Many men have stressed over the question of how to make their stubble softer. Although some strongly aspire to achieve silky-soft stubble, others see it is a peculiar contradiction.
A stubble beard is often adopted in an attempt to boost masculinity points and portray a certain rough-and-ready persona.
But by that logic, surely it should feel as rough as we want it to look?
Unfortunately, there are few that share that same logic, and stubble that was previously seen as irresistible could be viewed as a prickly nuisance by potential romantic interests.
It’s in your best interests, gentlemen, to learn how to make that stubble soft. If not for yourself, then for the swarms of women you could be inadvertently repelling.
We’ll be discussing why stubble feels so darn sandpapery and then launching right into what we can do about it.
It isn’t as hard as it may first seem. As with anything in the field of beard grooming, persistence and consistency is the key.
If you’re interested, find out my most recommended beard trimming and grooming products of the year by clicking here.
Why does stubble feel sharp?
Stubble feels sharp mainly because shorter hairs have sharper, uneven edges. These can feel abrasive against the fingers, or the cheek of a partner.
At this point, it would be useful to define “stubble”. Although there are many different definitions branded around, stubble simply refers to facial hair that is between 0.4mm and 5mm long.
Any less than 0.4mm and it isn’t visible as “stubble” to the human eye. Any longer than 5mm and it is firmly within “short beard” territory.
As a general rule-of-thumb, the shorter the stubble is, the harsher it will feel. When it comes to stubble, even a difference of a millimeter could lead to a significant difference in texture.
Another important factor that determines how rough stubble feels is how dry it is. That doesn’t just refer to the hair itself. It also refers to the underlying skin.
Bear these factors in mind as we delve into exactly how you can make your stubble softer. After all, understanding why the problem exists is the first step towards solving it.
Let’s soften those spikes, gentlemen.
How to make your stubble softer in 7 simple ways
You may notice something about these wonderful little tips and tricks.
Most of them are simply good beard grooming habits that will do a lot more for your stubble than just make it soft. They will most likely also make it look better as well.
1. Wash it well
Use a mild, moisturizing beard wash to thoroughly hydrate the hair shafts as well as the underlying skin.
What this does is remove oil, dirt and dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin, making it feel softer and also “unclogging” the bases of the hair shafts.
Following this up with a nourishing beard conditioner is a very simple yet effective way to remove pollutants and directly strengthen the hair shafts.
Breakages in the hair shafts are a common reason for “prickly beard syndrome” and are much less likely to occur with well washed and conditioned facial hair.
Washing properly will help to separate any stubble hairs that have clumped together, making the overall texture softer, and smoother.
But be mindful of what you use. Try to use specific products designed for facial hair. This is important because facial hair is different, and has different needs to that of scalp hair.
It is coarser and thicker.
Also, facial skin is more sensitive than the scalp, and so the ingredients should take this into account.
2. Try beard oil
You may be confused by the fact that we’re asking you to replace the oil you’ve just washed away with, well, more oil.
The difference is that the oil that was clogging up or mattifying the bases of the beard shafts was produced by glands under your skin.
Commercially available oils designed specifically for the beard often contain essential oils including argan oil and jojoba oil.
These are not only very healthy for the hair shafts, but also softening, and give the stubble a very nice shine.
Beard oil can smooth and round out those sharp edges your stubble has, making it less abrasive to touch.
Unlike beard wash and conditioner, beard oil is meant to remain on the skin and hair. In other words, don’t wash it off.
For best results, use it on a dry beard. Using beard oil on a wet beard is often ineffective because the hairs clump together, preventing individual hair shafts from benefiting.
Also, the water will most likely dilute the nourishing agents within the beard oil itself.
In brief, massage it gently in either circular or up-down motions into your entire beard.
Then, use a comb or brush to evenly distribute it across the beard. Be sure to include easy-to-miss areas such as the neckline.
It’s such as underutilized trick. People often believe the common misconception that beard oil should only be used for longer beards. This is so very untrue.
Stubble can be transformed by beard oils in looks, feel, and scent.
Of course, as with the other tips in this guide, it will also reduce the risk of you giving your partner a distressing stubble rash.
Try it out.
3. Grow it longer
As discussed earlier, the length is crucial when it comes to the feel and texture of the stubble. In general, the shorter the hairs, the more prickly.
When posed with the question of how to make your stubble softer, this could potentially be a quick and easy solution.
As beard hair grows longer, its edges tend to even out, and the distribution itself becomes more uniform. These can both lead to softer stubble.
