What Are the Different Stubble Styles?

Judith Smith Sullivan

There are many types of stubble styles for men's facial hair. They range from the five o'clock shadow, a common gray or black tint to the skin at the end of the day, to a beard. Stubble can also cover part of the face, similar to other classic facial hair styles only with a lighter growth of hair.

A black tint of stubble on a man's face is known as a five o'clock shadow.
A black tint of stubble on a man's face is known as a five o'clock shadow.

The trimmed goatee is a very tailored, sophisticated style. Like the traditional goatee, the trimmed goatee is a combination of chin and mustache hair with edges that meet near the corners of the lips. The rest of the face is clean shaven. Typically, the style is maintained by using a clipper or trimmer one or twice a week to keep a short hair length.

Electric razors can help in styling a man's stubble.
Electric razors can help in styling a man's stubble.

Similar to the trimmed goatee is the balbo. This style also has upper lip and chin facial hair, but the two sections are separate. A soulpatch, or small growth of hair below the middle of the lower lip, can also be grown. This is a very dashing look, reminiscent of old world Hollywood glamour.

A neatly trimmed goatee.
A neatly trimmed goatee.

Probably the most versatile look of stubble styles is the beard. It can range from heavy stubble, which is only trimmed every few weeks, to a light, well manicured version of the five o'clock shadow. The style depends on the individual's facial hair growth patterns. Some men do not have full facial hair on every part of their lower face, so the stubble naturally grows in a unique style. For a more professional and groomed look, neck hair should be shaven.

Sideburns are optional with most of the stubble styles, depending on the individual's preference. Even individuals who prefer a clean shaven look often have sideburns. Sideburns typically match the hair length of the rest of the facial hair, if there is any, and should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth.

All stubble styles should be trimmed at least once every two weeks. Beyond that period, the facial hair is usually no longer stubble. Instead, it becomes heavy and thick. Stubble, when trimmed properly, looks well groomed and polished.

There is typically a period, however, when stubble looks unkempt. This happens between the last shave and when the stubble has grown in, a period of a few days to a few weeks. Many men do not want to attempt a stubble style because of that awkward period. It helps to choose a time like a long weekend or vacation to allow the initial growth. After a few days, it becomes obvious that the stubble is actually stylish and not accidental.

Someone who wants to grow stubble should cut back on the frequency of shaves.
Someone who wants to grow stubble should cut back on the frequency of shaves.

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