The “stubble without a mustache” look is different. There are no two ways about it.
It’s eye-catching, head-turning, and that’s why we love it so much. Above all else, it’s incredibly easy to style.
We’re about to run through the exact, step-by-step guide on how to own this style.
But first, in a nutshell, how do you style stubble without a mustache?
Trim down the entire beard to your stubble length of choice. Define the neckline and cheek line using an electric shaver or manual razor to sharpen the borders. Shave the mustache, attempting to get as close a shave as possible to accentuate the look. As always, moisturize thoroughly to minimize irritation.
That’s a very brief summary. The detailed how-to-guide is down below.
The style is a low maintenance way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. Coupling the elegance of a stubble beard with the audacity of a bare upper lip is bold, sleek, and fun.
Let’s get to work.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a list of the best stubble grooming products on the market today (including trimmers), check this article out too.
What exactly is the “stubble without a mustache” style?
“Stubble” simply refers to very short facial hair – specifically, between 0.4 and 5mm long. It isn’t a name for a particular style. It should only ever refer to length.
Having said this, the “classic” light, medium or heavy stubble look with hair on the chin, cheeks, and mustache is what people commonly refer to as the “stubble” style.
Trimming a phenomenal, permanent stubble beard is a precise art we discuss on this blog quite a lot. The hair length is attractive, professional, and versatile.
The style we’re discussing today is exactly what it says on the tin. This stubble beard hair length with no hair above the upper lip.
Even more specifically, we’re discussing the “classic” stubble beard with no mustache.
It’s exciting. Very, exciting.
How to style the “classic” stubble without a mustache
It’s so simple yet so striking. Let’s talk through exactly how to sculpt this beauty.
What you’ll need
A Mirror – You’ll need one. That goes without saying. But a handheld one would also be useful when it’s time to trim the neckline. It can be difficult visualizing the top of the neck with a mirror directly in front of you.
An Electric Beard Trimmer – A high quality, cordless, waterproof stubble trimmer such as Philips Norelco Oneblade QP6520/70 guarantees excellent results. The premium blades just feel like a dream. It comes with a wide range of size settings between 0.4mm and 10mm, allowing for exceptional control.
An Electric Shaver Or Manual Razor – The areas you’ll want shaven smooth are the mustache (of course), everything beneath the neckline, and everything above the cheek line. Foil and rotary shavers work great, but may not be your preference. Simple, manual cartridge and safety razors work perfectly fine too.
Moisturizing Shaving Gel – For a smooth, frictionless shave, this is vital. Trying to shave without it is a recipe for irritated skin.
Face Scrub – So crucial yet often ignored. Exfoliating with a face scrub before the shave takes barely any time but gives you an incredibly close shave. A hidden secret among shaving pros.
Post-Shave Moisturizer – Trimmed and shaven skin is dry and angry. It needs moisture. Feed it.
Beard oil – Yes, even stubble. Rubbing this into medium or heavy stubble will give it a slick shine and also soften the edges. You’re missing out.
Exactly how to style the “stubble without a mustache” look
The key to success is following a tried and tested routine every single time. Let’s talk through it one step at a time.
1 – Grow it out
Before trimming any kind of stubble style, it’s important to let it grow to a workable length first. This may mean growing it to a length a little longer than you may find ideal.
The importance of doing so is two-fold. One reason is to allow the slower-growing beard hairs to sprout properly before trimming down. This can make it look less patchy.
The other reason is to give you a better idea of the contours your beard follows in a longer state.
A couple of millimeters longer than your optimal stubble length is fine. For example, if you’re aiming for medium stubble (3mm long), grow it out to approximately 5mm. If you’re aiming for heavy stubble, grow it out to around 7mm.
This can be difficult to estimate if you’re inexperienced.
A general rule-of-thumb is that 5mm of growth (heavy stubble) will take the average man approximately 10 days to grow. 3mm will take around 4 days (medium stubble), and 1mm (short stubble) only 1-2 days.
Again, this is a very rough guide, as men vary greatly in their rate of facial hair growth.
Before you furiously close this tab, hear me out. This step honestly takes 20 seconds. Rubbing an exfoliating face scrub before the shave is important for several reasons.
It removes the layer of dead skin cells, oil and dirt clogging your pores and mattifying the bases of the hairs.
This results in less friction during the shave, less irritation and therefore less risk of razor burn.
It also lets the blade get as close as possible during the shave, meaning that the mustache area and the areas outside the borders will be extra smooth.
3. Trim the whole beard
It’s time to reach for your trusted trimmer and slap on the size setting you want to go for. Remember to use the light, medium and heavy stubble length estimations listed above.
If you aren’t entirely sure what length to go for, just trim down slowly in 0.5 – 1mm increments until you find a length you love. You’ll know it when you see it.
Remember to trim the whole beard, including the mustache. You may want to vary the length slightly to compensate for variation in hair density. The cheeks are often patchier, so consider leaving the hairs slightly longer (max 1mm) in these areas to account for this.
Trim with the grain (in the direction of hair growth), and then against the grain if you feel as though you need a closer or more even trim.
Keep the skin taut to avoid nicks and cuts, and also to catch those more elusive hairs.
If you’re trimming and you notice you aren’t catching any hairs, it’s quite likely you’re using a size setting that’s longer than your actual beard. Try sizing down and re-assessing.
