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How to Trim a Mustache With Scissors or a Trimmer

When growing a mustache, it’s important to keep it looking clean and tidy. Having the right tools and taking the right approach will keep you looking your best. 

Today, we will provide you the necessary steps to help maintain your look, including tools, techniques, and some video tutorials. 

Before Starting

If this is your first time trimming your mustache, we strongly recommend visiting a barber. They are professionals and will get your mustache to the perfect style and shape. After that, you can use the lines they set as guides for home trimming.

Also, we suggest not trying to trim your mustache all at once – take your time. Instead, work on it every day so you can see how it looks and make minor adjustments as needed. 

How to Trim a Mustache With Scissors

Step 1: Wash and Dry Your Mustache

It’s ideal to trim your mustache once it is clean of product, oils, or other debris. This will allow for the best results. We recommend a beard wash or beard shampoo. Here is a list of some popular products you may want to consider using:

Once your mustache is clean, it’s time to get started. Never trim while the hair is wet because the hair is weighed down. Once it’s dry, it will look a lot shorter and will be suitable for cutting. 

Step 2: Straighten Out the Hairs

Using a mustache or beard comb, gently comb out the hair, so they line up straight. It’s best to comb downward a few times, especially if you have unruly facial hair. 

Step 3: Go Across the Upper Lip

Start by cleaning up the hair along the line of your upper lip. It’s best to use your dominant hand as a guide. Therefore, if you are right-handed, go from right to left. If you are left-handed, go left to right. This allows you to see in the mirror where you are trimming and should help reduce mistakes. 

Step 4 (Optional): Remove Thickness Growth

For the guys blessed with a thick upper lip, you may want to thin out your mustache to make it look less bushy. 

With a comb, you can comb the hair upwards and away. Then, trim the tip of the hair follicles while they are still in the teeth of the comb. We recommend making small, measured trims here, so you don’t take too much volume away. Remember – take your time. 

Step 5: Upper Mustache Line (Between Nose & Mustache)

Regardless of the style, you’re going for, make sure there is a distinct break (skin is visible) between your nose and the upper mustache hairs. You don’t want mustache and nose hair to meet each other. 

The shape of the top line will depend on your mustache style of choice. For example, a lampshade mustache requires you to trim the bulk of the hair between the nose and upper lip – so trim accordingly here. 

Step 6: Condition & Style 

Finally, it’s time to condition and style your mustache. Apply your favorite beard conditioner to prevent dry skin or flakes in the mustache. You can also apply a mustache wax to tame any wiry whiskers. Here are a few products that are effective conditioners for your mustache:

How to Trim a Mustache with a Trimmer

Some men prefer to trim their mustache with an electric trimmer. If done well, this technique can be quick and easy. However, using trimmers can also increase the chance of making a mistake, as all it takes is one abrupt jerk or movement to shave off part of the mustache. So proceed with caution here. 

Step 1: Wash and Dry Your Mustache

No matter which technique you use, it’s still important to clean your mustache of any product, oils, or debris before you start. Never trim while the hair is wet because the hair is weighed down. Once it’s dry, it will look a lot shorter and easier to cut with an electric trimmer.

Step 2: Set Trimmer to Desired Length

Select the guard length you want and trim all of your mustache hair to the preset length. It’s best to start long and gradually work toward the desired length. Of course, you can always trim more – but you can’t quickly grow your mustache back!

For best results, trim in several directions – up-to-down, down-to-up, and criss-cross. Be sure to hold the trimmer flush against the skin.

Step 3: Detailing

Next, remove all attachment combs on the trimmer. Some trimmers have a detailing edge attachment. Carefully trim the hair where the mustache and upper lip meet and the hair between the nose and mustache—Double-check for any hairs that might have been missed and trim accordingly. 

Step 4: Condition & Style 

Lastly, apply your favorite beard oil or beard balm to prevent dry skin or flakes in the mustache. If necessary, use mustache wax or a suitable substitute to tame any wiry whiskers. 

Video Tutorials

If you are a visual learner, here are a couple of video tutorials you might find helpful:

Common Questions

Should you always trim the mustache?

This depends on the style you are aiming for. Some styles, such as the handlebar and walrus mustache, require that the mustache not be trimmed, and instead be grown out. However, other mustache styles require periodic trimming. 

Which is the better tool to trim your mustache, a trimmer or scissors?

This also depends on the style. Scissors provide greater control and reduce the chance of creating split ends. Electric trimmers are quicker and better suited for guys that want a uniform look or a thinner mustache style. 

What if you mess up while trimming your mustache?

It happens. If you mess up, you can either fully remove the mustache or try to have a barber rescue it. It’ll always grow back and give you an opportunity for a fresh start. 

We hope you found this article valuable in learning how to complete this meticulous but rewarding task. Practicing and sticking with it over time will help you perfect your mustache trimming skills.  

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more. When Adam isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his two little kids who keep him both on his toes and young at heart.

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