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How To Maintain A Five O'Clock Shadow

Posted on July 23 2019

How To Maintain A Five O'Clock Shadow


The five o'clock shadow is back!  From Joe Manganiello to George Clooney and Ryan Reynolds to Adam Levine and Chris Hemsworth, Hollywood has turned stubble into the epitome of sexy, stylish, and cool.  

And for some of us, like me, we just can't rock the epic beard.  For me, it's a 2-day stubble or five o'clock shadow.  I've found that as you get older, you find yourself, and you become more comfortable with who you are.  Me? I'm not the clean-shaven type nor am I the epic beard type. I'm the five o'clock shadow guy.

But contrary to what many people think, your five o'clock shadow requires some daily maintenance.  The shorter the beard, the more obvious and visible the flaws are, so you need to stay on top of everything from those errant hairs, your neckline, and jawline, to the area around your lips.

Let's get started.

Step 1: The Neckline.


You want to give your five o'clock shadow the perfect border. A well-defined and well-maintained neckline always looks better and tidier.  Look in the mirror, straight-on, and look for any visible hair on your neck from this angle.  Now, place your finger above your Adam's apple.  This is your top line.  Using an electric trimmer, start at this spot and move downwards. Continue on one side, working outwards along your neckline.  Make sure you stay under the jawline. Return to the middle, and work outwards on the other side. You want a slight upward curve with your line. Many times I'll use my Woody Safety Razor for this, too. The electric razor is quicker, but the safety razor gives it a much cleaner and tighter look.

Step 2: Establish Your Length.

I typically set my trimmer between 1 and 3 cm or I'll use a "0" or a "1" guard with my Wahl Trimmer.  Going upward along the face I trim my entire beard to that length.  Not sure what length works for you?  Start with a longer setting, moving down to a shorter setting until you find the ideal stopping point.  My beard tends to be thick so I find that I have to go over it again in a different direction to get any errant hairs that may have been missed the first time.  The goal is a clean and unified trim.  I've also found that to keep my stubble looking clean and sharp, I'll need to do this every other day.

Step 3: Clean Your Jawline and lip line.

Much like the neckline, you'll want to maintain a well-defined border for your five o'clock shadow.  You'll go from sexy to sloppy in a hot minute if you let your jawline and neckline go.  I do mine every other day, too.  

You can use either an electric trimmer or a safety razor for your neckline and jawline.  As I try to keep my lines neat and tidy, I use our Woody Safety Razor with a little of our Manistee Shave Gel.  

Step 4: Keep it Soft & Smelling Great.

Beard Oil

Even though you're not rocking the epic beard, you'll still want to keep the skin beneath your five o'clock shadow healthy and nourished.  I use our Belle Isle Beard Oil every day.  It keeps my skin soft and allows my stubble to grow in soft and healthy.  Or as my wife says, "no more beard burn for me!"  Plus, it smells amazing.

Step 5: Stay Healthy.


Any great grooming routine should always be paired with a healthy diet and lifestyle.  You can’t change factors like age and genetics but you can change your diet. In fact, consuming a diet lacking the right nutrients can lead to hair loss.  On the other hand, eating a balanced diet with added supplements like Biotin can help promote hair growth.  I take a daily Biotin vitamin along with fish oil and a good probiotic every day.  I also try to drink at least 66 oz of water every day.

Comments or questions?  You can email me at or hit me up on Instagram at @detroitgrooming_lou.



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