How to shave the neck area of your beard – keep it looking sharp!

The neck area of a beard can be a trouble spot for many avid beard growers. Getting the best beard line and trimming or shaving the neck part of the beard is a simple way of making your beard look sharp! Here I want to share how to shave your neck beard and take your style to the next level.

Shaving the neck area of your beard comes down to choosing the best possible beard line (two fingers width above your Adam’s apple) and using a single blade safety razor to remove the hairs below that line. Do not apply too much pressure and use long strokes to reduce irritation.

The good news is that it is very easy and inexpensive to do this yourself at home.

Check out my YouTube video where I talk you through the entire process:

My blog post on trimming your beard includes a full rundown on how to do every aspect of beard linings. It includes things such as the best cheeks and sideburn lengths. Read the in-depth guide by clicking here.

To trim your neck or not?

The one thing I love about growing a beard is that there are no hard and fast rules. How to shave your neck beard really should not be the first question. Before that you need to ask should you shave your neck beard?

Beard Neckline styles

Essentially, it all comes down to what you want your beard to look like. If you want something a bit messier you can always just leave it. Even a style icon like David Beckham has been seen rocking a messy neck line.

I feel like there are only a few types of men that can truly rock a messy neckline on short beards. It can be the quickest way to look like you don’t care for your beard or that you have just forgotten to shave for a long time!

If you want people to say to you “you have an awesome beard” no matter the length, you are going to have to trim the neck line.

It is not difficult to trim a neck line. It is something that is reasonable to do at home with inexpensive trimmers.

There seem to be two different sides of the beard-growing spectrum. One person who will struggle their whole life to grow a beard – while there are others who seem to sneeze and more hair pop out!

Check out my recommended beard tools – Click here!

How to trim your neckline

Whether to have a long or short beard you should absolutely consider shaving your neck beard. Trimming up your beard’s neck line is important and removes the weight that builds up over a couple of weeks under your chin.

Short beard neckline

The shorter the beard the more important your beard neckline becomes. That because it is more visible, simple right? Long beard hair can cover a messy beard line but many men with a long beard choose to trim the neckline for comfort reasons.

Find where your head attaches to your neck

Finding where your head attaches to your neck is the only way to discover where you should trim your neckbeard. You can do this two ways – remember measure twice cut once!

The first way is to tilt your head forward as far as it will go and push your finger up into the crease. Where the top of the crease it – that’s your neckline! It’s quite a simple technique but works well.

Here’s how I do it:

Another option is to find your Adam’s apple (the bump on your neck) and, when looking up, place two fingers on your neck with the bottom finger resting on the top edge of your Adam’s apple. Where the top finger rests on your neck that is your neckline:

How to shave neck beard

Notice how when my neck is stretched the middle part of the neckline seems to be higher than the line at the jawbones. This is because the skin stretches and it can lead to a bit of confusion.

Once you have found your neckline you want to trim along it so that it is symmetrical and follows around the side of your head. If in doubt you should always ask an expert to trim yours. Trimming a neckbeard is really easy once the initial line has been defined for you.

Long beard neckline

People with long beards don’t necessarily need to shave their neckline for style reasons. Simply it is just not able to be seen.

However, people sometimes decide to trim their necklines when they have a long beard to make it less itchy or hot in the warm weather.

You can use the same techniques as for a short beard but you must tie your long beard hair out of the way.

If you have a long beard and you want to reduce itchiness you should read our guide on reducing itchiness using natural products. Click here to find out the best natural products and homemade remedies.

How do you shave your neck when growing a beard?

If you are growing your beard out and you are doing from scratch you may be wondering if you should actually trim your beard while it is growing. Go and check out my other article on stages of beard growth so you know what you can expect and the stages that each person goes through when they are growing a beard.

I’ve also got a YouTube video talking about the stages of beard growth too:

For the first few weeks you really should just leave the beard alone. Many people say not to touch a growing beard for at least three to six months – and I agree ith them.

However, there are a couple of early stages that are very challenging! The first for me was when the beard started irritating and tickling my neck. So, I think the neck areas of the beard is the best first place that you should trim. After all, it was the first part of the beard growing journey where I thought to myself “I’m going to give up because this is so annoying!”.

The neck shaving should be carried out using the methods described above.

Once you have first defined your neckline while your beard is growing you’ll have to keep it trimmed up. I do mine about every two weeks. That typically takes two steps:

  1. Use a battery-powered trimmer to cut in on the neckline – being sure not to take off any length of areas that I don’t intend on cutting (the neck area can get pretty crowded).
  2. Using a single blade safety razor to remove all of the hair up to the neckline. I like using a shaver to take my neck to a close shave but if you want to just use an electric shaver – that is just fine too!

In short, If the neck irritation is the thing that would stop you from continuing your beard growing journey it should be removed!

Does shaving increase beard growth?

Some people are worried that shaving actually encourages beard growth and could make your neck hairier than you want. You’ll be pleased to know that there is no evidence that hair actually increases in density or speed of growth due to regular shaving.

This myth came about as young men start shaving and the beard gets thick and denser. This is due to the ongoing effects of puberty and not the effects of shaving. The hairs also look much bigger after shaving too!

After a hair has been sliced by a razor blade the cross-section that is left is much more obvious than a hair that naturally tapers to a point. That also gives the impression that shaving your beard hair encourages the heard to grow back denser. But do not worry! It is all an illusion and you can shave with confidence without fear that the hair on your neck will get any thicker or grow any faster!

How to trim back of the neck

This really is the best finishing touch to any trim of a neck area!

Most people when they trim or shave the neck area of a beard they completely forget the sides and back of the neck! If you’re lucky, there may not be much that you need to tidy up. But for all of us on the hairier side of the fence it’ll be the 10% change that makes you look sharp!

