Buzz cuts have always typically been associated with neatness. It owes a lot of this to the traditional military aesthetic. But even modern variations do pride themselves on being short, sharp, tidy, and sleek. So, would a buzz cut with stubble really work?
Over the years, stubble seems to have acquired exactly the opposite reputation to buzz cuts. Stereotypically considered the “lazy man’s beard”, you wouldn’t think the two would go hand-in-hand.
But since the dawn of “designer stubble” in the 80s, the facial fur seems to have turned a corner. In fact, when well-groomed, stubble can look very impressive indeed. Dare I say it, it can even look neat.
I wanted to dive into this style topic a little bit deeper. You’ll see some pictures of this fantastic combination at its best. Then, I’ll talk through some significant benefits of selecting the style for yourself.
If you were ever unsure, hopefully, by the end of this article you won’t be.
What Does The Buzz Cut With Stubble Look Like?
As you can see, stubble doesn’t need to look untidy.
Although the term “stubble” can mean different things to different people, I like to use it to refer to any facial hair that’s less than 5mm long.
When nicely shaped and well-groomed, stubble can transform from lazy to sharp and masculine. The stubble itself should be evenly trimmed, the neckline and cheek line should be well-defined, and neck stubble should be removed.
If this is all done, there’s no reason why stubble shouldn’t look fantastic. It’s a simple, easy-to-maintain way of adding even more masculinity to the buzz cut look.
Full beards are commonly grown by men with buzz cuts and they have the benefit of being able to use the beard to alter the shape of their face. A buzz cut is such a short hairstyle that the shape of the face becomes very obvious.
Beards can be used to add balance where balance is needed. For example, by growing a pointed beard to make a round face look more oval-shaped.
But a lot of men don’t have the patience or time to grow and maintain a longer beard.
Stubble could be a fantastic compromise. It can still be used to add prominence to areas of the face you’re looking to accentuate. For example, growing a heavy stubble goatee to add prominence to and elongate the chin.
It’s a lot more versatile than you might have initially thought.
Other Glorious Examples Of Buzz Cuts With Stubble Beards
When it comes to men’s grooming, pictures do speak volumes more than words. Here are some other great examples of this style.
Before we move on, it’s important to understand that the term “buzz cut” refers to several different styles. What they share in common is that they’re all short and are dependent on the use of a clipper.
The three main buzz cut styles to know about are the Induction Cut (hair trimmed evenly in all directions and dimensions), the Burr Cut (sides very slightly shorter than the top) and the Crew Cut (hair on top is significantly longer than the short, buzzed sides).
1. Induction Cut With Heavy Stubble
As you can see, the hair is buzzed down to the same, short, equal length in all directions. The term “Induction Cut” refers to the famous military-style buzz cut given to new recruits.
The best thing about this type of buzz cut is that it’s incredibly easy to DIY. It really doesn’t take much effort or skill at all.
Although its simplicity is one of its main benefits, adding some stubble to the look can add a degree of intrigue and interest. Induction Cuts may look masculine, but they do run the risk of looking a little bland, clinical, and rigid.
Heavy stubble can work incredibly well.
2. The Zero Grade With A Stubble Goatee
The zero grade is basically just an induction cut with no guard attached. In other words, trimmed with the naked blade of the clipper itself. Although I’ve specifically mentioned a zero grade here, any short Induction Cut would work well with a stubble goatee.
A “goatee” refers to any facial hairstyle where there is hair on the chin but not on the cheeks. Traditionally, it was only used to refer to a tuft of hair on the chin.
But the modern definition is more in line with a Full Goatee – hair on the chin and mustache area connected to each other and encircling the mouth.
It’s commonly shaped out of stubble (hair less than 5mm long). When this is the case, it can confidently be labeled a “stubble goatee”.
Coupling a buzz cut with a stubble goatee can look very modern, with a distinctly urban twist.
3. A Mid-Fade With Heavy Stubble
I’ll be talking more about faded buzz cuts and stubble a bit later on. A mid-fade is a fade that ends approximately midway between the temples and the top of the sideburn.
I love it because it works particularly well with facial hair. Blending the fade into the stubble is a pretty technical skill and will most likely need the assistance of a barber, particularly for the first couple of tries.
But when done correctly it can look very sleek indeed.
4. Buzz Cut With Light Stubble
As I mentioned earlier, “light stubble” is around 1 – 2mm in length. It’s a little more than a “5 o’clock shadow”, but its biggest benefit is still adding a nice shadowing effect to the face.
It can lightly contour the cheekbones and jawline, giving them a subtle definition quite effortlessly.
The main risk with light stubble is that it does run the risk of looking like “accidental stubble”. This is because it’s quite common for men to grow this length of stubble “accidentally” over a few days simply due to not shaving.
