There’s something enthralling about rocking a constant layer of 5 o’clock shadow. From action film icons to musical artists, it’s ingrained in pop culture as simultaneously tough, yet relaxed. It’s the perfect middle ground between going clean-shaven and having a full-on beard, and today, we’re going to give you a few tips on taking a jab at it.

Get the Right Tools

facial hair stubble beard mensJust because the stubble look grants the appearance of not giving af about your aesthetic, don’t let that pull the wool over the fact that there’s still upkeep and maintenance involved. Arm yourself with a few tools so you can refine and sustain your stubble look, and these include face wash, scissors, and a good electric trimmer. The last of which being of utmost importance here as it’s how you’ll maintain the perfect length for your hairs. It should go without saying that the trimmer you use should have an easily adjustable blade so you can sharpen your stubble to its proverbial razor’s edge.

Pick a Length That Works for You

facial hair stubble beard mensWhen it comes to cultivating short facial hair, there’s one piece of advice that holds true for almost every man — grow it long first, then trim it back to find your ideal. You don’t have to go full Rick Ross from the word go, mind you, but you want your beard to grow long enough to eliminate patches that would kill the look.

It might take you a couple of weeks, it might take a whole month; regardless, however, give it a bit of time before you break out the trimmer. Once you have enough hair to work with, start by slowly trimming your beard hairs down. If you’re using clippers, use the longest guard first, then subtract more and more hair until you discover what works best for your face.

Once you’ve got it all trimmed down, you’ll have to concentrate on shaping it up. You’ll want to remove those jagged edges and areas where your hair seems to creep onto spots of your face where it looks weird. You’ll also want to tighten or tidy up that “neckbeard” area so it isn’t out of sync with the rest of your face.

Maintain + Flourish

facial hair stubble beard mensNow that you’ve dialed in your length and shaped up your face properly, you’ll have to set up a schedule of stubble maintenance. You’ll be concentrating on two main factors here: keeping your stubble healthy and controlling its length. You already know what length you like, so when it grows noticeably beyond that, break out the trimmer and pare it down. Depending on how fast your hair grows, you might be looking at a bi-weekly or monthly task here.

As far as keeping your stubble healthy goes, you’ll want to get in the habit of washing and exfoliating your face. This will remove dirt and debris that can inhibit healthy hair growth, and will give your hair that extra bit of lustrous “oomph” it needs to stand out. You should also start watching your diet, sticking to foods that will promote healthy hair and avoiding ones that will leave your stubble looking weak and depleted.

A well-groomed stubble look is entirely possible, so long as you have the tools and the time to keep up appearances. Be sure to employ these easy tips on your road to stubbly greatness, and, if it turns out the stubble look just doesn’t work for you, don’t be afraid to embrace the beard or grab that razor and hack it all off to start anew.