Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat. The Trump clan loves to talk about bias in the media, so I’m going to admit mine here: I am a Beard Person. That designation cuts two ways. First, I have a beard. And second, I tend to prefer the way guys look when they have beards. For every revelatory Jason Momoa shave-down, I’ll raise you three Chris-Evans-as-a-bearded-Captain-America’s. Even when it comes to guys with a perfectly chiseled jawline, for some reason, on a purely instinctual level, I’m aesthetically pro-beard.
Which brings me to Donald Trump, Jr. See, Donny boy has been sporting some scruff as of late. By rights, that should make me like him more. But I don’t. In fact, Don Jr.’s beard makes me recoil. Viscerally. And I just figured out why.
For reference, let’s look at the man in stark profile. (Sorry.)
Please direct your eyes to Junior’s neck, and observe closely. See where the beard ends? That’s the problem. Defining the neckline of your beard is one of the toughest parts of shaping it up properly, and part of that process means figuring out where the natural line of your neck is.
Most folks will tell you it’s about two fingers higher than your Adam’s apple, but really, it’s personal. A better guideline? Look at yourself in profile and tuck your chin in a bit. If you’ve got a shorn, fleshy protuberance poking out from under your beard line, you’ve gone too high.
A lot of guys make this mistake for a very particular reason: They’re trying to give themselves the impression of a strong jawline using their facial hair. I can’t fathom the depths of Don Jr.’s mind, but maybe that impulse is at play here. And perhaps that same explanation can also be applied to Ted Cruz’s beard choices.
Take a look. (Sorry again.)
Notice how Cruz has superimposed a “jawline” with his facial hair? Think that actually looks like a normal jawline? That’s the real problem, here. In trying to create one impression, fans of this look create the exact opposite one. It makes any extra bulk around the neck look that much more defined.
Now, for the sake of education, let’s take a look at another public figure who gets this whole thing right: Prince Harry. The new father shifts the neckline of his beard down just a few centimeters, but it makes a world of difference.
Ahh. Isn’t that better? And now that you know, you can take this knowledge with you and shape your own beard to be its very best. If you’re looking for a technique, here’s one that’s pretty easy and generally foolproof: Start by looking in the mirror and tipping your head back slightly. Find the corners of your jaw, then mentally draw a shallow “U” shape from one to the other, dipping to its lowest at the center of your neck.
Start shaving from the bottom up, and go slowly. Once you’ve done a first pass, check yourself out from the side. Need to adjust higher? Go for it. Just don’t go as high as Don Jr. or Ted Cruz. Be like Harry, and be happy. Or simply taper things down with a beard trimmer and skip the issue entirely.