If there’s one piece of advice that I can give to men, it’s to never underestimate the importance of basic facial hair grooming. It doesn’t just make you look sharp for the ladies, but it’s just a great way to make a professional first impression on the fellas too!
If you’re the kind of guy that grows a full beard, you know the annoyance that comes with trying to tame that neckline. The growth pattern on the neck can be extremely unpredictable, and it’s an extremely sensitive area too.
Thankfully, by following proper form, keeping the right products on hand, you can achieve a perfect neck shave every time. If you’re interested, then read on! In this short guide, I’m going to break down exactly how to shave your neck without experiencing any cuts or irritation.
5 Steps To Shaving Your Neck Properly
The following tips are basics that every man should follow when shaving their neck. With that said, these are general pieces of advice, so feel free to switch them around if you need to, depending on the look that you want.
Step 1: Go With The Grain
“Shave with the grain” is possibly one of the most repeated mantras about shaving. Going with the grain ensures a smoother shave, a more comfortable experience overall, and it avoids nasty side-effects like razor burn.
However, the grain of the neck doesn’t really work the same way as the grain on the face. Because hair can grow around in all places, you need to do a bit of what I call “grain-checking” which means running your fingers through your neck hair to see which way they bend. You might be surprised to see how different the grain is around the neckline: it can go up, down, or even in circles.
Step 2: Straighten, Not Stretch
When you shave your cheeks, you need to pull the skin taut to make sure that you’re not missing any areas. Don’t do that with the neck.
This is because the neck doesn’t really conform to a “straight” surface, as your facial contours do. It’s a combination of bumps, ridges, and your Adam’s apple; and that doesn’t really make a smooth surface for shaving at all. If you try to shave like how you would on your face, it’s a sure recipe for getting a cut or two.
Instead, what you want to do is lean your head forward and then pull back your shoulders to straighten your neck. Don’t look up while pulling at the skin of your neck! This limits your field of view when you’re shaving under the chin and jawline.
Step 3: Don’t Apply Pressure
While this goes without saying for shaving in general, it’s even more important when working on the neck: do not apply pressure on your razor. Your neck is the site of many major blood vessels in your body, and while a razor won’t do as much damage as a knife, you still want to be careful when working in that area.
If you feel you need to apply pressure to get a cleaner shave, something is likely wrong with your razor blade. Remember, your blade should glide, not scratch, across the surface of your skin. One way to do this is to have light and quick strokes on the razor so you can decrease the chances you’ll nick yourself.
Step 4: Stop Trying For A Clean Shave
This is for the men that struggle to get a clean neckline: sometimes, it’s all right to settle for less. Remember that repeated razor strokes on the same area can easily irritate the skin, plus it also wears away at your razor. You need to judge your need for a clean shave versus how much your skin can take. And if it can’t take much, then put the razor down.
There are plenty of ways you can integrate existing stubble into your look. The key takeaway here is that you shouldn’t force a clean shave at the expense of making your skin more sensitive, since that’s an issue that you’ll never stop struggling with.
Step 5: Condition And Moisturize
One thing that I still see so many guys skip out on is what they do AFTER their shave is done. Sure, washing and rinsing excess lather and product is basic, but something else that guys miss out on is the importance of washing and moisturizing.
It’s easy to remember to do this on the face since so many creams and lotions are designed for it, but what most people don’t know is that those products are also designed to be used around the neck. Moisturizer in particular is extremely important because it allows the skin to recover faster from shaving.
You don’t have to use or do anything fancy for conditioner, but just make sure you have a product that you aren’t allergic to. This can cut down on potential infections or irritations that you might get when you shave in the future.
These are the base expectations that you should be able to fulfill when you shave. But again, feel free to change or add your own steps based on your needs.
What If I End Up Cutting Myself?
Even if you’re being careful, sometimes you will end up cutting yourself. Whether it’s because of your razor, poor timing, bad luck, or you’re simply paying attention, nicking yourself with a razor happens.
The key thing to remember here is not to panic. Remember, razors are relatively tiny blades, so the cut isn’t as serious as the bleeding might make it appear. Here are the steps that you should follow when you get a shaving cut:
- Stop the bleeding. Always keep a washcloth or a small towel nearby to soak up any blood and hold it to the wound until it slows bleeding. If you can access warm water from your tap, run it through the cloth so the cut is less likely to get infected.
- Next, you’re going to want to disinfect the wound. I use alcohol-free aftershave to help with my cuts, but if you have something like witch hazel toner lying around, that works just as well. Betadine (or hydrogen peroxide) also helps.
- Hold a cold compress or a cool washcloth to the area for a few seconds to help constrict the blood vessels. This should stop any further bleeding. Ice cubes can also work just as well.
- Find something to seal the wound with while it heals. I recommend using an alum block since all you have to do is to dampen it with water and press it against the cut for a few minutes. The alum will disinfect the cut and provide a barrier to keep germs out. If you don’t have one, lip balm can do in a pinch – though make sure it’s unused to avoid any contamination.
- Finally, you can scrape away the balm/block and spot-treat the wound with some moisturizer. Don’t scrub away at the spot since this can remove any balm that’s inside the wound. Once the area has been patted dry, you can use a bandaid to make sure no other contaminants get in.
The more you shave your neck, the fewer injuries like cuts or nicks will happen. However, it’s important to have the right products at hand if it happens, since you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle if you treat the wound properly. The cut might be small, but it can turn into a big problem if you don’t treat it!
Neck shaving is hard, but it doesn’t have to be THAT hard. Once you’ve done the prep work, bought the right products, and put in the effort, you’ll find that shaving your neck can be an easily integrated part of your grooming routine.
A lot of the basics that apply to shaving the rest of your facial hair also apply to your neck, so don’t forget to do the basic things like cleaning your electric shaver (or scissors, if you’re old-school) and making sure that you wash and rinse thoroughly.
And if you’re running into problems with the product that you want to use or just want some more ideas on better trims for your neckline, there are plenty of communities online that you can consult for ideas. If you have a question about how to shave your neck that I haven’t covered in this guide, you’ll definitely find it online.
Above all else, good grooming will always make a good impression, especially if we’re talking about facial hair. Remember to include your neckline when you shave and trim, and I can guarantee that you’ll always look your best.