Above photo courtesy of photographer Mitchell Griest
There are some guys out there who nature has blessed with face fur that somehow never looks too sparse or too bushy. The silhouette is immaculate and the length spot on. Here’s the thing though, nature only has a bit to do with maintaining the perfect stubble.
Certain fairer haired types struggle with even a ten o’clock shadow – never mind a five – and sometimes have to deal with a chromosomal lottery of ginger beard, but on the plus side they don’t often struggle with forests of body hair. The fact of the matter is that men who nail stubble do so with technique, dedication and practice. Don’t make the mistake of thinking stubble is a low-maintenance option, sitting somewhere between the hassle of daily shaving and the grooming that makes a good beard.
Four steps are required. The first is a specialist wash. Keep your skin cleanser handy, but it won’t pull the double duty of softening facial hair while getting rid of impurities/dirt/whatever bits of your lunch migrated there. Even if you don’t have a beard, instead opt for a beard wash for your stubble. Non-negotiable, if for the single reason that it won’t act like sandpaper on the skin of your partner/Tinder/Grindr date.
Since we’re dealing with hair here, the problem of ingrowns needs to be dealt with before they arise in inflamed neon red points of embarrassment. You don’t have the length of a beard to cover them and they will be visible. Best to ensure they don’t happen in the first place. What you want is an exfoliator twice a week.
Now it’s time to shave. Have a hot shower beforehand so that the follicles soften and stand away from the skin. If stubble is your go to look, buy a specialist trimmer and shave in the direction of hair growth. If you’re not sure of the setting to try – and it should come with several – ask your local barber for their advice. Or opt for the mid settings and adjust to your taste.
Where your stubble stops is the most crucial factor here. Do not – we repeat do not – take it just to your jawline under the illusion that it will add definition. Does not, never has, never will. In fact, it will serve to emphasise any hint of a double chin. Rather, use your Adam’s apple as a guide and go slightly lower than that. Neat lines are your aim and on the cheeks shoot for halfway between the top of the cheekbones and the jawline.
The final step is fragrance. Your regular EDP will sit on top of the hair and evaporate fairly quickly so opt for an oil instead. These not only smell good but nourish both the hair and surrounding skin. A couple of drops will do. No glistening allowed. You’ll have the perfect stubble in no time.