In this guide of our grooming content, you will learn the basics on how to trim and moustache as well as how to grow one, and the history of the moustache.
In this guide, you will learn the following:
- Different Moustache Styles
- How To Trim A Moustache
- How To Grow A Moustache
- How To Care For A Moustache
- History Of The Moustache
Use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read it all!
Much like beards and maybe even more so, moustaches require a combination of patience and determination.
However, the challenge of growing a moustache is entirely subject to the style desired. If a man merely wants a Lampshade of Chevron, results can emerge pretty early on with little work required. If the goal is a small, pencil-thin moustache, this can be achieved quickly but requires frequent maintenance.
However, if a man longs for a big, curled Imperial moustache, then the affair becomes a true test of his character. The traditional Handlebar moustache is renowned for being an infuriating moustache to grow.
In this guide, we will provide you with an introduction to growing, trimming, and caring for your moustache so you can plan ahead.
The Best Moustache Styles
Below is a selection of moustache families that we cover extensively as well as their variants. You will find detailed guides on how to grow, style and trim each type according to your face shape.
Feel free to jump right in and click on one to read more. Alternatively, scroll down first to learn how to grow a moustache, trim it and properly care for it.
How To Trim A Mustache
Firstly, it’s important to equip yourself with the right variety of tools to make it easy to trim a moustache.
Rather than using a beard brush, a moustache is easier to style with a small comb. Meanwhile, scissors will provide you with greater accuracy even if a trimmer is more convenient. Regarding the latter, we suggest that you use what feels the most comfortable.
For instance, beard trimmers are great for aggressively shortening the facial hair length. However, they’re too bulky for precise touch-ups. We would also suggest that you invest in a precise razor like a shavette or straight razor.
As safety razors have guards, you don’t always see the hair that you’re removing. With fine and delicate styles like a pencil moustache, it can be very easy to take away too much hair!
To trim a moustache, you can use the following steps as a basic guideline:
- Clean the moustache with soap or shampoo and pad dry.
- Brush or comb the moustache with the grain then style as desired.
- Shave around the moustache with a precise razor.
- Remove extra length with clippers or scissors.
- Cut stray hairs with scissors.
- Restyle with comb and wax if desired.
If you have a precise moustache style, we recommend that you head to the style guides above for more detail in trimming it.
How Do You Grow A Moustache?
To avoid disappointment, a sound strategy is to set targets with different styles to adopt at different lengths. However, unlike beards, it is difficult to appreciate them during intermediate stages.
Styling can be problematic between different style lengths and the result is not consistently dignified. A man can wear one as a Chevron for a short time. However, he soon enters a period where the hair crawls over the top lip yet doesn’t quite have the stature of a Walrus.
There will be many urges to trim as the moustache regularly tickles the nose. The moustache will be a magnet to food and drink. Stray hairs poke and curl into the mouth. Affection may be a complicated endeavour for a while. For your partner, early onset of a Handlebar may start off as a minor irritation. However, it then transitions into feeling like kissing a wild badger.
The above serves not to dissuade someone from growing a moustache but just as a warning. Don’t underestimate the time it requires to grow one.
Growing any style of moustache is a commitment. Try to remember this when fed up with its slow progress. There will be periods of frustration and dissatisfaction but the perseverance will pay off eventually.
Using A Bearded Surrogate
The most stress-free and easy way of growing out a moustache is to start by simply growing a beard. Although beards have their patchy phases as well, they’re easier to cope with than a moustache on its own. You’ll feel less self-conscious as it develops and more easygoing with its progress.
When the time is right, the beard can be shaved off. A primed moustache will emerge into the world like a butterfly from a cocoon.
If this is the direction you want to take, feel free to follow our full guide on growing a beard here. Just keep in mind that although you can trip the beard, you must let the moustache grow out. Patience is key.
As the moustache’s hairs grow longer, toy will need to train them to grow in the right direction with regular brushing. The moustache will droop at first. It’s an annoying and expected setback.
Investing in moustache wax is compulsory for any self-respecting moustached gentleman. Eventually, the moustache may even retain its form when unwaxed.
How Long Does It Take To Grow A Moustache?
Beard growth varies according to the individual but is usually within the realms of half an inch (1.25 cm) per month.
Hair growth, as well as its stages of development and natural cycles, are covered extensively in the beard guide. Click here to discover more around the subject.
How To Care For Your Moustache
Any self-respecting gentleman needs to ensure that his moustache is always kept healthy. Moustaches should be treated like beards or indeed any other hair with a combination of cleaning and hydration.
As explained in detail in the beard guide, shampooing doesn’t have to be daily but should always be accompanied by conditioner. A dehydrated moustache becomes wiry and brittle, which renders it hard to manage and unkempt. Remember, stray hairs will become more frequent and irritate the nose!
A moustache also greatly benefits from beard-orientated products. For example, beard shampoo, oils, balms and creams are very effective as a moustache is essentially part of a beard.
Out of all of the above, beard oil is the one compulsory item. It replenishes the moustache’s follicles and nourishes the skin with much-needed hydration. Furthermore, it makes the moustache easier to manage by providing a light, natural hold.
