How to Trim Your Mustache: An Illustrated Guide

by Brett on May 31, 2012 · 74 Comments

in Dress & Grooming, Shaving, Visual Guides

1. Trim your mustache weekly. First comb dry mustache with a fine toothed mustache comb. When wet, hair can appear longer, leading you to cut off too much.  2. Using mustache scissors or electric trimmer, trim first for shape, cutting along bottom of stache and then outer edges. Work from middle towards one side, then to other side and back to middle. Look straight ahead and maintain neutral face to get smooth, even line.  3. Now trim for length. Comb through stache and cut hair on outside of comb to desired length. Trim conservatively at first. If using electric trimmer, move from longer to shorter guides. You can always trim off more, but you can’t add it back after you’ve clipped it.  4. Comb through mustache one last time, and clip any hairs you may have missed.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

Got any other mustache trimming trips? Share them with us in the comments!

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marc May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Seldom is facial hair a good idea for any man.

2 Elphus May 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm

A beard, or even a moustache, is a gift you give to your face. Bless the men with facial hair, for they are warriors against clean-shavenness.

3 Zach May 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm

We stand strong together.

4 Joseph May 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm

An opinion is simply that: an opinion. ‘Stache on, gentleman!

5 Bryan Sullo May 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I always wondered about this. I’ve never known any guy with a mustache well enough to ask the question.

The next guide you need is “Which mustache is right for your facial type?” I imagine that, just like hats and glasses, certain styles complement certain face shapes.

6 Rupert May 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

The website http://www.thebeardly.com will help one comprehend the true significance of facial hair. read it and understand ye females and children without.

7 Elliot May 31, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Marc, how long have you been reading this site??? Facial hair is a good idea for EVERY man. It’s something we grow to make a statement that we are men and we don’t care about clean-shaven, feminized pop culture stereotypes.

8 Zac F. May 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I was honestly just on here last night looking for a mustache trimming guide! It’s like you knew I needed one!

9 LG May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm

@Marc, you must be new here. New and wrong.

10 joel May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Hey marc….im sorry u have alopecia…get over it.

11 Chad May 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm

As a barber myself, may I suggest just heading over to the local barber shop and having your facial hair professionally trimmed, you’ll be surprised at how much better it will turn out. While your there, you might as well get a straight shave– your face will thank you.

12 Nick May 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I’ve always tried to do this myself. I sometimes do a pretty good job with only leaving a couple of long hairs poking out. I was wondering if anyone has tips on getting my beard/goatee soft? My girlfriend complains of the sharp edges, even if I use conditioner.

13 Rafeeq May 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Marc must want to be like the Greeks and Romans. Real men over here buddy

14 Quigath May 31, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I have a full beard and mustache. I do trim both my beard and mustache every 1-2 weeks (depending on if I remember to or not). My wife much prefers a trimmed stache so I trim the length regularly.
My beard trimmer has a length attachment for the beard but it comes off when I trim the end of the mustache hairs. They should not cover the top lip or curl near your mouth. Regular rinsing and shampoo and conditioner keep it all soft and non-wirey.

15 tom May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm

you forgot the last step if you are doing it at a sink be courteous and clean it out before you walk away

16 John May 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Almond Oil combed in daily will keep your mustahce nice and soft – plus helps avoid those occasional “wild hairs”.

17 Moeregaard May 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I shave my beard in 1994, and lost the “porn-stache” two years ago, but after this discussion I’m thinkin’ the beard needs to make its comeback….

18 Nate May 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Joel, your comment would have much more meaning if you had learned the manly art of grammar.

19 neal May 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm

My wife loves my facial hair when it’s well-maintained, although I’ll admit that I don’t often have it well-maintained. My bad.

But she absolutely HATES the mustache, and I only have one as a joke at her expense (though I kind of like mine). I wonder how many women (or men, whatever) hate it, and I can’t completely blame them, because I don’t think I’d want to kiss a ‘stache either. Does anyone have experiences that suggest that kissing a ‘stache is actually enjoyable? Or is a ‘stach basically a sacrifice that a woman must make for a man’s vanity, usually for him to prove a point?

20 James H. May 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Steps 1-4 are crucial for a presentable mustache, but I’d like to add one additional step that’s a big hit with my wife.

5. Clean up after yourself. All of those hairs in the sink aren’t going anywhere unless you take action.

21 Liam May 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I’ve tried to grow a mustache a couple of times over the past two years, but it always turns out like a 14-year-old’s “butt fuzz” facial hair. I really envy a man who can grow a real mo’.

22 Tommy May 31, 2012 at 10:45 pm

If you want to grow a handlebar moustache don’t trim it at all. Just make sure you wax it so it looks maintained and keeps the ends curled.

