If there is one mustache style that’s worth putting time and effort to grow, it’s the handlebar mustache.
There may be a lot of facial hairs tyles that make you look strong and sexy, but none of them screams refined manliness and sophistication at the same time like the handlebars.
The fact that not everyone can pull od this style, makes it even more appealing.
It takes a true gentleman to grow, style, maintain and sport the handlebar, but the results are rewarding.
Ladies and gents at your feet, to name just one. If you’ve settled your eyes on these mustache styles, we totally get it.
But we’re sure you have some questions and doubts on how to grow, groom and shape it.
Worry not, we’ve got you covered!
Below, you’ll find everything you need to kick start the journey to an amazing handlebar mustache, along with a few style options we find the most attractive.
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Table Of Contents
What Is a Handlebar Mustache
This mustache type is one of the most easily recognized facial hair styles on the planet. The ends of the mustache are twisted and styled far past the outer edges of the lips, resembling the handlebars of a bicycle.
If the ends of the mustache are not styled and groomed properly, they tend to drop down and give the appearance of the Fu Manchu style. By stiffening the mustache with a variety of grooming products and accessories like mustache combs, you can sculpt, twist, and curl your mustache in the desired way.
Depending on your genes and commitment to growing the mustache, you can even grow them several inches past the edges of the mouth. The longer the hair is allowed to grow, the more robust and curvy the end of the handlebar will appear.
Benefits of Growing One
When it comes to mustaches, none is as iconic as the Handlebar mustache. It usually consists of a large family of mustaches, each with its own characteristics.
However, at the end of it all, they share one common trait and that is being large mustaches that tend to go beyond the lips. Here are a few benefits of growing a handlebar mustache that you just cannot ignore.
Just like women are attracted to men who can grow a beard, a mustache holds the same power. A handlebar mustache; for instance, is not so common will turn heads when it is full-grown and well-groomed and in the process will boost your confidence.
Protects Against Acne
Both mustaches and beards protect the skin as well as the follicles from bacteria and dirt. When you keep shaving, the razor may expose your skin to bacterial infections.
However, should you decide to grow a mustache or beard without feeling the need to trim, it means that such risks are eliminated.
Decreases Cancer Risks
Just like a beard protects the skin against harmful ultraviolet rays, so does a mustache. Since a handlebar mustache is thick, it means less exposure to UV rays hence reduced cancer risk in the future.
Affordable to Maintain
While you will need to use a lot of mustache wax when you start growing your mustache when it’s full-grown, these costs reduce and you only need a little wax to keep the mustache in shape.
In the process, since you will not be shaving, especially if you couple your mustache with a full beard, the money you spend on razors or at the barbershop reduces.
History of This Beard Style
This particular mustache style has, in fact, been very popular for many centuries. It was during the late 19th and early 20th centuries that the handlebar mustache drew the widest public acceptance.
During Edwardian and Victorian eras, many men would ask the local barbers to use a stiffening agent to help them make their mustache look like a handlebar.
Fast-forward to modern times, the handlebar’ stache is often associated with the barbershop quartet or barkers at a traveling circus. This facial hair style had seemed many resurgences in popularity, especially in the 1970s, when several well-known athletes sported it.
Rollie Fingers was notably the most widely recognized baseball pitcher of that decade who wore his mustache in the handlebar style.
Types of Handlebar Mustaches
The handlebar mustache, as mentioned earlier, consists of a large family of mustaches, each with its own unique characteristics. Here are a few types of handlebar mustaches that you can try out.
The English mustache is reminiscent of a croquet spot or the days on the bowling green. It’s similar to the Imperial moustache in that it is divided at the center while the hair that is beyond the corners of the mouth are shaved clean.
However, rather than being curled up, the ends are combed out to form two straight points.
One of the known people to wear the mustache was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but it’s hard to find other examples outside the enthusiast club.
At times the center may be trimmed short with the goal being to grow the ends to be as long as they possibly can. To avoid drooping, the ends of the English mustache must be heavily styled by the use of mustache wax.
The points tend to be crafted mid-length with the base hair wrapped around for extra support and at times, the tips will be raised to bring the center closer to the base.
However, long hairs are not a must for English mustaches. The style can also be achieved with shorter hair if you are going for a modest, classic look that screams class.
