11 Dec Necklines. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Most men have no idea what the back of their neck looks like. I can’t blame them, it’s the “well I can’t see it so I don’t care what’s happening back there” type of mentality. (It applies to cowlicks too, but that’s for another blog). Actually, the only time a client ever looks at the back of their head is if by chance they are in an elevator and catch their reflection in the overhead mirrors or maybe in a fitting room while trying on clothes. Even then, they might hone in on a bald spot that they have been in denial about but hardly ever would they notice what’s happening with their neckline, be it good or bad.
What I’m realizing while sitting down to write about necklines is that I have to start from the beginning and assume most men don’t know what I am even referring to when I say the word neckline. I don’t blame you for not knowing, it’s an education thing and most men simply haven’t been educated about this topic. Until now.
So, my goal today, is that I need to first make you understand 1) what can go wrong with a neckline*, 2) what I believe is the perfect neckline, 3) why the proper neckline is so important to a haircut and 4) how the right hairline can change your life.
*As you are reading #1 you may stop and think, “oh fuck, I have this shitty neckline she’s describing here.” Don’t worry. I got your back, man (or more like your neck lol). This blog is going to teach you what you need to never have that shitty neckline again.
1) What can go wrong with a neckline:
My biggest nightmare is when the neckline is brought up too high. So, not only is the neckline probably being unnaturally shaped into a round or square shape, but it is also being raised above it’s natural growth. I can’t begin to try and comprehend why a barber would do this to someone. Sometimes a new client who doesn’t understand my passion for natural necklines will request that I raise the hairline so it doesn’t hit their collar or they will ask me to get rid of a little piece of the hairline, the hair at lowest point of the neck that they refer to as their “tail” ARG!:
It is my duty to explain my natural neckline practice to them and get them to understand why I cannot in good faith raise their natural neckline to go above their shirt collar. I have to get them comfortable with the fact that some guys just have lower hairlines than others or little nuances in the hair growth pattern and that it’s ok to have the hairline hit the collar or below it if that is what nature intended. There are always ways (our tricks of the trade) where we can make the neckline cleaner and less obtrusive against the collar, but raising it unnaturally or getting rid of the natural growth pattern, yeah, that’s not going to happen in our chairs. Trust me, in a week’s time, that raised hairline another barber might give you per your request, will only grow in awkwardly and bother you:
This time even more so because the natural line will be so obvious underneath your carved out, raised hairline and the natural hair will always grow back to hit your collar again. Always. That shit grows back. Every time. My clients always joke with me…they say “E, how come I’ve got more hair growing where I don’t want it and not enough hair where I do.” I say, part of life, man. I remind them that at least they’ve got us and our magic skills keeping them looking as sharp as possible.
The second (and just as scary as the first) nightmare for a neckline is when barbers carve the hairline into a squared off or rounded line, cutting away the natural growth pattern of the hair in hopes of making it look very “neat” and “clean”:
To me, it makes zero sense to carve an unnatural squared off or rounded line into the hairline, seeing that in a few days the natural growth below rears it’s ugly head and in all actuality, makes the new growth stand out, or scream “look, my neckline is growing back in!” There is a clear line of demarcation between where it was carved out and where the natural hair is growing in below it. Our way of thinking is that the way to avoid bringing attention to a grown in neckline is to simply taper it (a lot or a little depending on the hairstyle of course) and keep the natural growth pattern of the hair in tact. This does not mean leaving unwanted stragglers on the neck, it simply means cleaning it up while keeping the integrity of the natural shape. Everyone has different necklines and growth patterns, but a good stylist or barber understands that and knows how to clean up a hairline so as it grows in its subtle, soft, and without harsh lines bringing attention to it. I’ll include some pictures here so you better understand what I mean.
2) The perfect neckline:
The perfect neckline is a NATURAL neckline. Side note: You may get sick of me using the word “natural” time and time again in my blogs to describe most things associated with our haircuts. The thing is, a natural approach to all things associated with our haircuts is what makes them the most successful haircuts out there. And by successful, I mean our haircuts get you the most desired results, grow in beautifully and look modern and sexy. So from the start, you need to get on board with our natural approach. If you aren’t, this blog probably isn’t for you. If you are thinking that’s the case, I will ask you to try and keep an open mind here and continue to read on. I may turn you into a “natural” guy afterall. Or at least I’ll die trying.
Ok, back to the idea that the perfect neckline is a natural neckline. Right about now you are thinking “What do you mean by a natural neckline Erica?”
Fair question. It’s a neckline where the hair is left in the shape of its growth pattern:
The hair at a neckline grows in in various patterns and shapes. We say, let those shapes and patterns live, thrive, prosper!!!!! They’re what make you you. They’re sexy and show individuality and personality! Stop allowing barbers to cut them out. Stop getting rid of what nature intended.
A natural neckline can of course be tapered in close to the neck, if desired, but never is the individual pattern or shape there squared off or rounded. Our neckline is blended and tapered into the neck. The Fleischman, A Men’s Salon neckline is kept natural, soft, subtle. Period.
3) Why the proper neckline is so important to a haircut:
The proper neckline gives the haircut longevity. If the neckline is cleaned up following the natural growth pattern of the hair, the new growth after the haircut will not be nearly as obvious. Because of that, you get more overall time out of your haircut. Our clients can stretch the time between cuts because our hairlines grow in naturally and there isn’t some weird fucking line bringing attention to your neck. I always tell my clients who are actually obsessed over clean necklines that since we leave it natural they can get away without getting it cleaned up so often. Saves them time and money. They can go weeks without a neck trim because during the haircut I left the hairline natural, soft. As opposed to guys who get cleanups every two weeks because their barbers are carving out their necklines so they have lines of demarcation, my clients can go haircut to haircut without feeling the need for cleanups in between because their hairlines as they are growing in still look blended.
It’s quite simply the difference between needing to go to the barber every two weeks and being able to go four to six weeks without feeling like your neckline is screaming “clean me up!”
4) Last but not least, let’s finish this conversation off by recapping how the right neckline can change your life:
I may have just changed your life by educating you on your neckline. Like in my last blog about sideburns, I know I need to educate you first before I berate you for making bad hair decisions or allowing a stylist or barber to do bad things to you without your knowledge. Now that I’ve given you the knowledge, it’s your responsibility to carry it through. Not all of you reading this are able to sit it my chair or the chairs of the other incredibly talented stylists that work at Fleischman, A Men’s Salon along side me who have my same approach when it comes to necklines. But, now you have the tools to know what to ask for and what to look for when you go in to get your next haircut. Ask for a natural neckline. Insist on it. And if you get the feeling the stylist doesn’t know what you mean by natural, explain it to them. A natural neckline will change your life, or at the very least, the life of your haircut. Who doesn’t want or deserve that?!?
Oh and just so you know, I am such a freak about a natural neckline that I have over the years, gotten my husband obsessed as well and there isn’t a day that goes by that we are on the subway together or walking the city streets that he doesn’t stop me and say “E, can you believe that guy’s butchered neckline?!?” You laugh, but now you’ll now be noticing them too. Everywhere you look you’ll be seeing the carved out necklines of guys who just simply don’t know better. Next time you encounter that, take a picture if you can get it (it’s hard to be discreet about it) and tweet @fleischmansalon using #necklinefail or send it into me at email@example.com. I’ll post it in this blog. The worst neckline wins a complimentary haircut at Fleischman, A Men’s Salon.