"Art is a kind of illness." — Giacomo Puccini

How to style a handlebar mustache


About two and a half years ago, I grew out my full beard for the first time. I donned a mustache and goatee for most of my 20s, but I never thought I could grow the whole thing, so I was pretty satisfied when it more or less worked. It wasn’t long before I realized I no longer had any use for a razor.

Somewhere along the way a buddy told me my mustache was really great and I ought to try to style it into handlebars. It was an unexpected compliment and something I had never even thought about. All the same, the seed was planted and I decided to go for it. It’s pretty much become my everyday style. The other day I realized I had learned a few things along the way about how to style a handlebar mustache that may be worth sharing with others, so I decided to write a little bit about it. There may be better ways to do it, but this is what I’ve come up with so far.

It all starts with a good mustache wax. My favorite waxes are Man’s Face Stuff and Woodsman Mustache Wax. There are several others I like as well, including some great waxes from the UK, but I have returned to these two waxes time and again.

The first thing I do is soften the wax with the blow dryer on low heat. Then I scoop up a bit on my fingernail, and move it onto the pad of my thumb. Getting the right amount of wax is tricky, but you figure it out eventually.

Next, I use both index fingers and thumbs to continue softening it. I usually end up with wax on the thumb and first two fingers of each hand, which is actually perfect for applying it to my mustache. I have discovered that starting at the handlebars and moving back toward the center is the way to do it. I use an ordinary comb to separate my handlebars from my beard going out from the corners of my mouth to the smile lines, where my mustache is already separate from my beard. Above the comb is mustache, below the comb is beard.

Whatever wax is left on my fingers or thumbs, I apply to the top and center of my mustache, where less is needed. Then I use the blow dryer on low heat to distribute it evenly using a mustache comb. I discovered a mustache comb works just as well as a mustache brush, but doesn’t become cased in wax over time, which amounts to money wasted.

On each side, while the wax is still soft, I comb down from the center out to the handlebar, carefully using my fingers to capture the handlebar to keep from combing them into my beard. Then I twist the handlebar so the hair turns under and out toward the tip. I turn the tips up or out, depending on much attention I think I can handle for the day. I go back to the center (just under my nose), comb it straight down with my mustache comb, then run my finger along my lip to turn those hairs under and out toward the handlebars.

It firms up as I get dressed, and usually lasts all day. If I need to tidy up after a meal or something, I usually just use my fingers to go under and around the handlebars to twist the tips, and then again go out from the center along the lip to keep the appearance of flow from the center to the handlebars right.

That probably sounds like a lot, but I have my morning routine down to about 5 minutes. It used to take me a lot longer, but as I’ve figured things out, it takes less time. It’s best to get it right before the wax sets.

So there you go. Let me know if this helps you, or if you have a different method.

  • Annette on

    Looks great Kenny.

    Bryan shaved his beard off last month. I miss it. I love a man with a beard!

    • Kenny on

      What the heck was he thinking? Tell him to man up and grow it back! 😉

  • Vivek-nv119 on

    Just came here from the link on the board. Decent article. Im still make doing with the balm for now but probably will shift to tache wax when it becomes unmanageable or terribly long.


    • Kenny on

      Thanks, sorry it took me so long to see your comment to approve it. Feel free to ask me more questions here or on the board!

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