Maintaining a clean-shaven face daily is as hard as keeping and growing a healthy beard. Some men grow stubble a few hours after shaving. There is nothing wrong with a bit of growth, but men are keen on learning how to get rid of a 5 o’clock shadow to keep their faces immaculately smooth throughout the day.
The stubble is a welcoming sight for those looking forward to the beard growth process, but not for the man who enjoys a smooth face all the time, especially on dates, meetings, and gatherings.
If you want to know how to get rid of 5 o'clock shadow, continue reading.
What is a 5 O’Clock Shadow?
Before we get into the things you need to learn about how to get rid of a 5 o’clock shadow or a 5pm shadow, let’s get to know what it is first.
Shaving only cuts the hair above the roots, preserving the hair follicle’s ability to grow back.1 A five o'clock shadow is the small quantity of prickly hair that pokes through the skin of a man's face a few hours after shaving or the shadow-like tint that develops at 5 p.m. or at late afternoon following an early morning shave.
The 5 o'clock stubble may not usually appear at 5 pm. A beard shadow or faint mustache can emerge at any time of day, depending on how fast your facial hairs grow or when was your last shave, like a 6 o'clock shadow. Aside from around your face, it can also appear as a faint neck beard along your beard neckline if you also shave that area.
Reasons Why You’re Always Getting Beard Shadow
Shaving on dry skin doesn't give a close shave, which is essential to avoiding beard shadow.
It can be frustrating to take your time in the morning and follow a daily shaving schedule only to see an unwanted cast of facial hair in the middle of the day. As annoying as it may be, beard shadows are not uncommon.
Many men endure the awkward phase of early beard growth, and most of them ask themselves, “Why do I have a 5 o’clock shadow?”
You may have a 5 o’clock shadow because of fast hair growth due to your genes, age, and hormones, not getting a close shave, and using the wrong kind of razor, especially a dirty one.
Fast Hair Growth
According to dermatologists, factors that affect beard hair growth are mostly out of our control.2 Some of these is how well your hair follicles respond to the hormone (testosterone) that propels facial hair growth, your diet, and your genes.
A guy who is more responsive to testosterone, follows a nutrient-rich diet, and is from a race blessed with hairy genetics, is more likely to see a 5 o’clock shadow earlier than those who have lighter hair follicles and already have trouble getting a full thick beard.
When dry shaving, there is no barrier between your razor and your skin. Instead of confidently shaving at skin level, you take extra precautions and do not exert too much effort.
Because you are more worried about getting a nick or a cut while shaving, you avoid shaving too closely. In the end, you leave a small amount of shaved hair, which can quickly grow back during the day.
Using the Wrong Razor
There are many kinds of razors with one promise: to help you if you want to get a smooth, clean, and close shave.
Many modern shaving tools pride themselves in convenience—but at what and whose expense?
Some brands claim that the more blades you use, the closer the shave you can get. There is also the promise of safety from electric 5 o'clock shadow trimmers, razors or clippers. But contrary to advertorial remarks, studies proved that one blade is always better for getting a skin-level shave, which is the key to getting rid of a 5 o clock shadow.3
Best Way To Get Rid of Beard Shadow
You can't stop midday to shave when your beard grows back. If you don't want to irritate the skin under your five o clock shadow, wait until the next day to shave. So, how do you get rid of a 5:00 shadow? The best way to get rid of a beard shadow is to let your hair grow at 1/4 of an inch stubble and follow a proper wet shaving routine using a straight-edge razor to prevent it from recurring.
Follow a Proper Wet Shave Routine
You should not shave on dry skin and not use shaving cream or lather if you want to get a close and smooth shave. Lubrication protects your skin from your razor’s cutting edge,4 letting you have the most precise and effortless shave without hurting yourself.
Stop your facial hair from growing too soon, and prevent 5 o’clock shadow with this wet shave routine:
Wash your face
Wash your face clean before shaving to remove dirt and other elements that may infect your skin after shaving. Use warm water to help de-clog your pores and soften your facial hair.
Exfoliate with a washcloth
Exfoliate your face before shaving to remove dead skin cells that may get in the way of your razor while shaving. Dead skin can clog your razor and hinder it from gliding smoothly on your skin.
When you scrub off the layers of dead skin, the surface beneath your stubble will look brighter, smoother, and healthier.5 Plus, it helps prevent razor bumps.
