Curled mustache

Nothing communicates confidence, good style and class better than a well-groomed mustache.

Your beard might be tip-top, but that falls flat if your mustache grows over the lips, looks tangled or has a lot of split ends.

There is a fine line between a kick-ass mustache that’s the envy of all your friends and the tacky one.

The latter one makes you feel like a creep, while a well-groomed mustache is a fashion statement that commands respect.

Whether you want to change things up or rock a manly mustache that compliments your already glorious beard, you need to learn to trim it correctly, especially since it’s oh-so-easy to mess things up and end up looking unkempt.

To avoid that, we asked the experts but also tested a few things on our own and now we bring you the latest and best tips and practices on trimming the mustache the right way in just 6 simple steps.

Table Of Contents

What Is Mustache Trimming

The mustache has always been a classic look for any man, but after some time, a mustache can grow out and look unkempt. 

If you want to grow a mustache, still control the growth, and keep it looking clean, then you need a few basic grooming products. 

Mustache trimming involves systematically cutting hairs from your mustache to make it look even and well-groomed. 

While a basic trim works for most styles of mustaches, some, like the handlebar mustache, require more steps in the trimming process.

What Are the Benefits

Grooming for men has come a long way and what used to be a reserve of women is now being done by even the manliest of men. 

A well-groomed man exudes confidence and communicates class; your facial hair is the first step towards that.

Here are a few benefits of trimming your mustache that you should be aware of. 

Prevents Clogging of Pores

The one benefit of keeping your mustache well-trimmed is preventing pores from clogging, dirt and bacteria. 

It also makes mustache and face cleaning much easier if you trim the beard. 

Getting Rid of Split Ends

Split ends deter healthy facial hair growth and make your mustache look unkempt and messy. 

Remove Coarse and Tangled Hair

Such hairs are usually stubborn and spiky and, most of the time, will not stay down even when you use beard care products like waxes and balms. As such, you are better off cutting such hairs off. 

Maintains an Even Appearance

Facial hair tends to grow at different rates for different people. Some grow on their left while others grow on their right. To control this, you need to trim your mustache occasionally for a uniform appearance. 

Enhances Appearance

Several research studies point to the fact that women find well-groomed men attractive. And that starts with knowing how to trim your facial hair, especially the mustache. 

The mustache trend is here to stay and if you want to win any points with the ladies, you need to know how to trim your mustache correctly. 

5 Most Popular Trimming Styles

If you are thinking of growing your mustache, the first thing you need to do is decide on what kind of mustache style you want.

Here are some of the most popular and timeless types of mustache styles that you might want to consider:

Handlebar Mustache

The handlebar mustache is a blanket term that covers a variety of mustache styles whose tips curl inward. It is characterized by its large size and the tips extending well beyond the edges of the lips.

You need to learn to curl your mustache upward to complete the look. The reason why this mustache style is called the handlebar is the way it resembles the handlebars of old-fashioned bicycles.

The handlebar mustache first became popular during the latter part of the 19th century, with famous Wild West figures like Wyatt Earp known for sporting this facial hair style.

It recently came back into style thanks to the hipster subculture. Hipsters started wearing handlebar mustaches as a mock protest against modern fashion conventions. This is quite ironic as this also caused the handlebar mustache to become mainstream again.

Horseshoe Mustache

The horseshoe mustache is a style of facial hair that consists of a full mustache with the sides going down to the jawline. This facial hair got its name from its shape, similar to a horseshoe pointing downward.

To make it easier to visualize, imagine a regular goatee with the entire area underneath the mouth shaved. This mustache style was quite popular during the 70s and 80s, with celebrities like Hulk Hogan making it famous worldwide.

This is quite a popular mustache because it is easy to style and maintain. You can do this yourself using a pair of scissors and a razor.

Chevron Mustache

The chevron mustache is another style of facial hair that covers the entire top part of the lip but terminates right at the edges of the mouth. The reason why this is called a chevron mustache is that it has a chevron shape.

Illustration of All Mustache Styles

This means it is thick in the middle and gradually narrows to points at each side of the mouth. This is a bit harder to style because you must carefully make both sides of the mustache as equal as possible.

