Where to shave when growing a beard – with pictures

When you are growing a beard – especially in the early days – you want to make sure that your beard is looking as good and as clean as possible. There are plenty of awkward beard stages but you can minimise your ruggedness by keeping the lines of the beard trimmed up and shaved down to the skin. If you want to know about the stages of beard growth check out my other article – growing a beard? These are the stages that you can expect to go through! – Click here. In this article, I will explicitly show you where to shave when growing a beard.

When shaving your beard there are two places where you need to pay particular attention to. The first is the cheek line and the second is the neckline. Clean up both while growing a beard to keep it looking sharp.

The cheek line should sweep down from the sideburns in a smooth line to connect your sideburns with your mustache. The neckline should go from behind the ear and sweep down to under the jaw to about two fingers width above the Adam’s apple.

There is no doubt that shaving is in direct competition with growing a beard. So in general I recommend that you do not touch your beard at all for at least three months before cutting in the lines. This includes the cheek line and the neckline. That is because to get a good defined line you need to have a bulk of hair along the line before removing the stray hairs. If you are finding that the neck is very itchy the neckline is one of the first things that you can choose to trim. At the neck the hairs bunch up and move a lot as you move your head and looked down so it is understandable that that is where the majority of the irritation comes from.

Now let’s take a look at exactly where cheek lines and necklines can be trimmed and the tricks that are required to keep it looking awesome.

Cheek line

When you are growing a beard you should consider shaving the cheek line after about two months to 3 months worth of growth. If you decide to trim up the cheek line any earlier it will result in a wonky or not defined cheek line because you won’t be able to see where the densest part of your cheek starts. It will always look like a fade.

Also, the cheek line should flow nicely from the top of your moustache to the front edge of your sideburns. Exactly how deep the curve dips into your cheek or if you want it straight that is completely up to you. The most important thing is that it is the same on both sides. You can decide to use a beard guide with your beard trimmer before shaving to define the line.

Where to shave when growing a beard

This is how I trim up my cheek line and your notice that I aim for a smooth line between the top of the moustache and the front edge of the side burn. You can see that there are some hairs above the line that I need to trim but the bulk of the hair starts underneath the line. So that is where I aim to trim both sides of my face. Making sure that both sides are symmetrical.


The neckline of your beard is such an important line. Particularly if you have a short beard. Trimming up your neckline is important and also removes the weights that builds up under the chin after a couple weeks of growth.

There are loads of mistakes that people can make when trimming a neckline. The most often mistake is that people trim their neckline too high so that it starts to encroach on their jaw. Quite often people do this because they feel like it accentuates their jaw but it actually does the opposite – and makes their jaw line less obvious.

Here, is how you trim up a short beard neckline and make sure that it is in the right spot.

Short beard neckline

the shorter your beard the increasingly important the neckline becomes. That is because the shorter beard results in a more visible neckline. Long beard hair can easily cover up and messy neckline but many men with long beards also choose to trim this area, or shave this area, for comfort reasons.

The first step of shaving a great neckline is to work out where your head attaches to your neck. There are two methods to find out where your head attaches to your neck. This is how I do it:

Tilt your head forward

The first way to find your neckline is to tilt your head forward and find the bending point. Tilt your chin downwards as far as you can go comfortably and then push your finger up into the crease up as far as it will go. Simply lift your head while keeping your finger on the same bit of skin and you will reveal the perfect neckline for your beard. You can have a look at an example of this in the following photo:

This is my preferred method for finding my neckline and creating a defined trimmed line. If this doesn’t suit you all you want to find another method for finding your neckline there is another option.Another option for you have for finding your neckline is to locate your Adam’s apple.

Use your Adam’s apple

Another option to find your neckline is to use the bump on your neck (your Adam’s apple) in a neckline that is positioned in the perfect place. What you should do is look up as far as you can go and then place two fingers on your neck with the bottom finger resting on the top of your Adam’s apple. Where the top finger rests on your neck that is your neckline. This is demonstrated in the photo below.

I am less of a fan of this approach because as you can see the middle part of your neckline gets stretched out the most and it appears to be higher than the neckline at the jaw. The skin stretching can lead to a little bit of confusion when coming to define your neckline so I prefer to use the first method and if I am unsure and want to double check I will doublecheck using this method.

Long beard neckline

People with long beards don’t necessarily have to shave the neckline for style reasons. That’s because once your beard gets to a certain length the neckline is not something that you can see.

In fact, one thing I have found is that if I keep my neck slightly longer it helps make my beard look fuller and thicker as the net care provides backup to the chin hair creating a denser look. That could be a reason why your beard is looking particularly thin as it gets longer. If you want to know more about how your beard can look thin check at my other article – what does my beard look so thin? What you can do about it… – Click here.

However, some people decide to trim the necklines when they have a long beard because it makes the beard much less itchy in the neck area and it can also help cool the beard if you are wearing it through a hot summer. The approach to trimming the neckline of a long beard is exactly the same as with a short beard however you must hold your long hair out of the way so you don’t accidentally trim the long hair which is taking you so long to grow.

