Mustache Summer The Cookie Duster

Mister Spiffy

July
26
1999

Your Host

stache.GIF (1703 bytes)Mustache Mail Bag

This edition of the Cookie Duster will be devoted to an email I received last week as a result of my comments on the glory that is the Handlebar Mustache.   The aforementioned email comes from Jason Morris, who writes:

Christian,
I am interested in growing a handlebar mustache, but have no idea how to go about starting one. I have a full, thick goatee, so where do I go from here? I don't know anything in terms of grooming or waxing. If you have any input or source referrals, I would appreciate it.
Thanks,
Jason

Welcome, Jason!  Creating the perfect handlebar mustache is an involved, yet rewarding, undertaking.  I did some research and found the Beard and Mustache Message Board.  This forum is one of the best places around to discuss facial hair of all kinds.  The contributors are all very helpful and knowledgable, and eager to pass on advice about your potential 'Duster.  One of the regulars there, Rick Sprague, has put together a set of instructions for cultivating a Handlebar that will be the envy of all the gents on your block.   Without further ado, I present it to you forthwith:

stache.GIF (1703 bytes)

Here are my tips for growing your moustache into a handlebar. First and most important is to stop trimming it. The ends you should not trim for at least 4 months, if then. The rest should be allowed to grow until it covers your lip. While you're in this stage, you should shampoo and condition it daily, of course, and while it's drying train it by combing it down and to the sides. Use the finest toothed comb you can find, or even buy a moustache comb if you can find one. I use a comb that came with my beard trimmer (which I now use only for giving people haircuts).

At some point, maybe about a month into it, you'll reach the stage where your moustache is starting to get either unruly (if it's bushy, or wiry like mine) or in the way (tickles your lip or gets long enough to bite). It's then time to buy some wax, and make a couple of decisions. Which wax to get depends on what kind of handlebar you want, and how stiff your moustache is. If you want the old fashioned, ornate barber shop quartet style, out from the lip and curled up, or if your moustache is unruly, you need a stiff wax. I use Clubman, available from barber/beauty supplies and some drug stores. (I'm assuming you're in the U.S.) It comes in black, brown, chestnut (light brown), and neutral (white, but it dries to clear). If you want to go for a soft, western style handlebar, down from the lips and out across the cheeks, and if your hair is fairly straight and pliable, you'll want a softer wax. Krewcomb, made for flat tops, might work, but I don't know as I've never tried it. There are also other brands of moustache wax sold, but it may be hard to find them.

The other decision you have to make (the first was which style of handlebar you want) is whether the ends are thick enough to suit you on their own, or whether you need to to incorporate some of the hair over the lip with them. If the former, you can now decide whether and how much you want to trim the hair over the lip. If you do, be careful to bias the trim to blend in with the bottom curve of the ends, or it will look silly. On the other hand, if you decide to incorporate some of the over-the-lip hair with the ends, you should leave it longer in the middle, or not trim it at all. It will take several more months for the lip hair to grow out to the ends, and in the meantime the ends will be disappointing. Too many guys give up at this stage. Trim the ends a little for neatness, if you like, but don't give up, and fight any tendency to bite the hairs that get in your mouth. Eventually, more and more hair will join the ends and give you the fullness you want.

I can't tell you how to use the soft wax, but if soft wax is your choice you probably won't have a problem with it anyway, as your moustache hair is fairly straight and pliable. I'll describe how to use the stiff wax, though. After you shower, dry off but leave your moustache damp. Starting in the middle of your lip, apply a small amount (about the size of a pencil eraser) with your fingertip to the upper edge and use a comb to spread it down through the hair. (The Clubman wax includes a cheap comb/brush combination that's useful.) Work your way out to each end, applying more wax every quarter to half inch. If your moustache is wiry, don't be sparing with the wax. After you've gotten the wax on, use your fingers to shape it, especially the ends, and to clump the hairs together. Don't try to achieve the final shape yet; while the hair and wax are still damp they're too soft to hold a shape, and continuing to try will just rub all the wax off onto your fingers. Your goal at this point is just to get the hairs to stay together, as parallel as possible. You can twist the ends to help them stay together, but don't twist hard or you could damage the hair shafts. If the wax dries too much before you get the hair to stay together, apply a tiny bit more to restore the pliability. When the hair is staying together reasonably well, wash off your fingers and go get dressed. (Be careful not to let your clean white shirt rub against your moustache!)

After about 10 to 15 minutes, the wax should have dried and become quite stiff. Now you can work at perfecting the shape. DON'T try to comb it in this state; you'll pull the hair out. Apply just a tiny bit more wax to the ends to soften what's there a little, but not so much that they come apart. Stroke the ends to draw the hairs parallel, and up into a curl if you want one. Keep nudging it into the desired shape until the wax stiffens again; it should only take a couple of minutes. Voila! For special occasions, if the ends won't quite stay together, you can clip the tips off, but don't do it often!

Depending on the texture of your moustache, and the stiffness and quantity of wax you use, you may have to repeat this during the day at first. Over time, as your moustache grows longer, the more easily trained inner hair will grow out to the ends and your moustache will "learn" how you want it to grow. One day, as you're dressing your moustache, you'll notice that your handlebars are almost the right shape before you even apply wax, and that you're spending a lot less time grooming it than you used to. Congratulations--your handlebar moustache has arrived!

stache.GIF (1703 bytes)

Many thanks go out to Rick and the fellows at the Beard and Mustache Message Board.  This is definitely the place to go for lively discussions about your Cookie Duster.  (Another site to dig on is TexaStache's site -- lots of pics and hair-talk.)  

And thanks also to Jason Morris for his excellent question.  Now you are a star!


stache.GIF (1703 bytes)
Boogie On, Mustache Children

And thusly we reach the end of another Cookie Duster.  Come back next week for more important news and views about The Hair O'er the Lip.  Drop me a line with your questions, comments, or 'stache reports - XianRex@mustachesummer.com - and I'll make you a star.

My wax has dried and become quite stiff, so I must start working at perfecting the shape.   Until next week, Make Mine Mustache!

- Christian

Don't miss out on previous Dusters:

Preseason
June 21
June 28
July 5
July 12
July 19

Don't miss out on previous Dusters:

June 21
June 28
July 5
July 12
July 19

Mustache Summer Return to the home of Mustache Summer