When I am trimming my own back of the neck – this is what I do.

  1. I use electric trimmers on the sides of my neck and tops of my shoulders to remove any stray hairs that may be growing. Slow sweeping motions here is what is best as I don’t have a particularity thick coverage of hair there.
  2. On the back I use my fingers on one hand to feel for the hair line and then use the other hand to guide the electric trimmers on to the hair line and then sweep it down the back of my neck.
  3. I repeat step two across my neck – sweeping down one section at a time until I have gone from one side to the other.

If you are not confident in trimming the back of your neck or require a particular well defined line you should get a professional to edge up your neck line or ask a friend or partner to help!

Types of trimmers most suitable for neckline trimming

I have only two types of trimmers – one of them is no good for necklines or trimming and shaving neckbeard. Hair clippers like the Wahl Clipper Elite Pro are too heavy and wide for the neckline. I use my Wahl clipper for shaping and maintaining the sides of my beard.

Trimmers are used for necklines!

I have a really inexpensive set of trimmers that actually were left behind by my father in law. I really haven’t had any reason to replace this set at the moment. The battery works really well and still holds its charge.

Another important aspect to consider with your beard trimmer is the weight. I know that heavy trimmers feel more expensive but there’s an issue with heavy trimmers.

The heavier the trimmers the less you are able to move the trimmers around your beard with ease. It may seem like a weird aspect of shaving your neckbeard but I really do not like using heavy trimmers.

You should use the trimmer to trace the line around your neckline and also take off any neck hair below that line. These trimmers do not take off the hair down to the skin.

If your preferred beard style is sharp clean lines you’ll want to consider shaving the neckline with a razor.

Shave your neck beard with a razor.

If you shave your neckline to the skin you have the potential of irritating the skin and increasing your risk of ingrown hairs. The good news is there is a really simple way to ensure that you don’t have any problems while shaving your neck beard.

Here are the steps that you need to follow to make sure you give yourself a professional shave:

1. Learn how your neck hair grows

Let your neck hair grow out for a few days and run your fingers across the top of the hair. You need to take note of the way that your hair grows on your neck. Everyone is different!

Some of the directions will feel rough – while other will feel smooth. The general rule is that you should shave the direction that your hair feels smooth.

Going with the hair is the one key aspect of shaving in the neck area. It can feel very rewarding to go against the grain but resist the urge.

Don’t be surprised if your hair growth direction changes on different parts of your neck.

2. Prepare your neck for shaving

Before shaving, you must wash your face and neck thoroughly. Shaving after showering will get you the best results. Make sure that you use a mild facial soap – don’t be tempted by the desire to use body wash or bars on your neck. Take the time to buy and use a gentle soap.

3. Type of razor to shave your neckbeard

I highly recommend using an old school single blade razor! The neck area is particularly sensitive and a single blade razor will irritate your skin the least.

There is a learning curve when changing from cartridge blades. You can’t just hack away at your face as you’ll just end up cutting yourself a load of times.

Single blade razors are cheap and will make you feel good as there is much less plastic waste than cartridge razors.

4. Neck shaving techniques

The neck is probably one of the toughest areas of the head to shave. It is full of hard to reach areas, bumps and pits.

Quite often you will see people stretch their neck out. Some will pull parts of their skin taught. Try not to overstretch the skin and use shorter strokes as you shave so that it covers the area better.

Always start by shaving with the direction of your hair. Then if you want a closer shave you can go across the grain. Don’t, however, go against the grain – this is where the shaving nasties will come into play.

You need to settle for ensuring you cannot see the hair, not a baby smooth face. With a little bit of practice, you will be shaving like a pro!

5. After your shave

After shaving your neck beard area rinse with warm water to remove any lather residue. Take a small cotton pad and rub the area lightly with witch hazel. Follow this up with a cool water rinse and you’ll be ready to tackle whatever the world throws at you next!

Is shaving upwards bad on your neck?

Using a single blade safety razor is by far the best razor that you can use on your skin. It doesn’t pull at the hairs before cutting them (something that multi-blade shavers do), it cuts them flush with the skin. This stops the potential of ingrown hairs and razor rash or bumps.

But we do need to be careful which way you are cutting the hair on your neck – and it is different for everyone!

Shaving up, down, left, right does not matter – it is ALL about the grain direction of your beard. What is against the grain for me will be completely different for you. The best practise is to map out your grain pattern and learn what areas need to be shaved up, down, left , right , or diagonally. Then shave your hair in this order:

  1. With the grain – sweep the shaver with the grain of your hair (the lay it lies)
  2. Across the grain – gently sweep the razor 90 degrees to the direction that the hair grow.
  3. (OPTIONAL) Against the grain – if you must you can go against the grain – but only if you have done the other steps first.

The goal here is to use multiple light shaves rather than get rid of the hair all in one go. You can also repeat steps one to 2 if you need to. If you are lucky most of the hair on your neck will lie in one direction. However, if you are unlucky and have loads of different grain directions all over your neck, like me, you’ll have to use your best judgment for each section.

If you find that you irritate the skin in one area of your neck – change the direction that you shave in the future and keep note if it gets better or worse.

The final word

Shaving the neck area is a really important part of beard maintenance and styling. Trimming and shaving the neck area is a simple process and with a little bit of practice with a single blade safety razor, you will be able to line up even the most untamed of beards!

There seem to be two different sides of the beard-growing spectrum. One person who will struggle their whole life to grow a beard – while there are others who seem to sneeze and more hair pop out!

Check out my recommended beard tools – Click here!
The Author

Andy Stapleton

Andy is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He is an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialling different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!