Neck stubble is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s that layer of fur that forms beneath the chin and across the neck.
Stubble in this area is looked upon with less admiration than stubble on the face. It notoriously gives off an unkempt and shabby appearance that’s best avoided.
You may be reading this because you want to know what to do with it. Should you keep it or should you not? If not, what’s the most effective and attractive way to remove it?
We’ll discuss each of these questions and more in this complete guide to neck stubble. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Should you have neck stubble or not?
In my opinion, no. No you should not. Stubble beards are wonderful. They’re attractive, professional and versatile.
But they’re delicate.
An untrimmed, unchecked stubble beard can quickly transform into “the lazy man beard”.
Scraggly hairs and an “I just woke up like this” image isn’t what we aim for. We aim for sleek, stylish, and sharp.
The “neckbeard” is what forms when neck stubble is left untamed for prolonged periods. A beard coating across the neck that can look not only shabby but also unhygienic.
But of course, others may disagree. They prefer the “laid-back” characteristic that neck stubble can add to a stubble beard.
It’s a decision you need to make for yourself. Personal preference is important to consider.
I trim and then shave my neck stubble every day because I don’t like the way it feels or looks.
I’ve become very efficient at doing it and so it doesn’t add much time to my grooming routine overall. But you’ll be learning how to do it yourself very shortly.
Why is neck stubble itchy?
Neck stubble can often feel itchier than stubble elsewhere within your beard. This is mainly because of where it’s situated.
It lies beneath the chin and within the neck crease, and so it’s constantly rubbing against skin.
This friction, coupled with clamminess and sweat can lead to itch and irritation. It’s usually more obvious as stubble grows, and so regularly shaving is one way to counteract it.
Also taking general shaving precautions such as exfoliating beforehand and moisturizing afterward can greatly reduce the itchiness experienced.
Using clean and sharp blades to shave will also reduce itchiness because they cut the hair shafts more evenly. The stubble edges are more rounded and even, and so feel less prickly against the skin.
What is a stubble beard “neckline”?
A well-groomed beard should have a well-defined neckline. The neckline is simply the border between your beard and your neck skin.
Crafting a sharp, yet natural-looking neckline is one of the core pillars of competent beard grooming.
Put simply, what you’ll learn in the tutorial to come is how to visualize and then trim the ideal neckline.
After that, how to shave all the neck stubble beneath this neckline to keep your beard looking extremely intentional and not incidental.
The neckline can also provide great definition to the jawline.
Although the neckline is easy to trim, it’s quite difficult to master. If it’s too low, it defeats the purpose and doesn’t accentuate the jawline as much as we’d like.
If it’s too high, it can look very unusual. A neckline that’s above the jawline and creeping on to the face can look very immature. In fact, it can cause a jarring double-chin look that’s objectively unattractive.
Don’t worry. This won’t happen to you. You’re about to learn exactly what’s necessary to trim the perfect neckline and shave the neck stubble underneath like a pro.
How to trim and shave neck stubble to perfection
Follow this routine step-by-step. It’s something that you’ll get better and quicker at over time with repeated attempts.
Don’t worry if you don’t get it completely correct straight away. Immaculate results are worth working towards, just like everything else in beard grooming.
What you’ll need:
A Mirror – There’s no way you’ll be able to do this without a mirror. It goes without saying, but you’d be surprised! A handheld mirror can be really helpful as well for visualizing the neckline properly while trimming. Not essential, but nice to have.
An Electric Beard Trimmer – It’s perfectly fine to use a normal beard trimmer to trim down neck stubble before shaving it. Using a high quality, waterproof, cordless beard trimmer such as The Brio Beardscape always guarantees phenomenal results. The premium ceramic blades are unrivaled. It’s shortest adjustable length is 1mm. If you require shorter lengths than this for the rest of your beard, the equally fantastic Conair Man Super Stubble is a better option.
An Electric Shaver Or Manual Razor– This is for shaving down the neck stubble after you’ve trimmed the neckline and everything beneath it. A close shave is what you want, and this can be achieved with either an electric shaver (foil or rotary) or a manual razor (cartridge, safety or straight). As always, the technique is more important than the device.
Moisturizing Shaving Gel – Never shave dry. It leads to nicks, cuts, skin irritation and razor burn. None of that looks good. You want a well-lubricated, frictionless shave.
Exfoliating Face Scrub – Yes you heard me right. Exfoliating with a face scrub before the shave takes 30 seconds and facilitates an extremely close shave.
Post-Shave Moisturizer – A thoroughly hydrating moisturizer is essential after any shave. It’s the key to reducing irritation and the risk of razor burn.
Step 1: Exfoliate
Never before has something so simple, quick and effective been looked at with such disdain by men. Almost universally considered a “female procedure”, exfoliating can revolutionize the shaving experience.
Exfoliating refers to the process of removing the coating of dead skin cells, oil, and dirt from the top layer of the skin.
This layer of gunk clogs up the bases of the hairs, “mattifying” them and leading to more friction during the shave.
