How to Get the Perfect 5 O’Clock Shadow Beard


five o'clock shadow beard

Most men have sported the five o’clock shadow before – even if only by accident. This light stubble and ‘stache usually appear after skipping a few days of shaving. This look has now become a signature beard style that’s 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. Typically, a man shaves in the morning and throughout the day facial hair grows, then becomes visibly noticeable by the end of a common workday or 5 0’clock.

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

How to Style

The first rule of any stubble beard is that you take a few days to grow out your facial hair. You should notice some stubble within 24 to 72 hours, but you also want to 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 beard are similar but differ in length. The 5 o’clock shadow has the appearance of not shaving where the stubble beard looks thicker and more intentional.

See our Complete Stubble Beard Style Guide.

Tools You’ll Need

1. Start with Your Neckline

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

Before shaving or trimming away your stubble for the first time, take a shower to open up your pores. Afterward, apply some shaving cream and start with shaving your beard neckline.

Beard shaper tools can help you get crisp lines and symmetry with any beard.

2. Define Your Shadow Style

Most five o’clock shadows are natural, but if you’re taking the time to shape your beard, then look at stubble beards to see what angles and lines you want to create. This is the best way to get designer stubble that matches your face shape.

Check out our Beard Shapes & Styles Guide

Here are a few five o’clock shadow beard shapes to check out for inspiration:

3. Trim Your Stubble

With your electric trimmer and a longer guard (start with #2 for longer stubble), shave down your stubble so it’s even and symmetrical. For example, using a beard shaper tool, try a curved cheek or straight cheek line.

Start with a higher setting and trim down areas of your chin and mustache, then use lower and lower guards to fade out your sideburns, jawline, and other edges.

Continue to change the guard size until you’ve achieved the perfect length. I’ll typically go from a #2 and step down to a #1 and fade out to a #0 or #00.

Need more help? Take a look at how to fade your beard.

4. Apply After Shave and Beard Oil

Once you’ve perfected your stubble trim and clean shaven the areas around your stubble, apply aftershave to avoid razor burn and additionally a high-quality beard oil. This routine keeps your skin moisturized and promotes healthy hair growth.

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I'm the founder of Bald & Beards, an amateur barber and I've been obsessed with men's grooming, styles, and trends for over 20 years.