Knowing how to groom stubble properly can transform a man. Stubble can be irresistibly attractive for many different reasons.
But left to its own accord, it can overwhelm the face and neck, quickly making a mess of an otherwise handsome man.
Down below you’ll find some tips on how to groom stubble like an absolute pro.
Let’s get to it.
1. Start from a workable length
This is particularly important for your first proper trim. Before you trim down to your stubble length of choice, it’s important to let it grow out a little first. Don’t worry, not too much. But enough to let you see the bigger picture.
You want to see how your facial hair grows in a slightly longer form before cutting it down. Assess the direction the hairs grow, the contours it follows.
Generally, it’s best to grow it to approximately 2mm longer than the stubble length you want to end up with. This is a good length to trim down from.
When it comes to stubble, it’s useful to differentiate it into light (1-2mm), medium (3mm) and heavy (4-5mm). The length you choose is down to personal preference, as well as factors such as suitability for your specific workplace.
If you aren’t sure what to go for, I’d advise that you grow it out for 12-14 days to start with. In most men, this should usually lead to around 6-7mm of growth.
This should allow some slow-growing areas to catch up.
It also means you can choose to keep some patchier areas very slightly longer to give the illusion of density – but more on that later.
2. Trim down and shape it regularly
The problem with stubble is, you just can’t get away with having it poorly groomed. When longer beards look a little unkempt it’s almost accepted, or even expected. It adds to the charm, I guess.
But when stubble is left to roam it can make it look very accidental. Like you just woke up and forgot to shave. That’s the difficulty you face.
There are plenty of reasons to choose stubble as your facial hair length of choice. It’s easy to shape, it’s professional, and it’s versatile.
But it does need attention. If you need to look sharp every day, you’ll need to tend to it often.
Having said that, as you’ll see from our tutorials, it isn’t very difficult to do. It doesn’t take as long as grooming longer beards does.
3. Vary the length
As I mentioned earlier, certain areas of a beard (including stubble) just grow patchier than others. This is normal in the sense that it’s very frequently seen.
It can be a source of some heavy frustration for men who take their facial hair seriously.
Try varying the length.
This needs to be done subtly because you want the stubble looking evenly trimmed overall. But doing this can actually help make it look more even.
It’s an illusion, but an effective one.
The cheek hairs are notorious for growing patchier than the chin hair and the mustache.
Using your beard trimmer’s length settings, try keeping the stubble in the cheeks 0.5 – 1mm longer than that of the chin and the mustache.
It often makes the cheek stubble appear thicker and more even with the rest of the beard.
4. Define the borders
When it comes to a classic stubble style, there are three borders you need to know. The neckline and the cheek line.
The neckline is the border between your neck hair and your neck. A sharply-defined neckline can add incredible definition to your jawline and nicely contour the lower portion of your face.
A scraggly, poorly-defined neckline can look very unkempt and ruin a stubble style with ruthless efficiency.
We’ve actually got a full tutorial on how to trim a stubble beard neckline. But to summarize it here, you want the neckline to roughly follow the angle of the jaw without allowing it to get too high.
Visualize a U-shaped curve running from earlobe to earlobe, running through a point in the neck approximately two finger-widths above the Adam’s apple.
The curve should slant upwards on either side, roughly following the angle of the jaw without letting it become too “V-shaped”.
This should prevent the neckline from getting too high. A high neckline can produce an awful double-chin appearance, particularly when the mouth is open.
The cheek line is the border between the cheek hair and the cheek.
Again, a well-defined cheek line can look very sleek, although some men do prefer to leave it natural. This is a personal decision you’ll have to make.
It’s generally best to just accentuate your natural cheek line, without trying to turn it into something it’s not.
Some men have straighter cheek lines, and some men have more curved cheek lines. Simply sharpen up your natural line but trimming and shaving the hairs outside it and overlying it.
5. Shave the neck stubble
This ties in nicely with the point above. The neckline should be nicely defined, but removing all the hair beneath it is just as important.
Shaving neck stubble properly is essential to creating the intentional stubble look we’re trying to create.
Being completely hairless here produces such a nice contrast with the face stubble. It just screams “well-groomed”.
6. Wash it properly
Washing a beard properly can un-clump the hairs.
Clumped up, greasy stubble looks patchier. Washed stubble looks more evenly distributed and thicker because the shafts are better separated and more uniform.
Be sure to use products designed for beards, however. Facial hair is different to scalp hair in thickness and texture. The products you use should be mindful of that fact.
7. Try beard oil
Yes, even for stubble.
These commercially available oils often contain essential oils including argan oil and jojoba oil. They can give stubble – especially stubble – a nice, slick shine.
They can also make stubble less prickly to the touch.
Ensure the oil can reach as many hairs as possible. Wet, clumped-together stubble hairs don’t allow for much infiltration.
Don’t forget the neckline area.
8. Consider Brushing Heavy Stubble
Heavy stubble (4-5mm) can behave very similarly to a short beard. Beard hairs often lie in different directions, and of course, naturally clump together.
This can lead to it looking messy and patchy. Brushing it can separate clumped-together hairs, and also help them to lie in the same direction.
Many men learn how to groom stubble by trimming and shaving but forget these extras that can really make a difference to the look.
Stubble is a phenomenal way to go for any man who wants to balance ruggedness with versatility. But it does require some upkeep, just like anything else.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.