How to Get Rid of Your 5 O’clock Shadow Easily

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Written By Logan Adler
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If you’ve been trying to figure out how to get rid of your 5 o’clock shadow, your search is over.

Whether you have to keep completely clean-shaven for work, or just love the smooth face appearance, we’ll go over all you need to know about getting rid of your five o’clock shadow.

Along the way, we’ll highlight some important shaving techniques and tools to keep your skin looking and feeling great.

If you want to skip ahead, the main topics covered are:

What Is 5 O’clock Shadow?

A 5 o’clock shadow is the natural regeneration of beard hair to the point at which stubble can be seen.

In a nutshell, it’s the stage of your beard that reappears on the day of or shortly after you’ve shaved.

The term “5 o’clock shadow” refers to the fact that even though you shave in the morning, stubble can begin to appear during that same evening.

Some men choose to keep their five o’clock shadow as it can be a great look.

It is, however, the one factor that prevents many guys from keeping a clean shaven appearance.

Brief History of the 5 O’clock Shadow 

Until the 1800s, the 5 o’clock shadow was simply known as “stubble.”

The original coining of the phrase was based on the 19th century English habit of having tea at 5 o’clock.

It was by this time in the evening, stubble began noticeably reappearing on men’s faces, despite their having shaved the very same morning. This led to the locals labeling the stubble “five o’clock shadow.”

From there, in the 1930s, the U.S.-based Gem Safety Razor company started using the phrase to market their razors.

They claimed that their blades gave men a closer shave, reducing the chances of a five o’clock shadow.

What Causes 5 O’clock Shadow?

Aside from the passage of time after your shave, using an electric razor is one of the most common causes of the 5 o’clock shadow.

Electric razors don’t produce as close a shave as manual razors.

Because of this, even after finishing your shave, you might still be left with stubble.

what causes a 5 o'clock shadow

The appearance of a 5 o’clock shadow can also be caused by poor shaving practices.

Some of these include:

  • Using a dull razor
  • Shaving in long strokes
  • Applying too much pressure

The most common poor shaving technique, however, is failing to pull your skin taut while shaving.

Pulling your skin taut while shaving helps to achieve a closer shave, which will give you more time before your facial hair begins to grow back.

See step 3 below.

How to Get Rid of 5 O’clock Shadow 

Getting rid of 5 o’clock shadow is simple if you follow the appropriate steps and shaving techniques.

Beard care is an essential part of men’s grooming, and we’re going to take you through 9 steps to keep your face and neck free of 5 o’clock shadow.

  1. Open your pores
  2. Apply shaving cream
  3. Don’t be afraid to grip your skin
  4. Shave in the direction of your hair growth (with the grain)
  5. Shave against the direction of your hair growth (against the grain)
  6. Rinse your razor with warm water
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 6
  8. Hot and cold rinse
  9. Apply aftershave or Facewash (optional)
  10. Store your razor

1. Open Your Pores

First and foremost, you want to rinse your face with warm water. To do so, we recommend washing your face with warm, soapy water.

Not only will this open up your pores, but you’ll also clear dirt and grime off of your face.

You can also use moisturizers and exfoliating creams during this process, which can prepare your pores and hair follicles for a deep clean.

2. Apply Shaving Cream 

Once your face is clean and your pores are relaxed, it’s time to apply shaving cream.

To apply shaving cream, we recommend using a shaving brush.

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Shaving brushes will help you massage the cream into your face, which lifts hair follicles and prepares them for shaving.

You should use enough shaving cream to create a thick layer over your face.

Leave the shaving cream on your face for about 30 seconds before grabbing your razor.

This gives the cream ample time to prepare the shaving area.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Grip Your Skin 

When shaving cream has settled on your face, it’s almost time to begin shaving.

Before you start, however, make sure you tightly pull your skin to give the razor a smoother shaving surface.

The easiest way to do this is by opening your mouth to extend the area of your face you’re shaving or by using your free hand.

Doing so will limit razor burns and keep you safe from painful cuts.

Once the skin is pulled, glide your razor in small strokes across the pulled skin. Always start by shaving in the direction of your hair growth.

4. Shave in the Direction of Hair Growth (With the Grain)

We want to take a moment to stress the importance of starting your shave in the direction of hair growth. This is known as shaving “with the grain.”

It’s critical to begin your shave in this manner to avoid razor burn.

To determine the direction of your hair growth, carefully trace your palm across your beard.

The direction that feels rougher to the touch is against the grain. The smoother direction is with the grain.

You can also use the credit card technique in the video below.

Certain guys with thicker facial hair may also need to shave against the direction of their facial hair. If you fall into this category, proceed to step 5.

If you are satisfied with the closeness of your shave after shaving with the grain, skip ahead to step 6.

5. Shave Against the Direction of Your Hair Growth (Against the Grain)

Once you have shaved with the grain of your beard, you have the option of then shaving against the grain.

Shaving in the opposite direction of your beard’s hair growth will make for the absolute closest shave, but it can also cause irritation and razor burn.

We recommend performing this step if you have a very thick beard and you are really trying to keep your five o’clock shadow at bay.

6. Rinse the Razor with Warm Water 

When you shave with a razor, excess hair and debris get caught in the blade.

