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The Mustache Is Back. Here's What To Know When You Grow One

Growing one isn't easy work, though. Here's how to do it, according to an expert barber.

top gun maverick mustache
Top Gun: Maverick

Mustaches, like mullets, are back. In spite of their so-so reputations, they remained on the faces and heads of folks resistant to change for decades, but they're reappearing on actors in leading roles and celebrities eager to switch things up — see: Miles Teller (above) in Top Gun: Maverick, The Weeknd, Jacob Elordi post-Euphoria and even Jason Sudeikis separated from his most popular role, Ted Lasso in, well, AppleTV's Ted Lasso.

The trend can be traced back to early 2022, when shows like HBO's Winning Time spotlighted an era where 'staches were a little more common, albeit acceptable. You see, consensus nowadays is split, even if they're en vogue right now. Mustaches have been met with several unsavory nicknames over the years — like crustache or mouth brow — and they're still kind of kitschy. But plenty of men have worn one well for years: designer Haider Ackermann, director Taika Waititi and actor Sam Elliott, to name a few.

"The truth is, there is no right way to start."

Theirs have endured, but how? By sticking with them long after they're no longer trendy, because a mustache is not nearly as uncouth as some folks make them out to be — just ask Chris Brownless, the owner of UK-based Northwest Barber Co, or countless accounts on TikTok who've completed the #topgunmustache Challenge, wherein they shave everything but their upper lip in tribute to Miles Teller's character in Top Gun, "Rooster." Watch six videos and you'll find an even mix of success stories and utter flops, but that shouldn't deter you from trying one, especially since you can just shave it off if you don't like how it looks. Men transitioning from full beards to a solitary 'stache might look a little weird afterward but only because you're adjusting from a guarded chin and neck to, well, a naked one. The skin likely needs a little TLC before the facial hair fits them.

That being said, at least according to Brownless, a mustache is an easy experiment because there really are no rules: "The truth is, there is no right way to start," he says. "Go with whatever feels right." Already have a full beard? Carve out a mustache. Working with a blank canvas? Grow one. The first few steps are easy, he says, but things get trickier as a completed mustache comes into view.

"My best advice for growing any kind of mustache is take care of your skin and take care of your facial hair," he says. "A good cleansing and grooming routine is the key to growing any kind of facial hair, and pairing that with the right product is imperative."

He recommends Uppercut's Deluxe Beard Oil, which is "great for any length of beard as it helps to treat the skin as the facial hair starts sapping nutrients from your skin, often leaving it dry and itchy." Another key to a cool-looking mustache is control. You don't want to confirm any (misguided) preconceptions about mustache-wearers. Brownless says the oil is also "great once you want to start controlling the hair a little, as it has a little bit of hold to keep hair in place and tame those stubborn fly aways."

man shaving beard while looking in mirror at home
Joanna Czerniawski / EyeEmGetty Images

All it takes is a few drops and a little massaging, which means this step can easily fit into most folks' morning routine. Each morning, though, men with mustaches should also be surveying the rest of their face to determine whether it needs shaved to up the contrast. Once stubble turns into actual hair, the mustache will lose its definition, becoming a bandmate instead of a solo act. If you want a mustache, you have to be willing to part ways with the hair on the rest of your face.

"Trimming your mustache is the key to achieving the shape you want, but it also keeps it healthy," Brownless says, but he argues you shouldn't mess around with it if you're not crafty with your cutlery. "If you’re not confident trimming it, go and see a professional barber," he adds. That's an okay place to start, too, whether you have a full beard or peach fuzz.

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