Well, the reasons for sporting a stubble beard are pretty clear:
- Stubble is a great look.
Well, that’s according to a study involving 351 girls who determine it to be the most “attractive” compared to clean shaven and full bearded men.... It’s as if they already know how awesome facial hair is.
- It’s also the solid choice if you who don’t want to go all out clean shaven - stubble or no stubble? What a silly question, always sport some scruff.
But nor do you want to go full beard whether it’s down to your employer or maintenance department and upkeep? Stubble wins hands down.
- Further still, the 5 O’clock shadow helps to masculate you, mature your look and mask imperfections.
I guess the only question left really is:
How to grow stubble beard
Let’s face it.
We don’t exactly need doctorates here do we?
I mean, all we’ve really got to do is just following the meaning and definition of stubble: “short stiff hairs growing on a man’s face when he has not shaved for a few days” - Vocabulary.com
Growing stubble, is simply a case of putting down that razor of yours and just wait it out for a few days for “light stubble” (approx stubble length: 1-2mm) and 10 days for a “heavy stubble” (approx stubble length: 4-5mm).
Job done, right?
Well yeah sort of - and that’s why stubble beards are so popular, they are easy to grow, easy to take care of and even with the bare minimum upkeep they look pretty good.
However, any facial hair that’s not properly cared for will remain “scruffy” and never make it to what we like to call…
The Perfect Stubble
This is a sort of super stubble that’s undergone regular high quality stubble maintenance, has been trimmed and shaped to enhance your facial strengths and hide your weaknesses.
Plus, it will smell great and be as soft as your favourite wooly jumper (both of which will be earning you serious points in your amorous adventures).
As you’ve no doubt gathered from the title, this is what this guide is essentially about, a complete guide on achieving the best stubble a guy can get.
It still comes down to “working with what you’ve got”
We hate to be the bearers of bad news but your stubble beard genetics has a lot to do with how thick, fast, dark, light, even what texture your stubble will have (that, and your age). So it’s this what will mainly determine your facial hair growth capacity.
That said, you should still “test the waters” so to speak and need to allocate the time for it to come through and see where you stand with it and from there judge whether it is worth working on.
If it’s just too patchy, it might be worth just staying clean shaven (and that’s cool, because you can totally own that too) - but generally patchy stubble isn’t the be all and end all, like it is with beards - many a guy (think Mr Depp for one) are well known for rocking a stubble with a couple of bald patches in.
Plus there are a range of things you can do to increase your facial hair growing potential. For instance:
- Exercise to boost testosterone (which fuels your hair growth)
- Relieve stress and get plenty of sleep (factors that can be hindering testosterone, and hence growth)
- Feed your beard with the vitamins and nutrients it needs.
But whether you have a full stubble or a patchy one, you still need to make making the most of what you’ve got. Whether that be styling it in a certain manner to complement your facial structure or to hide missing connectors - keeping this frame of mind is the best possible way to end up with a darn nice looking stubble.
We’ve broken this guide into roughly the following sections (in case you wanted to jump ahead at any point):
- i) What should be in your stubble grooming kit.
- ii) How to care for your stubble and skin.
iii) Tips and tricks to make the most of your stubble (and how you should get a barber involved).
Then finally we will round it all up with “stubbly life questions” a few that we will address already that has been sent to us:
I’ve gotta say my favorite one though was something along the lines of whether it is possible to light a match on stubble (I’m not sure on that one, but I definitely want to put it to the test).
Choosing your stubble tool
Now when it comes to upkeep a stubble is a complete and utter breeze to an unwieldy, untamed and wiry beard. That said, you still can’t go neglecting your stubble otherwise you will soon turn from that “rough and ready look” to an outright “scruffy” one.
The most important little tool to get on your shopping list is to get yourself a quality beard stubble trimmer - obviously this is for the styling, maintenance and basically keeping your stubble at the right length.
How to trim your stubble
Obviously, there are two ways of going about this.
You can either grow into the 10 day stubble or you can trim down from full beard into it.
The first way is just a simple case of growing it to about 4 mm - now we say “10 day” but actually how fast will vary depending on your genetics (you will also find the hairs grow out at different rates, making it uneven - but don’t worry about this for now).
The usual range varies from 5 days to 18-20 odd days the from there it is a simple case of maintenance and set the beard trim level and make multiple passes.
The other way
Obviously, very similar but you go straight to the trimming part. You will need to alter your beard trimmer down a few notches and set it to the relevant setting hitting that 4 to 5 mm stubble length.