Also, you need to be able to grow a relatively thick mustache, as this is one of the critical characteristics of a chevron mustache. Some of the most famous chevron mustaches ever include those Tom Selleck and Freddie Mercury worn.

Van Dyke Mustache

The Van Dyke is technically not the mustache but the beard. The Van Dyke beard is a mustache style with a gap between it and the beard. You can pair it with whatever style of mustache you like. Typically, Van Dyke beards go well with handlebar or pencil mustaches.

The reason why it is called the Van Dyke is that it was first made popular by Anthony Van Dyke, a Flemish painter who lived during the 17th century. During that time, English men would vow to style their facial hair into Van Dyke beards until the King would also wear it.

Pencil Mustache

Unlike the other mustache styles in this list, the pencil mustache is not quite as thick. The pencil mustache is relatively thin, almost as thin as a pencil. This is the reason why this mustache got its name.

This is probably the most popular mustache style for a long time. The pencil mustache was first made popular by the legendary Clark Gable and Errol Flynn and is still kept alive by modern actors like Brad Pitt, Eddie Murphy and Michael B. Jordan.

One of the reasons why the pencil mustache has such long-lasting appeal is that it just looks clean and sophisticated. Unlike most other mustache styles, pencil mustaches need trimming and shaping more often.

This supposedly says that you are the type of person who is detail-oriented and responsible. That is only a speculation, of course.

Tools You Will Need for Trimming

You don’t need a lot of equipment to style and maintain a mustache.

Here are the absolute basics you will need:

Small Pair of Scissors

You need to buy scissors or shears made explicitly for facial hair. These are smaller and sharper than your regular scissors, perfect for trimming and shaping mustaches.

Small Beard Brush or Beard Comb

You will need a small comb to style your mustache. It will also make stray hairs more visible so that you can trim them.

Wooden Beard and Mustache Combs

A mustache and beard comb is also essential for training your mustache hairs to go a certain way.

Sharp Razor

Ideally, you should use a single-blade straight razor as it gives you more control than safety or disposable razors. However, you must be very careful when using a straight razor when dealing with an exposed blade.

Facial Hair Trimmer

This is optional, as you can use scissors to trim your beard and mustache, but using an electric trimmer is faster and more convenient. You will need this tool to keep your mustache at a consistent length.

It also helps to shorten the rest of your facial hair to make it easier to shave off using a razor.

How to Trim Your Mustache

Step 1 – Let them grow

Before you can even choose a mustache style, you must grow it out to see what kind of facial hair you can work with.

Wait at least a couple of months to go through all the growth stages of a mustache, which can be annoying as it will be itchy initially, but this is necessary.

Step 2 – Choose a style

Now that you have waited a couple of months and your facial hair has grown long enough to style, it is time to choose how you will shape your mustache. Depending on how long your mustache has grown, you can narrow your style options, making it easier to choose.

Step 3 – Wash and condition

Washing and conditioning your facial hair will make them softer and, thus, easier to trim and style. After stepping out of the shower towel, dry your facial hair and apply shaving oil or cream.

Step 4 – Trim

Once you have chosen a mustache style, you can start by trimming it. Use a facial hair comb to align the hairs of your mustache and beard (if you will be growing it out too).

After that, trim the hairs to a uniform length using the best beard trimmer you can find. Make sure to trim a bit longer than needed.

Step 5 – Style them carefully

Once you have prepared your facial hair, you can start sculpting it carefully. Start by shaving your cheeks and jawline. If you will be leaving a Van Dyke shave everything from the sides of your mouth.

If you like a pencil mustache, trim your mustache short and carefully shave the part below your nose.

How to Maintain a Trimmed Mustache

Step 1 – Comb it often

You must constantly comb or brush your mustache to train the hair to fall at a certain angle. It will also help redistribute the skin’s natural oils, thereby keeping the hair soft and shiny.

Step 2 – Trim it when needed

When you start noticing stray hairs in your mustache, you should grab your scissors and trim them back. If the mustache is getting too thick, you must get your clippers. Set the guard to the thickness you want and give your mustache a few passes.

Step 3 – Maintain them properly

It is not enough to trim your mustache every day. You also need to use the right facial hair products. One is a good beard balm or oil to moisturize your mustache, soft and break-resistant.

