Stubble is in these days, so take advantage of the trend and put away your razor. While maintaining consistent, great-looking stubble is harder than many men think, it’s definitely easier than shaving.

If you’re like most guys, anything beats shaving.

And whether you’re looking for the girl of your dreams or the guy of your dreams, people who are attracted to guys are often attracted to stubble. While it can be prickly and uncomfortable in some intimate situations, if the person who’s interested in you thinks it’s sexy, he or she will adapt.

Ready for tips on maintaining good, consistent stubble that fits your face? Here’s my advice, culled from the best sources and my own years of being stubbly, bearded and generally hairy in one way or another:

Start your stubble when no one’s looking. Try stubble for the first time when you aren’t expecting to see anyone for a day or two. Then, there’s no one to judge you. That means starting on a weekend if you work in an office or during the week if you work outside and party on the weekends. Or consider starting during a vacation or a couple days of sick leave.

Keep a close eye as your stubble changes from day to day. Notice when it looks best. If you have dense growth, one day’s growth may look great. If it’s a bit patchy, let it grow two, three or four days and see how it looks.

Be very careful with your first trim. Choose the best stubble trimmer you can find, and make sure it has lots of adjustment options. Then when your stubble is looking great, try to adjust the trimmer so that it runs across your face and just barely avoids cutting each hair. Take note of that setting, because that’s what you’ll want to use each day.

If necessary, trim to different lengths on different parts of the face. Pay special attention to the mustache area. If it’s lighter and less dense than the rest of your beard, let it grow slightly longer. If it’s denser and looks too heavy when trimmed at the same length as the rest of your beard, trim it a little shorter. You have to work with what you have, but adjust the trim length to get the best possible look you can manage.

Use moisturizers, oils and lotions to overcome initially itchiness. Don’t worry. The itching will go away. Scrub skin to remove bacteria and dry skin, then apply a moisturizer. If necessary, use a hydrocortisone cream on the itchiest spots for a few days.

Keep the stubble clean. Bumps are caused by dead skin cells, bacteria, dirt and sweat. Clean your stubble at least daily, and rinse your face after sweating, using sunscreen or being in dirty air like at a barbecue. Shaving scrapes off dirt and debris, but if you don’t shave, you have to remove the muck somehow.

Decide whether you need to trim the neckline. A lot of guys do, but it isn’t necessary for most guys. If you stubble connects with your chest hair or grows funny toward the bottom, shaping it up might make you feel better about yourself. Remember, however, you can do things however you want.

Use conditioner. When you’re washing your hair, wash your beard stubble too — and apply conditioner lightly. It will feel smoother and itch less. You can also use a special beard conditioner. It will make even a very short beard feel smoother to both you and whoever touches it.

Be consistent. There’s more to having stubble than only shaving occasionally. Once you decide on your perfect look, use you trimmer to keep it the same. Consistency shows strength of character and a commitment to good grooming.

A Final Thought

Since stubble is in these days, enjoy it. Someday, it may go out of fashion — and you’ll either have to shave or decide not to bother with societal conventions anymore. (I’d ditch the rules and go for a full beard if I were you!)

Stubble, beards and experimenting with other facial hair options are part of being a man, so enjoy what you have by making the most of it. If one style doesn’t work for you, try something else.

Just remember that with stubble and with all other forms of facial hairs, there are things you can do to make it look its best. So do everything right with whatever you have — and have the great, fun life you deserve.