What is 5 o’clock shadow?
Most of us are familiar with the term 5 o’clock shadow, which refers to the subtle beginnings of a beard that begin to show in the afternoon following a morning shave.
Strangely enough, 5 o’clock shadow was a term that was dreamt up by the American Advertising industry! In 1938, the Federal Advertising Agency used the phrase in a magazine advert for Gem Blades, a product made by American Safety Razor Corp.
Apparently, the phrase became so well known that the agency no longer had to include the term in its adverts. Instead, they would simply place a symbol that indicated the dial of a clock and a man’s face – the viewer would instantly know its meaning!
How to avoid 5 o’clock shadow
If you’re not a fan of the 5 o’clock shadow look, then there are a few steps that you can take to ensure you get the smoothest, closest shave possible.
Firstly, you’ll want to exfoliate your face using hot water and a good face scrub or beard brush. This step helps to soften the hair, release ingrown hairs, reduce shaving spots, unblock pores and lift dead skin cells – all key for a smooth shave.
Secondly, you’ll want to use a quality shave gel or cream to help protect your skin and allow your razor to glide through your stubble.
For the shaving stage, be sure to use a fresh, super-sharp razor, ensuring that you don’t apply too much pressure. As you stroke, make a point of shaving with the grain of your beard, as this will prevent any ingrown hairs. If you need to make a second pass, stroke your razor at a right angle to your grain – but never against it.
Finally, finish off with some soothing post-shave balm, which will restore the natural moisture balance of your skin. Opt for something alcohol-free, to avoid any irritation.
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How to achieve 5 o’clock shadow
On the other hand, if you’re looking to maintain a 5 o’clock shadow look, you’ll need to invest in a good beard trimmer, which will help you keep your beard at a very short length – just like your lawn!
Before you trim it back, be sure to use our beard shaping guide, which includes tips on shaping your cheek line and neckline like a professional barber.