The basics: how to grow a handlebar moustache | CanYouHandlebar Moustache and Beard Co.
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October 19, 2012

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The basics: how to grow a handlebar moustache

CanYouHandlebar Customer Colton

The growth period of a handlebar moustache:

Many people ask me how long it takes to grow a respectable handlebar moustache. When I say, "about three months," I can see crests falling. There are a few points I would like to make about this. Just because your handlebar moustache is not fully mature early on, it doesn't mean it looks bad right up until day 90. In fact, it can look pretty decent all the way through the growing. During the growing period you may end up using a little extra wax to keep untrained hairs out of your mouth. Yes, I said untrained hairs. Unless you have had a handlebar for a while your moustache thinks it is "business as usual" and will grow is its natural pattern. It may surprise you that lip hair has a pattern, but just like the hairs on your beard or your head moustache hair has a preferred growth pattern. This three month growing period does two things. First, it allows the inner hair to catch up to the outer hairs. Second, the time period allows the wax to train the hair to go the direction you want it to grow.

Tricks during the growing period:

These are all optional but may make you feel more comfortable joining the handlebar moustache fraternity. Use what you like and ignore the rest.

Week One and Two:

Grow out a normal 90's goatee or a full beard. This lets you get some length without standing out too much. Prior to week two you really won't have enough hair to even begin waxing the ends. That said, a little moustache wax is handy even if you don't want to grow a handlebar. Some folks even use wax to keep fly-away eyebrows under control. Unless you are a fixture on 60 Minutes, you may want to get those eyebrows in check, too.

Week Two through Six:

Now you are probably starting to feel whiskers you are used to trimming sneaking into your mouth or tickling your lips. Please resist the temptation to trim these hairs. You will need these later. During this period of growth you will want to keep your wax in your pocket to keep it near body temperature so you can get a dab and train these pesky hairs swept to the right and the left away from your meal.

Week Six and beyond:

By now you should have sufficient hair on your upper lip to make the call to have only the handlebar moustache or keep your beard or goatee as sidecars to your awesome handlebar. There is no right or wrong about this. Some purists insist a handlebar should ride stag on your face, others are more lenient as to what constitutes a "real" handlebar moustache.  I say do what you'd like and don't listen to the naysayers.

Note:

Don't feel compelled to wash out all of the wax every day. When you shower, obviously you should clean up and keep everything hygienic, but you don't need to or want to scrub out all of the wax. First of all, this is nearly impossible to do because moustache wax is made predominantly of wax and oil and is tough to remove entirely without tough soaps like dish soap. Beyond that, this is not good for your skin, not necessary for hygiene and not conducive to training your hairs. Every night, the wax in your moustache provides free training the whole time you are out cold!

The "dont's" of moustache growing:

Like the tricks, above, these are guidelines I am offering to you, man-to-man, not rules. Experiment and let me know if you find a better way!

Trimming:

I advise that you give it two to three weeks before trimming any hairs. If a single hair is driving you nuts--guillotine it, but if you can bear it, let them all grow until you get a good idea of which hairs will play along and which ones need to go. I strongly advise against cutting the hairs directly above the lip (which you are used to cutting if you have a goatee now) because then you end up with a handlebar mullet! You want those hairs to grow out and meet the outer hairs in order to get that full and natural look. After a couple of weeks you will start to notice that some hairs just don't belong. I have a few that grow North of the main part of my moustache that just never blend in well, so I trim them with little, sharp sewing scissors. I also trim a few hairs right beneath my nose for the same reason.

Overnight training:

Now this may be controversial, but I noticed that sometimes not matter how much I fiddle with my handlebar or applied wax, the ends tended to curl out to make bull horns (and these do not look great and photograph even worse) or one handle would get bent the wrong way on my pillow as I slept, so I turned to extreme measures. I used a DIY moustache snood while sleeping for a few nights in a row. I went to the drug store and picked up, for a few bucks, a package of nylon stretchy headbands with the little rubber nubs and wore the bad around my moustache and then around the back of my head where that line is under the bump on the back of your skull. This wasn't too tight for me and is reportedly not amorous in nature, but gives you eight or so hours (while sleeping) of hard core moustache training when needed. I have only done this a couple times.

Dedicated comb:

If you are using wax, you will want a dedicated comb so that you don't get wax in the hair on your head when combing it. (This doesn't apply to me exactly, because I am bald on top and keep the remaining hair short.) You will find this accumulates wax, so run it under hot water and use some good dish soap (I like blue Dawn) and a badger haired brush or old tooth brush to clean up the residue here and there. Pro-tip: Blow drying your combs to melt the wax and then wiping on a paper towel may sound like a good idea but then your comb melts like one of Dali's clocks and that will not help you grow Dali's moustache!