23 Bill Len May 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Fashions come and go over time. Facial hair is a fashion/style. I’m with Mark. Unless you’re trying to hide a facial flaw,facial hair is seldom a good idea. For you other guys, the 1980s called and it wants its mustache back!

24 Asriel June 1, 2012 at 3:42 am

After I got out of the Navy, i started growing my facial hair, and haven’t looked back. I have a full beard, and I trim and maintain my beard with a straight razor and mustache scissors. I also cut my own hair, I’m very lucky that my wife loves my beard. I have a few friends that envy my beard, they think I look very distinct, especially when I’m out with my smoking pipe.

25 Mike June 1, 2012 at 6:16 am

Unfortunately, not a relevant post for me. 34 years old and still can’t grow a mustache. I can grow something that is blonde and patchy but will never call it a mustache. My wife is happy though because I would rock the Ned Flanders push broom look if I could.

26 Jon June 1, 2012 at 6:51 am

Sometimes you can trim out your patches to make them look like you want them styled that way. I have a pretty good “stache” and “goat” but the beard is a little scraggley under my bottom lip. I trim out 2 “moons” there and get a lot of compliments on it. I also never let the rest get any longer than a quarter inch.

27 John Hosie June 1, 2012 at 9:46 am

Great….

Now, if only this guy would learn to shave….

28 Ryan June 1, 2012 at 9:52 am

Nick: I use a natural beard care product made from leatherwood honey, oils, etc. it smells awesomely manly, and the beard is so soft even my six-year-old daughter will happily give me a kiss on the cheek! I don’t know what the rules for “spamming” are, so I’ll just say Google “Bee Beauty” from Tasmania, Australia and look for their “Prof. Fuzzworthy’s” Beard Care Gloss.

29 Marko June 1, 2012 at 10:25 am

I have a couple of more tips. Rule #1- NEVER trim your ‘stache while it’s wet. Rule #2- if you ignore Rule #1 and begin to trim anyway, as soon as you realise you’ve fouled up, stop immediately. You will only make it worse. @Bryan- this site offers a Guide to ‘Stache Styles. The Mrs. forbids me to remove my brush as potential grounds for divorce- she likes how it tickles. And find a good wax for proper grooming. Since it’s hard to locate, try ‘corradocutlery.com’. The Clubman line is fabulous.- Good day, Gentlemen.

30 Samuel Warren June 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

If you are having problems with the lady folks not wanting to kiss you because of your mustache, for for a more trimmed look. When you’re trimming, trim along the top line of your lip. Generally kisses will be much less hairy (as will your food intake).
Personally I’ve rocked the same mustache since 16. As I’ve never shaved it off, Movember hasn’t been something I’ve participated in yet. I’m considering it this year though.

31 JDUB June 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I have a fondness for the 80′s, mustaches and all. Bring back the stache!

32 JG June 2, 2012 at 5:14 am

@Rupert: I take quite an offense by your comment that men without facial hair are either female or little boys. Have you, and like-minded people, ever consider that some men simply cannot grow facial hair? Those men who try to sport any facial hair often produce little more than patchy clumps of downy-haired growth. There are many men who desire to wear facial hair as it is a celebration of being a man, but they cannot due to reasons outside their control. What is worse: being clean-shaven or looking as if someone dabbed glue in select areas on his face and threw pubes in hoping it looked like a beard?

If one cannot have a full beard or mustache, then it is best to be clean shaven. It doesn’t make them a woman or a little boy because they decided to look presentable rather than scraggly.

Therefore, Rupert, I would retract your insinuation or give thought to the words you wrote as you have offended me and many others.

33 Dennis Seide June 2, 2012 at 7:12 am

I’ve got a handlebar, which doesn’t get trimmed regularly – my barber might trim a little once every two or three months. I guess it all depends on what style, you’re into. Some people like it short and well trimmed across the lip, and longer towards the edges. Personally, I realy like what a full lenght moustache does to my face in terms of masculinity. I use a wax with brown color, which makes it pop out even more. I enjoy the reactions from both men and women – young and old, and kissing isn’t a problem at all. Keep it well waxed and you good to go. I have noticed how ever, that I get much more positive reactions from the ladies, since I had a real classic haircut, which matches the moustache. The whole moustache and haircut combination even made me wear nicer clothes, and thinking much more about how I behave when being around other people. I think every one just likes that – men and women. My advise: if you like what a moustache does to your face, go for it. Just remember that the moustache is 10% of the full package, and women aren’t in to that. Get a nice haircut, some nice clothes and a nice attitude, and they’ll love you for it.

