Most men have sported the 5 o’clock shadow beard before, if only by accident. This slight beard and mustache usually appears after skipping a few days of shaving. This style has now become a signature short beard style that is easy to shape, even if you have a patchy beard.

The 5 o’clock shadow is the first appearance of facial hair growth on a man’s face. Usually, a man shaves in the morning and during the day facial hair grows, then becomes visible at the end of a typical workday or 5 o’clock.

Today, we can boldly say, the 5 oclock shadow has an air of bad-boy rebelliousness while being smart and well-groomed. It has become a signature style for many men looking for a less irritating alternative to the everyday razor cut. And, dare we say the ladies love the look? Studies have been done to prove it.

Struggling to get the perfect 5 o’clock shadow beard? You’re not alone. The look is tough to pull off, but we’ll tell you how to do it right.

First, wash your face with a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil or even plain old Dove Bar soap. If you have an exfoliating cleanser, use it once a week.

Next, apply a moisturizer or serum every day and night. Let the product sink into your skin before applying aftershave or other products.

When you shave, make sure to use a sharp razor and shaving cream—not just soap! The key to the 5 o’clock shadow is short hairs that still look soft, so this step is essential. Use short, gentle strokes and pull your skin tight so you don’t cut yourself. If you do cut yourself, treat it with tea tree oil and then cover it with cover-up—we recommend Cover Girl Clean Concealer in shade #355 Bisque.

If you want to use a beard growth stimulator like Beard Grow XL, go for it! There are tons of great products out there, but of course, if you’ve got all the genetics on your side already then go for what works for you!

Want to grow out your stubble and turn it into the perfect 5 o’clock shadow beard? Here are some rules to take your stubble shadow to the next level.

5 O'clock Shadow Beard
5 O’clock Shadow Beard

How to style

The first rule of any fledgling beard is that it takes a few days for your facial hair to grow out. You should notice some stubble within 24 to 72 hours, but you should also wait until you have substantial growth before shaping your designer stubble.

5 o’clock shadow vs. stubble beard

The 5 o’clock shadow and the stubble are similar but differ in length. The 5 o’clock shadow has the unshaven look where the stubble looks thicker and more intentional.

Tools you will need

1. Start with your cleavage

You should have a nice neckline if you’ve waited a few days. Slight beard growth is essential to get the perfect 5 o’clock shadow.

Before shaving or trimming your beard for the first time, bathe to open your pores. Then, apply some shaving cream and start shaving the neckline of your beard.

Beard shaping tools can help you achieve clean lines and symmetry with any beard.

2. Define your 5 o’clock shadow beard style

Most 5 o’clock shades are natural, but if you take the time to shape your beard, then you may want to look at the stubble to see what angles and lines you want to create. This is the best way to get a designer beard that matches your face shape.

Here are some 5 o’clock shadow beard shapes to look for inspiration:

3. Trim your stubble

With your electric trimmer and a longer guard (start with #2 for a longer beard), shave the beard to make it even and symmetrical. For example, with a beard shaping tool, try a curved cheek or straight line.

Start with a higher setting and trim the chin and mustache areas, then use lower and lower guards to soften sideburns, jawline and other edges.

Continue to change the size of the guard until you have achieved the perfect length. I usually go from a #2 and move to a #1 and fade to a #0 or #00.

4. Apply aftershave and beard oil

Once you’ve perfected your beard trim and shaved the areas around your beard, apply aftershave to prevent razor burn and, in addition, a high-quality beard oil. This routine keeps your skin moisturized and promotes healthy hair growth.

12 hours later…

If you want to know how your 5 o’clock shadow beard looks on you, there are two ways to find out:

1 – Set your alarm clock.

2 – If you’re still standing at that time, you shouldn’t be looking in the mirror.

72 Hours Later: The 3-Day Beard

There is some debate as to whether the 3-day beard is like the 2-day beard or if it’s a full beard wannabe. We like to see it as the big brother to the 2-day beard and don’t like to argue when family is involved.

And like any big brother, the 3-day beard is more experienced, has grown longer and looks tougher. Plus, it can accomplish the same thing as the 5 o’clock shadow beard…but even better.

Today’s 5 o’clock shadow beard or two-day beard is stylish and well-groomed. Maintaining it requires a little effort on your part, because the first two days are fairly easy. Just forget about the razor for 48 hours (one day if your hair grows fast). Next, create a lower edge by shaving along the line where the chin becomes the neck and remove all the hair below that edge. There’s no excuse for wearing a sloppy neck, keep it neat. Remember, a two-day beard is sexy, a scruffy beard is not.

Want to know how to maintain a perfect 5 o’clock shadow beard? Check out our how-to page.