[Note from mantic59: Sharpologist asked our go-to guy for facial hair, Douglas Smythe from How To Grow A Moustache, for a primer on growing that Movember ‘stache.]
Chances are by now you know pretty well what Movember is all about, so I shall refrain from breaking it down for you. If you are one of the very few left on the planet that hasn’t an inkling what Movember is please check out the short article “What is Movember”. After you are brought up to speed meet us back here to continue!
Life’s a Itch
Growing out your first your very first cookie duster can be rather itchy for some, especially if you don’t prepare the skin properly for such a “groundbreaking” event.
That said, Aloe Vera Gel is your best friend, the purer the better. To nip potential itch and irritation in the bud, apply the clear gel to the unshaven patch above your lip. Really massage this stuff in at first in a small circular motion. This will soften the skin around the follicle and make it more malleable to allow for growth.
As the weeks go on and you possibly find yourself still itchy, stop with the circular motion and begin using a parting motion as if you are spreading wings. This will prevent anymore irritation and begin to train the tiny whiskers to grow in the shape necessary for a classic stache. (Tip: Keep the tube of Aloe in the fridge when not in use, the cool gel is wondrous for this purpose and also feels amazing after a shave too!)
If for you happen to be allergic to Aloe opt for another high quality moisturizer. By “quality” I mean a short ingredient list of skin food that is easy to pronounce and actually easy to envision the source in your head. Look for: Kokum Butter, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Jojoba, Cocoa Butter, Argan or Kukui to name a few.
Apply whichever product you choose 2-3 times a day. I recommend in the morning and again before bed. If you must apply it thrice, do it again at lunch time and you may want to blend the Aloe or Lotion onto your entire face just in case the lotion adds pigment or shine to your upper lip…you don’t wanna be called out.
The moustache has become big business over the last few years, a commodity if you will. At first it was quite humorous to see random handlebar moustaches popping up and branded onto a few odd products here and there but now…sigh, it’s out of control!
Naturally this created a growth spurt and soon needless tache grooming gear would follow; Whacky Waxes, Moustache/Beard Oils, Balms, Barbie Sized Brushes, Snipping Scissors and Sheers, Repackaged Electric Trimmers, Plastic Templates, and the most useless of them all, The Moustache Comb!
The biggest scam out there and for the concerned noob to be aware of is this “device”. They simply don’t get the job done and do more harm than good. Due to the ultra thin spacing between the teeth of the comb, they are notorious for pulling out whiskers, breakage and unevenly distributing wax. Save your bristles and your money, pick up a good old fashioned black pocket comb like the Fonz. These classic combs have two sizes of teeth which is perfect for what you need.
Use the wider teeth out of the shower to comb and train the whiskers as they dry and then 20 minutes later, use the thin tooth side for applying wax and shaping. Though not as sexy or much of a conversation piece I assure you, this is the pro tool for the job!
Honestly, more than likely you will not even need the comb for a few weeks when starting out but it’s always good to have one handy and at the ready when that day comes. And when that day does come, part the stache from the center out inner the same manner you have already been doing with the aloe. This really enforces the growth pattern from the get grow…I mean “go”.
The Right Mo for Your Mug
This step is key and often missed or overlooked from the start. Sadly, a big handlebar moustache though pined after by many, may not be suitable for all faces. So please read the Cliff Note version of face shapes below carefully.
This is a great face shape to have if you want to sample a few facial fur styles! There really are no guidelines here except to stay away from tiny moustaches. A tiny stache such as a Pencil or French will make your face look much bigger. Go for girth and a minimum end of the lip length.
You really have two options here. Embrace your triangular face and grow a classy Pencil Moustache or grow out a beard to visually add fullness to the chin and by default participate in No Shave November!
Wax On, Wax Off
First off, if you are only growing a moustache for the month of November there is absolutely no need to pick up a tin of moustache wax. However, if you make it to the end of the month without killing your tache, wax and wax remover is something to consider.
Choose an all-natural Moustache Wax blend, free from petrochemicals. Though the FDA approves the use of such ingredients, they have been known to clog the pores and possibly pose other health risks. Plus, do you really want to be inhaling that gunk in all day? I also advise you to pick up a Moustache Wax Remover. These are usually oil based and offer a two-fold action; Removes wax, conditions/ softens whiskers.
