A man's facial hair continues to grow even after it has been shaved at or below skin level. These hairs begin to emerge within hours of shaving, and the result is known as beard stubble. Beard stubble often appears as a dark patch during the late afternoon or early evening hours, which is why many people also call it a "five o'clock shadow." A man who prefers a clean-shaven appearance often views beard stubble as an unwanted development, while another may see it as the first signs of full beard growth. Beard stubble may grow relatively uniformly across a man's neck, chin and lower face area, or it may appear in uneven patches in different areas of the face and neck.
Different men have different approaches when it comes to the maintenance or removal of facial hair, including stubble. Some prefer to use a razor and shaving cream in order to completely remove all traces of overnight growth. The trimmed hairs remain at or below skin level, creating a smooth and stubble-free appearance. Others may decide to allow the facial hair to grow to a substantial length, then trim or shave off unwanted hair along the neck or chin to create a full beard or moustache. A number of men, however, choose to allow several days of beard stubble to appear, then carefully shave off a definitive line to create a groomed stubble beard.
A carefully groomed stubble beard does have an established appeal, giving the wearer a very masculine and rugged appearance. A number of women have expressed an attraction towards men who maintain a certain level of beard stubble. During the 1980s, actor Don Johnson and others routinely sported a stubble beard, and the look has rarely gone out of fashion for men who do not want to maintain full beards or mustaches. Unkempt or patchy beard growth may not be considered attractive, but the appearance of several day's hair growth can make the wearer look more aggressive or worldly.
Maintaining a stubble beard often involve the use of an electric hair trimmer with a close-shaving blade guard, generally a #1 or #2, or no blade guard at all. The stylist would first shave a defining line under the neck and along the sides of the stubble beard. A few passes with a guarded trimmer over the beard itself should bring the hair down to the desired stubble length. It is possible for a man to maintain a stubble beard with the proper type of trimmer and blade guard, but the results may be more consistent if a professional hair stylist or barber performs the operation.