Here’s the thing – you can have the thickest, fullest, most luxurious facial hair imaginable, but if your neckline is too high, it will look weird. Ever see a football player come up from a dog-pile with his chinstrap pushed up over his mouth? That’s what a beard with a bad neckline can look like. Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to fix it.
As a general rule, your beard’s neckline should extend all the way across your jaw, touching your Adam’s Apple at the midpoint. If the line is higher than that, you need to correct it, which you can do by growing it out or changing your overall beard shape in the interim. It’s also not a bad idea to get a second pair of hands involved.
Read on for some handy facial hair trimming tips, and we promise you’ll have a clean, well-positioned neck border in no time.
The Golden Rule of Necklines
When shaping up the neckline of your beard, all roads lead past the Adam’s Apple. There’s a diabolical tendency that every man can fall prey to: lifting the lower border toward the jawline. There is a tendency to think that it will make your jawline more defined.
Unfortunately, this practice accomplishes the exact opposite. It accentuates the bare skin below your beard. Even if your neck is relatively svelte, it will probably look jowly when set off against darker facial hair above it.
As an illustration of this effect, consider why the classic tuxedo design is a black suit with a gleaming white shirt and bowtie. Black is naturally slimming, and an inverted triangle of white above a buttoned jacket creates the sense of a bulging chest and trim stomach.
By the same token, when you leave your jawline hairy and your neck bare. Your neck will pop out like a frog’s, and your jaw will recede visually.
So, the rule is never to place the neckline closer to the jaw than the Adam’s Apple. If you’ve erred in your neck trimming, never fear. You aren’t alone. Here are five handy tips for addressing this issue.
Tip #1 – Let it Grow and Taper it Down
As annoying as an ill-placed neckline might be, it’s pretty quick and easy to remedy. Start off by not doing anything. Trust us. No amount of evening out will make your neck look any better.
That said, within a few days, the awkward border will disappear in a mass of fresh stubble. Within a week or so, you should have some quality neckbeard to shape.
Once you have the material to work with, you need to taper it down, preferably using a beard trimmer with preset lengths. Just be sure to keep the shortest hair right near your Adam’s Apple.
Tip #2 – Reshape the Whole Beard
Remember what Lisa Simpson said to Homer about every crisis also being an opportunity:
Why not treat your unsightly neckline as a classic “crisis-tunity?”
Take a moment to assess your facial hair and how it relates to your face shape. Then, consider whether a whole new beard configuration could be an exciting – if interim – solution.
Here are some ideas, depending on your lifestyle and appearance.
|Lifestyle and Appearance||Facial Hair Adjustment|
|You already have a defined jawline and work in a formal corporate setting.||Go short and geometric. This could be an all-around stubble coat or a pencil-thin outline. Either way, it doesn’t require much coverage below the neck.|
|You have a less pronounced chin and need to stay presentable for your job at a tech startup.||Lose the cheek and jawline hair and convert your beard to a Van Dyke and mustache combo. It’s a slightly funky, resolutely clean look that gives your chin a little extra buttressing.|
|You have a full face, and you’re employed by a craft distiller, Motorhead cover band, or 19th century historic home.||Keep the mustache, but shave the remaining chin fuzz. Now, you’ve got yourself a full-fledged Ambrose Burnside ‘stache and muttonchop combo.|
These are just a few options. Countless facial hair arrangements work even with a sub-ideal neckline.
Tip #3 – Brush Before You Trim
When you go to a barber, does your guy just sit you in the chair and start hacking away? Of course not! He sprays down your hair, gives it a comb, and assesses where it needs to come in to achieve a nice shape.
It’s the same with your beard. Once you have grown out that unfortunate neckline and are ready for a fresh trim below your jaw, don’t dive right in with the clipper.
As always, you should wash your neck and face first. Then, you should give your mane a good brush, maybe working in some oil or beard balm. Once you have everything going in the direction it will be when you’re out in the world, then you can start trimming.
We think you will find that you’re hacking away less hair when you take the time to brush it first. That, in turn, means you’re less likely to overshoot the mark on your neckline a second time.
Tip #4 – Get the Necessary Tools
As you have certainly noticed from the prior tips, having the right equipment to style and shape your facial hair is key to fixing a too-high neckline.
With that in mind, here are the tools we believe are imperative for correct beard shaping:
- An Electric Beard Trimmer with multiple numbered length settings.
- A pair of Hand Shears to attend tight places where the trimmer isn’t practical.
- A nice Beard Brush with durable, strong bristles.
- A wood Facial Hair Comb.
With this cache of quality, beard-specific tools, you will be able to reshape your neckline confidently and refresh it easily.
Tip #5 – Get a Little Help from Your (Professional) Friends
There’s a pretty good reason we don’t try to cut our own hair. Even if you have the aesthetic temperament and some training on technique, some places are just hard to trim on your own. It’s a literal pain trying to touch up a concealed hairline, straining to get a good look at it while you cut.
Sometimes, it just makes sense to bring a professional in. Barbers and stylists have the eye, and they have the skills. You’re already probably paying one to cut your hair. Toss them a few shekels every week or so, and ask them to touch up your mustache, your cheekbones, and, of course, that annoying neckline.
It will save you a lot of aggravation.
Now, you hopefully have the information and the tools to address that neckline. Once you get it where you want it, it’s all just a matter of maintenance.
While you’re here, how about you look at our related article on mustache and neck trimming? It’s a must-read for any engaged beardsman.