Facial Hair Styles

How to Rock a 5 o’clock Shadow

How to Rock a 5 o’clock Shadow

The 5 o’clock shadow has long been a look that men have tried to avoid, but designer stubble has become a stylish look all of its own in recent years.

If you’re dressed smart, you’ve been taking care of your skin and your facial hair looks neat, there’s no reason why you can’t make a 5 o’clock shadow work for you.

Whether you end up with a 5 o’clock shadow most afternoons anyway, or if you like the idea of having designer stubble rather than the beard you’ve got at the moment, Gillette razors can help you to keep this look smart and stylish.

What is a 5 o’clock Shadow?

‘5 o’clock shadow’ refers to the faint stubble growth that many men get in the late afternoon when it’s been a whole day or so since their last shave.

When it used to be the social norm to shave every single morning or be seen as scruffy, it would be around 5 o’clock in the afternoon that a very faint moustache and beard line would start to appear.

For some men, this fast hair growth is unavoidable, so you need to be able to own the look. It’s not usually as flattering on square or rectangular face shapes or for men with lighter hair – dark hair and an oval face tend to suit a 5 o’clock shadow best.

The beauty of experimenting with facial hair is that it can easily be changed again, so there’s no harm in giving it a go – you can always grow it longer or shave it off completely if it isn’t working for you.

How to Make a 5 o’clock Shadow Work for You

Stubble can look stylish when it’s neat and not too long. The key to this is keeping it trimmed – our Gillette All Purpose Styler with its precision beard trimmer should be your go-to tool for this.

Dressing well and keeping the hair on your head neat can also help a 5 o’clock shadow to look more stylish, as can taking good care of your skin. You can do this by using a shaving gel or foam that’s designed to hydrate and moisturise your skin, and by making sure it’s properly cleansed after every shave.

Your shaving technique is also important – if half of your face is covered in razor bumps and the rest is covered in stubble, you’ll look rather unkempt. Gentle strokes are key to avoiding razor bumps – read more about reducing your risk of bumps and ingrown hairs.

How to Get a 5 o’clock Shadow

The easiest way to get a 5 o’clock shadow-style beard is to simply let your hair grow for a few hours – or a couple of days if your facial hair doesn’t grow quite that quickly. Use our All Purpose Styler to keep it neatly trimmed and shaped for a smart look.

If you’ve got a longer, bushier beard and you want to turn it into a 5 o’clock shadow, then the process needs a little more work. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Trim Your Facial Hair

If you want to turn a longer beard into a perfectly styled 5 o’clock shadow, the first step needs to be trimming your facial hair. Our Gillette All Purpose Styler beard trimmer comes with three interchangeable combs and four different trimming levels, so you can experiment to find the look that suits you and your face shape best.

Start off with a longer comb rather than a shorter one – remember you can always take more hair away, but you can’t instantly put it back. Learn more about how to trim a beard successfully.

Step 2: Shape Your Beard

Keep hold of your All Purpose Styler and use it to shape the edges of your beard for a 5 o’clock shadow that looks neat but natural at the same time.

The beard hairs in this style are usually short, so use the precision trimmer to cut off any hairs that curl at the edges or that look particularly wiry.

Take your time to trim around the edges of your 5 o’clock shadow for a much more polished look.

Step 3: Shave Your Beard Neckline

You should also shave your beard neckline, as the 5 o’clock shadow usually features stubble on your upper lip and down towards your chin, but not on the neck. Make your facial hair look designer but effortless at the same time by attaching one of our Gillette Fusion5 blades to your All Purpose Styler to help you achieve a close shave on your neck.

Every Fusion5 blade includes a precision trimmer on the back that’s ideal for removing hair from hard-to-reach areas, so you can be sure it’ll be able to remove every single hair on your neck for a smart and stylish finish.

Step 4: What to Do After You’ve Shaved

Even if you’re sticking with your natural 5 o’clock shadow and just shaving off the hair on your neck, you should follow our recommended post-shave routine.

It involves using hot water to wash away any remaining shaving foam or gel before splashing your face and neck with cold water. You should then apply your preferred aftershave balm or lotion to keep your skin moisturised and smooth.

Ultimately, for a 5 o’clock shadow that looks like it was always meant to be there, you just need patience and the right tools. When you choose Gillette, performance and precision are guaranteed.

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Gillette Editor

Gillette Editor

Writer and expert


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