How To [Trim Your Moustache]
By Anil Davé | Last updated
1st June 2018
You've taken the plunge and grown a badass moustache. Yeah, it might have started out as a bit of banter with your mates over who could last the longest through Movember, but you've now gone into the unknown. It's now December and you've done the unthinkable. You've left it on your face.
You might be telling yourself:
"This shi## is fu##ing cool! Why do I need to shave it off".
Yep, you're in the unknown, you're not playing by the rules and you love it! Apart from the constant badgering from the Mrs about getting rid of it, you're thinking this is a good look for you.
After a few months, you might be thinking, I need to tame this beast. I like it, but it's getting out of control. I need to trim it, but your sh## scared to touch it.
Well, I'm here to help. I'm gonna take you through some steps on how to trim your moustache and touch on some styling and shaping tips too.
Let's get stuck in.
When should I start thinking about trimming?
It really depends on what kind of style moustache you're going for. There isn't a right or wrong answer here. If you're keeping it short and you're looking to keep it tidy, then you should be trimming your moustache from the moment you decide to grow it.
On the other hand, if you're looking to grow a big moustache, something like the Horseshoe, or the Handlebar moustache, then trimming your moustache is a no-no for at least two months. I've talked about this in previous articles, but the key ingredient to growing one of these cool moustaches is patience.
So trimming your aspiring handlebar moustache from day one is not going to give you the results you want.
So the rule of thumb:
Short and Neat = Trim now
Long and cool = Trim later
The tools you need
Picking the correct tools for the job is really important. I can't stress this enough. My advice is to always invest in the best tools you can afford.
You don't have to break the bank in getting some gear for your grooming routine and there are creative ways you can find deals online for some of the gear you need to get.
If you can't afford to get brand new stuff, there isn't much wrong with finding some deals on eBay. Now for hygiene purposes, you need to be careful and make sure you clean any equipment you buy second-hand thoroughly before using it.
Sometimes Facebook can throw you out a bargain here and there. I got a pretty badass grooming mirror from Facebook Marketplace last year for next to nothing!
Knowing what to get can also be tricky. Again, we need to look at the style of moustache you're going for as the equipment you will need will be different. Let's go through some of the items that you might need to get your trim on.
- Beard Trimmer - This is a must. It doesn't matter what length moustache you're going for, a good beard trimmer is always a great thing to have in your grooming cave (If you're sad like me and actually have a grooming cave). Picking the right trimmer is a nightmare. There are so many options out there to choose from. Luckily, I put together an article on my top beard trimmer recommendations which should help you get something that works for you.
- Comb - If you're planning on keeping your moustache low and neat, then having a beard comb is optional. At this length, 99% of the time trimming your moustache with a trimmer is going to do the job just fine. If you're planning on growing your moustache out, then you definitely need a comb.
- Brush - This is not necessary for the moustache, but I've added this in because a few people like to brush their beard and moustache to remove any cut hairs from trimming. But, as I said, for trimming your moustache and helping with getting the style nailed, a brush isn't much use to you. The comb is what you need.
- Scissors - You only need a pair of scissors if you're planning on growing your moustache out. Scissors are going to be the key part of your moustache trimming routine. It's the tool you need to have and master when attempting to trim any long style moustache.
- Hand Mirror - You can probably get away with just looking into a wall mirror, but I would highly recommend getting yourself a good hand mirror to help with your trimming. A hand mirror will allow you to see perspectives and profiles of your moustache that you just can't see face-on. It's perfect for getting a side profile shot of your moustache.
- Blow Dryer - Optional again, and I say this because you can definitely wet, comb and let it dry naturally before you start trimming it. I find that straightening your moustache with heat will help you get a more even cut. It will also help you to really see the profile/shape of your moustache, which helps you to decide on how much you need to trim off and the shape you need to achieve.
Moustache trimming is all about patience
Growing facial hair takes time. If you read my other articles, you will recognise a common theme throughout my posts:
Patience is the key to success!
This doesn't just go for growing a beard or growing that awesome handlebar moustache. It's the same philosophy for trimming. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is either start trimming too early and f##k up months of growing, or you rush through the trim and cut too much off, or just get it wrong because you lost your patience.
I'm going to give you my top two tips which encompass my emphasis on the word patience:
- Always think about not trimming. Sounds crazy, doesn't it?! Well, what I mean by this is that your mindset shouldn't be about when you can trim your moustache, it needs to be around how long can you avoid it. This key little trick will get your mind focussed on the long game. Because that's what beard care is all about. The long game.
- Never trim your moustache fully in one session. Don't start trimming and think to yourself that you need to get those perfect curls trimmed in the next hour. Again, it's about the long game. Get into the mindset of doing trimming sessions. Just like when you have your root canal treatment, which by the way is frickin' horrible, you would normally have them over 2 or 3 sessions. Each time they will drill a little further, being careful not to perforate your tooth. It's the same with trimming. Take a bit off, stop, have a look, leave it a few days and come back to it. It's better to take off a little early and review, than to take a whole lot and regret it in the morning.
Yep, make sure it's clean before you start trimming anything. Give it a once-over with your favourite beard wash and let it dry.
It's import to make sure you get all of the dirt out of your moustache before you start trimming it. Dirt can affect the texture of the hair.
Also, washing your moustache will remove any product you have left in there like wax, which again can change the texture of your moustache
This could give you unexpected results after you're done trimming.
Keep it dry
It's really easy to over trim your moustache when it's wet, so please don't do it!
ALWAYS make sure your moustache hair is dry before starting. Whether it's letting it dry naturally or using a blow dryer, ensure that it completely dry.
Why can't I trim it when it's wet? It would be easier!
