A few years ago, you wouldn’t have found a stubble trimmer anywhere online or in any local stores. They just didn’t exist. But a few years before that they did — for a very short time.
Can you guess why? If you’re a fan of 1980s cop shows, you probably already know the answer.
Thinking About Stubble Trimmers
Since beard trimmers have been available, you could get ones that cut fairly short — but that’s not the same as a stubble trimmer — a device specifically designed to give you that look of two or three day’s growth of facial hair. For a long time, if you wanted stubble you had to shave, then wait.
Now, there are dozens of special trimmers on the market for every type of facial hair. The best stubble trimmer is one that’s adjustable to give you options about how you look and powerful enough to do the job well, but I digress. This article is a history, not a review.
Modern stubble trimmers returned to the marketplace in 2010. As sales of all kinds of male grooming tools and trimmers were increasing, stubble was suddenly in. Girls started to expect their men to have some stubble — or at least some of them did. In 2011, 2012 and beyond, sales of stubble trimmers and all other related kinds of facial hair maintenance devices have increased — some might say skyrocketed.
No matter the price, we’re willing to buy them because they do the job for which they were intended — and they do them well. If they didn’t, sales would have tanked.
Stubble In 1986
In fact, stubble trimmers have already tanked once. In 1986, Wahl — a respected name in male grooming products — introduced the Miami Device, a single-setting stubble trimmer names after the cop show Miami Vice. In this campy and somewhat silly show, Don Johnson wore pastel-colored suits over t-shirts and was rarely seen clean-shaven.
Miami Vice inspired a short-lived stubble trend — and a pastel suite trend also, I’m afraid. Fortunately, both passed quickly into history.
Introduced in the spring of 1986, the Miami Device was called an electric razor because there wasn’t yet a name for these kinds of trimmers. Then, someone at Wahl apparently realized that producers of the show could sue them for trademark infringement for introducing a trimmer with a name so similar to the TV series, so it was then renamed the Stubble Device.
But very few people bought it. While not shaving for a day or two became a minor trend, grooming stubble just didn’t catch on then — and the Miami Device faded away quickly. So did other trends started by the popular show, including wearing no sock, rolling up your sleeves and using Ray-Ban sunglasses as an everyday prop.
Some of the shows influence persisted, perhaps, but stubble would have to wait another two and a half decades to reemerge.
Why Is It Back?
There are a lot of theories about where the recent stubble trend came from. Truthfully, it never entirely went away after Don Johnson first popularized it, but more recent actors in teenage movies and action flicks seem to get the credit for bring it back again.
And I would bet it’s here to stay.
Choosing the best stubble trimmer you can find makes maintaining stubble a lot easier than shaving every day — which means this popular trend is a time-saver as well as lifestyle choice. And many of us think stubble looks great anyway. More importantly, many of the people who are attracted to us think stubble is good idea too.
So who cares where it started or whether it’s in? For me, facial hair of some kind will always be in.