The 1mm Beard: Trimmer Choice, Technique And Styles


a complete guide to the 1mm beard

The 1mm stubble beard is commonly known as “short stubble”.

Neatly trimmed, this short stubble takes on the label of “designer stubble”. Yes, it looks as irresistible as the name would suggest. 

You’re about to learn everything you need to know about it. 

The Philips Norelco Oneblade QP6520/70 is the trimmer we’ve chosen for this 1mm beard guide. The specialized stubble trimmer will allow for extremely precise control over very short beard lengths.

If you’re interested, click here to check it out on Amazon.

This versatile, masculine and relatively low-maintenance beard length is worthy of discussion for multiple reasons. 

Although short stubble is occasionally still associated with a “tired” look, in recent years it has been adopted by swathes of men as their style of choice. 

When groomed correctly, it can transform a man from cherub babyface to instantly rugged while remaining subtle and low-key. 

The goal with this beard length is to look suave and sophisticated while coming across as simultaneously relaxed and unconcerned. 

What you’re going to learn is how to determine whether the 1mm beard length is for you, as well as some core benefits it can bring. 

Following this, you’ll be given step-by-step instructions on how you can trim the perfect 1mm beard i.e designer stubble.

As an added bonus we’ll also go through 2 other styles you can try out with this surprisingly versatile beard length. 

Let’s get to it. 

By the way, if you get a moment, do check out my most recommended stubble trimming and grooming products of the year. They’re all laid out right here.

How long does it take to grow a 1mm beard? 

In general, it’ll take a man around 1-2 days to grow a natural, untrimmed 1mm beard starting from a clean-shaven face. 

As always though, it’s important to remember that all men grow hair at a different rate. In other words, it may take a shorter or longer time for you. 

Also, to trim the perfect 1mm stubble beard, we’ll want to start off with a workable length.

It’s usually a good idea to grow it out to approximately 3mm before we start trimming down. 

This usually takes around 4 days from clean-shaven. Then, you’ll be ready to trim down. 

Is the 1mm beard for you?

When it comes to facial hair, the main factors that determine what style you should choose are personal preference and practicality

But there are two important questions you should ask yourself before adopting this beard length as your style

1. Would you mind occasionally being mistaken for an “accidental beardsman”?

Very occasionally, you may allow that designer stubble to drift into “scruff”.

With a beard length that short, it’s quite easy for people to mistake sleek and sophisticated for just not having shaved for a couple of days. 

Of course, the best way to combat this ruthless misjudgment is to trim it at least every other day

Keeping the hairs even and the borders well defined will ensure that the designer stubble always looks intentional. 

But if you aren’t able to groom it this regularly, it may not be for you. In this case, 3mm stubble may be a better option. It’s long enough to not be mistakenly considered accidental. It’s also short enough to not venture too close to “short beard” territory (>5mm). 

2. Would you remember to look after your facial skin?

Trimming your hair so short and so close to the skin very frequently means that your skin will start to take notice. 

This is less of an issue than with shaving, but running a trimmer blade that close to the skin will result in some irritation

Although this is still an issue with medium and heavy stubble, short-bearded (>5mm) and long-bearded men won’t experience this as much. 

Regularly exfoliating with a face scrub will lead to less friction during the trim, and therefore less irritation

Moisturizing after the trim is even more important to hydrate and soothe the irritated skin. 

The last thing you want with a beard that short is razor burn. As you’d expect, this would definitely be more visible the shorter the beard is. Again, less common than with shaving, but still happens. 

This isn’t to scare you off this phenomenal stubble length. But it’s just something to make a note of. It isn’t anything too time-consuming, but skin does need to be looked after at least a little bit. 

If you’re willing to act on these two points to a reasonable extent, the 1mm beard may be for you, my friend. 

Let’s talk a little bit about why it’s so great. 

3 benefits of the 1mm beard length

1. It gives great definition to the face

The 1mm beard can be used to add precision and definition to the face in a way that longer beards struggle to. 

It gives a shadowy look to the lower portion of the face, wrapping around the jawline and accentuating the cheekbones if you want it to.

Longer stubble lengths and short beards can at times mask the underlying bone structure. A beard this short will only enhance it

But the 1mm beard can only really achieve this if trimmed correctly. If the neckline isn’t well defined or the appropriate height, it risks giving a double-chin appearance instead of a sharp jawline.

Moral of the story – yes it can make your face look more chiseled. But without proper grooming, this effect is lost

2. Beard grooming products aren’t essential

We often talk about the importance of nourishing the beard as though it were a living, breathing entity. This is something we still stand by and will do so till the end. 

