The Grooming Manual

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How to Style a 5 O'Clock Shadow

How to Style a 5 O'Clock Shadow

Do you want a little bit of beard without committing to the work of maintaining full on facial hair? If so, rocking a 5 o’clock shadow might be for you.

It can require a bit of maintenance to keep your slight beard at just the right length, but this simple and subtly masculine look is flattering for many men. 


What Is a Five O’Clock Shadow? 

The term five o’clock shadow comes from the once standard concept that men shave each morning before work. By the end of the day - typically 5:00 pm - their facial hair would be growing back in and cast a light shadow on their face.

The term 5 o’clock shadow was originally coined by the Gem Safety Razor company in the 1930s. So while the name has a history in marketing, it’s become so much more.

The clean shaven look was the gold standard for professionals and gentleman of repute during the mid to late 20th century. So a five o'clock shadow was seen as acceptably casual only at the end of a work day. But if you needed to go out after work and look presentable, you would need to shave again.

That's a lot of grooming! And for guys whose facial hair grows quickly, it's even tougher. For them, some subtle stubble would start to grow in by the end of the day.


Is a Five O'Clock Shadow a Beard Style? 

Strictly speaking, a 5 o’clock shadow is not really a beard. It’s called a shadow because it gives the idea of a beard while only being the smallest bit of stubble. However, many men keep an ongoing 5 o’clock shadow intentionally, and thus it becomes a style of facial hair. 


What Are the Benefits of a Five O'Clock Shadow?

There are plenty of excellent reasons to consider a 5 o'clock shadow for your personal beard style. Here are just a few.


Easy Maintenance

Since a five o'clock shadow is the shortest beard style you can have, it requires almost zero maintenance beyond trimming. You won't need any styling creams, beard washes, or fancy brushes to keep it looking great. The only maintenance a five o'clock shadow needs is regular trimming - but that's fast, easy, and simple.


Works for Guys with Slow Growing or Patchy Beards

The way your beard grows in - including the rate of growth and the exact pattern - is genetic. Some guys have thick facial hair that covers everything from the cheeks down to the base of the neck. Other men have thinner facial hair, slow growth, and patchy spots. If you fall into the second group, you may struggle to grow a longer beard.

But no worries - a five o'clock shadow beard works for everyone. While a five o'clock shadow will look different on one man to the next because of how thick your hair growth is, anyone can pull it off. 


Flattering and Masculine

There's a masculine quality to a five o'clock shadow that flatters your features and gives just a touch of rugged style. And studies have repeatedly shown that men with light to moderate stubble are rated more attractive than clean shaven men or guys with long facial hair.


Simple to Shave and Regrow

Growing a beard takes a lot of determination and patience. Many guys start the process but aren't able to wait it out and eventually get frustrated and shave everything off. But if you go for a simple and flattering five o'clock shadow, you don't have to suffer through the long growing out period.

Like the name implies, a 5 o'clock shadow can grow in as quickly as one day. So if you decide you're sick of it, you can always shave and then wait a day or two for it to grow back in.


How to Get the Perfect 5 O’Clock Shadow 

While it's not hard to get a perfect 5 o'clock shadow, it can be done wrong. Use these tips to get the best look.


Let It Grow

If you’re starting from clean shaven, the first step is easy: don’t shave. Let your facial hair grow out for a day or two, depending on how fast it grows. The perfect 5 o’clock shadow is barely there, scruffy to the touch, and has no real length to it. For some guys, that grows in within a few hours. For others, it takes a solid day or two to get the right look. 


Trim Regularly

Once you’ve got the right length, you need to keep it there. That means trimming your 5 o'clock shadow every day or two to keep it at that level. To do this, you’ll need a beard trimmer with a very short guard or setting. Depending on the length you’re going for, a 1mm or 3mm guard will work. 

Regular trimming is important since letting it grow too much will start to look like an unkempt beard, not a handsome face full of stubble. 


Keep It Clean

You don't have to worry about crumbs getting stuck in your five o'clock shadow like you would with a longer beard. But you still need to keep your skin and stubble clean - so make sure to wash your face each morning and evening.

If you've got sensitive or dry skin, use our Purifying Charcoal Face Wash. It doesn't lather up like traditional face washes with heavy detergents that dry out your skin and can cause irritation. Instead, it gently attracts and removes dirt and bacteria with olive oil, activated charcoal, and jojoba. 


Exfoliate Weekly

Keeping your skin and stubble smooth is critical to having a perfect five o'clock shadow. A key step is exfoliation - and too many men don't make time for it. Exfoliation removes oily buildup from your pores, sloughs away dead skin, and softens your facial hair. The result is a brighter complexion and softer skin.

Our Renewing Face Scrub is natural, gentle, and perfect for guys who want to keep their 5 o'clock shadow looking top notch. It ensures that the skin beneath your stubble stays clean, fresh, and bright. Use our face scrub 2-3 times each week for the best results - less if you have sensitive skin, more if you have oily skin.


Enjoy Your Stylish 5 O'Clock Shadow

A well maintained 5 o'clock shadow is a flattering beard style that works for men of all kinds. Keep it trim and clean for a subtle yet masculine look that is sure to constantly impress. 

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