A clean-cut face is not always the mark of a good, distinguished gentleman. Mustaches, beards and other facial hair types look cool, and it gets a lot cooler if your wife likes it. Some women would claim that a clean cut man is more attractive, but for some, facial hair is a mark of masculinity and is definitely attractive. Either way, the choice is still up to you.
Here is a guide to help you learn all about mustaches and beards.
What can you use to trim facial hair?
Depending on the style you want and how long you plan on growing it, you need nothing more than a pair of scissors and a beard trimmer a.k.a. razors. But if you plan to take the style seriously and you’re keen on keeping your mustache and beard good-looking, then you need a mustache comb, wax, clippers, trimmers, and creams.
When it comes to trimmers, here are the three basic materials (and people) that can be of help:
1. Electric razor
Electric razors are popular, and it seems like there are just as many beard trimmers. Using an electric razor is easy, and it helps you to easily maintain a sculpted look.
2. Manual/traditional razor
If you want to make your mustache or beard more elaborate, traditional razors are the way to go. When it comes to trimming and shaving facial hair, using a manual razor can help you get more accurate. It’s recommended for you to use a double edge safety razor. If you want to focus on precision, you can use cartridge razors.
If you find trimming hard to do on your own, or if you want to take your facial hair care seriously, then take it to a barber. There are barbers who specialize in sculpting facial hair on men. These barbers can also teach you tips and tricks to maintain your personal facial hair growth and style.
How can you grow a mustache and/or beard?
Growing a beard or a mustache the way you wanted it doesn’t just happen. For some men, it’s even hard to grow facial hair. You have to work to grow facial hair that is healthy and lively. Here’s how you can grow a mustache:
1. Keep a healthy lifestyle.
Just as healthy and vibrant hair is a product of good health, the same goes with facial hair. Make sure you get enough rest, sleep and exercise. Manage stress, as stress can slow hair growth. Eat a balanced diet full of necessary vitamins and minerals. Quit smoking too, as it slows hair growth and lowers immunity. This thing may not seem like it helps maintain a good and healthy beard, but that’s what many research by experts and doctors show.
2. Take some multivitamins.
If eating a balanced diet every day seems to be a stretch (because you and your wife can’t prepare them always), you may opt for dietary supplements. Vitamin B7 or biotin can greatly help in growing healthy hair. Other vitamins that promote good facial hair growth include vitamins A, B5, B3, B9, C and E.
3. Keep your face clean.
When hair follicles are blocked with dirt, oils, and grime, it’s hard for the hair to grow out of the follicles. You must regularly scrub your face using a good facial scrub to clean the surface and stimulate hair follicles. Facial massages can also help stimulate hair growth.
4. Commit to it and fight the itch.
As the hair grows for the first little bit, the face is going to itch. Perhaps it’s one of the reasons why you’ve been a clean shaven guy for a long time. The truth is, to grow a good beard or mustache, you must endure a period of uncomfortable itching. If you resist the temptation to shave them all off, eventually the hairs will soften and the itching will stop. This itchy situation may last for a few weeks to a month, as hair grows at different rates.
As your facial hair grows, be prepared to look a little ridiculous. One common mistake made by men is that they try to style it too soon. Let it grow around one inch before you try to shape it. Once you get past the inch mark, then you’re in good shape. From that point onwards, you can begin trimming and shaping it to suit the style you want.
5. If nothing works, seek medical help.
If you have tried being healthy and taking multivitamins (perhaps you’ve even tried hair growers) and your face is still rocking the clean look, then maybe it’s time to seek medical help. Testosterone levels can determine the rate of growth and thickness of facial hair, and if you have low testosterone levels, your physician may recommend testosterone therapy. But make sure you only do this under medical observation.
Also, take note that there are just people who have genes that do not allow the growth of mustaches (or even beards). If you badly want to grow facial hair and you’re way past puberty but still, you wonder why it doesn’t happen, check your family tree. If your dad, uncles, and grandfathers were unable to grow facial hair too, most probably, it’s in your genes.
