It's Movember: 5 Things You Need To Know About Caring For That Stache
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
We're well into Movember (aka, the growing of mustaches all November long to raise awareness of men's health issues), and if you've been participating in the monthlong event, you may have some gnarly fuzz resting on your upper lip—especially if it's your first time sporting facial hair. Let it be known: There's a fine line between a coiffed, sophisticated set of whiskers and a patchy stache.
Even those without stubble may be wondering how your man can keep his mustache soft, styled, and moisturized—there's truly nothing more wince-worthy than a scratchy, fresh stache stabbing into your skin.
Below, we uncovered the best mustache care tips from two professional barbers so everyone can excel through Movember with healthy, happy skin—facial hair or not:
1. For the first two weeks—do nothing!
It's the easiest tip of them all. "Just let your mustache grow," says barber Mitsuru Aota of THE BARBER. "Generally, mustaches grow 0.2 to 0.4 millimeters a day," he adds, so two weeks should give you a solid facial hair foundation. Of course, hair type and genetics play a role—some people's hair grows faster or slower than others, so you may have to tweak the timing based on how quickly your mustache fills out. To grow a full mustache, barber Mark Tabibov, co-founder of Bonefade Barbers explains it can take anywhere from three to four months (way past Movember, sadly) or perhaps a few weeks for those with speedier hair growth.
The bottom line is, you'll want a good base before maintaining it with trims or products. Let your mustache do its thing those first couple of weeks.
2. Use a scrub.
Considering we're about two weeks into the month of mustaches, you're likely ready to take the next step, oh, right about now. Once you have your stache, you'll want to keep those whiskers clean: "You have to get a good scrub," says Tabibov (he's partial to this gentle option). You can either scrub in the shower when you're shampooing, or at the sink whenever you wash your face—whatever works for you. "Gently apply it to the skin, rather than the hairs, and rinse it all out for nice, soft hair."
3. Follow with a cream or oil.
For super-soft, malleable hairs, Aota recommends coating the mustache with a beard cream or oil: "[Comb] it into your mustache with a small comb or brush."
If you do shape your stache with a styler, though, make sure you're choosing water-soluble products—according to Tabibov, certain alcohol-based waxes can break the hairs, especially during the grow-in phase when they're most vulnerable. "Try not to apply too strong of a glue or wax," he notes.
4. Brush sideways, not downward.
OK, hear us out: According to Tabibov, if you brush your stache downward toward your mouth, you can accidentally bite the hairs while you eat, which can tear them out and make it more difficult for them to grow in evenly. That's why he suggests brushing or combing your mustache to the sides. "It sounds funny, but you'd be surprised by how many people do that indirectly. It happens all the time." Noted.
5. Trim the stache once a month, generally.
The only exception to the side-combing rule is when you're ready to trim your whiskers. Again, the timing differs for everyone—it depends on how fast your hair grows—but Tabibov recommends seeing a barber for a beard trim every other haircut. If you cut your hair every two weeks, that clocks out to once a month.
To trim your stache at home, Aota advises combing down the mustache, then trimming the stray hairs that fall past the lip line. You can either use small beard scissors or an electric clipper (he likes this trimmer with multiple blade heads). The only word of caution for a DIY trim, he says, is to make sure you're not creating an uneven shape with your dominant hand. "For example, if you are left-handed, it is easy to make a mistake by making the right side shorter or higher." Keep it slow and steady, and take multiple breaks to measure your progress in the mirror.
Whether you're growing in your very own stache or have someone in your life whose facial hair game is looking a little weak, these style and care tips can help take the mustache from meager to full and healthy. You'll want to rock the stache long past Movember.
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