Blocked, Rounded, or Tapered? Choosing the Right Neckline Shape

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Choosing The Right Neckline Shape

Blocked, Rounded, or Tapered? © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

We Take the Guesswork Out of Selecting the Right Finish

Choosing the right neckline finish can make a huge difference in the appearance of your haircut. We'll show you blocked, rounded, and tapered necklines and highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The neckline shape is the outline of the haircut at the nape. There are three basic shapes: Blocked, Rounded, or Tapered. The neckline shape can have a dramatic impact on how your style compliments your neck shape and how your style looks as it grows out. We'll discuss each basic shape in the frames that follow. To keep the comparisons as vivid as possible, the same photo was used with digital variations created.  The classic tapered haircut should always be tapered, never blocked.

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A Rounded Neckline

Taking The Edge of a Blocked Nape © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

Similar to a blocked neckline, a rounded neckline takes the square corners off. This variation can add balance to a wider neck. A neckline which is too rounded may appear more feminine and is not desirable.

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A Blocked Neckline

A Clean Outline © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

The blocked neckline is formed by shaving a hard line into the natural hairline at the nape. Done properly, a blocked neckline will follow the natural hairline as closely as possible. A blocked neckline can make a wide neck appear wider and add the appearance of width to a slim neck. The disadvantage of a blocked neckline is that it will appear untidy as the hair grows out. This is illustrated in the next photo.

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A Blocked Neckline Grown Out

The Neat Look Doesn't Last Long © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

This photo shows the main disadvantage of a grown out blocked neckline. Once the hair below the line begins to grow, the new growth is more pronounced. This problem does not occur with a tapered neckline, as shown in the next photo.

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A Tapered Neckline

Natural and Masculine © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

A natural tapered neckline follows the natural hairline at the nape. The taper may be low and applied to the very bottom of the hairline, medium as shown above, or high with aggressive scalp exposure. This type of finishing will slim a wide neck and will look neater as it grows out. This is illustrated in the next photo.

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A Tapered Neckline Grown Out

After a Few Weeks, The Style Still Looks Neat © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

As you can see, due to the absence of any blocking, a tapered hairline will grow out in a manner that keeps the style looking neater longer. We'll compare the blocked and tapered haircut, grown out a bit, in the photo which follows.

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Blocked vs. Tapered: Grown Out

A Grown Out Comparison © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

This side-by-side comparison illustrates the difference between how a blocked neckline grows out versus how a tapered hairline looks after a week or so. As you can see, the tapered neckline looks much neater than the blocked version.

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Blocked vs. Tapered

A Proper Finish Can Provide Balance © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

As you can see in this illustration, a tapered neckline gives the illusion of a slimmer neck, while a blocked neckline adds width. For this reason, those with wide necks may wish to avoid blocking while men with long, thin necks may wish to avoid tapering.

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A Badly Blocked Neckline

Blocking Too High Can Throw the Neck Off Balance © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

One mistake poorly trained barbers and stylists make is blocking a hairline too high. This creates a problem for two reasons -- a hairline blocked too high makes the neck appear too wide and the style will look extremely bad as it grows out. Always make sure your haircutter shows you the back of your haircut.

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Another Badly Blocked Neckline

Be Sure to Check Your Back Before Leaving the Chair © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

This is another example of an improperly blocked neckline. This "half moon" shape happens when the barber or stylist puts a hard block on a client who is looking down. This type of block simply looks odd and could be easily corrected by the barber or stylist -- if they are so motivated to do so. Be sure to make sure you see the back of your head before leaving the chair to prevent such mistakes.

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A View From The Front

Just So You'll Know What He Looks Like © Mikegraffigna | Dreamstime.com.

Now that you've seen every variation of the back of this guy's neckline, here's the front. Looks good from both sides, don't you think?