When it comes to keeping a tidy beard, most of our attention goes to the most visible parts—our cheeks, chin, and mustache—but it’s important to give your beard neckline just as much regard. Think about it: If your beard were a country, the neckline would be the longest border, meaning it’s both noticeable and can make quite an impact on the overall appearance of your beard. “Keeping your beard clean around the neck not only provides good symmetry for your face, but it also extends the length of your haircut by keeping the focus on clean lines,” says barber Jason Biggs.
Biggs notes that a well-groomed neckline works for all types of beard styles and shapes, and the benefits go well beyond just looks. For guys with a fuller beard, a trim neckline helps maintain hygiene and removes split ends from the bottom portion of the beard. At the same time, for guys with a shorter beard that lies closer to the face, a clean beard neckline helps lend definition to the jawline and provides a cleaner surface for more advanced skincare, such as masks and exfoliants, to penetrate.
The thing is, getting the perfect trimmed beard neckline isn’t as easy as it looks. It’s all about finding exactly where the line should go so that it’s neither too short nor too long, then being able to maintain the look at home. Luckily, Biggs is willing to walk us through the ins and outs of the process.
How to Find Your Beard Neckline
There are two things to consider when determining the optimal placement of your beard neckline: beard size and face shape.
- Large beard/Round face: For guys with a voluminous beard and a face shape that’s closer to round, Biggs recommends the neckline be placed lower on the neck to help create a sharper jawline and provide maximum fullness to the beard.
- Large beard/Square face: If your beard is large and your face is more square-shaped (as in very angular jaws and cheekbones), consider cutting the neckline slightly higher to accent the sharp jawline. This will draw attention to your natural features.
- Short beard/Round face: Guys with a rounder-shaped face tend to have less definition around their jawlines, so Biggs recommends dropping the neckline lower on the neck to create a square shape. This allows for more fullness on the corners of each side.
- Short beard/Square face: For those with a square face and shorter beard, Biggs advises keeping the neckline on the higher side so that it contours the jawline, thus preserving the naturally bold shape and giving a distinctive silhouette.
How to Trim Your Beard Neckline
Before you even think of making the cut, Biggs says it’s essential to have the proper tools. Here’s what you’ll need:
- An electric trimmer: Rather than a razor, Biggs recommends using an electric trimmer because it will allow for more control and causes less stress to the skin when used frequently. “I would suggest a trimmer that is powerful, yet detailed enough to get into those close spaces and create the necessary tight, sharp lines,” he says.
- Tweezers: Keep a pair of tweezers on hand to reach any ingrown hairs you may spot as well as to remove any hard-to-get fragments of hair.
Once you’ve found the proper location for your beard neckline and prepped your tools, it’s time to get trimming. Read on for our experts' step-by-step guide.
Wash Your Face
Start by giving your face and neck a solid wash using your regular cleanser and warm water. This will help to open the pores and soften the hairs, so you can achieve maximum closeness with your shave. Gently towel dry.
Choose Your Shape
To create a more round shape around the earlobe, gently round the corners of the beard. To maintain a more square shape, inch your way toward the earlobe to create a sharp edge.
Grab your trimmers and start creating your neckline by following the shape desired. Pull the trimmers down along the line to create your initial line, then go upward to clear any remaining hair below the line you’ve created.
Finally, splash some water onto your neck and beard to clear away any stray hairs and follow with your normal skincare routine. Biggs suggests using a beard balm after you’ve trimmed in order to moisturize the skin and prevent any ingrown hairs. Avoid using products containing alcohol, as it can be harsh on the skin. Finish off with some beard oil to help maintain the general state of your beard and avoid split ends and breakage.
How to Maintain Your Beard Neckline
“I find there is no science to keeping a maintained neckline,” Biggs says, as everyone is different and hair grows back at different rates. “As a general rule, I would say it’s important to maintain a clean neckline at least twice a month to avoid irritation and keep a clean look.”
However, he also cautions against overdoing it, as shaving your beard neckline (or your skin in general) too often can lead to ingrown hairs, irritation, bumps, breakouts, and blemishes. Sure, it’s important to keep a clean look but it’s more important to know your skin type and how much it can take in regard to shaving. And, Biggs reminds us, using a trimmer rather than a razor to tidy up your beard neckline is way less harsh and abrasive to the skin.