How To Maintain The Perfect 5 O'Clock Shadow - Norse Grooming
How To Maintain The Perfect 5 O'Clock Shadow

How To Maintain The Perfect 5 O'Clock Shadow

November 18, 2019

It doesn’t matter if you have just started getting into the whole beard growing game or you just want to try a shorter style, the 5 o’clock shadow always does the trick. And that’s because this budding facial hair patch – you know, ‘cause it’s not much of a grove, much less a forest just yet – is perfect for any season. Yes, that includes winter, for those times you want to get just the right amount of insulation from the cold without all the fuzz. The question is: how do you maintain the perfect 5 o’clock shadow?

For those of you who don’t know, the 5 o’clock shadow is so named for the facial hair that usually grows a few hours after you shave (usually for the hairiest of gents). So, if you shave that beard of yours in the morning, you could expect a patch of hair coating your face around afternoon, hence the 5 o’clock shadow monicker. If it takes you days or even months to accomplish this shadow, we recommend using a growth oil to speed the process up.

Don’t get fooled

Just because the 5 o’clock shadow is a thin beard does not by any measure mean there’s no specific regimen you have to follow to get it right. Keep in mind that although it’s by far shorter than your regular Old Dutch or Chin Curtain, the 5 o’clock shadow has certain requirements in order for you to get it right.

And although the shadow has gotten quite a bad rap over the years for being “the lazy man’s beard”, we’re here to tell you that that’s only because a lot of guys don’t know how to grow a proper one. So, let us tell you all about how to maintain the perfect 5 o’clock shadow!

Why go with the shadow?

Now, we’ve mentioned that growing yourself a 5 o’clock shadow isn’t as easy as you might think. Hell, we’ll even go so far as to say that you will be going to exert nearly as much effort on it as you will do with inch-long beards. However, what gives the shadow its edge is the fact that it is very versatile, and by that we mean it works for any and all face shapes.

Secondly, a great reason to go with a 5 o’clock shadow, is that it is suitable for people who suffer from ingrown hairs. You see, the best way to prevent these itchy little undergrowths from persisting is by leaving a thin stub of hair on the follicle, and that’s exactly what a 5 o’clock shadow does for you.

Now, don’t get it twisted…

There is a difference between a 5 o’clock shadow and stubble. The latter tends to be just a smidge thicker and/or longer than the other. Given that, stubbles require more time and effort to pull off. However, you should know that the care regimen required for these two distinct styles are the same.

A word to the wise, though: stubble is harder to achieve if you’ve got a case of patchy beard growth going on, but that doesn’t mean it’s unattainable. All you have to do, be it you’re going for a stubble or a 5 o’clock shadow, is follow our handy guide right here and you’ll be a regular George Michael in no time!

Growing it

The term “5 o’clock shadow” may refer to the patch of hair that grows on your face the same afternoon you shave it, but it’s a bit of a misnomer. You see, if you want to grow a proper one, you’ll have to grow your facial hair at least a couple of days. Even so, and considering that each beardsman has different beard growth rates, you would have to wait up to 5 days or a week before you get the right length you could groom into the perfect shadow.

Neck beards are a no-no

With the exception of mid-size to long beards, having patches of hair on your neck is probably one of the worst things you could do to yourself as a beardsman. But hey, if you want to look like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons or a sleazy basement troll who’s just a little too into Steve Kerr, we aren’t going to stop you. Seriously, though: SHAVE THOSE HAIRS. Not only is it unsightly, it’s also irritating as all hell the way it itches and makes the overall look of your beard misshapen. At most, you could do a fade that leads to your chin hairs, but that’s mostly just applicable to people who have excellent trimming and shaving skills.

Speaking of trims…

There are two ways to go about this: a pair of beard scissors or an electric trimmer. Let’s start with manual beard trimmers (those beard-specific scissors you could buy online or at your local beard shop). Should you choose to opt for this, you’re going to need a whole lot of skill and patience when trimming your beard to about an eighth of an inch. Who needs that kind of hassle, right?

So, if you ask us, we definitely recommend just going with an electric trimmer here to avoid spending too much time in front of the mirror. Keep in mind, however, that we’re talking about electric trimmers here and not electric shavers. You can easily look for them online. Now, the reason these things are so convenient is due to the fact that they have preset length settings. So, whether you’re going for a ¼-inch or 1/8-inch shadow, you could achieve it with just a press of a button.

Finally, when you’re about to trim that patch of hair just remember to keep the edges even, from your chin right to your cheeks. Symmetry is always the key to a clean 5 o’clock shadow.

The finishing touches

Once you’re done, don’t forget to apply either your preferred essential oil or beard oil on your 5 o’clock shadow. We’re against aftershaves, since most of these things are alcohol-based and may cause irritation on your skin. Finally, just remember to trim that scruff every couple of days or so  – or depending on how fast your beard grows (some of my Italian friends would have to shave every 45 minutes).

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