The chevron mustache has been defined as a fundamental mustache thanks to men like Nick Offerman, Freddie Mercury, and Tom Selleck.
Often confused with a handlebar mustache, the two share the same wide growth above the lip.
The Chevron mustache, however, extends up to 1.5 cm beyond the lip, but this varies. The main feature of this kind of mustache is a mass of volume that grows naturally and will be trimmed short.
It is the youngest member of the Handlebar family and was very popular in the 70s and 80s, but the popularity reduced until Movember came into being in 2007.
Since then, men have used it as a default style and because of that, it has become a stepping stone to more sophisticated styles for men who want to grow mustaches.
Unlike the other Handlebar mustaches, the Chevron tends to be natural, is easy to grow and requires very little grooming. The hair is brushed down and a pair of scissors is used to clip along the top line for a uniform length.
The Hungarian mustache is a forefather of the Imperial mustache in so many ways. It is also referred to as the Magyar, who were the founding natives of Hungary, which makes it a mustache with a whole lot of history that is rooted in nationalism symbolism.
After the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy in the 19th century, Hungary experienced a strong pluralistic and cultural phenomenon and a strong nationalist sentiment rose, which resulted in a need to diversify the ethnography.
Virile mustaches, therefore, became a symbol of military manliness and class inclusiveness, which bore the anti-monarchist liberalism that was a show of male privilege with strong values that embraced national masculinity.
After the constitutional union between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Australian Empire, the mustache became a hallmark for leaders, and later on, it was adopted by the Germans who were their close allies.
While the Hungarian moustache has striking resemblances to the Imperial mustache, the differences are also evident.
The Imperial mustache is a compact mustache that falls back on its own through twirling, but the Hungarian mustache stands proud across the upper lip as an unrestrained symbol of masculinity.
It will be bigger and bushier with hair extending outwards from the mid-section. The hair beyond the top lip can be as long as 0.6 inches.
While it can be styled, the growth, as well as grooming that goes into the mustache, makes it easy to leave natural while simple brushing will maintain the shape.
Hungarian mustaches take a long time to grow, but the Imperial mustache can be grown out into one which allows the Hungarian mustache to be obtained way early and improved over time.
Known as the behemoth of mustaches, the Walrus mustache is modeled after the sea animal of the same name.
It was heralded by the Gauls and Celts and was famous through the late 19th century with figures such as Otto von Bismarck and Mark Twain wearing it.
During the First World War, it became a characteristic of European statesmen, and UK Prime Minister David Lloyd George and French President Georges Clemenceau wore the mustache.
The mustache was also considered a throwback to the Wild West and Sam Elliot became a big Hollywood name due to the mustache.
The Walrus style mustache is a close relative of the Chevron mustache. However, even if the hair is brushed down, it grows so long that it eclipses the mouth.
Sometimes the hair can extend downward on either side, although this is not so much in line with the style’s pedigree.
Like other mustaches in the Chevron family, it requires time to grow and although the resemblance is a little bit vague, a mere brushing down would make the two look like one.
Once you are satisfied with the length, you just need combing and a little snipping here and there to maintain the shape that you can finish off with a slight curve or a straight line.
The drawbacks with the Walrus mustache, however, are evident and do simple acts like kissing, eating, or even drinking problematically.
Different Face Shapes
When you are growing a mustache, the main concern is whether the mustache you are about to grow will fit your face shape and the same goes for a handlebar mustache.
Here are the face shapes that will work for a handlebar mustache. With some, you may have to manipulate the mustache a little while others just fit perfectly.
Oblong Face Shape
Men who have oblong face shapes can benefit from a full Handlebar mustache. Since the face features a large surface area, a big mustache will help to reduce the proportions of the body.
Additionally, the wide mustache will likely draw the attention from the length of the face and add width to the wearer’s cheekbones.
If you don’t want to go for extravagant styles, a simple Chevron mustache will also look good on you.
Square Face Shape
A square face shape features solid proportions, which puts you at an advantage because you have a larger margin for error. As such, you can experiment with a variety of styles.
Triangle Face Shape
Ideally, triangle face shapes are ideal for broad mustaches to improve the width of the cheekbones. However, the objective is not to offset the length of the face but restore balance with the broad jawline.