From there it is simply a case of testing and experimenting. But, now how to go about…
Shaping your stubble with a beard trimmer
You will need to grab yourself a decent stubble beard trimmer and adjust it to the relative setting.
If you are a little unsure at first, go for the higher end first (about 6mm) and if needs be just work your way down.
You can either dampen your beard with pre-shave oil or do it completely dry (try out both and see which you prefer).
The general direction you want to be carrying out multiple passses over your stubble with is the direction of hair grow, this ensures your stubble doesn’t end up uneven. When you are using the trimmer though try to make sure the pressure you are applying is consistent.
Layering Stubble: As you do get a little more experienced and skilled, you will want to start to “add” layers to your stubble, this will help it come across better textured, more even and more natural too.
To do this you just want to go down a setting and pass over the bits of your stubble beard that tend to be a little denser such as near the moustache and lower chin area and also raise the setting on parts that are less dense (particularly stubble on the cheeks).
Switch out to the precision trimmer, most good trimmers have one that you can use to to start shaping your stubble lines and embed it.
Also, in the bottom two corners of your stubble, near the ends of your jawline, it’s good to “round these off” if they are looking a little square.
4) To make the most of your stubble you want to start thinking about the shape it is undertaking, but the the main two lines you need to concern yourself with are the i) stubble neckline and ii) cheek line too.
Now, you don’t need to be “as” strict about it, as you would with your beard but to get a really good stubble look it is definitely something to think about. It is this little subtle difference that can turn it from scruffy stubble to super stubble.
Basically this is about getting rid of that neck stubble.
We go into detail about it here, but the main idea is that you don’t want be getting it either too high (that a lot of guys tend to, and it ends up around their jaw line creating that double chin effect) nor do you want to go too low and have that neck stubble beard action going on.
Ideally, you want it just about an inch from above your Adam’s apple and then the other two points want to be opposite one another and contour your jawline.
Everything under that line wants to be shaved off and removed, a razor could come in handy here (if you do this mark it out with a shaving foam so you know where you have been and where you have left too).
I always find this a good time to be getting the hairs on the back of your neck too.
Stubble Cheek Line
Again, the same issue hair can get quite high on your cheeks, mine get can get almost to my eye socket if I let it.
Working out where your cheek line lies is: I sort of making a diagonal from my sideburns from where it starts to curve inwards - then imagine almost a line going straight from there into about midway into the moustache.
Feel free to experiment though, there are all sorts of different stubble styles and designs to try out. However, just like your jawline you want to be removing all the hairs above this line - trying a razor or remove the trimmer guard to cut them off.
Plus, the neckline and cheek line gets easier after a while as when it comes to shaving it next time, you can see exactly where you left the lines.
Then to just keep it and maintain it that stubble length, it’s simple a case of every couple or few days (maybe more, maybe less depending on how follically blessed you are) to repeat the above steps - give it too long though and you start to reminiscent the early steps of a short beard.
You can start to get a feel for it by running your fingers over your facial hair and you can tell when it is getting on the longer side and when neck hair starts and cheek hair starts to sprout.
Fading the stubble: For those extra style points.
You can think about fading, usually this goes along the edge of your cheek line and neckline. To do this it is simply above working along the initial line set but work it gradually inwards from 0.5mm to 1mm, 1.5mm and so on up the length where it meets.
How to maintain the stubble
Although you won’t be coming across half the problems that would you get with a beard (split ends and the like) - you will still have to battle itchiness and dryness if aren’t sticking to a conditioning and moisturising routine.
This my friend, is where beard oil or beard tonic comes in. It’s basically pretty much the perfect stubble conditioner.
What is beard oil?
It’s darn right fantastic for your facial hair, is an oil based concoction of oils such as Argan, Coconut and the like that will do an awesome job of not only moisturising and conditioning your beard but will keep your skin fresh too.
At a stubble stage an oil is more suited than say a balm, as first the hairs really aren’t long enough but also oils are able to better penetrate the skin.
We think you will particularly enjoy this one, it offers a nice crystal scent and won’t weigh you whiskers down too much. Plus, if you get a chance to take a look at the review, you can see we have used some really top quality ingredients in there too.
Applying beard oil to your stubble
Basically, applying just one or two drops of beard oil daily - ideally just after a shower when your pores are most exposed for the oil to really penetrate. I also like to apply a couple of splashes after I’ve just trimmed my stubble too.
This in turn will help to soften up your beard stubble bristles (which I’m sure the better half will thank you for) and will also act as a remedy to relieve the dreaded stubble itch.
If you are suffering in particular with a rough beard, an itch and general irritation.
