prepping tools and workspace, taking precautions around sensitive areas like eyes, and working slowly in sections. Set realistic expectations throughout your regular practice. Professional groomers can also provide valuable guidance for trickier techniques.

Over time, a routine emerges for keeping your Shih Tzu’s hair out of their eyes, neatening fur around the mouth and beard, and showcasing those flowing ears. Proper home grooming strengthens bonds with your loyal companion while saving time and money.

With some patience and plenty of treats, grooming your Shih Tzu’s adorable face becomes a relaxing, rewarding routine. Maintain tidiness between appointments, with occasional touch-ups. Most importantly, remain flexible based on your personal styling preferences and what makes your beloved pet most comfortable.

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