I may be a little biased, but I personally think a well-crafted handlebar mustache is a perfect compliment to any beard! It will add uniqueness to your overall look and can be a great way to change things up a bit with your facial hair.
However, a well-shaped handlebar mustache can be extremely tricky. Often times the hairs don't grow in the same direction on each side, the number of hair follicles can vary dramatically and the mustache hairs can be unruly.
This causes many guys to opt against the handlebar mustache, thinking they can't pull it off. Because of this, I put together the following steps to show you exactly how to grow a handlebar mustache and trim it to perfection!
Handlebar Mustache Trimming
When it comes to handlebar mustache trimming (or any beard trimming) you will want to set aside at least 30 minutes so you can take your time through the process, even if it only takes you 10 minutes to trim it. The last thing you want to do is be in a rush when trying to trim.
Which is Mustache Trimming: Scissors or Clippers?
Both will get the job done so it really comes down to personal preference and what you're most comfortable with. I actually use both which I'll explain more in detail.
When it comes to handlebar mustache trimming, I always recommend styling your mustache how you would for the day. Wash and dry it as you normally do and apply your mustache wax to shape it. This will show you what hairs really need to be trimmed.
Speaking of wax, a good mustache wax is your best friend when rocking the handlebar. With the right wax and some proper training, your twist will be on point. Pun intended!
Again, I may be biased, but our Live Bearded mustache wax is awesome. It has a sweet lemon scent to it and a light to medium hold that works wonders. Plus we package it in a chapstick style tube that applying it a super easy.
What I typically like to do from there is start with the upper lip. The basic idea here is to simply clear a little room at your upper lip and trim the hairs into an even line across your lip. This will not only make eating and drinking easier, but it will also give your handlebar mustache a much more uniform look.
The fuller you want your mustache, the longer you allow those hairs to grow over your lip. Regardless of how long you want this section, the key here is to make that line straight across.
For this part of my mustache, I typically use the clippers. One important thing to point out here is how wide you want to trim this section. I advise you always start in the middle and slowly trim to the outside, but only about the width of the tip your nose. You'll want the outside hairs to grow longer which will grow and give you the handlebar shape.
The Upper Lip
What I've found to work best is to clear some space at your upper lip about the width of your nose. This will create a "hedge" if you will of hairs so they are one uniform length. It also creates some space to jam your favorite food and drinks in without sifting them through the hairs.
Personally I like using the electric beard trimmers for this, but scissors work just as well. I recommend starting in the middle of your lip and work outwards. As I said, you really only want to go the width of your nose or so as the wider hairs will need to grow longer to create the "handlebars".
As you start to get some length on your handlebar mustache, you'll want to make sure the ends are even. One thing to be very mindful of is not to play the back and forth game too many times, trying to make it EXACTLY perfect. Get it close and call it good, otherwise, you'll quickly take off too much length (and drive yourself crazy).
For the ends, I recommend using scissors. I simply eye the two sides and trim them as close to even as possible. Trimming the ends with a straight cut will square the tips more and make your handlebar mustache look fuller.
Separating the handlebar mustache from your beard
This step is often ignored by Beardsmen simply because they aren't aware of it, and it's this step that will really help your handlebar mustache come to life!
Earlier I mentioned how you want to trim the hairs at your lip about the width of the tip of your nose and let everything outside of that grow long. It's these long hairs that will actually give you the handlebar shape.
The trick here is to allow the mustache hairs to grow long, but keep the beard hairs just under the ends of your mustache shorter. By doing this, your handlebar mustache will "pop" and look as if it's almost sitting on top of your beard rather then blending into it.
I would recommend using the scissors for this part of your trim. Grab the hairs that grow on your top lip and pull those up. Those are the hairs that will form your handlebar mustache. The hairs just outside of that are beard hairs that cause your mustache to blend into your beard. By trimming these hairs down slightly it will give you the defined separation you are looking for, and really showcase your glorious handlebar mustache!
Handlebar Mustache Styles
When it comes to styling your handlebar mustache it's really pretty simple. Apply your mustache wax and throw it in your pocket just in case you need to reapply. Whether you have a short or long handlebar mustache, the last thing you want to do is not have mustache wax nearby!
The key here is less is more. The goal is to keep the hairs shaped and out of your mouth, not glue them to your lip!
Start applying mustache wax to the middle and work your way to the outside. I personally use my middle finger and thumb, and recommend twisting as you apply as if you're "snapping" your fingers. Left hand for the left side of your mustache, right hand for the right side. This will train the hairs to curl up and give your handlebar mustache a better shape.
Handlebar Mustache With Beard or Without?
Now, you probably guessed which my facial hair preference is based on my current beard. I do prefer the handlebar mustache with a full beard look over the solo stache, however the handlebar mustache is good enough to be the start of the show so if that's what you prefer, go for it!
How to Grow a Handlebar Mustache
If you're new to growing a handlebar mustache and not sure where to start, I'll make this pretty simple for you. Just let it grow! There will definitely be some awkward stages in your handlebar mustache growth but with a little mustache wax, as I mentioned above, you'll get through these weird stages in no time.
If you don't have a long mustache currently, you'll want to let it grow a few months before you trim it to allow some length. Everybody's facial hair grows at different rates so it'll vary for everyone but usually you want at least three months before you start trimming.
That said, I recommend applying a little mustache wax during these early stages to train the hairs to grow down and out. Put a little mustache wax on your fingers/thumbs and pull it down and to the sides. Just like parting your hair, it'll take some time for the hairs to get used to laying in a new direction. By applying the wax early it will shape up much easier later on.
Pro Tip: When you are trying to grow a handlebar, don't try to curl the ends too early!
If you're going for a full, all natural (no trim at all) handlebar mustache it's pretty straight forward and this post won't serve as much help. You will most definitely need a good amount of mustache wax and you'll want to keep it on you at all times. Use the wax to pull the hairs to the side and it'll stay out of your way for the most part.
I do have to say, having a natural stache is pretty awesome. It grows pretty gnarly and is the fullest, most badass version in my opinion. However, it's a huge pain in the ass when you eat or drink just about anything. So that said, the glory does come with a price which is why most of the time I opt for trimming mine a bit. I'll show you how.
Is my mustache long enough to be a handlebar mustache?
A lot of Beardsmen aren't sure if their mustache is long enough to flip up and start training to be a handlebar mustache, and whether you are too early really all depends on what you are most comfortable rocking. I don't suggest trying to flip up the sides of your handlebar mustache too early, or it'll just look like you're trying a little too hard. Since everybody grows at different rates it will vary, but in general, I would let your mustache grow at least 3 months before you start to train it to flip up for your handlebar shape. If you aren't sure, send us a message and we are happy to help!
I truly hope you found these 3 handlebar mustache trimming and styling tips helpful! If you have been on the fence about growing your handlebar mustache, I encourage you to give it a shot, and reach out to us if you have any questions along the way!
Live Bearded, Brother!