Growing 5 O’clock Shadow aka Stubble Beard Is Easy But There Is A Catch

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One of the most recognizable beard styles is the 5 o’clock shadow. While traditionally the shadow was associated with laziness or delirium, the 5 o’clock shadow became a popular trend in the 1980’s.

Celebrities like Harrison Ford and Don Johnson donned their stubble with much success. Even before them, actors such as Clint Eastwood would popularize the shadow in many of his roles as a great Western anti-hero.

5 O’clock Shadow Beard Style

Originally used as a pejorative, the shadow is hailed as one of the essential short beard styles for any face shape.

The shadow today can be seen worn by actors like George Clooney and has become synonymous with debonair.

George Clooney 5 o'clock shadow aka stubble beard

The 5 o’clock shadow beard allows men to have a seasoned charm about them without having to grow a thicker beard.

There are also benefits to the shadow or stubble appeal. Men who frequently deal with ingrown hair are encouraged to allow the hair to grow out and to always leave a little stubble to prevent future infections related to ingrown hairs.

Men looking for a sophisticated look should consider the shadow.

Stubble Beard Style

The stubble beard differs slightly from the 5 o’clock shadow in that it can be a bit thicker and appear more deliberate.

The stubble beard can be difficult for some men to achieve.

For example, men who typically deal with a patchy beard will have a hard time achieving this style.

The key to designer stubble is ensuring frequent upkeep, so it does not appear messy.

Famous People with a Designer Shadow Style

George Michael: One of the men responsible for first introducing the shadow was singer/songwriter George Michael. With naturally thicker facial hair, Michael was able to pull off the look with great appeal.

Don Johnson: You could not have Miami Vice or Nash Bridges without Don Johnson and, for a time, you could not find him without that 5 o’clock shadow.

Famous People with Designer Shadow - Don Jonhson

First appearing on his face in 1986, the shadow quickly became yet another style of fashionable beards and not just an obvious sign of laziness.

How to Get a 5 O’clock Shadow

The 5 o’clock shadow may seem like a simple style, but achieving it requires dedication, time, and most of all, precision.

How to Get a 5 O’clock Shadow

A successful shadow requires fine edges and careful knowledge of how to trim a beard.

The stubble on the face and chin needs to be distinctly different from that on the beard neckline.

In most cases, the neckline should be completely clean shaven.

Here are some steps and tips to achieving the shadow or stubble beards:

Let That Hair Grow

 While the look we are trying to achieve is a shorter than most beards, letting the hair grow out for a day or two may not be enough. Some follicles take longer than others to grow hairs.

Since the shadow and stubble styles look best with greater follicle coverage, it is best to allow more follicles to catch up – even if it means that the beard gets thicker before it gets shorter.

Clean the Neckline

The key to great looking shadow is that chiseled look, even if you do not necessarily have a much facial definition.

Shave everything under your neckline in order to achieve better definition. Hair below the neckline contributes to a messy look and will ruin the appeal.

Men with good chin and neck definition may style a beard fade down the neckline.

This requires starting the fade at the neckline and leaving a majority of the gradient under the chin.

By the time the fade is at the visible part of the neck, it should look almost completely shaved.


A high quality electric trimmer is required for this style. As a general guide for stubble beard trimmers, the trimmer should be able to adjust somewhere between 1/8” and 1/16”.

It is recommended you start with 1/8” and work your way to increasingly shorter settings until you find the length that works for you.

Best stubble trimmers

Ensure that you trim the edges to your liking before trimming the length of the stubble. It may be harder to see where the edges are when there is little difference between the stubble and the clean-shaven areas.


This is very important. Again, the stubble seems simple, but maintaining those precise edges is the trick.

It is suggested that you invest in a decent beard grooming kit or in beard shaping tool in order to maintain the designer look.


Photos from: gstockstudio /, s_bukley /, Martynova.Katie /

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