To avoid overemphasizing the hard features, if you have such a face, you might want to lean towards softer finishes. The authoritative confidence that your jawline exudes also means that you can pull off an Imperial styled mustache with ease.
Diamond Face Shape
If you have a diamond face shape, strive to keep your angular features as well as the cheekbones in mind when you are growing facial hair, especially a mustache.
As such, keep the mustache finish as soft as possible and avoid overemphasizing your hard features. Additionally, being that you have a pronounced cheek width, you are better off keeping the mustache as narrow as possible to maintain balance with your chin, which can be difficult with a handlebar moustache style since they go past the corners of the mouth.
Oval Face Shape
When it comes to oval face shapes, you should be very careful since extravagant mustaches can throw off the harmonious proportions.
However, the face shape is one of the most adaptive when it comes to traditional Handlebar mustaches. The only thing you need to be careful about is the breadth of the upper lip and keep in mind that the broader the lip is, the thick the mustache should be.
Round Face Shape
Since handlebar mustaches create width, it can be disastrous for a round-shaped face. Big mustaches tend to reduce chin height.
If you are not sure about a handlebar mustache, then consider going for a Van Dyke instead, which will easily counteract the effects of the mustache.
Heart Face Shape
Just like round face shapes, with heart face shapes, the chin will likely be made smaller by a handlebar mustache. As such, you are better off going for other styles that flatter the features of the mustache instead.
How to Grow a Handlebar Mustache
If you have decided that this type of moustache is something you want to do, be warned that this journey is not for the weak of heart.
There is a level of commitment involved until you elevate your status in the community from mere mortal to God overnight.
Now that you are ready to take on the challenge, here are tips to effectively grow and groom your new handlebar ‘stache.
Step 1 – Patience is the Key
The growing process of your new mustache in the handlebar style is going to take a long-term commitment. It will take a minimum of three months before anything even remotely respectable begins to take shape on your face, and those few months are going to be a living hell.
The level of testicular fortitude needed will be epic, pushing you to the six-month mark before the mustache has formed completely.
Step 2 – Purchasing the Right Mustache Wax
The only way to get the mustache to cooperate, you need to use strong mustache wax. With several to choose from on the market, choose organic ‘stache wax to avoid any complications with skin irritation.
Good To Know: How To Make Homemade Beard Wax (DIY with Recipe)
Place some wax between the thumb and forefinger and work it into the mustache evenly. As you reach the end of the mustache, curling the ends and holding with the wax will give the desired results.
Step 3 – Washing Your Mustache
Before bed each night, you will have to wash out the mustache wax. Basically, any beard shampoo or conditioner will do a great job.
By any, we mean any quality facial hair shampoo or beard conditioner. These are usually made of completely natural and organic ingredients.
These products remove the wax easily and condition the hair to be softer as it grows. Start with a beard wash and conditioner as you get accustomed to the process, then make a switch to a mustache only wash and conditioner as the handlebars fully take shape.
Step 4 – Trimming the Handlebars
As you get along in the process, some facial hairs are not going to cooperate with the styling. Trim away any wild hairs that are not falling in line and those that begin to form near the crease in the lip.
Once the mustache grows to the right length and some hairs can enter your mouth. Rather than trimming them, just use some wax to move them to the side and complement your already full handlebar ‘stache.
Be sure to never start trimming hairs above the crease in the lips or the result will be stunted and clipped.
How to Style and Shape
Step 1 – Find a style
When the tips of the mustache are long enough to be curled, it’s about time you started thinking about the look you are going for.
How long do you want the mustache to be, for instance? If you want a bigger mustache or a large curl, then you need to let the hairs grow some more.
If you want a small handlebar mustache, then you can start trimming the ends when they get too long. In whatever you do, however, avoid trimming the bottom of the mustache that is near the lip since the hairs need to be long enough to be combed away from the mouth.
A classic handlebar mustaches look good on bearded as well as clean-shaven faces and pair well with classic hairstyles as well as bald heads.
Step 2 – Use a blow dryer to shape the mustache
Using a blow dryer will help to train the mustache into your desired shape. If you have had your mustache for a few months, feel free to skip this step.
After you have taken a shower, dry the mustache, and then use a comb to part it down in the middle.