If there is hair or debris in your razor, it holds you back from achieving the perfect shave.

To remove hair or debris from your razor, you need to rinse it after a few strokes.

After every few strokes, rinse your blade to remove any shaven hair. This maximizes the effectiveness of your razor since there is nothing in between your blade and your face.

Frequent rinsing also helps you see past the shaving cream that likely covers your blade.

Rinse your blade with hot water after each use. The hotter the water, the better, because it increases the efficiency of the blade.

7. Repeat Steps 1 through 6 Until 5 O’clock Shadow Is Gone

It may take a few rounds of shaving to get rid of your 5 o’clock shadow. “Rounds” refers to reapplying shaving cream and going over the area with the razor once more.

Because close shaves are difficult to obtain, we recommend repeating steps 1 through 6 until your face is free of stubble.

This process will take less cycles as you get better.

Allow yourself ample time and patience to complete at least two or three rounds of close shaving at start.

8. Hot and Cold Rinse

After you’ve removed your 5 o’clock shadow, it’s time to rinse your face.

This step is crucial because it promotes a clean finish and prevents pores from becoming clogged.

Rinse your face thoroughly with both hot and cold water.

To begin, use warm water to open the pores and rinse out any debris or grime. After a close shave, warm water helps your pores breathe.

Then use cold water to close your pores. Closing your pores prevents dirt from entering your system.

9. Apply Aftershave or Facewash (Optional)

The final step is to apply aftershave.

While it’s not 100% necessary to use aftershave, we recommend it for close shaves to avoid skin irritation.

Aftershave has the added benefit of smelling good and moisturizing your skin.

Make sure you don’t use any aftershave products that include alcohol.

Alcohol-based aftershave dries out your face and can irritate your skin.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to get rid of your 5 o’clock shadow in no time.

10. Store Your Razor

Lastly, you want to make sure you store your razor properly.

Many people choose to store the razor in the shower but shower storage is tricky unless you have a plastic case.

If you have a plastic case, shower storage is fine as long as you don’t steam it out. Ultimately, the goal is to keep moisture away from the blades to prevent rust.

That being said, you should store it in a drawer or cabinet in your bathroom if you don’t have a guard for the blade. Doing so will prevent steam from the shower from rusting the blade.

How to Prevent 5 O’clock Shadow 

There are simple preventative tactics you can use right away if you want to get rid of your 5 o’clock shadow.

While facial hair will develop regardless, there are some measures you can include in your skincare routine to reduce the visibility of your 5 o’clock shadow.

Cleanse, Exfoliate, and Moisturize 

If you want to limit the appearance of a 5 o’clock shadow, one of the best ways to do so is to cleanse and exfoliate your face.

Cleansing and exfoliation help remove dirt, debris, and other potential contaminants from your pores.

Additionally, cleaning your skin might help to relax your pores and make it simpler for your razor to reach all of the facial hair when shaving.

Exfoliation can also help to prevent ingrown hairs, making it easier to manage the 5 o’clock shadow.

To maintain healthy and moisturized skin, you should also moisturize your face.

When your skin is healthy, you can bring the razor closer to your face, resulting in a cleaner shave.

We recommend the Jack Black line of products for your cleansing and exfoliation needs.

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Warm Your Pores

One of the best ways to guarantee you don’t miss anything when shaving is to warm your pores.

Even if you shave with an electric razor, warming your pores before shaving will give you a cleaner shave.

Warming your pores can also help remove dirt and debris from your face and prevent hair from becoming ingrown.

We recommend that you take a hot shower and shave right afterward. If you don’t have access to a shower, wash your face with warm water or wipe your face with a hot, moist towel.

Make sure to wait at least 30 seconds before shaving for the best results.

Shave With Manual Razors 

One of the biggest causes of 5 o’clock shadow is shaving with an electric razor.

Electric razors don’t get close to the skin, so stubble remains after each shave.

The best way to get rid of your 5 o’clock shadow is to use a manual razor. Some great options include a straight razor or a traditional handheld razor.

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Waxing and Laser Hair Removal 

Another tactic to minimize your five o’clock shadow is waxing. Waxing your facial hair rips hair out from the roots, so it comes back thinner each time.

After a few waxing sessions, your 5 o’clock shadow will be easier to manage.

Take note, however, that waxing can be painful.

This next method is extreme, and we don’t really recommend it, but if you want to permanently remove your 5 o’clock shadow, you can get laser hair removal.

It is definitely permanent, and again, it’s extreme.

Think carefully before going through with this method, as you can’t go back.

Keep Your Shave Clean! 

A 5 o’clock shadow can be a good look for some men, but we know that some people just want it gone. If you have the right tools and practice proper shaving techniques, you can the 5 o’clock shadow from happening.

While facial hair almost always grows back, frequent shaving can help you reduce the chance of a 5 o’clock shadow from growing on the same day. So, take care of your razors and they’ll take care of you!

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Logan Adler
I enjoy good bourbon, cool gear, and well-made clothing. When I'm not writing for The Bullfighter, you can catch me playing chess or practicing jiu-jitsu. Happy to connect on Instagram or drop me an email at

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