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How to Keep the Perfect 5-o’Clock Shadow

We all know that guy, the one with the perfect 5-o’clock shadow, day in and day out. While a 5-o’clock shadow isn’t for everyone, it is a great, low-maintenance look that is seemingly acceptable in all walks of life. You don’t need to use beard pomade or trim and shape a beard, and you don’t have to clean shave every day, risking the annoying and painful neck cuts and razor burn. That guy with the perfect 5-o’clock shadow sure does have life figured out. But how does he do it? Here are some tricks and tips to help you keep the perfect 5-o’clock shadow (or at least until you decide to grow the full beard – we’ll talk about how to groom a beard another day).

Drawing of a man’s beard with nose and lips

#1. Get a Clean Shave

Every facial hair journey starts out with a nice, clean shave. This will not only give you a clean face on which to grow your well-manicured stubble, but it also exfoliates your skin in the process. We recommend wet shaving with a safety blade razor and our Johnny Slicks organic shave soap.

Once you have finished shaving your face and neck, make sure to use a quality cleanser (face soap) to clean out whatever dirt, grime, or oils may remain. Follow that up with a lightweight hydrating moisturizer (face lotion). The combination of exfoliating, cleansing, and moisturizing your face and neck will lay the perfect foundation for your 5-o’clock shadow, which needs healthy skin underneath if you want to pull it off.

#2. Let Your Stubble Grow

After you have a fresh canvas, it’s time to play the waiting game. For those who inherited spectacular facial hair genetics, they may have the perfect 5-o’clock shadow later that day. Yet, for most of us, we’ll want to wait a few days for the stubble to grow out to about 1/8". The average person’s hair grows at about 1/2" per month, so you may need to wait up to a week to achieve the right length before proceeding to the next step.

#3. Keep a Clean Neckline

No one enjoys the itch of scraggly neck hair. More than that, neck hair is not conducive to the perfect 5-o’clock shadow. Because of this, you will want to keep your neck cleanly trimmed at all times. This doesn’t mean that you have to shave it daily, but you should pay attention to it and make sure that it doesn’t interfere with the stubble you’ve got going. And remember, when shaving your neck, make sure to use a quality shave soap, cleanser, and moisturizer to keep the skin on your neck healthy and free from nicks and cuts. It’s key to use quality men’s grooming products for this to work.


#4. Trim and Blend

Once your facial hair is an adequate length, all you need to do is trim it down with a reliable pair of clippers and simply blend the different facial hair areas for consistency in length and thickness. We recommend starting longer than you think you need and trimming down until you reach the desired length. You may want to start at a 1/4" length if you let it grow quite a bit, move to 1/8", and finally to 1/16” if you are going for a true stubble look. The length you want is up to you, and many men enjoy trimming down to only 1/4" (though that likely won’t qualify as a 5-o'clock shadow).

For those with thin, patchy beards or sides that are lighter in hue, you may need to let the sides fill in a bit before you’re able to present well-balanced, blended stubble. That’s okay. Simply repeat steps 2-4 until you reach the desired look.


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