Removing it allows the blade to cut closer to the skin, allowing for a closer shave but with even less irritation. It’s phenomenal.
Neck stubble in particular can be itchy and irritating when it grows. Close shaves and healthy skin is even more important. Exfoliation is the key.
To do it, you can either use an exfoliating face wash or a face scrub. They work in different ways to achieve the same result. Either way, it takes 30 seconds to do and should not be ignored.
Step 2: Trim the entire beard
We won’t go into the specifics of how to do this because we have plenty of other tutorials showing you how to. For example, this one here.
But the core concept is to trim down your entire beard to your optimal length before tackling the neck stubble.
This is because you want a good idea of what your stubble beard will look like before you start outlining the borders and shaving outside them.
The same goes for the cheek line.
The neckline should be defined after you trim everything down.
You can choose light, medium, or heavy stubble. You may even want to go for a short beard. The options are endless.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to focus your attention on the task at hand. The neck stubble.
Step 3: Find and trim your perfect neckline
As I mentioned earlier, a neckline shouldn’t be too high or too low. It should wrap nicely underneath the jaw, accentuating the jawline without looking too unnatural.
Follow these steps and you won’t go wrong.
1. Tilt your head up to see your whole neck in the mirror. Analyze the breadth of your neck stubble. See how far it extends downwards and to the sides.
2. Then, find your Adam’s apple. It’s the lump around halfway down the neck.
3. Place your second and third fingers horizontally above the Adam’s apple. The point immediately above the top finger will be “two finger-widths” above the Adam’s apple. Make a mental note of this point, or even mark it out with a pen (or your girlfriend’s white eyeliner). This point marks the lowest point of the neckline.
4. Now, visualize a U-shaped curve running from earlobe to earlobe, passing through this point you just marked out. The curve should slant upwards in each direction, allowing it to follow the angle of the jaw. It should still resemble a “U-shape” more than a “V-shape”, however. In other words, keep it looking natural and not too angular.
5. Time to trim. Using the naked blade of your electric trimmer, outline the neckline you just marked out first. Then, trim everything underneath it using the same blade.
Step 4: Shave the neck stubble underneath the neckline
It’s time to really give things a crisp and sharp look. Using your shaving device of choice (electric shaver or manual razor), everything beneath the neckline you just outlined will be shaved.
Sure, some men do choose to just stop after the last step. They’ve technically already removed the neck stubble using the naked blade of the trimmer. This looks OK.
But the naked blade of an electric trimmer can only trim so short. It’s trimming, not shaving.
It doesn’t cut as close to the skin, and so the results won’t be as smooth.
That’s why we choose to shave.
The first step is to lubricate the skin using a moisturizing shaving gel or foam. Lubrication is essential in reducing friction and irritation. Lather it on evenly across your neck and anywhere else you want to shave (eg. above the cheek line).
Be careful not to shave above the neckline you’ve carefully outlined and trimmed.
One way to ensure this is by only applying shaving gel beneath the neckline, almost using the gel to outline the border. This way, you know not to go above it.
Keep the skin taut and shave with the grain (in the direction of hair growth). Shaving with the grain reduces skin irritation. If after you do this you feel you need a closer shave, go at it again but this time against the grain.
Be wary of re-strokes. Try not to shave over the same area more than once or twice. If you do, just make sure you apply more shaving gel to ensure you aren’t shaving over it dry. The more you shave over an area, the more irritated it becomes.
There you have it. You’ve officially removed your neck stubble in the slickest way possible.
Step 5: Moisturize
Post-shaven skin is dry and irritated. It needs moisture, and the best way of providing it is by immediately applying a hydrating moisturizer.
The neck is particularly susceptible to becoming irritated after shaving, and so this step is even more crucial.
Healthy and glowing skin is just as important as a meticulously crafted stubble beard. The two should go hand in hand to produce the most debonair outcome achievable.
How to fade neck stubble
Fading the neckline simply refers to making the transition from the neckline to the neck skin less sharp and crisp. Some men prefer this as it looks more natural.
Although there are more advanced and precise ways of teaching this, in general, it’s best to keep it simple.
The first step is to take the beard trimmer. Set it’s adjustable length to 1mm shorter than the one you used for the rest of your stubble beard.
Then, very gently, trim the very edge of the neckline you’ve just trimmed. Only the very edge though.
You don’t want too much of your remaining neck stubble (above the neckline) looking too thin. This wouldn’t look much better than having the neckline too high.
What this does is makes the neckline border less sharp. Some men prefer it, and it’s up to you what you decide. If you do decide to do it, take it slow and make only slight movements with the trimmer.
Neck stubble isn’t difficult to remove. But knowing how much to remove and in what style is the trickier thing to master.
You may not choose to follow every single step here. Perhaps you’ll utilize certain steps and not others. It doesn’t matter.
Most of beard grooming is down to personal preference and there’s no real right-or-wrong answer.
But hopefully you’ve found this valuable.
It’s just important to experiment and have fun with it all.
Do you have any tips or tricks regarding neck stubble? If so, drop a comment down below!
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.