The 5 o’clock shadow beard really made its mark in the mid-eighties, thanks to people like George Michael and Don Johnson from Miami Vice. Back then the 5 o'clock shadow beard was called “designer stubble” and like dancing in the movie Footloose, the beard was even banned by some companies for being too edgy. But while big bleached hair and tiny day-glo shorts are a thing of the past, this beard style is back and better than ever.
"A favorite of the red carpet Hollywood set, the stubble beard adds an air of bad boy rebellion. But it can also be a difficult style to manage. The beard’s short crop requires near-daily maintenance to achieve that “I-just-woke-up” look. Stubble is a great way to slim the lower half of your face and to highlight your cheekbones. Men with particularly square or angular faces can further emphasize their face shapes with this particular beard style. Think George Clooney, Jack Gyllenhaal and the master of stubble House actor Hugh Laurie." *
The 5 o’clock shadow or stubble beard of today is smart and well-groomed. It requires a little effort on your part to maintain as the first two days are easy. Simply avoid the the razor for 48 hours (one day if your hair grows fast). Then create a lower border by shaving along the line where your chin meets your neck and remove all hair below it. There’s no excuse for an unkempt neck so keep it clean men. Remember a good shadow is sexy – scruffy is definitely not.
Using a trimmer, clip your whiskers to a nice, uniform length. Along the edges of your beard, choose a setting that is one step shorter than before. This will blend the edges to create a more natural stubble beard look.
Want to learn how to maintain the perfect 5 o'clock shadow? Check out our how-to page.
* Reprinted with permission from the book The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face by Allan Peterkin and Nick Burns (Arsenal Pulp Press)