man stroking his 5 o

How To Get A 5 o’clock Shadow

After the perfect 5’oclock shadow but don’t know how? Read our easy guide on maintaining that stubble that’ll leave you feeling confident.

How To Get A 5 o’clock Shadow

Top tips to get that perfect designer stubble
To some who prefer a freshly shaven look, a 5 o’clock shadow is a nuisance. But to others, it’s highly desirable and can add a kind of rugged contouring to the face if managed properly. 

Whether you’re a bearded fella who just fancies a slightly more maintained jawline or a guy who struggles to grow a full beard, this easy to follow guide will help to give you that rugged edge that’ll leave you feeling confident. 

What is a five o’clock shadow?

Wait, what even is a 5 o’clock shadow? A 5 o’clock shadow is that wonderful moment that beard hair is beginning to grow back, and leaves a faint stubble growth across the jawline and cheeks. Think David Beckham or George Clooney - it’s that devil may care kind of a look that actually takes a little effort.

Now you know what one is, the question is how do you get that kind of a vibe? Here’s our guide to getting the perfect face fuzz.

Steps To Achieve The Perfect 5 o'clock Shadow

man with blonde hair looking at his reflection in the mirror

Planning the perfect 5 O’clock shadow

As with any sort of beard maintenance, it’s best to know what it is that you’re aiming for before you begin. As the 5’clock shadow gets its name due to the fact that it often begins to appear in the afternoon if a man has shaved in the morning, you’re working with a time frame of around 24 to 48 hours where you’ll reach peak stubble.  

During this time, it’s important to leave the beard alone and don’t be tempted to trim it. You need the regrowth to work with! For some, beard hair can grow a little slower, so use your own judgement. 
man shaping his 5 o'clock shadow in the mirror

Give your beard a trim

Now that you’ve got a base coat of beard hair ready to be shaped into stubble, it’s time to begin. Using a trimmer, or a pair of scissors and a comb, gently chop away the ends of any longer hairs. Be careful not to get too close to the skin, as you do still need some hair remaining to get the look. 

Remember to go steady with the trimming - it’s much easier to take more off than it is to get it back if you trim away too much. Slow and steady is the key.
man shaping his beard in the mirror

Shape your stubble

Everyone’s beard grows slightly differently, but it’s quite common that many will opt for a similar shape when it comes to trimming the beard. However, with some practice, you’ll also get to know what works best for your face shape.


Generally speaking, the rules are: 

  1. The stubble on the face and chin needs to be distinctly different to that on the neckline
  2. You want to keep the 5 o’clock shadow below the cheekbone
  3. Get rid of any stray hairs that might come above that line on the cheeks
man carving out the jawline to get a 5 o'clock shadow

Carve out the jawline

Gently create a line along the jaw - this will help to add definition to the stubble and keep any unwanted hairs on the neck at bay.The neckline should essentially be clean-shaven, so be sure to use a good shaving cream or gel to get a close shave and spare your skin unsightly nicks and cuts. 

You don’t want the beard neckline to look too precise, so take it easy and do small parts at a time. Make sure you’re not going too angular, as this will appear unnatural - after all, the aim of this look is to appear like you really did just wake up like that!

5 O’clock shadow aftercare and maintenance

Similar to when you do a clean shave, you’ll need some aftercare to keep your new stubble in tip-top condition and to help your skin recover post-shave. 

First, you’ll need to wash away any trimmings and shaving foam with warm water, and then with cold water to help close the pores. Gently pat the skin dry - don’t rub it, or you’ll risk aggravating the skin whilst it’s still a little sensitive. After this, apply your preferred aftershave or balm to lock that moisture in and prevent uncomfortable regrowth.