Apply a pre-shave oil
Prevent your skin from drying out due to over-exposure to water.6 Keep it moisturized by applying a pre-shave oil, which provides an extra layer of protection against your razor blade.
Create a lather
The most important part of wet shaving is the lather. You can use shaving cream or organic soap to create your lather—read our guide on lathering shave soap to learn how.
Applying lather with a shaving brush also exfoliates your skin before shaving. The bristles will lift the hair stuck on your skin and scrub off the nasty skin grave of your face.
Use a straight razor
Once your facial hair grows into a short stubble beard length or at least 1/4 of an inch, shave it using a straight razor. You can get a better shaving angle that better levels the single blade’s straight edge on the skin for a closer shave compared to a cartridge or an electric razor.
Shave with the grain for the first pass
Start shaving by gently pulling your skin taut and following your beard growth direction.7 Shave with the grain on your first pass to minimize the tug-of-war between your blade and hair, which can result in razor burn, bumps, and ingrown hairs.
Shave against the grain if necessary
Only shave against the grain if necessary as a security move to ensure that you got every piece of hair out of your face.8 This direction allows you to get a shave closer to the skin, minimizing the risks of a 5 o’clock shadow growing later.
Rinse your face
Remove excess lather and fallen hair debris from your skin by thoroughly rinsing your face. Preferably do this with cold water to reinvigorate your skin and tighten your pores, which can lessen the burning sensation that often comes after shaving.
Treat any shaving irritation and cuts by applying an aftershave. You can opt for a splash, lotion, or an aftershave balm, whichever works best for your skin. Do note that an aftershave splash may sting more than the latter because it has more alcohol content.
An Alternative View: Keep You 5 o'clock Look
There are several reasons why men should consider maintaining a 5 o'clock shadow:
Rugged and Well-Groomed Appearance: The 5 o’clock shadow can provide a rugged, yet well-groomed appearance, balancing between the extremes of full-on stubble or a clean-shaven look. This style suggests that the individual cares about their appearance but does not put an excessive amount of effort into their look.
Ease of Maintenance: Maintaining a 5 o'clock shadow typically involves less work than a full beard and can be more comfortable than daily shaving, which can lead to skin irritation and razor burns. It's a perfect middle ground between being bearded and clean-shaven, and it works for a wide variety of men.
Time to Grow: For many men, the time it takes for the stubble to grow out to the perfect length of a 5 o'clock shadow is just a couple of days. For some, it could be less, and for others, it might take a bit longer. It is dependent on the individual's rate of hair growth.
Workplace Suitability: A 5 o'clock shadow can offer a way to enjoy the benefits of a beard without violating a no-beard policy at work, provided it is neatly maintained. Some workplaces may consider the 5 o'clock shadow as acceptable compared to a full beard.
Attractiveness: There is a general perception that the 5 o'clock shadow can be an attractive look, giving the face a bit of contour and a rugged aesthetic, which could be appealing for romantic occasions or daily activities.
Remember, maintaining a 5 o'clock shadow does require regular upkeep to ensure it stays at the right length and keeps a clean, defined shape, especially around the neckline. But overall, it's a relatively low-maintenance, versatile, and appealing beard style.
Is a 5 O’Clock Shadow Attractive?
Women prefer a neat-looking five o'clock shadow, which is also appropriate in a corporate setting There are many things to say about a beard’s attractiveness, especially with ever-changing styles and different artists from different genres donning varying beard styles. Do not even mention the contradicting studies on the subject matter.
Women’s Beard Preferences
Despite the polarizing opinions on facial hair, it remains true that women like it neat and that a look is always a safe choice. On that note, beard shadows can look great as designer stubble if you style it correctly by hiding any patchiness that may make the thin beard look rugged.
Corporate Beard Preferences
The neat and styled trick to make a beard shadow look good still applies in the corporate world, even if you cannot choose between a 5 o'clock shadow vs stubble. There is nothing wrong with sporting a little bit of stubble, especially if it is inevitable. Even police offers dropped their facial hair ban once for a cause.
Minimal facial hair can also add to one’s trustworthiness and positive first impressions at work.9 But it would be better to opt for a perfect clean-shave look for job interviews and important meetings.
If you are still on edge, remember that having little facial hair is a safe look that does not connote any side comment and rarely calls for negative stereotypes.
