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 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 a common way people have their neckline finished.
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 your hair and how it grows at the back.
Which Is Better?
Many barbers will tell you that a tapered neckline grows out much better than a squared one does, and this is 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.
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.
But it also 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.