You might have heard your barber ask you the question before: “Would you like the back squared, or tapered?”
You may have thought: “What do they mean by that? Isn’t it just meant to be squared off?” Or “I can’t see it, so it doesn’t really matter!”
In this week’s edition of #BarberTalk by New York Barbers, we are going to explain the difference between a Squared and Tapered Neckline, and which option looks better!
A squared neckline is when the back of your hair cut (at the neckline) is squared off. This is the ‘standard’ finish for a haircut, being the most common way people have their neckline finished.
**Picture is not our work**
A squared-off neckline can be done on any haircut unless the haircut is already a fade and there is not enough hair left on the sides to square it off. It will naturally taper in at this point.
A tapered or natural neckline is when there is no “blunt” or “boxed off” line at the back. The hair is either left natural at the back or cut so it gradually fades down into the neckline and is not squared off. This is regarded as a more natural option to the haircut.
With a tapered neckline, the barber can either just ‘feather’ the bottom of your neckline to achieve a very natural taper, or they will take the bottom part of hair at the back shorter to give you a bit more of a fade/taper at the back. The majority of the time this depends on the customer's hair and how it grows at the back.
Things to Consider
Each individual’s hairlines are different and grow in different directions. If a client’s neckline grows quite evenly and does not have strong growth patterns, a tapered neckline can be achieved with minimal fading at the back. In fact, to achieve a natural taper the majority of the time only requires the barber to trim the very tip of the neckline hairs, and not take the hair any shorter than the requested length on the sides and back.
However, if the customer has strong growth patterns at the neckline, the barber may need to actually take it a little shorter at the back to get the tapered effect.
Which Option is better?
Firstly, it comes down to personal preference. Some men prefer the look of the neckline being squared off, and some like the look better when it is tapered/faded in.
Then, practicality. Any barber will tell you that a tapered neckline grows out much better than a squared one does, and this is 100% true. When you square a neckline, a blunt line is created and you are cutting into your natural hairline. After a few days, the hair underneath that line will start to grow back, but at a shorter length than the hair above because of the blunt line cut in. This causes that little stubble hair to stand out and give the look that your haircut is already grown out!
Picture by Fleischman Salon.
However, when a hairline is left natural (tapered in) at the back, it allows the neckline to seamlessly fade into your haircut. So, as your hair starts to grow – it is all growing as one and grows in evenly. This gives your haircut a longer lifespan and it will look much better when growing out.
The only thing is that a tapered neckline works when you get your hair cut short with the clippers on the sides and back. However, if you get a scissor trim and don’t have your hair cut buzzed short on the sides and back, your barber can still ‘taper off’ the edges so it is not as heavy or blunt at the back, but they will also Square it off to some degree or else they will have to take the hair at the back much shorter than the desired length. But, in this case, the hair will not grow out uneven as it would on shorter hair as the barber won’t be cutting into the hairline. (Because your hair is at a length where it is sitting over the hairline)
A squared-off hairline at the back also gives the back of your head a very ‘blocky’ feel. If you have a wide or large neck, usually the idea is to elongate it and make it appear slimmer. A squared-off neckline will do the opposite. A tapered neckline will allow you to achieve a seamless look at the back of your haircut, elongating and slimming your neck.
So, we recommend asking your barber for a natural (tapered) neckline, especially if you get your hair cut short. It grows out better and lasts you longer. Or, if you prefer the Square Look – it is your hair, so your choice!
At the end of the day, it is JUST hair!
Thanks for reading this week’s edition of #BarberTalk by New York Barbers.
If you have any questions or would like further information, please feel free to get in contact with us. We are here to help!
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Visit us here at our barbershop here in Berwick for all your grooming needs. Haircut, Beard Trim or Shave. We are located at 30 Adams Lane, Berwick VIC