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Everything You Need To Know About Neckbeards
Let's face it, no one wants to be caught with a grim-looking neckbeard. The mess of hair under the jawline can be a real eyesore that has given quite a reputation to those that have one. "Neckbeards," as they have become known, are the meme-like characters with common attributes of being slobby, having patchy facial hair on their necks, and being nerdily condescending. Searching Google for "neckbeard" will give you all the background information you need to know behind the pejorative term. This guide will walk you through a little more about the neckbeard, how to avoid it, and other considerations you might want to take on your beard-growth journey.
Related: What Does Your Facial Hair Say About You?
Neckbeards haven't been in style since the civil war (if they ever were), so they aren't a common fashion choice today. The word neckbeard conjures images of a splotchy, spotty beard on a double-chin -- not a look most would want to emulate.
Many men grow facial hair that comes in heavier below the jawline, so sometimes it's only natural that they let it grow out. To understand a little more, here are the main areas facial hair will grow:
Sideburns - Starting from the top of the beard where it meets the hair are the sideburns. It starts by your ears and moves down the jawline to connect the rest of the beard. Sideburns and mutton chops have moved in and out of style over the years, but no one will give you a hard time for some well-formed 'burns.
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Mustache - The next highest free-standing facial hair is the mustache. Mustaches can be worn in an almost infinite number of ways. And a well-grown handlebar mustache with curl can look very suave on some men.
Soul Patch - The tuft of hair that grows centered under the bottom lip. Soul patches were the go-to style for jazz musicians back in the 50s and 60s, hence the jazzy name. Soul patches also go by the nicknames "flavor saver" and "jazz dot."
Goatee - The goatee is the lowest reaching part of the beard for most men — with some growing it a foot or more. The hair on the front and tip of the chin often grows very long. The name, as you can imagine, comes from the long tuft of hair on a Billy goat's chin.
All men are different when it comes to growing facial hair. Genetics, age, testosterone, and many other factors play into how much facial hair in total grows on their faces, but all have different strengths when it comes to the beard. Lots of men can grow a killer mustache but are completely bald when it comes to their cheeks and soul patch. Many men who can grow a mean pair of mutton chops struggle to grow a goatee, and so on. Many can only grow hair in one of these areas -- so they do!
The facial hair types mentioned above are all styles that can be grown on their own. Although you could grow hair exclusively on your cheeks or neck, that would be a style choice unlikely to win you any positive attention. However, neck hair is very important to growing a bulky, traditional beard. The hair on the neck often grows the longest, so it's important in shaping a Spartan-like beard.
What Causes Unintentional Neckbeard?
There are a few factors that could contribute to the unfavorable neckbeard look. Here are a few you can consider if you think you are close to the boundary.
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Slipping a little on exercise and diet is understandable, and men gain weight much faster when aging. However, gaining weight can make your neck more prominent and can even add the dreaded double chin. As your neck puffs out slightly, your stubble or beard growth on the neck will be much more noticeable.
Back to the stereotype of the "neckbeard man" -- they are often described as having a patchy or inadequate beard growth. Weight gain and the inability to grow facial hair (when you once could) may be a sign of low testosterone. There is nothing wrong with a hormonal imbalance, and if facing these issues, you should be able to see a doctor for things you can do to reverse this.
Bad Health Habits
In general, unhealthy habits are terrible for beard and hair growth. There are many of things you can do to promote healthy beard growth, and lacking in one of these areas could be enough reason you only seem to be growing hair in the neck region.
Insufficient sleep - REM sleep is essential for the body's main functions, and hair growth is one of them. Try getting at least eight hours of sleep per night.
Too stressed - Work life can really do it to us. Stress can pack on the pounds as well as slow hair growth. Try managing stress with methods like meditation and walking.
Bad skincare - Making sure your skin is clean and well moisturized is an absolute must when it comes to growing facial hair.
Improper Grooming - This should be the easiest fix out of these options. Some men simply aren't trimming their necklines properly. Ensure your shave allows for a high enough neckline to look clean and well-kept. More on this below.
Trimming Your Neckbeard
If you are looking for a cleaned-up look with no risk of the dreaded neckbeard, here are the best tips for grooming.
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Make a small line in the shaving cream that is two fingers above your Adam's apple. Then, start shaving at that line while following the natural curve of your jaw all the way around.
Make sure all the hair under your Adam's apple (and under the line your fingers were) is neatly shaved away. Wash up, apply aftershave, and then moisturizer.
Related: Why Men Shouldn't Overlook Their Skin Health