Wondering how to trim up your beard neckline? The right way and the ‘you’re-so-screwed’ way are just hairs apart.
Are you having a bit of trouble trimming your beard neckline? Sometimes it’s dead-on and other times it looks like your beard got shrunk in the dryer? I was having the same problem. I was trying to give it my best effort without having any real idea of what I was doing. Finally, after my last butcher job, I decided to do some research and find out how those natural born beardsmen trim their necklines.
You know these guys. They look like they were born sporting a perfectly shaped beard, and their neckline is always flawlessly trimmed. While researching I discovered that trimming a beard neckline is not as simple as you might think. Although it’s not rocket science either. Here are the tips I discovered that I’d like to share with you.
7 Beard Neckline Tips
1. Know how you want your neckline to look before you start.
Your beard neckline can look gnarly and natural or freakishly over-finished, it’s up to you. Most guys have neck hair that matches the thickness of their facial hair. Meaning some men’s beard hair stops growing an inch or so below their jawline while others grow all the way down into their chest hair.
Of course, the choice of how you want it to look is up to you. In the old days of our great- grandfathers, they would simply stop shaving and didn’t worry about how their necks looked. They had a beard, dammit. If that meant their necks were hairy, so what? And what were you going to do about it, anyway? Well? Speak up, damn you.
Today, things are a little different. Now the trend is for a somewhat more groomed look. But, again, it’s totally your call. If you decide you want some hair to show on your neck, but don’t want to look like a guy who’s been lost in the woods for a few years, you’ll need to learn how to properly trim your neck. For me, my goal is to get it to look natural but not too wild and wooly. Do yourself a favor and check out this Esquire article, How to Trim Your Beard, for some great neck trimming tips.
2. Know when enough is enough.
One of the biggest problems guys have with their neckline is taking off too much hair when they trim. You need to use patience and moderation when trimming your neck. If you get just a little carried away you can end up trimming into your facial hair instead of your neck hair.
Some guys swear by using a physical guide, like the 2-finger rule. Have you heard of that one? You’re supposed to place your index and middle fingers above your Adam’s apple to show you your beard hair/neck hair demarcation line.
I’m not sold on that approach. There are other tricks guys use, like making a double chin and saying the top of the double chin is where your beard should stop. That’s another one that doesn’t do it for me. Besides, what if you can make more than one double chin? Which chin do you use then?
3. Trimming for a groomed, clean-shaven neck.
This is actually easier and less stressful than trying to go for the more natural, faded-in, hairy-neck look that you see some guys sporting. The best way to create this look is to razor-shave right up to, but not over, your jawline.
The first step is to look at your face and beard in profile using a hand-held mirror and your fixed bathroom mirror. You should be able to see an imaginary line where the underside of your jaw meets your neck. The line should sit just above the top of your Adam’s apple and curve along your jaw towards your ear. See it? This is the line where your beard should stop and your clean-shaven neck should begin.
But, if you have a full face that hides your jawline, you can still draw an imaginary line from just above the top of your Adam’s apple (even if you can’t see it you can still feel it) to a point just below your earlobe. This is the line you should shave on each side of your face.
4. Trimming for a less groomed, more natural look.
I happen to use the eyeball approach for my beard neckline trim. I like a little hair on my neck, so it looks more natural. Again, this is strictly personal preference. If you like the totally clean shaven look, go for it. My feelings won’t be hurt.
Here’s how I do mine: first I razor-shave all the hair on my neck up to about 1.5 inches below my jaw line. Then I set my trimmer to take off all but about a quarter inch of hair and trim up to my jawline. After I’ve done this, I go ahead and trim my beard, fading down to the quarter inch hair on my neck. This gives my beard a nice groomed but natural look. I recommend you read this article about How to Maintain Stubble to give you some additional ideas.
5. Create an imaginary line.
Lots of guys shave their necks using the same shave-pattern every time. Try this one: imagine a curved line starting from just below your ear lobe and curving under your jaw and chin, then back to the opposite earlobe.
Using this curved line approach seems to work pretty well for many men. Why is that, you rightly ask? Who knows? Maybe because they get really good at shaving it the same way and make fewer mistakes. Anyway, it seems to work, for whatever reason. In this article, How to Trim, Shave, Groom, and Avoid a Neck Beard, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
You can start shaving at the center of your neck, just above the middle of your Adam’s apple, following the imaginary curve, and work backward towards your ear lobe. Then repeat the process for the other side of your neck.
This method is probably just as good as any other for trimming your beard neckline. Just be sure to use prudence as you work around your jawline. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side caution.
You can always trim off a bit more hair if you need to. But once you’ve accidently cut into your beard, you’re pretty much screwed. All you can do is let the dang thing grow out and try again. In this excellent YouTube video, Jeff Buoncristiano explains in wonderful detail how to trim your beard neckline. Give it a look to pick up some great pointers.
6. Curve or angle, the choice is yours.
You can make an angular, squared-off corner below each of your ear lobes where your neck connects to your horizontal jawline. This is a great trim for a hip look and macho vibe. Or you can go with a softer, more rounded trim to look less like a cage-fighter and more like a lawyer. Your call.
7. Finishing touch – pampering your neck.
Now that you’ve trimmed up your beard neckline, you’ll want to pamper your neck, which is every bit as sensitive as your face, if not more so. There’s nothing worse than the raw, burning feeling you get after trimming your neck. That’s especially true if you have to wear a collared shirt to work every day. Ouch!
The best way to pamper your neck and make it feel cool and calm is to apply an after shave balm. Any of the better balm products will do the trick, but I happen to prefer this one. It’s inexpensive, lasts a long time, and smells really good. A little dab of this stuff will go a long way in soothing your neck after you’ve taken a razor and/or trimmer to it.
Tools of the Trade
Every craftsman has his special tools to help him perform his craft to the best of his abilities, right? Well, the same thing applies to the beardsman. And you are a beardsman extraordinaire, are you not? You are. So you need to have all the tools essential for helping you slam your neck trimming experience. Here are some solid beardsmen’s tools to get you started:
Start off by applying a good shaving gel or foam to your neck in the area you want to shave with your double-edge safety razor (more on that next). Any good gel or foam will work, but I like this clear gel. It gives a smooth shave and smells great.
Double-edge safety razor
It’s not essential to use a good safety razor. In theory, you could use a disposable but in my experience you don’t get the same close shave that a good double-edge safety razor provides.
Beard and stubble trimmer
There are trimmers and then there are trimmers. Meaning there are good ones and bad ones, so don’t settle for just any old trimmer. Because we’re talking about doing some precision cutting in the beard neckline area, it’s smart to use a trimmer like this one. It does an excellent job of fading and trimming your neck area. And, it has a very helpful laser guide you can use as you cut, to insure you get a clean, even line. It also works well on your beard itself.
So there you have it my fellow beardsman, seven incredible beard neckline tips. You are so very welcome. As I mentioned at the beginning, I had been having a hard time with the neck trimming part of my beard experience. But what I was able to discover, and have outlined above for you, should go a long way in helping you enjoy a better trimming experience. If you take all of the above to heart and put at least some of it into practice, you should come away with a neatly trimmed beard neckline.
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