medium stubble beard featured image

The medium stubble is a 3-day beard with a length of 1 to 3 mm. It’s more commonly known as the designer stubble.

Out of the three main stubble beard styles, the designer stubble falls in the middle of its shorter version called the five o’clock shadow, and longer version called the 10-day beard or heavy stubble.

The medium stubble is an attractive and professional beard style that is extremely easy to maintain and fast to grow. It’s no wonder why it has gained such a popularity among men all over the planet.

What is a Designer Stubble

designer stubble front view

The medium stubble, aka. “designer stubble” is considered to be one of the most popular casual facial hair styles for men.

The designer stubble is a 3 day stubble, and the second shortest beard style you can possibly have, landing itself between the shorter 5 o’clock shadow (light stubble) and the longer 10-day beard (heavy stubble).

Stubble beard styles have always been relatively popular among men, as most guys do have some facial hair on them, and shaving the beard everyday wasn’t always as simple as it’s these days.

With that being said, the popularity of the designer stubble really skyrocketed in the 80’s when the singer George Michael started sporting the style on a regular basis, and the electric beard trimmers started to become more popular (which made maintaining a stubble a whole lot easier).

It’s unclear what the term “designer stubble” actually means and where it originates from, but many sources cite that its use began somewhere in the 80’s as well, and that it has something to do with the rebellious and carefree attitude towards shaving.

How Long is the Medium Stubble

full face designer stubble beard

The medium stubble (designer stubble) is approximately 1-3mm in length, which can be achieved in roughly three days if the starting point is a clean-shaven face.

Out of the three main stubble types (light stubble, medium stubble, and heavy stubble), the medium stubble is obviously the middle one.

The designer stubble has a few days of extra growth compared to the short 5 o’clock shadow (which has a length of 0.4mm) and it’s still seven days short from the coveted heavy stubble growth, aka the “10-day beard” (which has a length of 4-5mm).

Is the Medium Stubble Attractive?

attractive designer stubble example

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, and in another study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology the researchers found out that stubble beards were considered to be the most attractive facial hair styles.

Another key finding from both of the studies was that women rated men with some facial hair to be more attractive than men with clean-shaven faces.

The first study had 60 women subjects, who saw example images such as these:

stubble attractiveness study

They eventually rated the attractiveness as follows:

  1. Light stubble
  2. Heavy stubble
  3. Light beard
  4. Clean-shaven
  5. Heavy beard

The second study had over nine thousand subjects (90% women and 10% men), and some of the example images they ranked looked like this:

stubble attractiveness study

The subjects rated the styles in the following order of attractiveness:

  1. Heavy stubble growth of 10 days.
  2. Light stubble growth of 5 days.
  3. Heavy beard growth of 30 days.
  4. Clean-shaven face (no facial hair).

Bottom line: In modern studies looking at the attractiveness of facial hair, the stubble beard styles have taken the top spots. Based on the results, both the heavy stubble and the light stubble (actually medium stubble since it’s 5 days of growth) were more attractive on average than longer beard styles and the clean-shaven faces.

Best Designer Stubble Styles & Examples

Medium Stubble Beard with Minimal Trimming

medium stubble
Here’s a good example of a medium length stubble done well. The cheek line and the neckline has been defined, and the stubble looks to be even length thorough the face, but it still looks natural and not overly groomed.

Natural Medium Stubble Beard

natural medium stubble
This is the natural medium length stubble without any trimming or defining the neckline. If you have a good coverage of facial hair growing on your face, then a natural 3 day beard will look very close to this example.

The Original Designer Stubble

basic designer stubble style
If you’d want an example of a perfectly groomed designer stubble, then this picture would be it. The sides, cheekline, neckline, mustache, and even the beards underlip have been defined perfectly, and the length of the stubble is approximately three millimeters.