In addition, you should also try using beard wax to give your mustache extra hold and, at the same time, moisturize and protect the hair.

Step 4 – Use the right products

Aside from wax, you might also want to use the best conditioner or oil for a beard (pre-washing oil) to help keep your facial hair soft and supple. This makes them easier to style and maintain. In addition, this will also prevent your mustache from itching.

Quick Grooming Tips

Man Combing a Chevron Mustache

Apply Some Wax to Your Facial Hair Before Trimming

Your mustache looks significantly different with styling products than without. Since you will be going out publicly with a styled mustache, you will want to put on wax before trimming.

Choose a Mustache Style That Complements Your Face Shape

Some facial hair styles suit those with narrow face shapes, while others look better on round faces.

Use Beard Oil Even When You Are Still Growing Your Facial Hair

Even when working with thick stubble, you should start using beard oil. This will ensure that your facial hair grows out healthy and is less prone to breaking. This will also ensure that your facial hair can grow out properly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Shaving Against the Grain

Do not make the mistake of shaving against the grain. If you are shaving your face, the razor should go with the grain of the hair. It might seem like you are getting a closer shave by going against the grain, but it will cause painful ingrown hairs.

Trimming Your Mustache Dry

Never trim your mustache dry. You should trim your mustache after you shower and apply a bit of beard balm even better. This will ensure that your mustache will look as you intended.

Rushing the Process

Don’t rush. The worst thing you can do is trim your mustache during a hectic morning. You need to give yourself enough time to trim your mustache. If not, you are prone to making huge mistakes that can ruin the mustache you have waited so long to grow.


Are scissors better than an electric trimmer for a mustache?

Scissors are more precise and are often used to add the finishing touches. However, electric trimmers are more uniform. For best results, use the trimmers first and then finish using the scissors.

Should you trim your mustache wet or when it is dry?

It is better to trim your mustache while it is still damp. This will make it easier to comb the hairs to determine if any strands are out of place.

Will the mustache get thicker if you trim it?

This is a myth. The mustache looks thicker because the hairs get coarser when trimming them.
However, this will be temporary as the tips of the hairs will start thinning a bit.

How often should you trim your mustache?

This will depend on whether you are rocking a thick or thin mustache.
If you wear a walrus mustache, you may only need to trim it every week. However, if you have a pencil mustache, you should trim it daily.

How can I fix a bad mustache trim?

There are no quick fixes for a bad mustache trim. If the mistake is not that noticeable, like one side of the mustache is a bit shorter, you should just let it be. The worst thing you can do is trim the other side to make it match.

You might end up with a mustache that you are not happy with, and you might end up shaving everything off in frustration.

Should I trim the mustache above the lip?

When growing a mustache, the hair should cover the upper lip partially, but it should not get in your mouth.
Use a mustache comb to trim the hair above the lip.

How do you fix an uneven mustache?

Start by cleaning your mustache, apply the beard oil of your choice and then use a flat iron if you have a long mustache or a hairdryer on low heat setting and then comb the mustache straight down.

Why is it essential to use a mustache comb during the trimming process?

A mustache comb helps make trimming easy by straightening the mustache hairs and cutting them.
It also enables you to locate stray hairs and split ends.

Where should a mustache end?

This depends on your style, but generally, a good mustache should end at the corner of the lips.

How do you trim a thick mustache?

Use a mustache comb to comb away and up from the mustache to extend the ends of the hairs and then use an electric trimmer or scissors to trim them.

What do I need to use to keep my mustache in shape?

You can use a beard shaper to keep your mustache in shape.

How do I trim the middle of a mustache?

You can use scissors or an electric trimmer without the guard to trim the middle of the mustache, ensuring that you don’t mess up.

Anthony Giannotti

About the author: Anthony Giannotti

Anthony Giannotti is a senior writer and editor for Beardoholic and a licensed barber for more than 13 years. He owns 3 barbershops and has his own hair care product line that is sold in barbershops worldwide. Known for his impeccable technique and skills, Anthony is an expert in hair and beard care and he knows the best products and tools to get rid of all beard problems and have an amazing beard.

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