Beard oils and some beard balms strengthen the hair shafts, give the beard a beautifully slick shine and make it much easier to keep neat

But when it comes to the 1mm beard, this isn’t really necessary. There just isn’t enough beard there to justify it. 

This saves time as well as money. Rubbing beard oil into short stubble would just seem a little ridiculous. 

However, if this is something you’d want to do, go for it. There’s no harm. In fact, beard oils often contain essential oils such as argan oil and jojoba oil which soothe the skin as well. 

Remember, skincare is more important with shaving and ultra-short beard lengths. Moisturizing is the key to non-irritated and happy skin.

3. It’s suitable for almost all workplaces

You’d find it difficult to name a mainstream work environment that wouldn’t be accepting of the 1mm beard. It’s subtle enough to slide into even the more old school of corporate cultures. 

Beards and “workplace professionalism” have had a rocky relationship for as long as people can remember.

It’s the unfortunate truth

Deciding whether or not a certain facial hair style or length is suitable for a particular workplace isn’t always as simple as it may seem at first. 

Adopting a 1mm beard is a very safe bet for the man that refuses to go clean-shaven for his interview. No matter who the interviewer is, there’s a strong chance they may not even notice it

That’s the beauty of short stubble. It’s subtle enough to appreciate, sometimes without even explicitly noticing it

The trimmer you’ll need for the 1mm beard

The reason we recommend the cordless and waterproof Philips Norelco Oneblade QP6520/70 is that when dealing with a beard length this short, you’ll want to ensure you have precise control

You can find more on Amazon by clicking here.

A stubble trimmer, as opposed to a regular beard trimmer, usually has a wide range of short size guards ranging from 0.4mm to at least 5mm

Why is this important? Well, although 1mm is the average beard length we want to achieve for our beard, you may well want some intricate variation

Trimming the denser parts of your beard down a little shorter could give it a more evenly distributed look. 

For instance, mustache and chin hair is often denser the cheeks. In order to achieve a beautifully balanced beard, you may want to trim the denser areas to 0.8mm or even 0.6mm to make the hair look more equal to the cheeks. 

Alternatively, you may want to trim your mustache and chin hair down to 1mm and leave your cheeks at 1.5mm. 

Although you may not feel this is necessary and may be perfectly happy with trimming the entire beard down to 1mm, you’ll at least have the option. 

Another reason to have such a wide range of shorter size guards is so you have the option of fading the neckline a little as well. This way there will be a graded transition from neck hair to bare skin, which is sometimes preferable to a sharp edge

Other factors you may want to consider are whether you need it to be corded or cordless, whether it’s waterproof, and the quality of the blades. 

For a full list of the best stubble grooming tools and products on the market today, check this article out.

How to grow, trim and maintain a 1mm beard

If you’ve decided that the 1mm stubble length is for you, it’s time to learn how to craft it. 

What you’re about to read is a step-by-step tutorial on how to grow, trim down, and then maintain a “classic short stubble beard” to perfection. 

Afterward, we’ll touch upon 2 other styles you can try out with this stubble length whenever you feel more adventurous. 

another great 1mm beard. you're about to learn how to trim it

 

Grow it out or trim it down to 3mm first 

A crucial rule of beard trimming – grow it out to a workable length first. 

What this means is, trim down to your desired length whenever you have the option. This will allow you to achieve the most balanced result

In general, a good rule-of-thumb to use is to grow it out to at least approximately 2mm above the length you want to end up with. So in this case, to around 3mm

This should take around 4 days to achieve in most men, although it can of course vary. It doesn’t have to be exact by any means. 

But by allowing it to grow for this length of time you’ll be able to see the borders and contours your natural beard follows before trimming it down. 

I like to compare it to an ice sculptor using an actual block of ice to start sculpting with instead of a melting pile of half-crushed ice. 

A fantastic analogy, I know. 

Trim down in small increments

A quick, relevant word on patchy stubble first. 

The risk with short stubble lengths is revealing any patchiness that exists within your beard. 

This is a difficult one, because the advice we give may seem contradictory. If you read our guide on how to fix patchy stubble, you’ll notice that we say that patchiness can sometimes be made less noticeable by growing it out. 

But then we say patchiness can sometimes look less noticeable when stubble is trimmed down even shorter

The moral of the story is that every beard is different, and you’ll soon find out for yourself which works best for you if you do suffer from the patchy stubble beard. 

A useful, general (but not universal) rule is that if you have one or two small, thin patches, growing it out will most likely be best. Not too much – the 4-5mm heavy stubble range should work. 

But, if your patchiness is widespread with multiple patches, then trimming the beard down very short does often help.