Moustache wax traditionally has a few uses, first and foremost it is to keep those unruly little whiskers out of your mouth. This is an especially important use if you are aiming to grow a more eccentric Handlebar Moustache. This is because the key to growing a successful Handlebar is never cutting or trimming the stragglers as you grow it out for girth and manageable length. The wax is therefore lightly applied to the whiskers right above your upper lip. Curl them under and part them to the side, the wax will keep them in place.
Second, wax is key for controlling the shape of the desired style. Again, using the Handlebar as an example, wax is used to shape and hold those classic bike handle curves all day. The trick is not to over use the wax.
Another backlash of the sudden stache craze was the over use of wax. The styles came back way too fast and many men out there in a rush to get to their favorite coffee shop or pub didn’t do their history homework.
I find most fellas “learned” how to use (or overuse) moustache wax from what they saw on TV, shows such as Whisker Wars in which men with a proclivity for extreme facial hair compete for the best, gravity defying stache or beard.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against these whiskered warriors…it’s just, they are hardly role models when it comes to sporting your everyday, bitch’n handlebar.
You will see or may have already, many men excessively using wax, sporting inscectoid looking antennae, pointed and glistening in the sun like greasy needles. Unless you’re Dali or have a competition that night, this is not what we are going for. Moustache wax should be used sparingly. The real trick is to use just enough to shape the fur without anyone knowing you are using it.
Another misconception I’d like to dispel right now is “the twist”. It almost seems natural to apply wax to your stache and twist it up, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Twisting your bristles can break and weaken your hard earned whiskers! It also creates an opposing tension like winding up a spring. Throughout the day your “bars” will be unwinding and you will find yourself having to continuously add more wax. Some guys foolishly blame the holding power of the wax rather than user error. Consider yourselves warned.
The proper way to achieve a glorious and shapely tache is to be continuously training the form with your comb after the shower and before bed. Parting it out from the center and a J-curve up, think: Wings of Mercury. (It is my goal to drill this concept into your head.)
When ready to style with wax scrape off a pea sized amount of wax with the nail of your index finger. Rub the wax between your thumb and forefinger to emulsify it. [Some folks like to heat the wax up with a hair dryer first to soften it but if you scrape thin layers off the surface and do as I describe you will find no need for this extra step.] Once emulsified, began gently shaping the right side of your stache first, bending the bar up and refraining the urge to twist. Repeat on left side. [See Video: How To Realistically Use Moustache Wax For A Natural Look]
This will take a tiny bit of practice but once you have it down you will be able to style and shape your stache in minutes!
Before bed be sure to comb a small amount of moustache wax remover through your whiskers. This will break down the wax and remove it usually in two passes. After wax is removed you can rinse out the oils with shampoo and if you do, be sure to use conditioner after. You can also simply leave the oil in, this is the preferred method. It will function as an overnight, leave-in conditioner. Doing this nightly will soften, condition and strengthen the moustache making it much more controllable.
Re-Learning How to Eat
Yes that’s right, one has to rethink how to eat when responsibly operating a crumb catcher. Finger food will suddenly become fork and knife food, beverages will no longer be poured into a pint glass but chugged like a pirate from the bottle. Unless you are partial to a straw….don’t be that guy. (sadly, sometimes you must be that guy.)
The tips and tricks to cover on eating with your mo publically can really be broken down into a science or art, impossible to cover in this article. I recommend you check out this article on How to Eat With a Moustache before your next date, But not before we wrap it up here.
Nowadays, especially this time of year, you can find supplements especially formulated to aid in growing facial fur…Read: multi-vitamins for your Mo. Some are quite good and some are bogus. This could be an option for some who have had trouble growing a healthy stache in the past. Check out what’s out there and be sure to read the reviews before you make your mind up.
Another alternative is to create your own tonics and oils. There are plenty of recipes and lists to be found online, I have also put together a Beard & Moustache Conditioning Manual myself which is packed with no frills Mo growing recipes and a vitamin/herb list to aid you on your fur journey.
This is just a small, condensed primer for all the Mo noobs out there that may or may not be participating in Movember but wish to learn how to grow a moustache right and with style. I commend you all for taking the plunge! I would also like to invite you to join or support our HTGAM Movember Teams be you in the USA or Canada.
Please Visit Team HTGAM Canada or Team HTGAM USA to get involved