As previously mentioned, specialist moustache wax is an essential product to own. Normal hair wax or gel doesn’t provide the same hold and serves little purpose. However, moustache wax is thicker and will stick the hairs together. Furthermore, coloured moustache waxes can be purchased to darken the more fair-haired bristles.
The History Of The Moustache
Evidence of large moustaches can be traced back to at least 300 BC in what is modern day Iran. A portrait was discovered and dated depicting a Scythian horseman sporting a large moustache that was curled at the tip. The presence of Handlebar moustaches has also been noted among Iron Age Celts. This trend would continue to influence Northmen such as the Vikings and the Gauls throughout the ages.
Merovingian kings considered the moustache section of their beards to be of great symbolic value, a legacy which would endure to include Charlemagne. Furthermore, the Saxons were depicted with Handlebar moustaches on the Bayaux Tapestry as opposed to the clean-shaven Normans.
Moustaches In The 19th Century
The British witnessed a renaissance for large moustaches during throughout the 19th Century that started during the Napoleonic Wars. British officers imitated their French foes who they described their moustaches as “appurtenances of terror”. Simultaneously, Britons in colonial India adopted the culture’s customs. Traditional Indian belief was that a moustache displayed a man’s virility. Clean-shaven British officers experienced difficulty in exercising authority over Indian soldiers as they interpreted their bare faces as a lack of masculinity.
In turn, the British rulers “went native”, an otherwise looked down upon practice, and cultivated whiskers to gain respect. Moustaches became enormously popular among the British and quickly spread to the civilian population. The fashion statement wasn’t without incident and the so-called moustache movement faced stark criticism during the 1830s from well-to-do peers. Handlebar moustaches were often slammed as “capillary decorations” and “vulgar clevers” that were reminiscent of their sworn enemies, the French.
Nevertheless, by 1854, moustaches even became compulsory for troops operating abroad such as the East India Company. Furthermore, Queen’s Regulations rendered the moustache a required component for officers and became the subjected to severe enforcement. It’s said that the status of the British Empire can be scaled by the moustache size that was in vogue at the time.
By the second half of the 19th Century, Handlebar moustaches had spread halfway across the globe. In the United States, the Handlebar overtook the Imperial beard as the choice facial hair. It was sported by many notable figures particularly in the West such as Wyatt Earp and his brothers. Similarly, many Wild West legends such as Doc Holiday and Buffalo Bill also wore large Handlebars. However, these were often paired with growth under the mouth that rendered them part of the Van Dyke moustache family.
A Brief History of 20th Century Moustaches
The turn of the 20th Century saw uniform moustaches emerge that reflected the industrial sentiment of the era. Social classes divided through their choices in facial hair. Aristocrats favoured their large Imperial styles whilst the working class chose more reserved moustaches due to working conditions and practicality.
The smaller moustaches took over mostly due to trench warfare. Handlebar moustaches prevented officers from creating an air-tight seal on their gas masks and were obliged to shave them down.
Although larger moustaches were still worn for those off the battlefield, fashion followed the masses. By the 1920s, most moustaches were small Pyramidal and Pencil styles and the fashioned endured until the end of the 1940s.
The second half of the 20th Century saw a variety of styles come and go. Big Chevron and Horseshoe moustaches were popular among musicians in gained momentum in the 1980s. However, the popularity of moustaches waned by the 1990s.
It hasn’t been until recently that moustaches have made a comeback partly thanks to Movember that began in 2004. The movement started with self-conscious baby steps. Men began wearing moustaches again using the guise of a (noble) charitable act to justify it.
However, with the beard craze in full swing, moustaches have managed to create a place for themselves free from judgement.
Now that you have learned about moustaches for men, check out more of our resources:
Great stuff ! Useful and informative!
I’ve decided that a silver-white Walrus moustache, combined with a bald head will introduce me well into the 2020s as a 67 yr old American gentleman.
Excellent choice, sir!
You won’t like what you find in the 2020’s trust me
Ha, I don’t think many of us have been impressed so far.
My moustach has been under my nose for some 35 years now, I grew it straight after I married. It is based on a style (pencil along the upper lip and then verticle up to centre of nose. A Clarke Gable?) that my police constable Father had when I was a child.
Definitely sounds like you’re referring to a Clark Gable moustache; old school but definitely a classic!
Right now I’m at the stage where I’m about 5 weeks in. Going for a Chevron and starting to get some length, but a bunch of the hairs are sticking straight out or even some are kind of curling upwards. Trying to be patient and not trim/pull those wayward ones out. Any good tips, or is it something I just need to wait until they get longer. I am currently using a beard oil twice a day but the hair still feel pretty wiry and rough. What length is it usually appropriate to start using beard balm vs beard oil. Will the beard balm help to hold the stragglers at bay?
First, you’re correct about patience – the Chevron can take some time to grow properly. I’d suggest trimming the wayward hairs if they simply won’t cooperate and continuing with the oil (our guide on Beard Oil: https://bespokeunit.com/grooming/beards/accessories/oil/); if the oil isn’t cutting it, definitely give balm a try (https://bespokeunit.com/grooming/beards/accessories/balm/) as it often comes down to personal preference when choosing between the two. For the wiry/rough hairs, also consider trying out a beard conditioner (https://bespokeunit.com/grooming/beards/accessories/shampoo-conditioner/#conditioner).
Hope this helps,