Can you wax your neck beard?

First of all, let me tell you that waxing is incredibly painful. I had a back, sack, and crack wax and it was one of the most painful things I had ever done. Waxing the area of your beard under your chin can result in some seriously painful times. So approached this part with caution.

It can be tempting to consider waxing the next part of your beard. This is particularly true for people that have trouble with very bad razor burn or razor bumps. It could also be that the hair on the neck area of the beard is really thick and it means that shaving the neck requires multiple passes and a fair bit of pressure which results in more irritation. This area of the face is also incredibly sensitive and will hurt a lot if you decide to wax it.

Before launching into the world of waxing you should consider using a slant razor. As it can sometimes solve neck problems with shaving. It is quite a mild and gentle way of shaving because it is used very lightly against the skin. These are perfect for people with sensitive skin and should be your first go to if you are experiencing significant issues – try this before waxing.

One of the issues with waxing is that it is incredibly painful and there is no guarantee that you will actually rip the hair is out by the root. Thick rooted beard hair can sometimes just snap off at the root causing even more irritation and ingrown hairs than shaving.

After waxing your neck beard the maintenance can be offputting. That is because you need to replace shaving with regularly exfoliating and moisturising your skin will stop waxing also results of more ingrown hairs and creating tiny saws but that will depend on the type of skin you’ve got and how diligent you are with your after-care. There is no real way to predict if you will be a person that will suffer a lot from ingrown hairs after waxing. On the upside your hair will only need to be dealt with everything you weeks to a month depending on the speed of your growth and how much stubble you are willing to tolerate. Before you redo waxing you will need at least a few millimetres of growth for the wax to properly grip onto the hair. The longer you wax the finer and weaker the hair will be car making it less painful over the long-term. So if you get completely put off by your first visit just remember that will be the most painful if you continue to wax.

Some salons refuse to wax the neck area of a beard because it is incredibly painful and it is incredibly difficult to do. The neck hair moves a lot with the skin and it can therefore cause a lot of bleeding and pain. It normally takes less than half an hour to get a whole face waxed but this is a very rare procedure for bearded men.

An alternative that you can look into is laser treatment which is much more expensive in terms of upfront costs but the results are more permanent arm although there is no guarantee that it will get rid of every single hair so may still need a touch up in a few months or weeks to come. Laser hair removal works best on light skin with dark hair.

Should I shave my neck when growing a beard?

Yes, while you are growing a beard you should at some point consider shaving your neck. Of course this decision is completely up to you and even some of the most famous bearded men do not often shave their neck. However, there are a couple of reasons why you may want to consider shaving your neck:

  • itchiness – this is properly one of the biggest reasons why shaving the neck area of a beard becomes so important. Many bearded men suffer with itchiness at the neck area and therefore removing the hair that is causing irritation is the only thing they can do to stop the itchiness.
  • Style – in the initial stages of growing a beard it can look pretty awkward and not very fashionable. Recommendations on this blog and other blogs are that you should not touch your beard for about three months before doing any sort of shaving or lining up. However, if you want to halt your beard growth at a certain length the first thing you should do is define your neckline and make sure that the style of the neckline fits in with the shape of the beard that you want to trim in.

So, you will almost certainly end up shaving your neck at some point during growing a beard. It is something that you can learn and something you can get better at by practice. If in doubt about where you should shave speak to a trusted barber so that you can get the best information that is personalised to your beard growth and direction of growth.

Does shaving everyday help grow beard?

There is no evidence to suggest that shaving every day can help grow a beard. That is something that is a commonly shared myth because of the nature of shaving hairs. When hairs grow they naturally taper off to a tip. The root of the hair is much thicker than the tip of the hair. That means that when you shave you are exposing a larger cross-section of the hair which makes it look thicker and fuller.

Therefore do not try to increase the thickness or density of your beard through shaving because you’re be doing much more harm than good. Remember that shaving is in direct competition with hair growth so you are not doing yourself any favours by trying to thicken up the hair by shaving first. Your best option is to just try to push through any issues that you have and allow the beard to grow for at least three months.

One of the subscribers on my YouTube channel often jokes about how all the answers to all of the issues with beard growing revolve around letting it grow. I personally had a lot of success by letting my beard grow as much as possible before cutting in any shape or shaving any areas. Yes, it looked a little bit weird. But overall it got me to a better place. Quite often I allow my beard to grow for about two months without touching it if I want to increase the length or change the style of the beard.



So there we have it, there are the places that you should consider shaving a beard while it is growing and tips for keeping it looking sharp. It is important that you do not over shave your beard as it’s always tempting to take a little bit more off each time. I recommend that you only do a large cheek and neck trim up every week or couple of weeks so that you don’t end up trimming into your beard little by little. I’ve seen that happen on myself where the cheek line was getting lower and lower because I was always taking out and shaving off the “stray hairs”. The stray hairs just kept on getting lower and lower as the cheek line also decreased in height.

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!