Pencil Mustache Style

With many styles making a comeback, the pencil mustache is truly one of the favorite ones.

Salvador Dali was perhaps the most famous person that sported a pencil mustache, but many guys are now trying to copy that look or come up with their own unique twist to it.

Growing a very thin type of a stache like a pencil mustache takes a lot of work.

You need to know how to trim and style it properly.

It requires you to come back to it almost every day and trim it to perfection.

The difficulty is one of the reasons a lot of guys give up on it, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you have proper guidance.

We want to provide you with the kind of guidance you need to style a pencil mustache as best as possible.

With the advice that we provide, your new stache will look as elegant and sharp as ever.

Most Popular Pencil Mustache Styles

Double Pencil Mustache

The double pencil mustache is one you can see being divided in the middle just below the nose. It looks like having two strips of hair stuck onto your face above the lips. You will need to shave off a big enough swathe in the middle of the face to make sure that you can pull off this look successfully.

Single Pencil Mustache

Types of Pencil Mustache

This style is different from the double pencil mustache because there is no division in the middle. It comes in the form of a mustache that looks like it was drawn onto the face using a black, thick-tipped marker and one continuous stroke. It is the type of mustache sported by the late actor, Sammy Davis Jr.

Thick Pencil Mustache

A thick pencil mustache is around twice the thickness of a regular pencil mustache. You will also notice that instead of tapering it off to a sharp point, it terminates to a rather thick chamfer.

What Is Pencil Mustache

If you have watched many Golden age swashbuckler movies, then I am sure you are already quite familiar with the iconic pencil mustache. Alternatively, if you are a big Will Smith fan during the 90s and early 2000s, you most likely envied his crisp pencil mustache and goatee combo.

As the name suggests, the pencil mustache is pencil-thin. You can see it running just above the lip. Some people also suggest that a pencil mustache is called such because it looks drawn on using a pencil. Although this facial hair style is not as popular as it was back then, it did not really go away.

This means that you can see the pencil mustache being successfully worn by a lot of men until now. The pencil mustache will look great on someone dapper – a person who likes to dress up all sophisticated-like.

If paired with the wrong kinds of clothes, the pencil mustache will undoubtedly look trashy. You need to consider seriously, especially if you are a shirt and jeans type of guy.

Pencil Mustache and Different Face Shapes

Do you think a pencil mustache will work for you? Then take note that this style of facial hair does not really work for all men. It will depend mostly on the shape of your face and how you style it. Here are just some of the most common facial shapes and how pencil mustache will most likely look on them:

Diamond Face Shape

If you have a diamond-shaped face, you are among those who will look good with a pencil mustache. If you fall in this category, your face will complement a significantly thicker and more rounded pencil mustache.

Heart Face Shape  

People with heart-shaped faces greatly benefit from the rather small size of the pencil mustache. You can also modify the shape to draw the eyes down to the chin and square up the jawline. Furthermore, it can make your face less round and a bit squarer by hardening the contours of the mustache.

Oval Face Shape

If you have an oval-shaped face, then you will also do well with a pencil mustache. It is because this style can give your face a bit more angular definition. By shaping it properly and keeping its contours, this mustache can make the chin a bit pointier. It can also square the jawline a bit.

Round Face Shape

Just like with a heart-shaped face, a pencil mustache will be able to sharpen the features of someone with a round shape. Shaping the mustache into sharp chevrons at the corners of the mouth will make a face look narrower.

Oblong Face Shape

People with oblong facial shapes are generally advised against sporting a pencil mustache because it will only make their faces look longer and narrower. However, if styled a bit wide, but not so much that it will cut into the cheeks, a pencil mustache might make your face a wider look.

Square Face Shape

If you have a square face shape, then the pencil mustache may not suit you that well. It is because this small and angular facial hairstyle may get lost among all the other angular features of your face. However, you can still make it work if you let the mustache become thicker and style it with rounded contours.

Triangle Face Shape

If you have a triangle-shaped face, then it would be best to try another style other than a pencil mustache because it will only make your face look a lot larger than it is.

In addition, a pencil mustache can also make your jawline look even wider. In short, you will need to sport a tiny and short pencil mustache, or else it will overly exaggerate your facial features.

Benefits of Growing One

Can Make You Look More Debonair

Note that the pencil mustache is the facial hairstyle made famous by Errol Flynn and Clark Gable. These are among the most handsome personalities who have ever graced the movie screens. You can share the same look by wearing a pencil mustache, too.