4. Define the neckline and cheek line
Well defined beard borders are what make the “stubble without a mustache” look turn heads.
It isn’t hard to achieve but does add a little extra work. These lines contour the face, enhance bone structure, and can make beards look intentional as opposed to incidental.
The overall objective is to be hairless above the cheek line and beneath the neckline.
For a full tutorial on trimming the neckline, click here. To summarize, you want the neckline to follow the angle of the jaw.
Visualize a U-shaped curve from earlobe to earlobe, running through a point in the neck 2 finger-widths above the Adam’s apple.
This would be a perfectly acceptable neckline. But try not to make the “U-shape” too rounded. Upward curves towards the earlobes are more desirable as it allows the neckline to follow the jawline more closely.
But using these landmarks will ensure the neckline doesn’t end up too high, as this can result in an awful double chin appearance. This is particularly noticeable when the victim opens his mouth.
A similar guideline exists for the cheek line. Visualize a straight line running from the bottom corner of the sideburn to the corner of the mouth.
Again, this is a perfectly acceptable cheek line. But a curved cheek line may suit you better, particularly if you have a more angular face.
Outline these borders using the naked blade of your trimmer first. Then trim everything outside these borders – i.e, everything above the cheek line and below the neckline.
Now it’s shaving time. Sure, you’ve trimmed down pretty close and those borders are probably looking quite defined. But to get the most professional-looking results, you’ll want to shave.
Using your electric shaver (foil or rotary) or manual razor (cartridge or safety), shave over these areas after lathering on some shaving gel.
What you’ll be left with is a nice, close shave, with sharp borders.
5. Shave the mustache
By this point, the mustache has been trimmed down to your optimal stubble length (as per Step 3).
It’s time to take it off.
The best practice is to trim down the mustache using the naked blade of the trimmer first. Once this is done, it’s time to get a closer shave.
Using your shaving device of choice, shave the mustache with the grain after pulling the skin down taut gently. The skin here is quite sensitive, so go slow and avoid re-strokes if possible.
As mentioned earlier, both electric shavers (foil or rotary) and manual razors (cartridge, safety or straight) are perfectly fine.
The most natural-looking result is usually achieved by removing the entire mustache, extending as far as the corners of the mouth. You can remove a little more towards the chin as well if you’d like, but this is down to personal taste.
There you have it. You’re officially mustache-less.
The skin needs moisturizing post-shaving, particularly the sensitive mustache area.
It’s most likely dry and irritated, and it needs to be fed what it requires most – moisture.
Use a thoroughly hydrating moisturizer on the entire face and neck, paying extra attention to the freshly shaved areas.
Doing so will reduce the risk of shave itch, razor burn, and ingrown hairs. If you’d exfoliated beforehand as well, the results will be even better.
7. Try some beard oil
To give your stubble a slick shine, as well as softer edges, try some beard oil. A common misconception is that beard oil is only for longer beards.
But this is incorrect. Stubble, particularly medium and heavy stubble, really does flourish with a little bit of beard oil.
They usually contain rich essential oils such as argan oil and jojoba oil which soften and shine the stubble. But they also further moisturize and nourish the underlying skin.
If your beard does extend into short beard territory (>5mm), it’s a no-brainer. You need it. It’ll look and feel great.
3 reasons to go with the stubble without a mustache look
You’ve officially learned the most precise and effective way to grow and trim this glorious style.
Of course, you may have already decided that this is the style you want to adopt.
However, there may be those of you who are little more on the fence and need some convincing.
I’ve outlined 3 potential scenarios where you may want to leap head-first into the beautiful stubble without a mustache look.
1. If trimming your mustache is frustrating
Let’s face it. The mustache area isn’t the easiest to trim. The contours are uneven and the hairs are often of differing lengths.
You often have to make multiple passes with the trimmer to get the result you want, especially if going with the grain.
If this is an issue you’d rather see the end of, simply shaving the mustache off may be a swift and immediate solution.
Remove the mustache and embrace the stubble or beard areas that are easier to maintain.
2. You want to distinguish yourself from the rest
Stubble beards are great. We’ve been revering them for as long as we can remember, and there’s no denying that the stubble hair length is popular.
It can be styled in many ways, from circle beards, to Van Dykes, to classic. But these styles are so popular that it can be hard to stand out with them.
The classic stubble without a mustache look isn’t earth-altering. But it’s different and will certainly turn heads.
It’s daring, adventurous, and fun.
3. Your partner hates the stubble rash from your mustache
Mustache stubble is notorious for causing stubble rash around the lips of a partner during those intimate moments.
We’ve talked about stubble rash and how to prevent it in your partners before, but simply getting a close shave in the mustache could really help.
You’ll still have stubble on the rest of your face, so other precautions will need to be used here. But as long as you get a close, smooth shave in your mustache areas, it shouldn’t be as bad.
The classic stubble without a mustache look could be the perfect way to add a dash of zest into your facial hair. The best thing about it is that it’s so simple to do.
There’s no denying that it requires some upkeep, but that’s the case with any well-groomed beard style.
We hope you found this valuable. You now know how to craft stubble without a mustache, and when exactly you might want to do it.
Do you have any experience with this style or any tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment below if you do!
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.