The Right Scruff
Photos by Carli Wentworth
WHEN IT COMES TO MEN'S TRENDS, I have tried most of them. In the ’80s, I was one of those guys with the preppy double-layered polo shirts with upturned collars. As a country disc jockey in the ’90s, I had some success with the “Garth Brooks-Wranglers-and-MoBetta-shirt” look. Then a few years ago there was the whole “Abercrombie/Hollister surfer stud” look. Let’s not even go there.Therefore, the trendy no-shave scruffy look intrigued me – until I tried it for a week. It looked like Anderson Cooper threw up on my beard.
Through the years, I’ve learned that I am not suited for every new trend (see above “Abercrombie/Hollister” reference). So out came the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo and the Edge Power Gel, and I was back.
But some dudes can pull it off, and they do it well. What is it about the half-inch whisker growth that they enjoy? Let’s find out.
Public Information Director, Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office
It’s the greatest feeling to wake up in the morning and think “I’m not going to shave today!” Usually if I have stubble it means I have done absolutely nothing for a few days and have let myself go, which in my book is a good thing.
There is a difference, though, between stubble and full-on “Duck Dynasty.” I usually only allow three-to-four days’ growth before I shave, and that gives me the optimum “shadow effect.”
Shaving is pure agony. When I do shave, it’s not only my face, but I also shave my head. It’s not an easy task doing that every morning. Plus, the older you get - and when you have a mug like mine - you do everything possible to conceal just how ugly you are! Stubble is like an all-natural concealer.
Cleveland County Assistant District Attorney
I think what I like the most is how much it cuts off my morning routine. It’s one less thing I have to worry about, and when it comes to time management and mornings, I need all the help I can get. Plus, I just like the way it looks.
The thing about scruff is there’s really not a wrong way to wear it. Normally I use my trimmers with a guard set at two or three. I will do that once a week, and a razor for my neck and cheeks when I feel like it.
As a teenager I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some shaving cream and a razor when I started growing those first wisps of hair on my upper lip. But after so many years of shaving I’m definitely over it. A little scruff never hurt anybody, but goatees and “flavor savers” kill, so choose your facial hair wisely, fellas!
Artistic Director, Oklahoma City Ballet
I am really not trying to be trendy, and I don’t care so much about how it looks; it’s just that I enjoy not having to shave every day. I am not really one to groom it at all unless I shave my neck to create a clean line. Typically I shave it all off before it gets to the point where it would qualify as a beard.
As an artist, I am lucky in that I get a lot of leeway in terms of how I look or dress at work. I am in front of a group of dancers who are working hard and sweating. I need to be able to move freely so my attire is much more casual than most in the workplace. Many times I simply allow my facial hair to follow suit.
I was never excited about shaving. I absolutely hate it and would be very happy if I never had to shave again!
Manufacturing Systems Manager, Lucas Color Card
What I enjoy most about scruff is not shaving every day – not that I was a faithful daily shaver anyway. But I do like the look of it as well. It’s amazing the difference some stubble can make to your appearance.
To keep it from looking like a full beard I use a trimmer with an adjustable blade a couple times a week. I trim the neck pretty short for a cleaner look. Some of the responses I get are interesting, everything from “Oh, are you trying to grow a beard?” to “Whoa! Russell Crowe!” Which is odd because I look nothing like Russell Crowe. Men are generally more accepting. Some can’t grow a beard, or it comes in patchy. I used it as a conversation piece for a while.
Not shaving is great; I imagine it’s like a bald guy who just gets out of the shower and is ready to go – no hair prep, no gel. Always ready. I encourage all men to try a beard at least once in their life. Give it a month and see how it looks. It’s part of the male experience!
President, Traction Marketing Group
Beards are a sign of virility. There’s a reason guys like Chuck Norris, Abraham Lincoln and every hockey player all have beards: Testosterone is literally spilling forth from their face. But in all seriousness, it’s a healthy mixture of not feeling compelled to shave every single day and liking the look.
My facial hair isn’t very dark, so it keeps its “stubblish” appearance for a while. I could probably get away with a couple of weeks between shaves, but I prefer to use a beard trimmer every four to five days to keep it clean-looking and tidy. Of course, the neck must be clean shaven with a razor every couple of days. Nobody desires neck beards; fuzzy turtlenecks just aren’t a good look for anyone but Graham Colton.
And if you’re going to grow something on your face, grow something uniform or don’t grow it out at all. A few sporadic Keanu patches do not a beard make!
I am so not a beard or mountain-man type of guy. I don’t hunt, camp or fish. But I am a huge fan of the stubble look. I love the confidence it gives me. A little stubble goes a long way. It lets everyone know “I am a man, hear me roar!” Just kidding. Sort of. Seriously though, I love how it ages me a bit and makes me appear more masculine.
Typically I try to trim once or twice a week. I’m all about grooming, shaping and maintaining my 5 o’clock shadow, although it’s kind of a sad shadow and doesn’t always grow consistently. Plus, when my stubble starts to transition into a beard, I start scratching the heck out of my face. Ain’t nobody got time for an itchy facial rug!
I mostly get compliments on my facial hair. It’s all positive feedback. So hey, I’m just a guy, rocking a lil’ stubble in a corner!