This is not the look you want to go for. The stubble you grow must look intentional and not accidental. The best way to achieve this is to trim, shape, and groom. A good stubble trimmer should allow you to trim down to these very short lengths.
5. The Crew Cut With Heavy Stubble
A Crew Cut refers to a style where the sides are buzzed short and the top is significantly longer – usually long enough to spike or slick to the side. It can even flop forward into a fringe.
Its main benefit is that it’s long enough to style. If you want the benefits of a buzz cut combined with the ability to work product through it and add some shape, this may be perfect for you.
A Crew Cut is also useful for men with mild to moderate receding hairlines, where the longer hair on top can be used to partially cover up the temples.
Overall, this buzz cut style works great with stubble of all lengths. The picture above borders between heavy stubble and a short beard, but I feel it showcases what the style combination can do quite nicely.
Benefits Of Buzz Cuts With Stubble
You’ve gotten a good idea of what it can look like. As you can see, there are numerous different variations. Here are a few other key benefits of the style combination.
1. It effectively frames the face
Buzz cuts are great because they’re short enough to almost frame the top of the face. They contour and define the top of the head.
Facial hair is a great way to counter and balance this by framing the bottom of the face. This can look very intentional and very sleek indeed.
This principle of adding balance where possible is integral to style and grooming.
In this instance, you’re balancing the top and bottom of the face by using two stylistic devices – a buzz cut and stubble.
2. It’s easy to maintain
This benefit may seem obvious, but it’s important not to underestimate. We’ve talked about the different types of buzz cut – there are those which are easier to DIY than others.
For example, an Induction Cut would be more straightforward to DIY than a Crew Cut, which will most likely require the assistance of a barber.
Incorporating a fade into the style will further increase the complexity and may also warrant a visit to the barber.
But overall, a basic Number 3 buzz cut, for instance, really isn’t hard to do yourself. Plus, it wouldn’t take you very long. Doing it yourself is easy enough to save you having to visit the barber; this saves significant amounts of time and money in the long run.
Stubble is also very easy to maintain. A stubble trimmer or even a decent beard trimmer may be all that you need. Sure, with heavier stubble I do advise you use some beard oil now and again.
But in general, the maintenance requirements are far less than with longer and fuller beards.
3. It’s extremely versatile
The buzz cut with stubble look will be considered appropriate in almost any context you can think of. Even the military allows for ¼ inch – ⅛ inch beards – yes, stubble may well be allowed.
Buzz cuts are just as versatile as stubble is. Whether it’s a job interview, a wedding, or the most casual of situations, a buzz cut would work.
Longer buzz cuts are also pretty versatile in terms of the weather. They’re ideal for hot weather where they allow for pretty unparalleled comfort. In cold weather, you may need to don a hat if the cut is particularly short.
But overall, both buzz cuts and stubble work in many different contexts and situations, no matter how formal or casual they may be.
4. It’s great for balding men
Buzz cuts are great for men who are actively balding with mild, moderate or even advanced receding temples. This is because trimming the hair down to a short, even length makes thinning patches on top look less obvious.
This cut also reduces the contrast between the hair and the forehead, making receding temples less noticeable.
Adding a high fade also has the effect of absorbing the receding temples – almost camouflaging them. This effect is most impressive when the temples are only mildly or moderately receding.
The bald with stubble look is popular. Again, this is simply a way of adding balance to the face; adding some hair on the bottom of the face because there’s less on the top.
It works the same way for buzz cuts.
Balding men or men with receding hairlines should strongly consider this style combination. It’s a fantastic way to embrace baldness instead of trying to hide it.
Being able to accept, embrace, and work with what you’ve got is an incredibly attractive and masculine feature. This style is an excellent example of this.
The Buzz Cut Fade With Stubble
Finally, I wanted to briefly touch upon this style variation because it’s quite commonly asked about. I talked about it earlier, but here’s a fuller explanation.
A fade refers to an effect where the hair appears to gradually increase in length. When done correctly, it can look very impressive and make an otherwise bland hairstyle look more interesting.
Buzz cuts are very frequently faded at the sides and back. A low fade ends just above the top of the sideburn, a high fade around the level of the temples, and a mid-fade in between the two.
A tapered buzz cut can be considered a very low fade.
A buzz cut fade with stubble looks best when the fade is blended into the stubble itself. This can be pretty difficult to do and will most likely require the efforts of your barber before you try to DIY it.
But when it’s done properly, it can produce a pretty fantastic effect.
The buzz cut with stubble shines when it comes to simplicity and ease-of-maintenance. There are many different variations of both buzz cuts and stubble, but what they all share is a subtle air of masculinity.
However, this heavily relies on how well-trimmed and groomed the stubble is. As long as you stick to this cardinal principle, it’s hard not to make this style combination look great.