Mustache wax is an indispensable tool to help tame wiry whiskers and strike the perfect style for your upper lip.
Whether you just ran out of your favorite mustache wax or are simply looking for a few alternatives, below are some products that work exceptionally well.
1. Lip Balm
The best alternative to mustache wax is lip balm. Many naturally-made lip balms rely on beeswax. When you apply lip balm to your mustache, the beeswax will deliver a firm hold for terrific styling control.
Additionally, many lip balms contain nourishing ingredients such as carrier oils, butter, and more. These will also help to keep the skin beneath your mustache nice and supple to prevent dryness.
2. Hair Wax
Hair wax is a niche styling product that will contain either beeswax or carnauba wax. Just like a mustache wax, the wax found in this hair product is added for styling abilities. However, unlike mustache wax, hair wax has a much more pliable and lighter hold. Consider this alternative if you are only looking to manage unkempt whiskers and not style a handlebar mustache to last you the entire day.
3. Hair Spray
Hair sprays come in many different forms. From a modern sea salt spray to a traditional chemical-based hair spray. Sea salt sprays provide an extra light hold and are primarily used to add texture to the hair. Using sea salt spray as an alternative to mustache wax will likely not yield the best results.
However, traditional hair spray is a suitable short-term replacement for mustache wax. Traditional hair sprays rely on artificially-made polymers. While not recommended for continuous use, especially given the proximity of your mouth to your mustache, a hair spray can help lock in your preferred style for the day—a good alternative if used infrequently.
Pomades vary greatly across many different brands. Some may be oil-based, whereas others will be water or wax-based. If possible, use a water or wax-based pomade as they will provide similar results to mustache wax.
Using an oily pomade is excellent for conditioning facial hair and skin but will likely not provide nearly as firm of a hold.
5. Beard Balm
In the world of beard care products, beard balm is the best substitute for mustache wax. It often contains all the same ingredients (wax, butter, carrier oil, essential oil) and provides similar results. The only difference is that beard balm is primarily made for conditioning and secondarily for styling purposes.
The holding strength on most beard balms is light to medium at best and is intended only to tame wiry whiskers. In short, don’t expect a firm handlebar mustache to last past lunchtime when using beard balm.
6. Hair Gel
Like hair spray, hair gel relies on artificial ingredients (vinyl monomers) as the primary holding agent. Therefore, it should be used sparingly as a mustache wax substitute. However, some hair gels can provide an extra firm hold that rivals some of the most respected mustache waxes currently available.
If you use hair gel, use only a tiny amount as overapplication can lead to unsightly flaking of the product.
The primary styling ingredient in most mustache waxes is beeswax. By heating it with a hairdryer or massaging it in your palms, it should eventually convert into a liquid, making it easy to work into your facial hair.
You can find beeswax in common household products, including balms, salves, candles, and other topical skin solutions.
If you are looking for a mustache wax alternative simply due to budgetary constraints, consider making your own. Given that mustache wax is only made from four ingredients, it is super easy (and affordable) to make at home. To help, we put together a guide on making mustache wax and a few starter recipes for further reading.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.