For hairier dudes, neck beard can get tricky. It’s a completely different animal than the hair growing on your face and chin, and it comes with its own set of problems.
A lot of guys are confused on how to shave their necks and how to treat the inevitable nicks and cuts that come with it. Well, listen up. We’ll show you how to prevent shaving cuts on your neck, and when you do get those cuts, how to treat them.
Map out your neck hairs
How your neck beard grows makes pretty much no sense. Sometimes the hair grows in opposite directions, and sometimes it even grows in a circular pattern. To the unsuspecting shaver, with the grain (WTG) can suddenly turn into against the grain (ATG) which can turn into across the grain (XTG). Shaving your neck without taking into account the directional changes can cause you to start pulling hairs when you never intended to. These type of surprises result in cuts, nicks, and irritations.
To fix this, create a map of your beard (yes, a map) with a mapping aid like this. Neck beard grows quickly, so go just a day or two without shaving so you can start seeing the patterns. Use a mirror and your fingers to determine the direction(s) your beard is growing and sketch it onto your map. Knowing which way your neck hair grows will help you understand how to best shave those areas.
Neck Shaving Technique
Once, you’ve got your neck mapped out and you’re ready to shave, take a deep breath, “woosah,” and make sure you have a few extra minutes to spare. Shaving (and saving) your neck requires a more careful approach, especially if you’re using a DE or a straight razor.
Focus on lifting the hair off the skin with your pre-shave routine. Whether you opt for a brush or simply a hot wash cloth, use a gentle cleanser instead of soap which can strip your skin of the essential oils that help you shave with less irritation.
Shave with the grain and do fewer passes with your razor to reduce irritation. Most cuts, nicks, and irritation on your neck are from your blade forcefully pulling hairs. A lot of men try to go against the grain for a super close shave like we do on our face, but this just isn’t the move when shaving neck beard.
It might not feel right at first, but you should be using very little pressure when shaving your neck. Imagine you’re shaving the lather off a balloon. To get a little bit closer, try leaning forward and slightly tilting the head back. Pay attention to your map, and use short strokes with the grain.
A lot of men have those annoying little spots on their neck that, for whatever reason, never want to shave nicely. Usually this spot is around the adam’s apple or right under your jawline. For these spots, use a “buffing stroke.” Buffing strokes are shorter than short strokes, with the razor barely moving at all. Use these strokes as a final pass to end your shave.
Remember to never use alcohol after you shave, especially on your neck. This can cause irritation, which turns into ugly red blotches that won’t go away for hours, or even days. If you do end up irritating your neck, go a few days without shaving to give it time to recover.
Treating Cuts on your Neck
If and when you do cut up your neck, use your styptic pencil to stop the bleeding. Just as you would if you were to cut your face, simply wet the pencil under some water and press it onto your cut until it stops bleeding. Alum blocks won’t work quite as well because of the contours of your neck — it will be difficult to hit all of the spots you need to with a big block of alum.
The only way that you’ll prevent future cuts on your neck is to take time in your preparation. Learn the patterns of your neck hair, use a quality lather to stand up those hairs as much as possible, and get after it. As long as your face is smooth and you’re not bleeding everywhere, the ladies won’t mind a bit of stubble on your neck.