Regardless of how thick you wear your beard, nothing pairs better than a clean-shaven, well-groomed neck. While you might be tempted to let the hairs grow untamed, keep in mind that a trimmed neckline prevents your beard and chest hair from being one large conglomerate. Even if you don’t have chest hair, trust us: you don’t want to walk around with the equivalent of a cave man’s neck. And no, cold winter weather isn’t an excuse to let it grow wild.
Despite the importance of a well-groomed neck, most men don’t know how to shave the area without severely irritating it. Even the most seasoned shaver can walk away with a ton of nicks, razor burn, and irritation. However, we’re here to show you how to shave your neck like the professionals without damaging your skin.
2 Golden Rules
Before you start trimming your neck hairs, you need to consider how you wear your beard/facial hair. Your beard style will determine how high you can take the neckline.
Shorter beard- If you wear your facial hair short, you can take your neckline higher for a cleaner, smoother look.
No facial hair- If you keep your face baby smooth or a five o’clock shadow, you’ll want to take your neckline high as well. Having long neck hairs when you have no facial hair or stubble draws unnecessary attention to your neck.
Longer beard- While it can be tempting to shave your neck high, it’s best to let it grow further down your neck.
Before You Get Started
Anytime you take a razor or trimmer to your skin, you need to prep the area. Dirty, greasy skin is not only harder to shave, but can also transfer dirt and bacteria into nicks. This can also lead to breakouts and razor burn. Washing your face with hot water and using a moisturizing facial cleaner will not only soften the skin helping the razor glide effortlessly, but will also help prevent nicks and razor burn.
Wash your face with hot water- Ideally, you’ll want to shave your neckline fresh out of the shower. If you don’t have time for a shower, wash your face with hot water. This will open the pores, soften the skin, and prep the area for the shave.
Use a moisturizing facial cleanser- If you aren’t using a hydrating facial cleanser, you don’t have to reach for your girlfriend’s girly Dove products but you do need to invest in one. Shaving dries your skin and any extra protection you can offer it will pay off in the end. And since your neck is such a sensitive area, you really want to care for it.
Never dry shave your neck- You can sometimes get away with dry shaving parts of your face; especially with trimmers but not the neck area. It’s ridiculously easy to aggravate the skin on your neck so make sure you’re never dry shaving this area. Take the time to lather up with a shaving cream, gel, or oil before you take a razor to it.
Take your time- If you have 5 minutes to spare to your neckline trimming routine, call your boss and tell him you’re running late because the last thing you want to do is rush the process. The skin on your neck is thinner and far more sensitive in comparison to other areas. This makes it more prone to cuts, nicks, burn, and breakouts.
Don’t use low quality products- It can be tempting to reach for your Gillette shaver with 8 blades and cheap can of blue chemical laden cream but please don’t. Your neck skin is a lot like your girlfriend: it needs to be babied, cared for, and loved. So use a safety razor, straight razor, or high quality trimmer when shaving. You should also use a quality shaving cream, gel, or oil as well.
Pre-shave oil- If you’re prone to dry skin and irritation, consider applying some pre-shave oil beforehand. A lot of men have had good experiences in reducing the discomfort of their shave by using an oil before they start the process.
Now that your skin is fully prepped, it’s time for some pro tips!
Don’t over stretch the skin- You’re probably used to using your fingers to stretch the skin taut when shaving but this can actually cause more nicks and irritation on your neck. It also doesn’t do much to flatten the area for a smoother shave. Instead, lean forward and tilt your head back slightly. This tightens the skin and gives you a more even surface to work with.
Short strokes- For a more consistent, even shave use shorter strokes. Long strokes can get hung up on curves and folds (which your neck is full of) so shorter strokes are the way to go!
Don’t apply pressure- A lot of guys tend to grip the razor how they’d grip a gun and apply a ton of pressure. Unless you’re using a garbage razor (which you shouldn’t be), you don’t need to apply any pressure at all; you’ll just need to glide the blade across your skin and let it do the work for you. And while your face might be forgiving when you’re heavy handed with the razor, your neck won’t be.
Go for gradual reduction not removal- While it’s true that you don’t want to make a million passes over your neck, you also don’t want to focus on removal. Your goal is to gradually reduce the amount of hairs until you reach the desired length. 1-2 passes is generally the recommended amount.
Shave your neck last- If you’re shaving your face, lather up your neck as well but save it for last. The longer the product sits on the hairs, the easier it becomes to shave. That’s because it gives it time to hydrate and soften the hairs.
Map Your Grain
One of the most frustrating things about shaving your neck is that the hair doesn’t necessarily grow in the same direction. While the chart above is how hair typically grows, yours might differ. If you’re using a straight razor or safety razor, which you absolutely should be, you can cheat a bit but if you’re using anything else you’ll definitely want to map your grain. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a really bad shaving experience.
