| November 1, 2012

Last updated: November 9, 2018

Mustaches, Shaving, Style & Grooming, Visual Guides

How to Grow a Handlebar Mustache

grow a handlebar mustache illustration diagram

Between No Shave November across college campuses nationwide, and Movember raising money in the fight against prostate cancer, there are all kinds of reasons to embark on growing your very own handlebar mustache this winter.

How to Grow a Handlebar Mustache

Hopefully, by now you have your eye on the manly mustache style you want to achieve. Because I know some of you gents will assuredly have your heart set on that distinguished pinnacle of mustaches — the classic handlebar — we’ve put together this visual guide on how to grow one. Most handlebar experts say you’ll need at least six weeks growth at the bare minimum before your ‘stache will be long enough to be styled into the proper handlebar shape. But you’ll have to start training your mustache now in order to achieve that most glorious form. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Don’t Trim Your Mustache

man trimming handlebar mustache in front of mirror don't sign

DON’T TRIM IT! No matter how tempting it is, don’t trim your mustache. Ever.

Step 2: Comb It

man combing handlebar mustache illustration

When your mustache is long enough to comb, comb it once a day and create a part by combing the hair out from under the nose to the left and to the right respectively. This will train your ‘stache to grow out in the traditional handlebar fashion. A simple Tweezerman comb will do the trick. If you want to get fancy, go with a wooden mustache comb handmade by actor Nick Offerman, aka Ron Swanson.

Step 3: Wax It

man applying mustache wax to facial hair illustration

After you get out of the shower, leave your mustache damp. Starting in the middle of your lip, apply a small dab of mustache wax with your fingertip to the upper edge and use a comb to spread it down through the hair. Work your way out to each end, applying more wax as needed. If your mustache is wiry, use more wax. Many handlebar owners suggest Clubman Mustache Wax.

Step 4: Twist and Shape It

man curling tips of handlebar mustache illustration

To add that distinctive handlebar curl, apply some wax to the ends and twist the hairs together with your fingers. Then curl the twisted hair up and in. You can also create a curl by winding the ends as tightly as possible around a writing pen.

Step 5: Maintain It

man with handlebar mustache in boxing pose illustration

Owning a handlebar mustache is a commitment. You have to wash it, comb it, wax it, and curl it every day. But when the day arrives you have to take part in a bare-knuckle boxing match, the investment will be well worth it.

After you’ve grown your handlebar mustache, you might consider petitioning the illustrious Handlebar Mustache Club for membership:

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Illustrations by Ted Slampyak

Special thanks to AoM reader and handlebar mustache owner, Eric Stolzmann for a handlebar growing consult.

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