It might be worth trying out the soft goat stubble softening pads. Simply rub over your stubble and will round off the sharp edges you create on the ends of your beard hair after you’ve trimmed them.
You should also try to avoid drying up your skin, so avoiding overly hot showers and alcohol based colognes - besides the great thing about a beard oil is they are usually scented with a range of great scents - so it basically duals up as double product, being an all natural cologne too.
The better half complaining of stubble rash?
Who can blame them really?
Would you like to be “getting close” and personal with a piece of sandpaper, because that’s essentially how your rough bit of scruff feels like and results in an unsightly rash after too.
So this is why so many guys go completely shaven, at the request of their better halves.
Now, the stubble softening techniques (beard oil and stubble pads) above will help well on the way to becoming more kissable than 90% of guys with stubble. However, to actually make your stubble beard more kissable, contrary to popular thought - growing it a little longer is the option to take.
Think about it, the reason short stubble feels like sandpaper in the first instance is due to the hairs being “upright and rigid”, creating friction whereas grow out a little and the hairs start to “lay down and are flexible”.
Skin care exfoliation, ingrown hairs and razor bumps
When it comes to skin care, as soon as guys start to grow any sort of facial hair, they neglect their skin.
Yes, beard oil will act as a moisturiser but you need to do more. See your skin is literally the foundation to your stubble, so good looking healthy skin means you will likely have good looking healthy stubble too.
We are huge fans of using a clarisonic - if you don’t know what one, it is a bit like the electronic toothbrush of the facial skin care world.
But, just washing your face with a decent facial scrub to exfoliate dead skin cells (which will stop hindering facial hair growth too) and then follow that up with a dedicated moisturizer (with a sun factor in too).
If you keep going from clean shaven to stubble, back and forth, back in forth you are pretty much bound for ingrowns. To avoid them apply a dedicated Ingrown hair treatment to protect you.
Another issue that you might come across are “razor bumps”, essentially a bit like an ingrown in that it will turn back in on itself but cause a bump instead - the best way to deal with this is tweezing them out.
Making the most of your stubble
Now, we’ve gone over how to get a pretty badass looking stubble.
But, how do you take it to the next level?
In all honesty, this is where I would start to think about visiting some stubble and beard experts i.e your “good” local barber who can specifically address you and your facial hair.
See they will be take into account different face shapes and what sort of density your stubble is offering and in turn provide different avenues (along with a couple of tricks up their sleeves e.g. like layering and fading) on making sure it looks its best. Where a round face would benefit from a stubble goatee whereas the rectangular face works well with an all around full stubble.
They will also know which stubble style best works with your facial and bone structure, and how to work it that compliment with the rest of your look such as your hairstyle and the like.
Besides, once the major shaping of the stubble has been done, a lot of the heavy work has been done for you - then when it comes to the upkeep it is pretty. It’s also a great opportunity to get someone on one advice from a professional on your stubble as well if you have specific queries.
What about stubble dye?
We’ve had a lot of questions with regards to stubble dye and honestly we aren’t that keen, we think it is best to embrace the grays.
That said, if you are adamant - there are plenty of options out there for you.
Styling you & your stubble
There are a whole load of stubble styles out there, but what recommend is getting a design idea that best suits you. As said above, that’s where the barber will be able to help you out.
That said, it doesn’t hurt to find a picture of stubble you like the look of whether it be “heavy”, “light”, slightly rugged and unkempt so not too over shaped or tight and sophisticated.
Think about how everything works together though, it is not just your stubble design style you need to take into account but your hairstyle, your general clothing and overall look.
If you look scruffy, no matter how good your stubble - you are just going to look scruffier - the idea is to work with a contrast.
If you don’t like how it has turned out if you have tried before, worst comes to worst - just trim it all off and start again.
Stubbly Life Questions
So it is that time where we directly answer your questions here on stubble and we will keep this up to date to:
No, stubble isn’t really a beard, there is a difference. Typically stubble lies around the 4mm mark after 10 days or so of growth after that it starts to resemble the short beard after 6mm +.
It depends. I always say, certain careers paths are more accepting to facial hair than others, it really depends on the job and how you feel about it too. Do you think it will hinder your chances? If you do, then get rid. If not? Keep it.
- “Can I make my stubble grow faster?”
Can’t wait 20 days tops?
Seriously though, it is mostly to do with your genetics (so blame grandad) that said there are things you can to ensure the best quality growth for your beard potential.
Like always, we’ve hoped to have been of some use and if you have any questions on grooming your stubble beard, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and we’ll respond back as soon as. And remember, keep trimming it up.