At What Point Does Five O’Clock Shadow Just Become Disheveled and Unshaven?

Pro tip: Forgetting to shave isn’t really five o’clock shadow.


Five o’clock shadow naturally straddles the line between purposefully rugged and nonchalantly indifferent, and while most men aim to achieve the former by growing out their stubble, many end up looking like they simply forgot to shave while binge-watching YouTube videos and shoving crisps in dips for 50 hours straight.

But there are some pretty simple tips that you can utilise to ensure that your five o’clock shadow looks rugged without looking too rugged:

Tip #1: DSC’s resident beard stylist Travis Fields recommends maintaining clean neck and cheek lines (which you can learn how to do by clicking that link below) to make your five o’clock shadow look like you actually meant to grow it.

Tip #2: Beard stylist Stacy Trevizo says you need to keep the colour of your facial hair in mind when trimming your five o’clock shadow. “If you have lighter facial hair, which is harder to see, you want to use either a #1 clipper or #2 clipper every two to three days,” she said. “Whereas guys with really thick, dark facial hair can simply use a clipper without the guard every other day to maintain their stubble.” Fields also mentions that any length beyond the #2 clipper is “where you start approaching that deserted island look.”

Now, it’s worth noting, once again, that five o’clock shadow is meant to look at least somewhat rugged, and while this might not sound workplace appropriate, DSC’s People Team specialist Camille Jones is confident that some stubble can still look good in most professional environments.

“It depends on the workplace,” she says. “But my boyfriend works for Deloitte (and is on a hedge fund client), and he only shaves once a week.”

And let’s be honest: If the accountants are allowed to wear five o’clock shadow at work, we all are.