A majority of men have tried to grow a beard at some point in their lives, but only a few can do it and keep it. For some, hair doesn’t grow out perfectly like they wanted, while some ends up having uneven hair growth, having lots of hair in some areas and nothing in others, causing it to look awkward. If you can’t grow out a perfect mustache and beard, it’s okay to give up.
Tips for maintaining, grooming and shaping your facial hair
If you’re one of those “lucky ones” who can grow a decent looking facial hair, then you have to maintain it and groom it regularly. Learn how to shape it to your desired style.
1. Wash it with shampoo.
For some reason, most men think that most parts of their body should only be exposed to soap or body wash. But that’s a big no-no when it comes to keeping your facial hair good-looking. Just like you wouldn’t use bar soap on your head (unless you’re bald), don’t do it to your beard and mustache. Treat it the same way as you would your hair – shampoo it and follow up with a conditioner once every two to three days. This will keep your facial hair moisturized and healthy, keeping it from looking like a hairy mess. Just remember to rinse it very well because any leftover product can dry your facial hair and make it flake during the day.
2. Comb it.
Before you trim your mustache and/or beard to your desired style, comb through it so that all hair is pointing at the same direction. Combs and brushes specially designed for facial hair are widely available, and you’re lucky since you’ve got a lot of options. Wax can be used for shaping and taming stray hair, and mustache balms and oils can also be helpful for your grooming.
3. Start trimming.
When trying out a new beard or mustache style, use an electric trimmer first and trim the general shape that you want. Use the electric trimmer or razor for shaping out the outlines. Then, use a mustache comb and scissors for trimming out details and length. Trimming with scissors is helpful for those who want to style their facial hair, but not at all necessary for those who simply want a short beard or goatee.
When trimming a mustache, start by trimming the bottom of the mustache, then work your way to the outer edges. Start from the middle then trim to one side, then do the same to the other side. Look straight ahead on the mirror to keep it symmetrical.
Once you’ve got your facial hair to the right shape, comb it again to remove loose hair. Use scissors to cut any part of the hair that you missed the first time, then check it again if it’s proportional.
Popular mustache styles
If you want to pull off a mustache, here are some of the popular mustache styles you can choose from:
1. Original mustache
This style is a trim mustache sitting just above the top lip. It’s simple, classic and versatile.
2. Pencil-thin mustache
This is a very narrow mustache that’s just about as thick as a pencil outline. To keep it neat and thin, this style requires daily trimming.
3. Chevron mustache
As the name suggests, the chevron mustache is shaped like a chevron that covers your whole area on top of your lip. It’s a popular dad ‘stache worn by the likes of Tom Selleck, Ron Swanson, and Freddie Mercury.
4. Horseshoe mustache
If you’re familiar with Hulk Hogan, you’ve seen this style. It’s a full and thick mustache that overpowers the upper lip and trails down the corners of the mouth up to the chin. It’s manly and tough-looking.
5. Handlebar mustache
The handlebar mustache is what you call the stereotypical suave and manly-looking mustache. As the name implies, it looks like a handlebar. It features ends grown past the sides of the face that is often curled or twirled at the end. It may need regular waxing and daily sculpting with a firm hair product or wax to keep it in its desired shape.
The handlebar mustache has other iterations: the extended handlebar and the soulful handlebar. The extended handlebar, also known as the Wild West handlebar, features long mustache that is groomed to a winged mustache, just like cowboys used to have. Meanwhile, the soulful handlebar is your regular handlebar mustache paired with a small soul patch at the bottom lip.
6. Toothbrush mustache
This one’s a narrow but tall mustache (it extends the full height of the upper lip) that doesn’t extend past the sides of the nose. It’s a facial hair that resembles a small brush – the toothbrush. It was worn famously by Charlie Chaplin first and it became popular until it was adopted by Adolf Hitler. Because of that, the style became associated with the German Nazi leader, so it became instantly unpopular with men after World War II.