Cheers and thanks for a great site.

PS. sorry if my english is a bit rusty, but I’m writing from Denmark, so I don’t get to use it that often.

34 Dan June 2, 2012 at 10:22 am

Is the cowboy hat required?

35 Zac F. June 2, 2012 at 11:48 pm

@ Dan

Why, yes.

Yes it is.

36 Peter June 3, 2012 at 7:19 am

The 510D GRILL would really be a great gift!

37 Peter June 3, 2012 at 7:20 am

…Why did that get posted here?

38 Peter M June 3, 2012 at 7:20 am

The 510D GRILL would really be a great gift! I know my dad would love it.

39 Mark June 4, 2012 at 11:38 pm

I use Jojoba oil on my beard and mustache. You can find it at GNC. It’s great for keeping my facial hair softer. I have always had a stache and grew a goatee last winter (2011). I totally stopped shaving last Easter. My wife hates my full beard. She feels like I look like Grizzly Adams. I love my beard. However, I am not to good at grooming it. I need to find a barber. If you can grow a good beard every man should grow one once in his life.

40 Mark June 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

May I also suggest. If you are interested in growing a beard go to beards .org. Great web site. Good luck.

41 Paul White June 5, 2012 at 10:53 am

That’s exactly how I’ve been trying to do it, but I seem extremely inept at trimming with scissors. Back to the electric trimmer! I have an office job, so facial hair has to be neat. Plus, my wife won’t kiss me if the mustache hair is over the lip. The beard could get a bit more grown out but then it’d be longer than the mustache and I’d just look silly.

42 Abrahan June 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm

i don’t have a mustache yet but now thanks to this manly website i will always know how to shave my future beard and trim the mustache i plan to grow soon.

43 Steve June 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

Agreed – “Regulation” moustache (no hair touching the vermillion of the lip) is more popular with the wife. Also, with the soup/milk/beer.

44 Rodney June 7, 2012 at 11:17 am

@marc, do you also sit down to pee?

45 Brad June 7, 2012 at 11:36 am

This should be re-posted in November (Movember), when a lot of guys grow moustaches for various charities ;)

46 Allen June 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

And if you have a handlebar, DON’T trim at all. Just train it every day. Tr$# is a dirty word. You do more damage than good with trimming. If you must trim, see a barber to do it right.

47 Brad June 9, 2012 at 9:33 am

I used to sport a van dyke until my wife said I looked younger clean shaven, I think it made me look old because had a lot of gray in it. IMO, facial hair does not make you any more manly than if you don’t have any. I am the same man I was when I had my van dyke!

48 Phil June 10, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I have been trimming mine since 12 yrs old and used this method, but ever since I started using a Straight Razor to trim it has been super neat.

49 David June 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I don’t have a mustache, but these new guides are awesome.

50 Derek June 15, 2012 at 12:44 am

JG wrote: “I would retract your insinuation or give thought to the words you wrote as you have offended me and many others.”

This statement makes you appear more like a little girl than your admitted lack of facial hair ever could…

51 Daman June 18, 2012 at 4:12 am

I’m in that club that can get a mustache and chin bush, but not the full beard, still nice to have it trimmed up and whatnot, great guide!

52 DAVID June 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm

A thought I keep in mind when trimming my beard:

Trimming a beard and mustache is a bit like sawing table legs. Always stop before you think you’re finished!

53 dan June 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

The sudden and unannounced loss of a stash makes you look gay

54 Mackenizie October 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Trimming my beard weekly gets annoying! Just shave it off (:

55 Natty boh October 3, 2012 at 4:00 am

My girl wants the stash gone but I’ve grown quite fond of it. Surrender the stash or forfeit the female? Really don’t want to lose either

56 Charlie October 12, 2012 at 6:12 am

At last, some inspired help for us mo bros. thank you!

57 Chris October 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm

@Natty boh If a women makes you compermise who you are, you need to find a new women. First it’s the stash, then it’s something else. Been there, done that.

58 Jon S. October 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Does anybody know of any successful products to enhance facial hair growth? I had a full beard for over 4 years, it was very patchy when long but when trimmed, it was great. “Distinguished” is the compliment I got the most. I recently started working in the oil field and had to trade the beard for a mustache for OSHA. Any grooming tips/ product advice for a guy new to the stache life?

59 Lorenzo December 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm

@ James H. May 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm
5. Clean up after yourself. All of those hairs in the sink aren’t going anywhere unless you take action.

^– Woman posting as man, 100% sure. :’)

BTW, thought the rule was to never ever trim a mustache, according to your other article?