After that, mold it into the shape that you want by curling the ends around the fingers and then carefully drying the curled edges to set the curls.
Keeping the hair wrapped around the finger when you are drying it will help to control the curl and to know when the air is too hot.
Step 3 – Apply some mustache wax
If your wax comes in the form of a stick, then you can apply it directly to the mustache before you brush through with a fine-tooth mustache comb.
If the wax comes in a tube, warm it between your fingers before you apply it. Spread the wax into your mustache, making sure that you coat all the hairs and then comb the mustache into place.
Step 4 – Shape the mustache
Once you have combed the mustache, reshape the curls by twisting the edges around the fingers into your desired curl.
When the wax dries up, your mustache will maintain that shape. If the mustache, however, is not curling as you would like, heat a curling iron to medium heat and use it on the edges for about 15 seconds.
How to Maintain
Step 1 – Clean the mustache every day
Check the mustache for waxy residue and dead skin and then brush it with a stiff and dry toothbrush to not only remove the debris but exfoliate the skin in the process.
After that, you can proceed to wash the mustache with shampoo to remove wax and oils that may have built up in the mustache.
Step 2- Consider how you eat and drink
Your mustache will pick up all manner of things throughout the day. Before you eat or drink anything, use a little wax on the mustache to tame the unruly strands to keep them away from the mouth.
If you are eating crumbly foods, wipe your mouth often to keep crumbs away from the mustache. Also, avoid eating messy food and soups in public until you master the art of eating when you have a large mustache.
Step 3 – Eat the right diet
The saying that you are what you eat couldn’t be further from the truth in this scenario. Some foods contain nutrients that can boost hair growth.
A lot of experts believe that eating the right kinds of foods will help the hair grow faster. Such foods include yellow peppers, salmon, egg yolks, avocados, and more.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do ensure that you have the patience to grow a mustache before you begin since mustaches can take up to three months to grow fully.
- Do give your mustache time to grow and avoid trimming the hair when they are just starting to grow unless your goal is to have a small mustache.
- Do use mustache wax as soon as the hairs begin to grow to start taming the mustache in the shape you desire.
- Do give it time before trimming. If you must trim the mustache give it at least two to three weeks to grow first.
- Do have a dedicated mustache comb that you can use to comb as well as spread wax throughout the hairs when you begin shaping the mustache.
- Don’t give up on growing a mustache once you notice that hair is falling out, this will happen and it shouldn’t be a setback.
- Don’t always feel compelled to clean out all the wax when you take a shower since some may remain on the mustache and you may end up irritating the skin.
Wearing your mustache in this style will provide you with many unique benefits that other mustache styles simply can not compete with.
Here are just a few fun facts that will make you want to change your facial hair style and join the league of the manliest of all men.
Fun Fact #1
If you are ever involved in mischief and want to disguise your part in the shenanigans, you simply act as the villains in those Old West melodramas and twist your fingers through the ends of the mustache.
This way, you can openly discuss your evil plans without raising too much suspicion.
Fun Fact #2
When you have some serious blemishes or imperfections on your face, you can sculpt the mustache to hide them easily.
The right wax will hold the mustache in the position to distract people from looking at any deformities that you have and would still make you come off looking like a real stud.
Fun Fact #3
A handlebar mustache makes you more distinctive.
When you walk into the room, every man will be jealous and slightly envious, while women will be falling over themselves to get closer to you and ask how long it took you to grow it or what you do for a living.
It simply is an awesome conversation starter.
How long does it take to grow a handlebar mustache?
The decision to grow one is easy, but the work that goes into that is the hard part. A handlebar mustache will take about three months to reach full maturity.
When should I cut my handlebar mustache?
Trimming your mustache should be done every few days a week to help retain the shape.
What does the handlebar mustache symbol mean?
The handlebar mustache will be lengthy with upward curves at the end. The mustache gets its name from the resemblance to bicycle handlebars. It is also known as a spaghetti mustache because it is associated stereotypically with Italian men.
A handlebar mustache is more than just a fashion statement. It is a symbol of class and manliness for most people. The more extreme it is, the more superior the effect will be. While it is rarely seen in the younger generation, some older men still wear the mustache. It takes time to grow, usually, three months to reach full maturity, which means that you need to be very patient.