Accentuates the Shape of Your Face

If you have the right face shape (round, oval, etc.), you can use this mustache style to elongate your face. It is also a great facial hair style as it can give you some sharp edges that many find attractive and manly.

Makes Your Face Look Symmetrical

Because a pencil mustache has really pronounced edges and lines and is perfectly centered on your face, it gives off the illusion of perfect symmetry. It means that both sides of your face are identical to each other. Also, researchers have discovered that many people consider a person with an asymmetrical face.

Pros and Cons 

Pros and Cons of a Pencil Mustache


  • Makes you look clean and dashing. A pencil mustache can make you look like a gentleman from the Golden Age of cinema if done right. You cannot help but feel dashing and charming when you rock a perfect pencil mustache. It can also boost your confidence.
  • Makes your face look perfectly symmetrical. Because it has immaculate lines and is set right in the center of your face, a pencil mustache makes your face look balanced. This is a good thing because most people find a person with a perfectly symmetrical face very attractive.
  • It does not get messy whenever you eat or drink. Unlike other facial hairstyles, like the iconic Walrus mustache style, the pencil mustache is quite short and trimmed close to the skin. With that, you can prevent worrying too much about food and drink getting stuck in your whiskers. It means that you do not need tools to help you eat or drink with a mustache if you decide to wear this facial hair style. You can do it normally and naturally.


  • It needs constant touching up. The thing about having a pencil mustache is that you may need to touch it up constantly, so you can maintain its clean and crisp look. If you forego even just one day of maintenance work on your pencil mustache, it will quickly look disheveled. Letting your stubble grow will make you look like a hobo.
  • It only looks good on certain face shapes. The pencil mustache is quite finicky as it will only work effortlessly on several face shapes. It is possible to pull it off despite your facial shape, but it will require much finesse and expertise. It means that you should get a professional barber to style your facial hair instead of doing it yourself.
  • Easy to mess up while shaving. When retouching your facial hair, you need to be very careful because one wrong move while shaving can ruin the style completely.

Short History of Pencil Mustache 

The pencil mustache became popularized shortly after World War II. This was because the previous leading style of the day, the toothbrush mustache, fell quickly out of favor after being identified with Adolf Hitler.

The Dali mustache styles are all based on the basic pencil mustache. In fact, when Dali was younger, his original style was that of the basic pencil mustache. This was a typical style for Spanish men in the 1930’s & 40’s.

Salvador Dali was one of the most well-known surrealist painters of the 20th century and a father of the genre. Dali was also perhaps the most dedicated to being a living persona of the surrealism he created. Never breaking character, Dali wore clothing and had mustaches that  helped him keep up with the surrealist appearance.

A variation on the pencil mustache, Dali’s various styles included small amounts of hair over the center of the upper lip with unusually long hair strands or whiskers out to the sides.

Dali would typically use a thick pomade or mustache wax to stiffen and shape the whiskers differently. The most famous is the upside-down Fu Manchu or handlebar mustache. In a famous photograph of Dali, he dons the reverse Fu Manchu as it crosses directly over his eyes.

On June 21, 2017, Dali’s body was exhumed for a paternity test. Upon opening the casket, the coroner’s office found Dali’s mustache intact 27 years after his death. This was because of the embalming process Dali’s body underwent.

How to Achieve the Salvador Dali Mustache Styles

How to Achieve the Salvador Dali Mustache Styles

Step 1 – Absolute patience

This mustache will take some time to grow and it will need to be maintained along the way. As the mustache grows, you will need to part the hair from the middle to each side.

Continue growth until each side of the mustache is about 5” to 6” in length.

Step 2 – Daily waxing

Mustache wax will need to be continuously applied to train the mustache hair in the direction you want. Twist the strands with the wax to get that smooth circular look.

Step 3 – Maintenance

This is a very high-maintenance mustache style and dedication comes with a price. Just remember that you will have to twist and wax your mustache daily if you truly want to follow in the great Salvador Dali’s footsteps.

Step 4 – Other important tools

A quality beard trimmer is a must for this ‘stache. You will need a trimmer with some precision to fine-tune the pencil mustache every few days or so. For those guys who are less knowledgeable on how to trim a mustache, a beard/mustache shaping tool is a great asset to have for achieving the painter’s perfection with you, Dali.

How to Shave and Trim a Pencil Mustache

One important thing about pencil mustaches is that they can be quite difficult to style on your own. If you want a nice and crisp-looking pencil mustache, then it is best to leave it to the hands of a professional barber – one whom you trust the most.

