Because only so much hair can grow from your top lip, mustache styles are limited. Still, there are a few classic styles that have stood the test of time (and kept top lips warm and cozy round the world). Below are five of the best mustache styles out there, with advice from Cleve McMillan, hair and beard stylist, on how to cultivate and care for them.
Mustache Style: The Chevron
How to Achieve It: Famously worn by the likes of Tom Selleck and Freddy Mercury, the chevron is probably one of the most popular mustache styles, since it can be worn in both business and casual settings. To achieve this look, McMillan first suggests trimming the entire mustache using a pair of electric clippers set to the longest setting—that way, your mustache hairs will be a single uniform length. The edges of the mustache should extend just half an inch beyond both corners of the mouth—use a razor to shave hairs growing any further towards your cheeks. Finally, brush the mustache hairs upward using a small mustache comb and trim any stray hairs hanging over your upper lip using a pair of grooming scissors.
Mustache Style: The Handlebar
How to Achieve It: Recently re-popularized by hipsters, the handlebar mustache is a classic amongst mustache styles. “The best way to achieve a handlebar mustache is to first part your mustache hairs down the middle, then comb each side down and out,” McMillan explains. “From there, use a small pair of grooming scissors to lightly trim any stray hairs—start towards the middle, cutting less and less hair length as you make your way to the edges of the mustache.” This should leave your mustache hairs just slightly longer on the edges than they are in the middle, which is essential when styling and curling your handlebar mustache.
To achieve that famed handlebar mustache curl, McMillan suggests using a wax or a pomade to hold the hairs in place. Once applied evenly throughout the mustache, twist the hairs together with your fingers, then curl the still-twisted hairs up and in. Lastly, and most importantly, eye the curls for evenness in the mirror before heading out to your next bare-knuckle boxing match.
Mustache Style: The Pencil
How to Achieve It: While not the most contemporary mustache style, the pencil mustache is great for those who want to rock a mustache, but don’t like the idea of wearing too much hair on their face. “First, trim the entire mustache using the #1 setting on a pair of electric clippers to get it nice and tight,” McMillan explains. “Then, use those clippers without the guard to trace a line just above your upper lip.” From there, lather the area with shave butter, then shave all of the hairs above that line. If you need help, visit our guide on the best way to shave your upper lip, where we’ll show you how to shave mustache hairs growing just under the nose.
Mustache Style: The Horseshoe
How to Achieve It: The key to achieving a perfect horseshoe mustache is symmetry—the bars of hair that span from the corners of your mouth to your jaw must be even if you want it to look nice. To achieve this mustache style, McMillan suggests using a pair of electric clippers to trim the mustache to your desired length (he suggests the #8 or #10 guard). From there, put the tip of your finger on the corner of your mouth, making a straight line down to your jaw, and use it as a guide for trimming the bars of hair with your electric clippers—just be careful not to cut yourself. Once the bars on each side of the mustache are even, eye them for your desired length.
Mustache Style: The Walrus
How to Achieve It: Appropriately named, the walrus mustache is the most overgrown of mustache styles. As such, McMillan says the only maintenance required for this style is occasionally brushing it up and out, then trimming off any hairs that are particularly longer than the rest.
Now that you know how to shave mustache hairs into all kinds of shapes, which of these mustache styles will you wear? Let us know in the comments below.