Once you find a length that feels great to touch, try to maintain it permanently. Don’t ever let it go.
4. Shave close outside the borders
What this means is that you should aim to be as hairless as possible anywhere on your face and neck that your beard doesn’t extend to.
In other words, below the neckline and above the cheek line.
This is easier said than done, as getting a close shave is an art in itself. A close shave simply refers to cutting the hairs as close to the skin as possible.
Yes, hair generally gets rougher and coarser as it gets shorter. But when it’s so short that it’s barely noticeable, what you have there is a close shave.
All you can feel is the underlying skin, and if that skin is well looked after, it can feel as smooth as anything.
The tool you use for shaving is based on personal preference. You can either use a manual razor (cartridge, safety or straight), or an electric shaver (foil or rotary).
Here are some tips on achieving a close shave outside your stubble beard borders:
Exfoliate – Don’t panic. It’s honestly quite simple using either an exfoliating face wash or a face scrub. Exfoliating simply refers to removing the layer of dead skin cells and oil currently mattifying (clogging up) the bases of the stubble hairs. Doing so will allow for a frictionless shave, and also allow you to cut as close to the skin as possible.
Use clean and sharp blades – There’s nothing worse than using dull or blunted blades. This doesn’t only increase the risk of skin irritation. It also results in hairs that are cut with uneven edges, which again, feel sharp and coarse against the fingers.
Keep the skin taut – Doing so will ensure that the blade can glide across effortlessly, and catch any smaller or more elusive stubble hairs as well.
Use direction – What this means is knowing whether you are shaving with the grain (in the direction of hair growth) or against the grain (against the direction of hair growth). Shaving with the grain reduces the risk of skin irritation, which in itself can feel coarse to touch. But in general, shaving against the grain will allow for a closer shave. We usually recommend shaving with the grain first, then going over it against the grain if you really feel you can go closer.
When learning how to make stubble softer, it’s important not to blame the beard for absolutely everything. Stubble can be sharp, sure. But skin definitely matters.
As beardsmen, we are often preoccupied with this layer of glorious hair that perches gracefully on top of the skin. We tend to neglect the facial skin itself which is so important to the overall feel and look.
Ensuring the face and neck skin is well hydrated will also enhance the softness of your stubble beard as you run your fingers over it. The important thing to note about stubble is that it’s short enough for the feel of the underlying skin to be considered important.
Freshly shaved skin is particularly noted for being dry and irritated, and therefore rough to touch. Moisturizing well using a thoroughly hydrating moisturizer will provide that irritated skin with what it needs to protect itself, as well as soften it.
Exfoliating and moisturizing are two essential pillars of skincare. Ensuring that the underlying skin is well looked after is crucial in growing healthy and happy facial hair.
It’s easy to overlook skin and to let our understandable obsession with beards take the majority of our attention. But appreciating the fact that the two go hand-in-hand is the first step.
6. Brush the beard
A very effective step to carry out after applying beard oil, as it also helps to distribute the oil evenly.
This is particularly important with medium and heavy stubble. Although it may not be immediately obvious, beard hairs grow in multiple different directions. Yes, stubble too.
Brushing it will help lay those hairs flat and in a more uniform direction. It also separates any stubble hairs clumped together. This makes it feel less rough to touch overall and makes it look less patchy too.
Over time, brushing your stubble will train the beard to grow and lay as you want it to. For that reason, it needs less attention over time.
Use a brush with natural boar bristles. These are gentle enough against the facial skin, but also tough enough to do the job. In addition, they have a nice exfoliating effect too.
7. Stubble softening pads
It isn’t as widely known at present but some people swear by it. Soft Goat is the most famous brand to provide this innovative solution.
Essentially, a hypoallergenic pad is rubbed over the stubble hairs, and as it does so, it rounds off those sharp edges. This feels a lot softer to touch.
Although it does sound a lot like sanding it down, the material used is relatively gentle on the skin.
Results do vary, however. Some don’t notice a significant difference, and others revere it as a miracle cure. The best thing to do would be to try it out for yourself, as it’s relatively cheap.
There you have it. We’ve gone through how to make your stubble softer in 7 simple ways. It’s unlikely that all of these methods will work for you. But we’re confident that some of them will.
As with beard grooming in general, it’s all about trialing and testing. That’s part of the fun.
A perfect stubble beard isn’t something you grow overnight. Immaculate facial hair is the destination. We’re just here to help you with the journey.
Do you have any tips or tricks on making stubble softer? If so, leave your comments down below! We’d love to hear them.