Tips for Shaping Your Beard Using Facial Guidelines by MudCat Whiskers
When shaping your beard there are a few things to keep in mind. How do you want your beard to look, and which facial guidelines are you going to follow. Your beard shape should be designed to complement your face. Too high and it hides everything, too low and it can it becomes a neck beard. So, where does your line fall?
Middle Ear to Middle Mouth
A good rule of thumb, and what I find works best for my face is a beard line that runs from the middle of my ear to where my two lips meet at the corner of my mouth. What I like about this is that it helps to accentuate my mustache and creates a small distinction between my beard and mustache area.
Lower Ear to Lower Lip
This facial guideline helps to really establish your mustache and reveals more of your face, helping it to appear longer. This style is a great look for a business type beard, and gives a clean polished look. In my opinion.
Top Ear to Middle Mouth
This facial guideline creates a more serious or intense looking beard. Since it has such a steep angle it accents the cheekbones, and gives a dynamic edge to your beard line.
Middle Ear to Chin
Using the middle ear as a beginning is a good base point in my opinion, because it allows you to play around with the angles a little more. Going from the middle ear to the chin can be a great look for a longer beard or for those who battle with patchy or thin cheek areas. These facial guidelines while helping to showcase the mustache, also create a dramatic look for your beard due to the steep angle. It's like the Top Ear to Middle Mouth except a little bit lower.
Top Ear to Top Lip
Using the top of the ear as a starting point allows for those with thicker beard to showcase the fullness of their beard. Also for those of us without a prominent mustache, lining up your beard from the top of your ear to your top lip will help your mustache to blend in with your beard allowing for a shorter style mustache. Since the mustache blends in to your beard with this style, the shorter mustache simply becomes part of your beard. This will allow you to keep the hair above your lip trimmed so that you don't have to bother with mustache wax or the time that it takes to properly train your mustache to fall on the sides of your mouth. This can be helpful for those of us whos mustache grows straight down or have a problem with their mustache splitting evenly.
Curved or Rounded Beard Lines
Some guys like a curved or rounded beard line, instead of going with a straight line that follows facial guidelines. These are very popular lately it seems with barbers who like to do beard fades. This can result in a clean look, but for me it is hard to pull off solo in the shaving mirror. The reason that it is difficult is because getting the curves to be symmetrical while moving your head from side to side in the mirror is problematic.
Often these beard lines create a swoop stemming from the sideburns to somewhere in between the cheekbone and the jawline. then circle back up to meet either the top lip at the moustache, the crease of the lips or even to tie into the goatee. This is just not my personal preference, but if you like the look then I would recommend getting your barber to do it so that it is symmetrical.
Just don't do it. In my opinion this is rarely flattering for the wearer. A neck beard makes your face stand out in a very weird way. It's like wearing a home-grown turtleneck. It you really want to do it, whether to be silly, or ironic, or just to make some sort of artistic statement, then the facial guideline that you would follow would be under your jawline. Shave everything to just below the jawline. Then you rock it I guess like you just don't care anymore what people think.