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9 Tips for Proper Mustache Care

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By: Adam Williams

I once thought that growing a mustache required very little effort.  After all, you just let it grow, trim it every now and again, and look like Ron Swanson in a few weeks’ time, right?

Boy was I wrong…

I found out the hard way that growing and maintaining a great-looking mustache takes both planning persistence.  

Today, I’ll be sharing with you what I learned so you too can get a great-looking mustache that’ll be sure to make others envy your upper lip.  

Let’s begin.

1. Deciding on a Suitable Style

If you’re looking to start styling your mustache, it is a good idea to look at a few pictures of mustaches to see some style choices and find the one that you prefer.  Don’t worry about face shapes and all that stuff.  

Rather, go based on look and maintenance.  

If you don’t want to use a mustache wax each day, you might choose a lower-maintenance mustache style. To help you choose a style, here are some popular mustache styles and how much maintenance they require. 

Low maintenance Medium maintenanceHigh maintenance
Chevron Pencil Handlebar 
LampshadeParted pencil Dali
WalrusToothbrush Fu Manchu
Painter’s brushEnglishImperial 
HorseshoeHungarian

The styles in the low maintenance category will generally need less work each day, and may well need less trimming as they generally involve longer mustache hair. Alternatively, those in the medium and high maintenance categories will need styling most mornings and will need more washing, brushing, and trimming. 

Related: How to Trim Your Mustache

2. In Barbers You Trust

Trimming your beard can be quite anxiety-inducing. One wrong move, and your months of growth are rendered pointless! It’s worth, for the first few trims, to go and visit a barber. They are trained to correctly trim and shape your beard and mustache, helping you maintain your desired look. 

You don’t even need to know exactly what you want before going to the barbers. They will be able to work with you to decide what beard and mustache shape suits your hair type and face shape, and will listen to anything you do definitely want. So if you’ve only got a vague idea of what you want your mustache to look like, that’s okay!  

3. Touch-up Between Visits

Your mustache will need regular touch-ups between barber visits – especially if you are growing a chevron, walrus, or other long-haired mustache styles.  

Additionally, if you’re thinking of continuing to grow out your facial hair, it would be worth investing in some mustache or beard scissors for any trimming between barbershops. Regular small trims can help to prevent split ends, and they can also help to remove any curly or overhanging mustache hairs that might annoy your lip. 

Regular trimming will also help to prevent any knots or tangles in your facial hair which can be unsightly and ruin the look of your beard and mustache. 

4. Trim When Dry

When trimming your mustache, it may feel logical to do it after washing or showering, but in reality, it is best to trim it when it’s dry. The water in your mustache will add weight to your facial hair, making it seem longer. Trimming your facial hair wet, like with any hair, may lead to you cutting it too short. To avoid any distress or mistakes, it is best to dry your facial hair or let air dry completely prior to taking the shears out. 

5. Proper Cleaning

To keep your mustache healthy and tidy, it is best to clean it properly and to do so regularly. Clean your facial hair with a gentle beard wash or shampoo and warm water. This will help to remove any debris like dandruff or crumbs, but will also help to prevent dry skin. Washing your facial hair regularly with a good beard wash will also help to reduce the frequency of ingrown hairs, which may cause irritation and swelling beneath your mustache and beard. 

Washing your facial hair once or twice a week is usually sufficient, but this depends on your lifestyle and whether or not you style it. If you’re using wax or any other beard styling products, you may need to wash your facial hair more often. 

6. Condition Regularly

One way to help to keep your beard and mustache healthy is regular conditioning. You can use beard oil or beard balm to help keep the skin and hair follicles nourished and moisturized, which will help to keep your facial hair and skin looking and feeling better. Many beard oils and beard balms are full of useful natural ingredients like antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins, and nutrients. These can be really beneficial for maintaining a well-groomed and soft beard. 

Conditioning your facial hair will also help to combat the removal of any natural oils that may occur when washing your beard and mustache. 

7. Find Your Perfect Mustache Wax

When you decide that you want to start styling your mustache, do some research into which strength you might need to form the style you’re after. Mustache waxes come in a range of strengths, from softer holds to firm hold, and using the right hold can make or break your style! 

Related: When to Use Mustache Wax

Mustache waxes are also available in a huge range of fragrances, which can be really important since the wax is applied directly underneath your nose. You might want to opt for a mild scent, or perhaps a stronger scent that you know you love. 

Of course, if you run out of mustache wax, there are plenty of substitutes to choose from.

8. Style With the Appropriate Tools

When you’re styling your mustache, using the right tools is important. Using a beard comb or brush to shape your mustache and beard is much easier than using your fingers or a larger hairbrush. You could even invest in a mustache brush if you’re looking for a smaller comb to work through your mustache with. These provide finer control and are useful for lifting out any debris within your mustache. Beard combs will also help with this, but the teeth of the comb are generally further apart, meaning they may miss debris in your mustache. 

9. Watch Out for Food

The things we eat often leave bad smells and odors on our mustaches, along with oil, crumbs, and color. To help to avoid a mustache full of peculiar smells and food, consider eating with cutlery more regularly, as this can help to prevent food from getting stuck or touching the hair. 

Alternatively, you can style your mustache to help keep your facial hair away from your food. Styles like the handlebar, Dali, or pencil can help to reduce any contact with food, keeping your facial hair clean and smell-free throughout the day. 

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.

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