Well, when your hair is wet, it can appear longer than it actually is. It plays tricks with your mind! If you trim it while it's wet, then it could look like s#it after it's dried as you probably would have taken a lot more off than you wanted to.
Like I said before, you should always wash your moustache before you start trimming, but let it dry.
Yep, working with your moustache while it's dry will give you a lot more control over your trim, especially around the lip line.
Take some perspective
Now is the time to take a look at what you want to do with your moustache.
Is there a particular look you're after?
There is a shed load of moustache styles out there, and you really want to know what you want before you start trimming. The last thing you want to do is think:
"Erm... I think I'll just start trimming and see how it goes"
NO! Don't do this. Be clear in your mind about what you want. Look at pictures, chat to mates, go online, Hell, drop me an email and I'll be happy to give you some ideas.
The point is, be prepared, take perspective and have an idea of what you want out of your moustache. The trimming part will be so much easier.
So how do I trim my Moustache?
OK, so you're all prepped, you have the tools, you know the style and you're ready to go. There are different techniques of trimming depending on what you're after.
I'm going to cover what I've seen as the most popular styles that us men tend to go for.
- Short and Neat - This is basically how to trim your moustache with a trimmer. This is a very common look for most men and probably just part of your beard growing routine.
- Handlebar Moustache - Probably the most popular moustache for that someone that wants something that has some style
- Horseshoe Moustache - Not as popular as the handlebar, but still made popular by Hollywood stars like Ben Stiller in Dodgeball
- Chevron Moustache - This style is again a Hollywood favourite for more distinguished men like Tom Selleck or Burt Reynolds.
1. Short and Neat - How to trim your moustache with a trimmer
In reality, if you're growing your moustache long, then you wouldn't be trimming it with a beard trimmer. But, this article is about trimming all types of moustaches, so if you're planning on keeping it short and neat, then a beard trimmer is all you need.
The trimmer is great for trimming your moustache above the lip.
Depending on how short you want your moustache, you will need to choose a trimming guard that will suit the length you're going for.
There are so many lengths, which one should I use?
Well, I've said this before in my article about trimming your beard. I would recommend starting with the highest setting your trimmer has available first and then work your way through the settings until you find a length that suits you.
Remember that patience is the key, and you might want to trim at the highest setting and then come back to it later that day or the next day and trim lower if you need to.
When it actually comes to doing the trimming, it's pretty straightforward. Try to trim evenly over all parts of the area you're trimming. It's important to keep going back over areas until you're confident that all of the hairs have been trimmed to that length.
Most of the time you can tell that you're done when you can't hear the trimmer cutting any hairs anymore.
2. Handlebar Moustache - Top tips on how to trim a handlebar moustache
The name handlebar moustache comes from the idea that the moustache curls up at the end to resemble the look of handlebars on a motorbike. This style of moustache is the most popular style that is sported by the modern man and some say that it's the sexiest of all styles.
It has famously been made popular by celebrities and models like François Verkerk.
Trimming for the handlebar moustache
Trimming for that handlebar look is quite tricky. I would recommend that you take your time and do your trims in small stages. Watch lots of videos and even go to your barber and get some advice.
When you start trimming it's important to remember not to panic and take your time. With your moustache, once you trim, there is no going back. So it's important to take your time and plan your trim.
For trimming your handlebar, you're going to need a good pair of scissors, and a beard comb.
Check out this video on how to trim your handlebar moustache:
How to shape and style your moustache
Styling the handlebar moustache can be done in many different ways and there are many ways to wear your handlebar moustache. I always tend to have a loose curl handlebar as it's the one I like and the most popular one that I've seen.
For this styling method, you'll need a hair dryer, a decent round brush and moustache wax.
You want to start by using the brush to roll the hair under while pulling it in the desired direction of the curl. If you're like me and your hair grows in different directions, then this step is important to start training your moustache to flow in a certain way.
It's because of this that I tend to use the hair dryer to help push the hair out. It's all about practice.
Once you're done here, you should have branches of hair flowing nicely outwards from the centre of your moustache.
The next step is to again use the brush and the hair dryer to curl up the ends by pulling and rolling your brush through the curls in the direction you want them to be.
At this point, you've now got a cool looking handlebar moustache, but I would always use some moustache wax to give it the finishing touches and keep those curls in place.
It's best to heat up the wax using your hair dryer and apply it directly to your moustache. Work the wax through and use a comb to style your curls.
Check out this video on how to style your handlebar moustache:
3. Trimming for the Horseshoe Moustache
The horseshow is pretty easy to do. Not as complicated as trimming and maintaining a moustache like a handlebar.
All you need for this style is your trusty beard trimmer and a razor. Here is a quick video to show you what you need to do:
4. Chevron Moustache
Just like the Horseshoe, the Chevron is another easy trim to do yourself. again, all you need is a beard trimmer and a razor.
Another quick video to show you how to get that Chevron look:
When you've finished your trim, your beard and moustache are gonna need some tender loving care.
You should begin by brushing any stray trimmed hair out of your moustache and beard using a good beard brush. After that, walk yourself to the bathroom and get some beard wash on your beard and give it a good clean.
Remember, use a beard wash, or a beard soap to wash your moustache and beard with. Using your standard body wash will be too harsh for your facial hair and will strip away a lot more of the natural oil in your hair and skin.
The most import thing to remember is the beard oil.
Yep - After you 'pat dry' your beard and moustache with a towel. Grab your natural beard oil and get it all up in your moustache and beard.
Beard oil is great for both deep-conditioning and hydrating your moustache. It keeps your hair and skin healthy and shiny.
In this article, we covered a lot. We looked at timing, some discussions about the different moustache styles and how you go about trimming them. We looked at the tools you need and how to look after your moustache before and after you trim it.
That's it, let me know how you trim your moustache.