Have you ever wondered if there’s a beard style out there that makes you look rugged and well-groomed all at the same time?
Have you ever wondered if there’s a way to reap the benefits of a beard without spending too much time grooming or violating the no-beard policy at your job?
For some people, the 5 o’clock shadow is all these things and more.
The 5 o’clock shadow gets its name from the very light stubble that often becomes apparent on men by the end of the workday, giving their chin the dark “shadow” that precedes full-on stubble and eventually a beard.
We all know that it can be a great look for both your romantic and your professional life, but not everyone knows how easy it is to grow and maintain.
Before we get to the “how,” let’s talk about the “why.”
The best of both worlds
The 5 o’clock shadow is the right beard for a man who wants to look well-groomed without looking like he puts too much effort into his look (and in fact, with the 5 o’clock shadow, you won’t).
Whether you’re new to beards and looking for a way to experiment without putting in too much time, or you just hate the hassle and razor burns that come with shaving every single day, the 5 o’clock shadow is a perfect middle ground between being bearded and clean-shaven that works for all kinds of men.
But is it possible to keep that sexy, careless look that women love all throughout the week?
Actually, it is. Here’s our step-by-step guide to growing and maintaining a permanent 5 o’clock shadow so that you can keep yours around for as long as you’d like.
Step #1 - Let your stubble grow out
The very first step to growing a 5 o’clock shadow is to get an even, medium length stubble across your face.
If you’re the kind of guy who tends to stay clean shaven, this will involve letting your facial hair grow out for just a couple of days, until it’s around 1/8th of an inch long.
If you tend to grow your beard out, you’ll have to shorten your beard with an electric razor, or just shave your beard clean and wait a couple of days for the stubble to grow back out.
Step #2 - Shave your neck
At this point, you probably look a little bit scragglier than you’d like. While some men prefer to look messy like this, for most men, the preference is to clean up a little.
The first and most important way to do this is to shave your neck and outline a clean, defined neckline for your beard, so that it doesn’t look like it’s crawling down the front of your shirt.
If you’re wondering where the best place to make the border of your beard is, the answer has a little bit to do with your face’s natural shape.
Starting from your ears, you want to follow the jawline until you get just beneath your earlobe.
From there you should leave the underside of your chin stubbly while shaving everything on your neck below your Adam's apple.
This is also the step where you can clean up other edges of your beard. If beard hair tends to grow way up your cheeks, you might want to bring that line down for a neater look.
Now that you’ve built the borders of your beard, it’s time to get down to really making it look like a natural 5 o’clock shadow.
Step #3 - Shorten your stubble
Once again, how you do this step is going to depend a bit on your natural preference, and the natural thickness and shape of your beard.
If you prefer a slightly longer 5 o’clock shadow, or your beard grows thinner and you need more to work with, you can leave your beard’s length at around 1/8th of an inch, or slightly shorter.
If you’re going for a tighter, smoother look, you can take your electric razor and lower the guard to something just slightly longer than a clean shave.
Step #4 - Blend the borders (optional)
This last step is not entirely necessary, but it may suit men who prefer not to have distinct lines showing where they’ve shaved.
You can blend the borders of your 5 o’clock shadow by gradually lowering the guard as you approach the neckline and cheeks, giving your stubble a more natural, less groomed look.
The devil’s in the details
While the 5 o’clock shadow is a great look for men who want to spend less time grooming and more time doing, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need a little help in order to look great.
In fact, there are a couple important things to remember when taking care of your 5 o’clock shadow.
The first is that, since your beard will be so short, the way your skin looks on your face is particularly important.
Investing in a specially formulated conditioner to keep your skin smooth and soft underneath the stubble can make a huge difference in improving your skin’s natural glow and reducing beard dandruff.
The other thing to remember is that, even at a shorter length, your beard needs fuel to look thick and full. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and possibly investing in beard boosting supplements are great ways to do just that.
Luckily for you, everything you need to have healthy skin, stubble, scruff, or a full beard is available at Wild-Willies. Order online today and have high-quality, naturally-sourced beard products shipped to you quickly and easily for a price that doesn’t break the bank.