Medium Stubble Goatee

medium stubble goatee
If your beard doesn’t grow that well on your cheeks (common beard problem men have) then you might want to try out an alternative medium stubble style called the “medium stubble goatee”. It’s exactly what the name implies; a 3 day stubble, but just covering the chin and mustache area. The cheeks are clean-shaven.

Boxed Designer Stubble

boxed designer stubble
The shorter variation of the short boxed beard is a short boxed stubble, and it looks equally as good, if not better. The features that define a short boxed medium stubble are the lower than natural cheekline, a perfectly sculpted neckline, and a thick strap of stubble running vertically along the sides of your face. All of these factors come together to make the beard style look like a “box” on your lower face.

Patchy Medium Stubble

patchy medium stubble
If you have a patchy beard, then growing it out long makes it look really scraggly and unkempt. The better alternative would be to try out a patchy stubble style instead. In general, patchy beards tend to look better when they are kept very short and at even lengths, and the patchy medium stubble is a good example of that.

How to Get a Medium Stubble Beard

designer stubble on a diamond face shape

To grow yourself a medium-length designer stubble, all you need to do is to not shave your beard for three days (assuming you are able to grow facial hair in the first place).

Growing the medium stubble from scratch does not lead to the best looking results however, as your beard hairs grow at a different rate, and some grow all the way as low as your Adam’s apple, and others can creep up to the top of your cheekbones.

The better alternative would be to first let your facial hair grow for three to five days, and then use a beard trimmer or stubble trimmer at a length setting anywhere from 1-3mm to trim yourself an even length designer stubble.

You can then make the results look even cleaner by defining the neckline and cleaning up the upper cheeks with the help of a razor or shavette (but this is optional, the natural medium stubble looks great as well).

Here’s a video example from Braun:

Which Famous Men wear the Designer Stubble

The designer stubble is a go-to beard style for many famous men, especially the Hollywood’s bearded actors.

Some of the popular men known for sporting the medium stubble beard include: Jason Statham, Hugh Jackman (when he is not sporting the wolverine beard), Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling, and Chris Hemsworth.

What Face Shapes Best fit the Medium Stubble

man with a medium stubble beard

The designer stubble is a safe and versatile facial hair style, and it can be grown on any of the seven main face shapes without any issues.

It’s the best fit for face shapes that have defined jawlines and chins, which you don’t want to hide with a bigger beard, the square face shape, oval face shape, diamond face shape, and oblong face shape in particular.

If you have a face shape with weaker jawline, narrowing jaw width, or short vertical height of the face, then bigger and longer beard styles might be more visually pleasing than a stubble beard…

Still, even if you have a round, triangle, or heart shaped face, the medium stubble will likely be a better choice than being completely clean-shaven. After all, it adds some masculine scruff and definition to the lower part of your face.

NOTE: we do have a full guide on how to match a beard with your face shape, so go check that out if you’re interested in learning more.

How to Maintain a Medium-Length Designer Stubble

man maintaining a designer stubble with a trimmer

Stubble beards are some of the easiest facial hair styles to maintain, and the designer stubble is a good example of this fact.

You only need to own a beard trimmer or a dedicated stubble trimmer which has a guard-comb or adjustable length setting at the length of 1-3mm.

Then just go through your whole beard area with the desired length daily or every other day to maintain the perfect designer stubble look.

It’s up to you whether you want to shave the neckline and the cheek line with a shavette or razor or not.

Shaving the neckline and cheekline will lead to a more professional looking and cleaner results, but some guys prefer the scruffy look of naturally grown medium stubble as well.


Everybody loves a good looking designer stubble, and there’s even science to prove this fact.

With its short length of 1-3mm and easy maintenance, the medium length stubble has to be one of the best facial hair styles of all time.

All you need to rock it, are a beard that grows, and approximately three days of time.

You Might Also Like

Ali is a published author and a beard grooming expert. To this date, his articles have been read more than 15-million times on various sites, and he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and grow thicker. His work has been featured and cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here