There’s no feeling quite like growing a beard. And we say that as people who really love shaving. But when you’re carefully cultivating a faceful of majestic fuzz, knowing that it will transform your style and draw admiring - and even jealous - glances as you swagger confidently down the street, it can be easy to get a bit caught up in things.
So how do you know when to stop? When does a stunningly handsome beard that’s worthy of a red carpet become just a little bit too Tom Hanks in Cast Away? The answer is somewhere around your Adam’s apple.
You see, your beard neckline is the key to getting a beard right. Keep things clean below the line and you can almost get away with a bit less maintenance above it - but let stubble or patchy hair run free towards your chest and you’ll soon have something that’s unkempt, ungroomed and deeply unstylish. Your beard deserves better.
How to maintain a beard neckline
Regular trimming matters less if you’re regularly shaving below your beard neckline (and on your cheeks, too). You can afford to be sprouting a bit unevenly if your facial hair’s territory is clearly defined. Shaving is a whole lot quicker than trimming, too, so for a quick pre-work tidy up a neckline shave, like a short boxed beard, tends to do nicely.
Just make sure you’ve got the right tools at hand for a smooth and stress-free shave — you might be shaving less of your face now you’re all bearded up, but that’s no reason to cut back on the quality of your tools. The Hydro 5 Skin Protection Advanced razor is shock absorbent with a state-of-the-art lubricating system built in, meaning even those quick bleary-eyed shaves will give you the smart result you’re looking for.
And skin protection is crucial in this area — the neck is especially prone to redness, irritation and razor burn — so having a layer of gentle hydration in place will make a big difference.
How to find your beard neckline
Before you think about shaving, trimming or shaping that beard neckline, it’s worth knowing where it actually is. And no, it’s not just the place where hair stops growing — follow that and you’ll struggle to keep things looking sharp.
Run your finger under your chin from one ear to the other, crossing over your Adam’s apple in the process — the big ‘U’ that you’ve just drawn is your beard neckline.
Any hair growing beyond this point should be kept clean-shaven as much as possible for the perfect well-groomed look. Don’t go too high or too low, or you’ll throw off the look that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Shaving your beard neckline successfully
So how do you keep things looking as tidy as possible down there? As with any great shave, it’s all in the technique...
- Splash a little cold water on your face before you start to help close up pores. This will reduce the risk of dirt and oil getting into your skin, and keep ingrown hairs to a minimum.
- Apply a good layer of shaving cream or gel. This might be a quick tidy up rather than a full-on face shave, but that’s no excuse to scrimp on shave cream. Keeping your skin protected is the secret to a smooth, devilishly handsome finish.
- Start in the middle of your neck where your Adam’s apple is, and shave gently downwards until all excess hair is removed.
- Then shave upwards from the centre up towards your ear, back and forth — and do the same on the other side.
Trimming and shaping your beard neckline
You can go in as carefully as you like with the razor, but that doesn’t solve the problem of a messy beard line. Sometimes the point where the beard meets the neck (also known as the dividing line) just won’t be tamed no matter how carefully you shave along it.
To prevent uneven growth along the neckline, a little trimming and shaping is key. Grade and fade your beard from the neckline upwards rather than going from 0 to 100. Use a reliable electric trimmer like the Wilkinson Sword Shave and Style which has three precision combs for trimming hair at different lengths.
What type of fade you go for should depend on your face shape. If you’ve got a jaw that’s more square than rounded, keep the edges a bit softer rather than making them too defined.
Why define your neckline?
Every beard style involves closely trimming or shaving the facial hair that grows up from your neck towards your chin. If you’re rocking a longer beard length, neck hair is more likely to go unnoticed, but with shortened beard shapes, unwanted hairs sprouting down your neck can look a little unruly.
Defining your neckline with a clear edge transforms a beard and gives a much more well-groomed and clean finish. Having that clear defining line underneath your chin can also make your beard look fuller. Plus, the more you trim a beard neckline, the less uncomfortable itchiness you’ll get.
If you want to let things get a little less maintained, check out our guide on how to style a scruffy beard.