60 Missouri Bill December 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm

It has been an interesting adventure to read through the variety of discussions posted here regarding facial hair. I have had a goatee for many years. During a moment of weakness, I hacked it off and was staring at a clean shaven man. As I was uncertain if I had made the right choice, I just left it to mother nature to decide (Mother Nature is virtually any female opinion I might garner!) I knew I was wrong when my fourteen year old fashion maven daughter walked into the room and loudly announced “What have you done?” After several other very fashionable ladies made comments that they missed the beard, I have decided either I am for too butt ugly to show my clean shaven face OR, the beard was a good one. Well in three weeks time I was back to my old self and the ladies stopped running in terror when I entered the room. I cannot nor will not offer a general opinion on facial hair but as for me…. I will man up and be proud.

61 Pete January 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm

At age 26 I still couldn’t grow a full beard and mustache. After 6 years of shaving everyday in the Marine Corps, it now ALL comes in perfectly at age 32. For those of you that can’t grow it, NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!

62 Tom January 19, 2013 at 2:03 am

Eww. I just turned 40 and am growing a stash but alittle gray is showing. I dyed it and it now looks like I have dirt under my nose. Thinking this is going to be it for the stash. I like the facial hair but the old and gray look is not happening YET.

63 ladyhawk March 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

I found this article on accident, after reading the comments I have to say as a lady, my “man-friend” recently shaved off his beard (he kept the stache) and I can’t wait for it to grow back! He has a very nice face (I haven’t seen it clean shaven in years!) and while I like the way he looks now, there is something about his beard that is super hot! As for kissing someone with a beard, I have much more of a problem with how it is now. With his beard it was nice, not scratchy. With him shaven, by the end of the day it is rough and nowhere near as pleasant to be rubbing against as it was with his full beard, whether long or trimmed. Just one lady’s point of view for ya :) And also, it is just super manly which is how I like my men!

64 André April 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Remember: a kiss without a mustache is like a day without sunshine.

65 Ken May 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm

lucky for me, my Fiance loves my facial hair. i shaved for Movember last year and she said i’m not allowed to do it ever again.

66 Terence P Ward May 31, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Never lose faith in your ability to grow one. At 42, I must have hit second puberty, because after Movember it turned into something real.

67 Kevin May 31, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I shaved my beard and mustache last summer on the first day of vacation just to see what’s under there, had it for at least 18 or 19 years. My kids (all 20 and over) and my wife were mortified and immediately requested it’s return. I started it immediately. Took about 3 weeks to grow back to a usable state and 4-6 for it’s former glory (I keep it trimmed pretty short). Mama likee the beard!!

68 Michael Holt June 1, 2013 at 10:40 am

In my late 20′s it was pretty evident that I would soon be bald. My wife suggested I grow a beard because she had seen several handsome bald, bearded men on TV. Of course I agreed, That was 1979. The beard looked great and I learned to manage it pretty well. It silvered in my 30′s and made me look mature and wise (looks can be deceiving). So I’ve had it over 30 years, and never had one negative comment. I’m just a “beard guy”. Women and children like to touch it, and often men will ask me about “beards”. My beard is as much a part of me as my nose and my eyes. ‘Nuff said.

69 MJ June 1, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Looks like Joseph Stalin

70 Brennan June 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

OK guys one tip to remember unless you want to move into the manly arena of plumbing repair (clearing a P trap and snaking a waste line id pretty manly) is that facial hair is much tougher than head hair. It take too long to break down, so don’t send it down the sink. keep a plastic trash bag with your trimming tools and spread it over the sink before trimming. Toss the trimmings in the trash.
Oh and for the rookies who’s partners don’t like the bearded kiss: no one likes to kiss hair. Get those lips out front, like the silly duck mouth in the party pictures. It looks dumb, but you are going for sensation, that way lips not hair is the main course. It is all about technique gentlemen.

71 Chuck July 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

Any specific suggestions about how best to trim my new mustache would be appreciated.

72 Mr Bill August 25, 2013 at 6:59 am

Little late on the reply Chuck, but… don’t trim it until it gets to the size and shape you want it. Use some mustache wax to get it away from your lips, comb it, but don’t trim it. Pick a style that you like – who the hell cares what others think – and go for it. Just resist the urge to trim it. Have I mentioned not trimming it? Good.

73 Vincent September 6, 2013 at 7:53 am

You can use Laque pour moustache!

I bought a bottle and it is just awesome!
really gives you hard tips on your mo!
http://www.laque.se

74 John September 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Ive been growing my mustache for about a year now. Ive only trimmed it once and that was work related. If you go for a handlebar, you have one of three choices to make, trim it and not have a handlebar, wax it daily, or not wax it and try to avoid eating it. Napkins are your friends too.

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