How to Properly Maintain a Stubble Beard: 6 Essential Tips

One of the most timeless ways to wear a beard. It offers all the benefits of rocking a beard, but it looks more clean-cut than its longer counterparts.

But maintaining a stubble beard that doesn’t look like you simply forgot to shave for a few days is harder than you might think. You want your stubble beard to look clean and neat, and achieving this will take a little bit of work.

Don’t worry, though! I’ve worn a stubble beard on and off for the last few years, and I have some helpful tips that will show you how to wear a stubble beard with style.

1. Get a Good Beard Trimmer

Maintaining a stubble beard isn’t as simple as just growing out your facial hair for a few days. You need a good trimmer to make stubble beard look clean and tidy. There are lots of beard trimmers on the market to choose from, and they all come in at various prices.

I use the Phillips OneBlade for stubble because it’s designed to work with short hairs. Also, it’s quite cheap. If you’re growing a longer beard, its guards shave a bit too tight, but for a stubble beard, it will do the job perfectly.

2. Grow Your Beard for a Week

If you’re starting from a completely bald face, you’ll want to grow your beard out for at least a week. You want to wait until your beard is about an inch long before you start cutting it to its final length. This gives you wiggle room to get the length that works before for your face.

man with beard scarf

Don’t neglect this step and trim your beard too soon, as you might miss out on the perfect length for your face. Yes, we all want stubble, but the length of stubble that’s right for each person is different.

3. Shave Your Neck and Cheeks

Keeping your neck and cheeks clean is what separates a stubble beard from a messy face. Even as you’re growing out the initial beard that’ll be your foundation, keeping the neck and cheeks clean will allow you to look your best as you go through the process.

razor shaving

Where you decide to shave your neck and cheeks is up to you and the style you want to create. There are guides are Amazon that’ll help you draw clean lines. They’re pretty cheap, though I’ve always gone with eyeballing it myself. Alternatively, you could go to a barber, tell them you want to grow a stubble beard (after you’ve followed step two) and have them line everything up to get you started.

4. Start Long and Go Shorter

Like all things involved with cutting hair, you can always take more off, but you can’t add more. Start with a one-inch beard, then take off a little bit more each time until you find the length that’s right for you. If you go right to half-inch beard or shorter, you’ll miss out on seeing what a three-quarter-inch beard looks like on you—and you may be surprised by how much you like it.

beard close up

Will it take a little longer to trim this way? Absolutely, but it will certainly take far less time than having to wait for your beard to grow back again because you cut it too short in the beginning. Take your time and your face will thank you!

5. Trim Your Beard Regularly

In order for a stubble beard to be a stubble beard, it needs to be short. And it needs to stay short. Unlike a full beard, where adding a bit of length doesn’t change much, just a little bit of growth on a stubble beard will make it look far different. As such, you’re going to need to trim your beard regularly. How often will depend on how fast your beard grows.

hair trimmer

Use the trimmer you purchased you initially, and the process should be quick and painful. Keeping up on your neck and cheeks is important too, so make sure you’re shaving those regularly to keep the lines sleek and smooth.

6. Don’t Forget Beard Products

You might think that because your beard is short that products like beard oil and beard balm aren’t necessary. However, if you want to keep the shorts hairs soft and smooth, you should at least get yourself some beard oil and rub into your face every day. It’ll just take a few moments, and it’s totally worth it.

You should also make sure to take care of the skin under your beard with a good moisturizer. This is just as important as the beard oil, as you’ll want to keep the skin under your beard as soft and smooth as possible (this will not only benefit you but anyone who makes physical contact with your face).

Dave LeClair

Dave is a staff writer at Modern Ratio. He's a long-time geek who turned on to style late in life, and now writes to share what he's learned with those who are just starting their own style journeys. He's based in Pennsylvania.