One of the most common mistakes guys make when they’re growing a beard is improperly shaping the neckline. A misaligned or oddly-placed neckline can ruin even the most visually appealing beard. Unfortunately, there is no “cookie-cutter” method for learning how to shape a beard neckline; it’s more of an art than a science, because the size and shape of each man’s lower jaw and neckline will be different.
Why Take The Time To Define A Neckline?
Let’s face it – it’s not an absolute necessity to define or shape a neckline. Some men refrain from doing so, choosing rather to just let everything grow out naturally. While this will make your beard much easier to maintain, it can be a sticky situation, because there’s a very thin line between being able to pull off the “natural look” versus just looking like a caveman. For men who would prefer to keep their neck area neat and tidy, defining a neckline can do wonders towards giving the beard a more uniform and “clean” appearance.
What Is A Common Neckline Mistake?
The neckline of your beard must be defined properly, trimming the outline in the correct areas, otherwise you run the risk of your beard almost looking “misplaced” on your face.
Some guys make the mistake of trimming their neckline far too high, at the very ridge of the jawline or even at the bottom of the face. This is actually a very common error, but it can make your beard appear as though it has been “pasted on”, or that it is not even big enough for your face.
If you can turn to the side and see some skin between the cut-off line of your beard and your jawline, you have definitely trimmed your neckline too high.
What Is The Proper Way To Shape Your Beard Neckline?
Since every man’s neck and jaw region will be different, you will have to exercise some personal judgment when adapting the following instructions. For example, if the area between your chin and neck is vaguely defined, you will have to essentially “eyeball it” and choose a point between the two that seems most appropriate.
That being said, you can follow this simple 3-step process to ensure that your neckline will be trimmed into its proper shape:
1. Step One – Identify your neckline
Imagine a line that extends from just underneath the back of your earlobes and curves under your jaw (near the top of your neck), almost like the string of a party hat or the strap of a bicycle helmet. At the very lowest point of the curve, this line should be roughly a finger’s breadth higher than your Adam’s apple. This can be considered your neckline.
Another common way to identify your neckline is to simply tilt your head down until a crease develops at the point where the top of your neck and the bottom of your chin meet. Use either one of these delineations as a general guideline for where the cut-off point of your neckline should be.
2. Step Two – Trim your neckline
Now, imagine that there are two vertical lines that extend from the rear of your sideburns to the bottom corner of your jaw on both sides of your face. Eventually these imaginary lines will intersect with the curved line mentioned in Step One. The place where these lines intersect will be considered the corner boundaries of your neckline.
When you’re actually trimming the neckline, you should take care not to make these corners too squared off; this will look unnatural and it may give off a “box-like” appearance, which you will definitely want to avoid. Simply round the corners off so that the beard will appear to have grown in that way very naturally.
3. Step Three – Suit to your taste / make it look natural
Now that you have a good idea of where the neckline should cut off, your job is to trim away everything below the neckline and clean it all up.
As always, you can slightly modify these instructions to suit your own personal preferences (e.g. you may want to cut the neckline even lower), but just be sure that you’re not cutting that neckline off too high, or it could turn into an unsightly situation.
The main premise is to create a full-looking beard that appears as natural as possible, with a smooth and visually appealing shape that complements the overall shape of your face.