In order to find your hair growth pattern, gently run your hands through your beard hair and feel the directions that the hairs grow. Some will feel smooth while others will feel rougher. The smoother areas are the direction of your beard grain. If you’re still in doubt, use a credit card and stroke your beard with it. (Yes, we’re serious.) The grain will be the quieter of the two.
Don’t think you’ll remember the direction and don’t want to map it every time you shave? Use one of the online programs that allow you to plug in your grain map and remembers it for you. That way all you have to do is load up your map and you’re good to go.
Nothing beats getting shaven by a barber. They use the best quality products, your face always feels great, and you get a high quality shave. Unfortunately, fitting a trip to your local barber isn’t always something you have time for. Sometimes, you have less than 10 minutes to make yourself look presentable before you rush out the door.
Luckily, you can replicate those barbershop feels at home if you’re using the right products. Here’s our recommendations:
EZ Blade Shave Oil- This pre shave oil softens the hairs, prevents irritation, and guards against nicks. For men with sensitive skin, it’s highly recommended that you use pre-shave oil before shaving. We recommend leaving the oil on your skin for a few minutes to allow it to soak in before applying a lather.
EZ Blade Shaving Cream, Gel or Soap- What you pick from this list will be personal preference. Creams provide a rich, thick lather that “sticks” to the skin but is incredibly hydrating. For men with psoriasis or eczema, creams provide an excellent barrier between your skin and the blade. Gels are colored out of the bottle but apply clear. If you’re looking for a precision neckline trim, gels are your best friend since they allow you to see the hairs. Soaps also create a foamy, rich lather that also “sticks” to the skin. However, soaps aren’t as heavy as creams nor are they as moisturizing.
EZ Blade Straight Edge Razor- If you’re new to the world of single bladed razors or unsure about making the switch, check out some of the perks on Google. Not only are straight razors cheaper than the 6 bladed ones (your only cost is the initial purchase of the razor and strap), but they also offer a quality, lasting shave.
EZ Blade Aftershave Tonic or Lotion- A lot of guys are tempted to skip the aftershave moisturizers but when it comes to your neck, you need to be pumping as much hydration into your skin as possible. Our tonic and lotion are made with high quality ingredients, have a pleasant natural smell, and are guaranteed to soothe your skin.
Badger Hair Brush- Brushes are highly underrated in our opinion. Not only do they feel great on your skin but they also help lift helps and coax ingrown hairs out of hiding. Because the hair grows so wonky on necklines, hair brushes are a godsend since they stand the hairs up making for an easier shave.
Moisturizing Facial Wash- No, moisturizing facial washes aren’t just for your girlfriend and her face; they’re also for you and your neck. There are a variety of facial washes out there that not only allow you to keep your man card, but they also pamper your skin. If you’re not using one, you really need to, especially when shaving your neck. The skin here is so sensitive and needs all the help it can get in the moisture department.
Step by Step Guide
Your neck is clean, you’ve got your products ready to go, and you’ve considered your beard length; now it’s time to shave!
Start with a lather- Whether you use a cream, oil, or gel is personal preference here. All our EZ Blade shaving products will give you a quality shave while protecting your skin from nicks and irritation. Work the product into your skin using massaging circles. This helps lifts the hair making them easier to shave and reduces the number of passes you’ll need to make. Plus, it feels good.
Against or with the grain?- Most of the time, you’ll want to shave against the grain for a longer lasting shave. However, if it’s your first time shaving your neck yourself or you’re prone to irritation, go with the grain. You won’t get as close of a shave, it’ll still look good though, but you will reduce the irritation. And besides, a neck that’s covered in toilet paper pieces isn’t all that attractive.
Where to start- Depending on whether you’re going with or against the grain will determine where you start your shave. If you’re going against the grain, we recommend starting at the bottom of your neck hairline and working your way up to your beard or chin. Going with the grain? Start at your chin or beard line and work your way down.
Adam’s apple- If you’re having problems shaving your Adam’s apple, try swallowing and “holding” the swallow to reduce its prominence. Obviously you won’t be able to hold this pose for longer than a second, but it should give you time to make a pass and you can always repeat as necessary. Don’t over-stretch the area though! 1-2 passes should be your max. You can also slide the skin to the side of the apple and make passes that way.
Caring for Your Neck
Thoroughly clean the area- After you finish shaving you should thoroughly wash your skin. We recommend using cold water as it’s very soothing after a shave and it closes your pores. Washing away the shaved hairs and lather will prevent breakouts.
Don’t skip the moisturizer- Make sure you hydrate your skin after the shave. You can use a tonic or lotion, whichever you prefer. Lotions are heavier on the skin whereas tonics soak in quick. Both will soothe your skin and provide lasting hydration. We highly recommend using our EZ Blade tonic or aftershave lotion. They are formulated with sensitive skin in mind so you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals, weird smells, and breakouts. Our formulas soothe razor burn and nicks while preventing breakouts.
Shave often if you can- The longer the hairs get on your neck, the harder they become to shave. If your skin can handle it, we recommend shaving every few days. However if you’re prone to breakouts and irritation, take the hit and wait a week.