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The Dude’s Guide to Mustache Grooming

Whether you’re a goateed dude or a Selleck man, if you’ve got facial hair, you have to figure out how to care for it. After all, that hipster handlebar look isn’t going to shape itself. And if this is your first Movember? Welcome to the mustache grooming club — your upper lip is about to enjoy its first of hopefully many 15 minutes of fame. 

Let’s Talk Mustache Styles

Why not? They’re hilarious. Except the one worn by that Austrian guy who started WWII. We’re gonna skip that one, but luckily, it’s a stupidly comical look on any face except Charlie Chaplin’s. Anyway, the mustache style you personally should grow depends on what your facial hair likes to do as well as your aptitude for basic maintenance. 

  1. The straight across: The mustache classic. Most dudes who can grow any facial hair whatsoever can grow this one. Starting just under your nostrils, the mustache reaches just to the corners of your mouth and goes no farther. Be sure to keep this trimmed with a decent pair mustache scissors so it doesn’t grow over your upper lip.
  2. The handlebar mustache: The straight across, with a twist. Go with the handlebar if you want to look like an old timey Civil War hero or a dude who was in a gang in turn-of-the-century Manhattan. But be warned, those long, draping ends require trimming and shaping and to really pull off the look, a touch of mustache wax.
  3. The horseshoe mustache: Pretty self-explanatory. A horseshoe shape grows neatly around your upper lip and down to your jawline. While the horseshoe bears similarity to the handlebar, unlike the handlebar, there’s nothing here to grab — the whole thing should be closely trimmed to your face. 
  4. The Tom Selleck: The follicles above your upper lip are thick and abundant. Your facial hair grows with a great and unstoppable zest for life. Looks better on dark-haired dudes but blonds and redheads, we invite you to prove us wrong. Fun fact: if you’re not a Selleck fan, this style is also known as the Chevron.
  5. The walrus mustache: This is the Selleck, but on steroids. Choose this if you are, in fact, a walrus, or you can’t decide between the Selleck and the handlebar and want them combined into one dense, luscious, yet shapely forest poised above, on, and over your upper lip. And your lower lip, come to think of it. 
  6. The pencil mustache: Are you either John Waters (lip line version) or Clark Gable (standard straight across)? If not, we're not sure this is going to win you the award for Best Mustache anytime soon. 

Styling Your ‘Stache

First off, if you’re a dude who’d rather prepare than dive right in, one way to figure out which ‘stache style is right for your face is to Google celebs who look like you at various points that they themselves have grown mustaches. For example, if you search “Armie Hammer mustache,” you can get a good idea of what you’d look like as Superman sporting a Selleck. Onward!

Having determined which Movember look is right for you, you now need to get into growing it. The easiest way to do this is in big moves — grow a full beard, then get in there with clippers to cut it down into your intended style and desired length. Also, and we cannot stress this enough, you need to make sure you’re working with a clean face. If soap and water is a PITA for you, use a daily cleansing wipe. This is step number one to making sure your upper lip isn’t breakout central underneath your hipster handlebar. 

And now, you’re ready for products. 

Fundamental Facial Hair Care: Beard Oil, Beard Balm, and Mustache Wax

Mustache grooming tips are futile without the right products. If you’re doing the handlebar, the walrus, or basically any mustache style featuring longer facial hair, you need mustache wax. This is what lets you get and keep those strands in place. Apply sparingly, twist those tips up or down — your call — and you should be set for the rest of the day. 

Contrary to its name, meanwhile, beard oil is a broadly useful tool in any facial hair-sporting dude’s grooming kit. What this product does is soften and lightly moisturize your dry and bristly facial hair, rendering it far more pleasant to the touch, both against your own skin and that of anyone rubbing up against your face. Think of it as conditioner for facial hair. 

And beard balm is your go-to two-in-one pomade. This product should simultaneously help keep your mustache soft and provide a light hold. It likely won’t maintain a gravity-defying upward twist at the tips of a handlebar mustache, but will do the trick for maintenance on less intense facial hair styles. 

Mustache Grooming Gear: Mustache Combs, Mustache Scissors, and Trimmers

Also known as a beard comb, we’re going to call this handy tool a mustache comb given that its main use in your arsenal is Selleck maintenance. The most obvious of the facial hair maintenance tools, combing your mustache is a quick way to make sure it falls correctly into place. 

A pair of mustache scissors are a tiny tool for doing precision grooming on longer and stray hairs. Just trim closely to your upper lip and don't cut too high above it, which looks weird. Also, do not skimp on this item and attempt to sub in kitchen scissors or some other injury-causing nonsense.

You likely already own a beard trimmer, so now’s the time to figure out which attachments and clippers will work for neatening the edges around your mustache in addition to using the shave function for keeping the rest of your full beard at bay. This may require trial and error, so just go slowly. 

Finally, all these tools can be found on Amazon, though if you’re feeling fancy and live in a major metropolitan area, feel free to indulge in mustache grooming gear from whatever Ye Olde Old-Time Shoppe happens to be around.

Congrats dude — you're ready for Movember. We hope your newly mustachioed self raises much moolah for this fine cause.

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