On the other hand, if you have steady hands, a sharp razor, and thin premium beard scissors, then you can try to do it yourself with the help of these steps:

Step 1 – Let your mustache grow a bit

Having a bushy mustache will give you a good safety net in case you make a mistake.

Step 2 – Use clippers to trim the mustache evenly

Since it is your first time styling your mustache, using the thickest setting on your clippers is best. The hairs should not go past your lip line for the best results.

Step 3 – Use the mustache comb to fluff up the mustache

Combing the hair with the world’s best mustache comb will loosen the strands so you can see which ones are still longer than the others. Use a pair of styling scissors to trim the strays.

Step 4 – Shave the mustache into the final shape

Grab your straight razor, then proceed to shave the hairs just below your nose. Your aim here is to leave a thin line that is just above your lip. Although there is no rule as to how thin you can make your pencil mustache, it should at least be thick enough that people will actually notice it.

How to Maintain It

Step 1 – Shampoo and condition

It is best to use shampoo and conditioner that is specifically made for facial hair. However, if you do not have any, you can use a bit of your regular shampoo and conditioner. It will soften your beard and mustache, making them easier to trim.

Step 2 – Comb your mustache down

Use a fine-tooth comb to loosen up the mustache and stretch them out. Trim any hairs that go beyond your lip line.

Step 3 – Shave the top 

You need to get rid of all the new stubble that grew on the top of your lip. You do not need to take off more than the stubble or else you risk ruining the shape of your mustache.

Step 4 – Style your mustache 

Now that you have trimmed it, you can now style it the way you want. You can use facial hair balm to keep the hairs in place. Alternatively, you can choose to put on beard oil to give it a bit of shine and softness.

Famous People With This Style

Clark Gable

The famous actor started wearing the pencil mustache in the late 1940s. After this, the pencil mustache became instantly and forever fused with Gable’s infallible romantic persona.

Famous People with the Pencil Mustache

Photo from:

Vincent Price

Perhaps the antithesis of Gable’s personality and film genre was that of the famous actor Vincent Price.

Best known for his roles in horror films – alongside actors like Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing – Price gave the pencil mustache a two-faced personality.

Price’s famous devious grin would not have the same power without that mustache to give it definition.

Sammy Davis Jr.

Winning more points on the romantic side, the pencil mustache sealed its fate as the iconic style for charming romantics alike.

Sammy’s pencil mustache was and forever will be an essential part of the crooner’s persona.

Do’s and Don’ts


  • Wear a pencil mustache that fits the shape of your face. If your face is not among the recommended ones, you may have a hard time pulling off this facial hair style.
  • Use specially-made facial hair products. Although your mustache can still be considered hair, you need to use products specifically created for facial hair for best results.
  • Use a straight edge to shave the top of your mustache and shape it. A straight edge, when used properly, can help you maintain the clean and crisp look that defines a true pencil mustache.


  • Do not make your pencil mustache too thin. Note that if you style it too thin, then there is a great possibility that you will end up looking really creepy.
  • Do not use safety razors to shape your pencil mustache. Safety razors have a thick plastic guard that makes it difficult to see what you are doing.


Are pencil mustaches cool and attractive?

In the golden age of cinema, the top leading men almost always styled their facial hair using a pencil mustache. More than fifty years later, it is still in style. You can see many men still wearing it, although it is no longer as popular as it once was.

If you have the right face shape, you can make this specific facial hair style work well for you. Clark Gable and Errol Flynn are still handsome men by today’s standards, so sporting a well-groomed pencil mustache can and will make you look quite attractive.

What does the pencil mustache say about you?

A pencil mustache says that you are someone who likes to keep yourself clean and neat. You still sport facial hair, which means that you are still pretty much masculine and look quite intellectual.


A pencil mustache is one of those many facial hair styles that are quite hard to pull off without looking like a supervillain. However, if you can work it, you will look quite debonair and dashing. This style might be decades old, but it still stands the test of time.

You will notice that it is hard to style and maintain, but it will be all worth it in the end, especially if it perfectly suits your overall look and personality.

Vinnie - Barber

About the author: Vinnie – Barber

Vinnie is one of the members of the Beardoholic writers team. He’s also a barber and hairstylist for 15 years now and he has a kick-ass beard of his own, so he surely knows what makes a magnificent beard and hair and how to achieve them. He’s our go-to guy for all the latest beard and hairstyle trends and he always has a tip or two on how to grow and style a thick beard fast.

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