Hairs fall out--no biggie:

Hairs will fall out and though it can feel like a setback when you have been spending so much time and energy to get long curled hairs, know that it is normal. One caveat: if your moustache has a heavier coating of wax on it, don't pull a comb through at room temperature because in this specific scenario you may actually be pulling some "live" hairs clean out of their socket due to friction. I recommend cupping your hands and breathing that deep warm lung air  into your moustache before combing or passing a blow dryer on low heat over your moustache a few times to soften the wax before combing. This is especially true of stiffer waxes.

 

This post is part of an ongoing CanYouHandlebar series designed to help our customers.  Please visit our full library of articles at TheBeardMentor.com


10 Comments

Tim Kramer
Tim Kramer

March 29, 2017

Hey Hugh,

You’ve been handlebarring for 40 years?! That is fantastic!

For the ‘bad days’ I think it might just be a part of life. It seems like your best bet is to just keep training, training, training. We prefer the methods of combing and waxing.

Have fun in northern Barvaria/Frankenwald! I’m sure you and your stache will fit in perfectly. :)

Tim
CanYouHandlebar

Hugh
Hugh

March 28, 2017

Been handlebarring on and off for nigh on forty years. Straight out now, its past the width of my head, but it curl it. I adhere to the old saw that ’it’s only a handlebar if you can see it from the back’, but some folks do look good with the shorter versions. One of the posts here mentioned losing a nice long hair when waxing. I say a pray as it falls into the sink… Been using Pinaud Clubman wax the whole time. Did try some in tins but was underwhelmed. If anyone has an answer to the ‘bad days’ when the curls just want to do their own thing and go everywhich way, I’d love to here it. Thanks guys! By the way, I’m moving to northern Barvaria/Frankenwald so trying to grow the inner hairs out so it looks even more respectable. Lotsa’ great ’stashes over there!

Tim
Tim

March 02, 2017

Hey Joe!

Thanks for reading!

Thanks for adding your tips. Those are great! Using the blow dryer and combing like that is smart and effective. Nice!

As to the wax discoloring your moustache – not sure if you’ve used ours and had that result but, we don’t add any color additives or anything. The yellow comes only from the natural beeswax. If you do see discoloring while using our waxes we recommend using less and trying to reheat the wax for better results. :)

Thanks for reading and for sharing your tips!

Cheers,

Tim
CanYouHandlebar

Jor Barrie
Jor Barrie

March 01, 2017

Hi, great tips, thanks!

I’d like to add some of my own: I’m roughly in my 8th week, and my rather curly moustache was starting to drive me nuts, until I remembered what I used to do with my hair when I still had it; I make sure my moustache is really wet, and then I use a blow dryer while gently brushing the hairs to the left and right to make the curls disappear while training the moustache at the same time. It really works for me!

Now waxes are great when your moustache is dark, but I found that they were colouring my grey hairs yellow, which wasn’t a good look! So if I want my moustache to look really tidy, I apply a little Layrite Cement Clay instead. Great hold, and no discolouring!

Tim
Tim

January 31, 2017

Hey Joe,

Tim here. I have definitely heard of people doing that and seen a few fellas with that style. As far as tips go I’d say a lot of it comes down to the same basics like training with a comb and waxing. Don’t be afraid to experiment as well!

You’d probably like the new videos we’re shooting. This one on how to style a handlebar moustache is really good. Check it out: https://youtu.be/cehAgBIgpvM

Cheers,

Tim
CanYouHandlebar

Joe
Joe

January 31, 2017

Don’t some people attempt to go for the “bull horned” look?? As their stauche gets longer, the horns get larger and encircle themselves.. just thought I might give that a try, and wondered if you had any tips for that approach?? Thanks!

Tim
Tim

July 29, 2016

Hey Zak,

Right on! In our opinion you can’t beat the look of a well grown and groomed handlebar moustache. But the important thing is taking ownership of it and loving it no matter what other people think. I wish I would have known or cared more about handlebar moustaches in high school :D

Cheers,

Tim

Zak Raczi
Zak Raczi

July 29, 2016

I’m a teenager and I have always been fast growing on the facial hair. I would like to try a handlebar mustache. Would it look good if done correctly?

Jim
Jim

May 09, 2015

I personally have been growing for roughly 4 months, and it started out with great, perfectly rounded curls in the first few months. then, i went to a barbers for a haircut, and asked if they could also trim the mo… “yeah no worries!” was the reply; then halfway through i got told “I havent done one of these in years”.

needless to say, one side was about 10mm shorter than the other (1/2", thereabouts), and above the top lip got heavily trimmed.

I have found though, instead of using wax on a daily basis, i simply shampoo it maybe once a week; and train it up with beer foam the rest of the time. and this works well… twist it slightly, dont twist too much, or you do get spiked bull horns like i currently have (twirling after having a few beers, clearly). would send the “pictures through the ages” if i could!

Nikunj Agarwal
Nikunj Agarwal

March 03, 2015

Hi. Thanks for thr great article above.
I’m into the 6th week of growing the handlebar. But, I have not used any of the moustache gels/wax as advised by you.
Is that okay? Can I continue for the rest of the weeks without the gel/wax or should I get 1 immediately??

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