1mm may be perfectly fine for this purpose, but you may want to consider going shorter in 0.2mm increments to see if this looks better. 

Patchy stubble speech, over. 

Let’s keep it simple for now. You’ve grown it out for 4 days. It’s time to trim it down to perfection

The trick is to go slow. You can choose to go down in 0.5mm increments if you have enough size guards to allow for it. 

Trim your entire beard – cheeks, chin, neck, etc. Everything. The beauty of going down is that you get to see your beard in ways you otherwise wouldn’t. 

After using this method, you may decide that 1.5mm is the length for you, not 1mm. Believe me, there is a significant difference. 

Remember to keep the skin taut and to go against the grain. Although there’s a slightly increased risk of skin irritation, you’ll get a closer and more even trim

After you’ve trimmed down to 1mm, decide whether there are dense areas you wouldn’t mind trimming down a little shorter. For example, on the chin and mustache. 

Doing so may allow for a more balanced, even appearance. Just an extra 0.2mm in these areas could make a difference. 

Define those borders

Not defining the neckline and cheek line is a quickfire way to make stubble look scraggly and unkempt. 

It’s so crucial and with this stubble length, as these borders can really define the contours of your face. There’s no excuse not to do it. 

Once you find these borders, aim to be hairless outside them. No hair above the cheek line or below the neckline. 

Some people are happy to remove this hair using the naked blade of their trimer. But this doesn’t provide as sleek of a look as shaving using a razor.

A safety razor, ideally. However, a cartridge razor would be absolutely fine for this purpose. 

For a full tutorial on how to trim the perfect neckline, click here. The overall objective is to allow it to follow the angle of the jaw in a natural way, while not allowing it to go too high. 

When it’s time for the cheek line, visualize a straight line from the bottom corner of the sideburn to the corner of your mouth. You can just use this as your cheek line, dipping into the beard if you’d like more of a curve. 

Straighter cheek lines generally suit rounder faces, whereas curved cheek lines better suit more angular faces. 

This is something you should experiment with a little to find out what works best for you. 

Remember to moisturize

We’ve talked about this already, but let’s be a little more specific. Choose a thoroughly hydrating, occlusive face moisturizer after your trim and shave. 

A moisturizer with SPF protection is even better as it will also fend off those UV rays and slow down the skin-aging effects of the sun. 

You’ve trimmed very short and shaved the outliers. It’s a recipe for skin irritation. Irritated skin needs moisture

3 simple styles for the 1mm beard length

People are often surprised by just how versatile this beard length really is. Sure, it isn’t as moldable as a short beard, or even heavy stubble.

But it’s enough facial hair there to switch it up now and again.

Let’s talk through 3 styles you can try out with your newfound 1mm beard length.  

The “Classic” Short Stubble Look

This is what we’ve just talked through in our step-by-step walkthrough. It’s a simple, noble aesthetic that really doesn’t take long to sculpt. 

Definitely one to master before you move on if only to see whether it suits your preferences. 

Although there aren’t many styles that wouldn’t be acceptable for the workplace at this length, this one is always a safe bet

classic short stubble look

The Chinstrap

A great “less-is-more” style that can really accentuate the jawline

All it consists of is a thin strip of hair that runs along the angle of the lower jaw. No mustache. No hair on the cheeks. Nothing else. 

The beauty of it is that it’s simple enough for a beginner to adopt as well. It’s certainly more adventurous. But it may work wonders for you, regardless of your face shape. 

patchy stubble

The Circle Beard

You’ll see this one cropping up in all of our stubble guides. It just works so well. 

Both the chinstrap and the circle beard are fantastic for men with patchy cheeks because they completely eradicate them. 

The circle beard is a goatee variant. As with all goatees, there is hair on the chin but not on the cheeks. It’s exactly what the name suggests- the beard encircles the mouth

At the 1mm beard length, it can look very sophisticated indeed

a stubble circle beard
a very subtle, short stubble circle beard

Conclusion

It really is astounding how one little millimeter of hair on the face can add such a layer of grace. 

The 1mm beard, although seemingly basic, can swiftly transform a man from dreary to debonair, and from drab to distinguished. 

We’ve talked through exactly what you need to get started. It’s versatility and masculinity have of course been emphasised. 

1mm stubble looks good on the vast majority of people. It’s so universal, yet so often incorrectly groomed. 

Knowing how to sculpt it is something that every man should learn to master. 

I hope you found this valuable. Do you have any tips on the 1mm beard? If so, be sure to leave them in the comments below!

Dilshan

A men's grooming obsessive looking to elevate your grooming regimen one article at a time.

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