Tips on Maintaining a Stubble
Short stubbles need not make you look shabby at all times. You can still get compliments even if you are sporting a barely-there beard. All you need is a few grooming tips10 here and there, and you will end up rocking that 5 o’clock shadow in full glamour.
So, instead of getting rid of beard shadow, learn how to make it look good by creating a designer stubble beard style.
Follow these steps in maintaining a stubble:
Comb your stubble
Once your faint beard turns into short stubble, keep it neat with a comb. Make sure to brush the longer strands of hair over empty patches to make your beard look even.
Trim your beard
The key to a designer stub is keeping the hair at the same length, no matter how short it may be. Don’t let the longer strands poke out. Use trimming scissors, as these have narrower ends that can precisely cut. Follow it up with a shavette or a straight razor for keeping a straight beard line.
Shaving draws out the natural oils on your skin, and there can only be two results. You either get extremely dry skin or you get excess oil. Both of these are not good for 5 o’clock shadows.
When you get dry skin, your face will feel itchy and become more prone to beard dandruff. You do not want to be scratching your face mid-day. If so, your stubble will not only look grayish but red as well.
You can use Naked Armor’s Organic Aftershave Balm With Hemp to moisturize your skin daily. It is 100% organic, along with more than ten other natural essential oils and vitamins, and will help nourish and condition your skin, keeping it moisturized all day.
Dress to impress
You will never know how much stubble will grow in the middle of the day. So, prepare yourself for it. The secret is to dress to impress.
No, you do not need to be in a full suit daily. A simple neat-looking polo shirt and cotton pants will do. It will significantly help you look like you got yourself together professionally.
With the new normal the world faces, the rugged look is coming back. But that does not necessarily excuse you from keeping your shadow beard as it is.
Make it work by learning grooming tips and not forgetting aftershave products. Trust us. You will never have to worry about keeping your stubble at bay anymore.
Here at Naked Armor, we got what every gentleman needs to groom their facial locks and more.
Using wet shaving techniques, you can use our Lucan Shavette Kit to trim or shave your five o’clock shadow. Check out the essentials below, and do not forget to Add To Cart.
More Naked Armor Reads:
How To Get Rid of 5 O'clock Shadow
One last tip from the pros at Naked Armor. The best way to get ride of that 5 o'clock shadow is to have the closest shave possible in the morning. Using a straight razor allows you to shave your hair at their closest point possible to the root and will thus delay your stubble from showing earlier in the day. It could very well turn that 5 o'clock shadow into a 8 o'clock shadow. Try a aight razor today!
- J. Anderson. What’s the Difference Between Waxing and Shaving? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/waxing-vs-shaving. December 3, 2019
- A. Hurly. How To Grow Your Facial Hair Thicker and Faster. Byrdie. https://www.byrdie.com/how-to-grow-facial-hair-faster-5190964. May 10, 2022
- N. Burns. Shaving With Five Blades When Maybe Two Will Do. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/19/fashion/thursdaystyles/shaving-with-five-blades-when-maybe-two-will-do.html. January 19, 2006
- Hair removal: How to shave. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-basics/hair/how-to-shave
- J. Derrick. How to Properly Exfoliate for Radiant, Healthy Skin. Byrdie. https://www.byrdie.com/how-to-exfoliate-best-exfoliating-tips-for-the-face-and-body-345926. July 13, 2022
- H. Brannon MD. Is Water Bad For Your Dry Skin? Very Well Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/is-water-good-or-bad-for-dry-skin-1069532. March 20, 2022
- Mapping Facial Hair Growth For Traditional Wet Shaving. Grown Man Shave. https://grownmanshave.com/blogs/grown-man-shave-society-articles/face-mapping-for-traditional-wet-shaving
- With, Against, or Across the Grain? Supply Co. https://supply.co/blogs/journal/with-against-or-across-the-grain
- Land, Sarah & Willemsen, Lotte & Unkel, Suzanne. (2015). Are Spectacles the Female Equivalent of Beards for Men? How Wearing Spectacles in a LinkedIn Profile Picture Influences Impressions of Perceived Credibility and Job Interview Likelihood. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. 10.1007/978-3-319-20895-4_17. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276273300
- A. Kouppala. The Medium Stubble Beard: How to Maintain a Perfect 1-3mm “Designer Stubble”. Beard Source. https://www.beardresource.com/designer-stubble/
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