Hundreds of mustache styles come and go but none makes a statement as strong as handlebar mustache. While it certainly looks classy, growing and styling this mustache is no easy task. It takes patience, some skill, and a few high-quality grooming products to get the look right.
Growing a long and thick mustache is not enough. Before you start styling, you have to train your facial hair to grow in the right direction in order to achieve the iconic handlebar shape.
Throughout this article, I will discuss how to nail the handlebar look like a pro. But before that, you should learn a thing or two about this glorious mustache style.
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What Is Handlebar Mustache? An Overview
Handlebar is one of the oldest and most popular mustache styles of all time. Its popularity was never limited to hipsters. The former president of the U.S, Theodore Roosevelt rocked this style in his glorious days.
What makes it so appealing is the simplicity of the look. It’s a long, thick magnificent mustache twisted and curled around the edges. The edges need to hold its shape with the help of grooming essentials like wax and comb.
Proper trimming, combing, sculpting, curling, and stiffening are the 5 keys to achieve the perfect handlebar mustache.
You will have to let your hair grow for 2-3 months before you can style it. 3 months is a long commitment. If you think you are ready for it, then go ahead and be the most stylish man to walk the streets.
Step-by-Step Guide to Grow, Style and Shape Handlebar Mustache
The wisest beardsmen would say that you should grow your mustache for as long as possible before shaping it. If you don’t have all the time in the world, give it at least 3 months of time.
Your aim during this period is to train your hair to grow in your preferred direction. In case you don’t know, we all have a different mustache growth pattern. Getting a handlebar mustache is impossible if both sides of your mustache grow in arbitrary directions.
Choosing the right beard wax is very important to ensure healthy growth of mustache in these 90 days. If you have thick and coarse facial hair, pick a stiff wax to tame the stray whiskers. Those with thin mustache should opt for a soft wax for best results.
Below is a week by week guideline to prep your hair before styling:
First Two Weeks: Managing the Stubble
You can expect to grow a stubble in these two weeks. Your goal during this time is to keep that thin patch of mustache and the surrounding area clean.
Exfoliating the skin 2-3 times a week is a great way to promote a fast and healthy mustache growth. You can use a face mud to gently scrub off the dead skin cells off your skin. Alternatively, you can use a coarse bristled brush for exfoliation.
Use a quality beard shampoo and beard conditioner as well. A good organic beard shampoo along with a conditioner will soften the facial hair, making it easy to comb and shape with a wax. The formula of the shampoo should be strong enough to clean the beard wax easily.
Week 3-6: The Waxing Begins
This is the toughest phase of this entire duration. The stiff stray whiskers will grow long enough to poke your nostrils and tickle your upper lip. You will be tempted to trim the edges but don’t!
This is the ideal time to use a wax.
Before applying the wax, use a comb to part your hair in the middle. Then take some wax and soften it with your fingertips and coat your hair with it. Start combing in both left and right direction.
Comb the stray whiskers on your upper lips in the upward direction. Doing this a few times a day will eventually form the perfect halves you need for styling your handlebars.
Week 7-12: It’s Time to Shape the Handlebar
If you managed to survive the first 6 weeks, congratulations! Now you have entered the most awesome phase of this routine. Your goal during the final phase is to curl and twist the ends to get the classic handlebar shape.
Don’t bother applying much wax in the middle section right now. It is in good shape already. Instead, use a generous amount of wax to twist the edges up and in.
Curl it down and out if you want a more casual and modern look. However, the classic, old-school handlebar curls should always go up and in.
To get the perfect barbershop-style look, you should also blow dry your mustache after shaping. Wrap the handlebar curls around your finger and start blow drying at the lowest setting. Keep doing it until the wax dries out around the edges. It will help the curls hold its shape for a long time.
Maintaining the Classic Handlebar Mustache – The Final Task
Congratulations to you for being so patient for 3 long months. You are now blessed with a magnificent handlebar beard that’ll make women drool over you.
But growing and shaping the mustache are only half the job done. You need to take care of it daily with a beard shampoo, comb, and wax.
Here a few tips you can follow to maintain the shape, thickness and overall appearance of your handlebar mustache:
- Wash your facial hair two to three times a week with a mild and organic beard shampoo. If you have a really thin mustache, consider using a natural hot processed soap or cleansing oil to avoid hair damage.
- Use a beard balm before the shower to keep your mustache well-conditioned before and after styling. An ideal beard balm should contain moisturizing agents such as beeswax and essential oils.
- Don’t de-wax your beard completely every day. You can use a beard oil to loosen up the wax a little before shower.
- Use a badger hair brush along with a beard balm /oil to gently exfoliate the skin beneath the mustache two times a week. By removing the dead cells, you are allowing the scalp underneath to absorb all the goodness of your beard balm.
I can understand that the entire process is long. For the first-timers, it can be a little intimidating at first. But trust me, the hard work pays off.
Trimming the Mustache: A Big NO!
Some people might tell you that it’s okay to trim the hair on the upper lip in the first two weeks. Well, it’s not!
If you are really bothered by the wild stray whiskers, patiently wait for at least 3 weeks before trimming them off. Do not touch the hairline directly above your lip. Let them long enough to meet the outer hair strands, resulting in a perfectly symmetrical and fuller look.
If you still find a few bits of hair growing in random directions, take a small scissor to trim these wild whiskers right under your nose and on the sides. You can also use a hair clipper with variable length settings to trim your ‘stache to maximum one-eighth of an inch.
Different Handlebar Beard Styles to Experiment with This Season
Now that you have all the information and tips you need, go on and be creative with your mustache as much as you want. Handlebar mustache goes with both clean shave look and full-face beard. Versatility at its best!
Here’s a list of my favorite handlebar mustache styles of all time:
The Hungarian Style
It is the oldest form of handlebar mustache style. Its rugged military-man charm makes it the ultimate symbol of manliness. Styling this mustache is quite hassle-free.
All you need is a fine-tooth wooden comb to shape the beard from time-to-time. It will work out just fine even without a beard wax. The trick to master this look is to allow your hair to grow as long as possible. This works best on men who have a thick and bushy beard.
Handlebar with Goatee and Chin Beard
Nothing gets as classy as this. Grow a hipster handlebar beard following the steps mentioned in this article. Pair it up with a goatee and precisely trimmed chin line beard. You are all set!
Handlebar with Stubble
Let your beard grow for about a week for this look. Take a reliable trimmer to trim the beard to around 1/4th of an inch. Finish off by applying hair mousse or beard balm.
Handlebar with Parted Beard
This one is bold, Bohemian and trend-setting. It will definitely make you an instant hit in the parties. You should grow your beard for 4 to 6 weeks to get the right shape. Once it has grown long enough, trim the beard from the middle section of your chin line. Finish off the look with a hair gel, wax, oil or mousse.
Long Mane Handlebar Mustache
You will have to grow your mustache really long for at least 4 months to sport this style. Use beard wax to stiffen up the ends of your mustache. Instead of the classic twisted curl, you’d want the edges to be pointy for this look. You can pair it up with a medium stubble and ponytailed hair.
Wrapping up the Handlebar Mustache Saga
Growing and styling a handlebar mustache all about commitment and dedication. Using the right grooming products also play a major role in this. While growing the mustache is a tenacious process, maintaining the handlebar is surprisingly easy.
This magnificent mustache style goes with any face shape and beard type. It’s formal and casual at the same time. If that’s not the pinnacle of perfection, I don’t know what is.