An early 1900s men’s fashion statement that had gone out of style by the 1950s might make a comeback – the handlebar mustache. The latest man to sport this look works in sports – American football strength and conditioning coach Aaron Feld of the Oregon Ducks. He’s not the first person in sports to grow this ‘stache.

In 1972, Oakland A’s pitcher Rollie Fingers grew a handlebar mustache to win a contest the team owner created. Of course, today’s young man probably didn’t see those games, but probably has caught one of the many television news features on Feld, which have called to attention his unique facial hair.

One such feature during the 2021 fall football season could explain what inspired 21st century men to want to grow a handlebar mustache.

Grow a Handlebar Mustache

© Can Stock Photo / Sorapop

This article starts you off at level zero, which means you shave every day, typically, and have no facial hair. From that lack of whiskers to styling the ideal upturn of hair on your upper lip, we’ll guide you.

How Long Does It Take to Grow a Mustache?

It might seem like your mustache could grow overnight if you ever went a weekend without shaving. While the time it takes to grow a full mustache varies for each individual, you should be able to begin seeing the shape of a mustache in about four days. Facial hair grows three times more quickly than the hair on your head, but it still won’t sprout up overnight. Here’s a general guide for where your mustache should be at various major growth intervals:

  • 4 to 6 days: peace fuzz with the basic shape of a mustache
  • 15 to 20 days: your mustache grows enough whiskers and hair that you can begin to groom and train it.
  • 30 days: your mustache thickens
  • 90 to 120 days: your mustache develops into the bushy, thick upper lip you desired

What influences the rate of mustache growth?

Your mustache and your best friend’s will grow at different rates. If yours isn’t as fluffy by day 20, don’t despair. It’s probably the influence of one or more of the following nine factors of growth:

  • Age
  • Diet
  • Ethnicity
  • Exercise
  • Genetics
  • Sleep
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Testosterone

Growing your Handlebar Mustache

Step One

Buy your grooming supplies. You need special tools and grooming products for a mustache. You’ll need mustache wax. Which one you choose will depend on whether your mustache hair typically comes in thin or thick. For the former, you need soft wax, but for the latter, you need stiff wax. You need the following tools – a toothbrush, a fine-tooth comb, a small pair of hair-trimming scissors. Any beauty supply store will carry these items.

Step Two

Stop shaving your upper lip or simply stop shaving if you want to also grow a beard. A handlebar mustache uses the whole upper lip. Skip shaving any part of your face that could make your mustache seem fuller, including your mouth’s corners. In addition to not shaving, also avoid trimming your mustache.

Step Three

Train your mustache. The new hair on your face doesn’t know how to grow yet, so it might come in as messy as Animal from The Muppets. You have to wait for it to grow long enough for you to be able to groom it.

Once it grows long enough to comb, begin training your mustache hairs by combing and shaping them. When your hair grows long enough, part your mustache in the middle of your lip. To do this, add a tiny bit of mustache wax on your hairs, then comb half of the hairs away from your nose.

Tip: If your wax comes in a tub, rub it between your fingers for a few moments to warm it, so it becomes simpler to apply. Coat all the hairs evenly. For stick wax, you should directly apply it to the mustache before combing.

Step Four

Besides the Fu Manchu, you’ve picked the longest type of mustache you could grow. You need to experiment on how to shape the mustache. Do this in private because until you grow it long enough and get the hang of shaping it, it will look a little goofy. Throughout the growth of the mustache, you need to shape your new hair. Do this by twisting the mustache’s ends. You won’t get a good curl at first, but your hair will remember this training.

Tip: You should never trim your above the lip hairs. They may take the longest to grow, but while short, you can’t brush them into your mustache.

Step Five

Shape your mustache according to your style and personality. A huge range exists in handlebar mustaches, including large curls, small curls, bushy mustaches with a thick curl, and thinner, Hercule Poirot-style handlebar mustaches.

Step Six

You must keep your mustache clean, so you’ll need to shampoo it, just as you do the hair on the top of your head. You can’t let it dry naturally at first. You should dry it with a blow dryer on a low setting, so you can shape it as it dries. You’ll use your comb to shape it with one hand while you use the blow drier with the other. It can take practice to learn to shape these since you’re using both hands to do different things at once. Once the wax dries, your mustache will hold form.

Tip: After about six months, you can let it dry naturally. You simply towel dry it as you would the rest of you. Use your mustache comb to part the hairs down the middle. Apply a little wax and mold the damp hairs into shape by curling the hair around your finger. Dry the curled edges while holding them in place. Comb the rest of it carefully with your fine-tooth comb.

Essential Mustache Care

Now that you’ve grown it and it is glorious, you want to keep it that way. You’ve got a little work to do. Okay, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Your mustache requires daily care. Here’s a quick but comprehensive care routine for your mustache.

Everyday Care

  • Wash your mustache.
  • Brush your mustache to remove dead skin, residue from the day before’s mustache wax, and to exfoliate your skin.
  • Wash your mustache with dish soap or shampoo to remove old wax and skin oils.

Tip: Wash your mustache at night so you don’t stain your pillowcase with wax.

When Eating or Drinking

  • When dining, wipe your mouth often to ensure you keep the mustache crumb and debris free.
  • After eating or drinking, stop by the restroom and brush or comb your mustache to remove any debris.

Tip: Before each meal, apply a tiny amount of mustache wax on the bottom strands of your mustache to help keep the hair clear of your mouth.

Mustache Issues

What do you do if you have tried to grow a proper mustache, but just have not gotten the results you wanted? Look for a local barber. Barbers do much more than cut hair. They’re the business gentlemen have long used for shaves and mustache and beard grooming. Your local barber can help you get your handlebar mustache started.

Before you visit the barber, find a few pictures in magazines of what you want. Take these with you and show the barber what you want. They may trim away the stubble around your mustache

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