While a full, bushy beard is a trademark for some, not everyone can pull off the handsome lumberjack look. For those looking for something a little more sexy-sophisticated, the classic 5 o’clock shadow is the way to go. Here’s your guide to getting that tasteful shadow every woman will swoon over.
What is 5 O’Clock Shadow?
Simultaneously well-groomed yet rebellious, radical yet traditional, the 5 o’clock shadow is named for the stubble you get after a long day in the office. Once a playfully derogatory fashion, the trends of modern times have flipped and made the 5 o’clock shadow a signature look for many stylish men, and adds easy “bad boy” flair to any look.
So how can you embrace this rebellious look?
Step 1: Prepare
If you want to rock a 5 o’clock stubble that looks more smooth and intentional and less I-didn’t-shower-this-morning, some prior planning is key. First, give up shaving for a few days. Allow your stubble to grow out up to a few inches. You need to give yourself something to work with. Allow for at least 3-5 days for this process. Let your hairs grow at least ¼” longer than what you’d like your stubble to be.
Step 2: Shape
Once you have grown out your stubble to a length good for working with, you can use a beard trimmer to trim it. First, condition your stubble with a good beard conditioner so that it’s soft and easy to work with. You’ll want to start trimming your stubble down with a longer setting guard, and adjust down from there. Once your beard/stubble is your ideal 5 o’clock length, it’s time to get that “shadow” effect. Adjust your trimmer to a shorter length and fade your beard in. Use the trimmer to trim messy areas and also to perfect the edges of your stubble—this is key to establishing a proper stubble shape.
Step 3: Maintain
It’s really a toss-up whether maintaining a full beard or a 5 o’clock shadow is tougher—every man seems to have his opinion on the matter. That said, rocking—and keeping—the 5 o’clock shadow isn’t really that difficult once you get the routine down. The key is a fine balance, never letting your look slide from “edgy” to “messy.”
For your stubble to stay looking good, you’ll need to practice regular maintenance. Depending on the growth of your hair, you can go without trimming anywhere between 3-5 days or even up to one week. If you want a consistently neat look, you may need to clean your stubble a few times a week. Additionally, you should maintain the skin on your face and exfoliate your skin to remove dead cells and other gunk that will jeopardize your perfect stubble.