How to Grow a Suave Handlebar Mustache (With Different Styles)

Let's get those facial hair a manly twist!


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Among the most eccentric and distinguished facial hairstyles is the handlebar mustache. Even if you can’t place the look, you’ve likely seen these classic mustaches on old portraits of Prussian royalty or wild west outlaws. While there are several ways to customize a handlebar mustache, they all share two distinct characteristics: they are large, and they extend beyond the lips. Sometimes they curl upward into curlicues and other times they sweep out and down across the lower cheeks. Regardless, they’re a part of the handlebar family.

Handlebar mustaches have made a comeback in recent years, a throwback to their classy and regal status in times past. If you’re considering one for your personal look, we have some tips for you.

How to Grow a Handlebar Mustache

The first step to growing your new mustache is deciding on a goal. Growing a handlebar can be frustrating until you’ve achieved it, so prepare yourself beforehand not to look back. Be patient while you progress through the awkward stages. It may also take a while for you to get used to the way it tickles your nose or dips into your drinks. Rest assured, eventually you won’t think about it.

The length of your mustache-growing process depends on long you want it to be, your diet and vitamin intake, and your natural hair-growing rate. However, plan on it taking at least three months. If you are worried about how it will look as it progresses, consider growing a full beard alongside it that you can choose to shave or keep later.

Choosing and Maintaining a Style

Once your mustache starts getting close to your desired length, it’s time to think about how you want to customize it. While there are no exact barriers between them, there are five styles considered popular and distinct enough to get their own names.


The imperial-style mustache was popularized by royalty, most notably from the Prussian and Austro-Hungarian empires. These are characterized by being bushy with outward-curling tips. Think of the stereotypical villain twirling his mustache while the damsel-in-distress lies awaiting rescue on train tracks. Maintaining an imperial mustache requires massaging wax into the hair and gently combing outward into a twirl.


The Hungarian-style mustache is likely the oldest style on this list. Before old-school European monarchy began twirling the corners, they popularized this more compact version which stretches wider and outward. You may find that you need wax to maintain it, but with proper combing, it may maintain its state on its own.


For an easier variant that takes less time to grow, look to Chevron. This style isn’t the strictest version of the handlebar, but the fact that it tends to extend a little bit beyond the lip means it qualifies. Freddie Mercury and Tom Selleck both famously rocked this mustache that densely covers the entire upper lip and then some. As it requires little to no maintenance, many men look to the Chevron as a stopping point before moving to more grandiose styles.


This thin mustache is divided at the center and combed outward into straight points. While not the most popular type of handlebar, it is one of the most distinct. For maintenance, you will definitely need mustache wax, as it will quickly droop without it. Try it out on your next trip to a fancy country club.


The walrus mustache has also fallen out of style in modern times, but it’s due for a comeback. It’s characterized by its long, downward orientation that covers the upper, and sometimes lower, lips. As one of the longest styles, it will take patience to grow. Maintenance, however, is simple. Snip the bottom for a uniform edge and then comb downward.

Now that we have knowledge of the basics, let’s check out some variations of the same!

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