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This kind of issues arise when you try to smooth the weights of the main area bone (in your case the neck bone) but you forget to smooth the neighbour bones (probably the head bone). In particular if two adiacent vertices have the same minimum weight (let's say 0.001) to the head bone, but one belongs to the head bone only while the other has a tiny amount ...


This could be it: Gradient fill. Blender's best-kept secret.


The Blender default color pattern for weight painting is bad. Nearly not weighted vertices displays as blue. But not weighted vertices displays also as blue. In the Viewport Overlay options in the Weight Paint section turn the Zero Weights display from None to Active. That way the not weighted vertices will display black. And so you can see the trouble ...

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