7. Fu Manchu
Fu Manchu is a thin, narrow mustache that grows down below the jawline in two very long tendrils from the upper lip. It’s like the horseshoe mustache, but it’s a downward style. Also, it is often separated in the middle portion under the nose. This style is named after Fu Manchu, a fictional Chinese villain in the series of novels written by Sax Rohmer.
8. Walrus mustache
This style is characterized by whiskers that resemble those of a walrus – bushy and thick, and droops over the upper lip (and even the whole mouth for some). It takes some commitment and makes eating soup or ice cream laborious. It can be only pulled off by dads who like to hang around on the porch, or by men who wear cowboy hats.
Popular beard styles
If you prefer to add dimension to your face through a beard, then these are some popular style choices:
The standard beard is a generic term for any facial hair other than a mustache. A beard usually extends from the sideburns, down the cheeks, and under the chin.
2. Chinstrap beard
A chinstrap beard is a thin line of facial hair that connects the sideburns draping in a narrow line of hair down the side of the cheek and under the jaw without any hair on the front side of the chin or covering the cheeks. In short, it’s a mustache that circles the chin like the strap used to secure a helmet to your head.
The goatee is a generic term for a beard describing the hair on the chin, but not on the cheeks. In some cases, the goatee has a thin line connecting it to the sides of the mouth. It’s named goatee because it looks like the hair on the chin of a goat. A goatee may or may not be incorporated with a mustache on top. Once common iteration is a royale goatee, which has a mustache anchored by a chin strip.
4. Three-day stubble beard
This is a closely trimmed beard that shows the stubble after three days from close shaving. It’s rugged, manly and sexy (for some women).
5. Circle beard
The circle beard is a goatee or chin patch and a mustache connected to each other, forming a circle.
6. Soul patch
The soul patch is a simple form of beard that is made up of hair just right below the lower lip, but not extending to the chin. This is often made narrow and in the form of an inverted triangle. It’s a stereotypical beard of a 1960s beatnik.
7. Chin curtain
Sometimes called as a “lion’s mane,” the chin curtain is a gull beard without a mustache or neck hair. It forms a line of facial hair extending from the sideburns down the jawline and hanging below the jaw. From the jawline, the hair is a bit long, forming a “curtain.”
The muttonchops beard is made up of heavy and thick sideburns that grow thicker as they extend towards the chin. The patch of hair grows larger towards the chin. They are often connected to a mustache that draws downwards to meet the sideburns.
9. Friendly muttonchops
Friendly muttonchops is like muttonchops but without hair at the chin. Oftentimes, the sideburns hair are long and full. This style suits older men better.
10. Chin strip
A chin strip is a simple vertical line of hair across the chin. If you want to try having a beard but you want it minimal, then this is the style to go for.
11. Van Dyke beard
The Van Dyke beard is a full goatee with a detached mustache (typically a handlebar style mustache). The hair on the chin is usually a patch of hair that is narrow and shaped like an oval or a triangle. The beard and the mustache are shape and styled independently.
12. Balbo beard
The Balbo beard is a type of beard that wraps around the mouth. It is accompanied by a mustache with ends flared out beyond the lines that connect to the chin. It has no sideburns attached to the beard. This style is named after Italo Balbo, an Italian Marshal of the Air Force.
A full type of beard, a Shenandoah is a very thick facial hair growing from the neck, sideburns and lower jaw, but without mustache or hair around the lips. This style is common during the 19th century Europe and North America, and is often associated with the Amish people.
The neckbeard is a thin beard at the bottom of the jaw on the neck, and has no other facial hair or mustache. It’s simply hair on the neck. This was popular during the 19th century, with Richard Wagner, Horace Greeley, Alpheus Felch and Henry David Thoreau sporting the look.