These days, everywhere you look another beard or mustache springs out of the darkness. One may even go so far as to say our society has become dominated by the world of facial hair. Thin mustache.
Some may balk or raise an eyebrow at the influx of scruffy men. Bearded rights have stayed in debate for so many centuries and this is an opportunity none of us should take for granted. Similar to the fight for so many other rights, a man’s right to sport a beard or mustache has been accepted and rejected over the years. We want it to take its place as a main trend.
If you’re new to the world of facial hair, chances are you’re looking for a beard or mustache that will compliment your personality. If you haven’t already decided, it can be a bit overwhelming due to the endless options. You may feel like choosing a mustache type is harder than choosing a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins.
To make matters worse, a quick gander through the World Beard and Mustache Championships will make you feel like whatever style you settle on won’t be good enough. While this championship acts as proof that almost anything can be pulled off don’t be concerned by what you see. Remember, not every beard or mustache is destined for a world championship. The endless sea of bushy faces shouldn’t deter you. You’re joining a community that is as diverse as they come, and we’re always welcoming new members.
Even if you have no intention of entering a competition, it is important to remember that the style you choose says a lot about who you are. Those who are new to this world may overlook this aspect of the community, but your facial hair acts as the portal to your first impression. It is almost vital to keep it properly maintained at all times. If your facial hair is unruly and gnarled, you feed into the stereotype that beards and mustaches belong to people who practice poor hygiene. This fuels a stigma that mustached men have been fighting for centuries. On the flip side, if the whiskers stay properly groomed, you present yourself as professional, organized, and clean.
Through all of the heated debate, there’s one particular mustache style that will always make you look on point: The pencil.
What is a Pencil Mustache?
Photo Credit: Shout Factory
The Oxford Dictionary defines a pencil mustache as nothing more than “a very thin mustache.
It may seem rather obvious, but this particular style has come and gone throughout the years. It fluctuates in popularity, and comes with specific opinions on how to wear it best.
Just like any other trend, the pencil mustache has an important history that’s helped it become one of the most definable styles. Whether you decide on this or any other style, it is important to know where it comes from. Be certain it is a style you truly believe will compliment your personality.
How the Pencil Mustache Came into Play
The immediate era one associates this particular mustache style with is the 1920’s. Flip through some old photographs from the 20’s and 30’s and this mustache can be found on celebrities. This influenced the general population to follow suit.
Outside of “Gatsby,” other fictional characters like Hercule Poirot, authors like George Orwell, and actors like Clark Gable and Charlie Chaplin sported this ‘stache and helped this trend become part of popular culture.
Trim top of mustache
Nowadays, you may choose this type of mustache to represent a cleaner, more professional and suave look for yourself.
In regards to this particular style wearers often choose it because it makes them feel more debonair. It gives off the impression that they have proper vocabulary, posture, and manners.
Despite your reason for choosing it, now that you know where it comes from and its influence on fashion, let’s learn how to shave a pencil mustache so you can get it right on your first try.
What You’ll Need
The mustache isn’t going to shave itself. Before we dig down into the mechanics of this style, there are a few things you’ll need to have:
A razor (either a trimmer or a straight edge)
The most important: A mustache to work with
Shaving the Pencil Mustache
Grow the Mustache
If your face is still clean-shaven, this will be the longest step, so patience is key in this stage. It’s possible you have decided on the pencil because you think it’ll be quick and easy, and if that’s the case, you may want to reconsider. Even though the end product of this style comes with a clean, simplistic look, you’ll first need to start out with a wild and bushy mustache. You’ll want to give yourself a little bit of a safety net in case you make a mistake.
If you’ve never done this before, you’ll have no idea just how easy it is to over-shave a spot. If that happens, you have to start all over again. Hair regrows, of course, but the time between screwing up and getting it right can be highly unforgiving. One wrong movement in one location can change or ruin the entire look, so make sure you don’t rush through this part.
If this is your first time, remember to start on the higher settings of your trimmer and work your way down until you’re comfortable with what each length setting will do to the area you’re trimming.
Comb Out the Bristles
You may not have to buy a separate mustache comb to complete this step, but some form of combing will set you up for the best results.
Personally, I just use the combs that come on the end of the trimmer and fluff up the area first. Like any other hair, facial hair gets tangled over itself. Combing out the bristles on your face will make it easier to see which hairs have grown out longer than others. It also separates the hairs, so when you trim over the area, you’re less likely to get snagged.
Plus, let’s face it, it’s like a mini-massage on your face. Letting the bristles work through your mustache is great for the skin underneath.
Trim the Bearded Area
When you’re trimming, your beard and the rest of your facial hair should be dry. However, when you’re shaving, your skin should be wet. A wet beard is more likely to get caught and snarled in your razor, and dry skin is more likely to break out in a rash.
Trim the mustache first, along with the rest of the bearded area if you’ve grown it out. Before you move on to the remainder of the shave, wash and exfoliate your face (and neck) to loosen up your skin and remove any dead skin cells.
Apply the Shave Gel
This could be considered an optional step, depending on your preferences. There is no rule that states you have to use shaving cream (I don’t), and in fact, there’s a pretty strong argument as to why you shouldn’t.
However, most of us have been taught something different. We think if we shave without the shave gel, it is more likely we will cut ourselves. This could hold true at first, but once your skin has healed over from the swelling caused by the shaving cream, you may be singing a different tune.
If you’re worried about the gel drying out or damaging your face, it may be a better option to skip this step — even if you’ve been doing it for years. With or without the shaving cream, it’s time to move on.
Shave the Pencil
Like the shaving cream, there is an endless debate about the best temperature to use for the best shave. Most people say either warm or hot, but there’s just as clear of a debate about how much better cold water is.
Photo Credit: Pinterest – xxlauen89xx
There are a few different looks that one could call “the pencil,” or its brother the toothbrush. It’s also important to note that recently this style has come alongside a thinly shaped goatee as well. The Iron Man, Robert Downey, Jr. himself is sporting this style.
In general, however, this is the part where you focus on removing the hairs immediately beneath the nose and leaving a thin line just above the lip.
There’s no specific rule that defines how thin your “very thin” mustache has to be. Research shows the thinner, the better (and more recognizable). You can use an electric razor to trim the beard or mustache, then use a straight razor to bring you the closeness you desire from the shave.
French mustache styles
If you’re feeling nervous, this video may help:
Nix the Stray Hairs
Since this mustache will be so thin, you’ll have to make sure the hair that is there looks just right. After you’ve cut and shaped your mustache, trim a few of the stray hairs that stick out to make for a more even and slick look.
(Optional) Apply the Mustache Wax
If you’re like me when I first entered the world of beards and mustaches, you might not know about beard and mustache wax (there’s also oil to keep it pretty). Since facial hair is known for being relatively coarse and bushy, a simple application of some wax might help keep your mustache or beard a little tamer.
Like any hair care product, there’s an endless supply out there. Since the pencil mustache is so thin, there may not be much of a need for this. However, if your hair grows fast and maybe a bit wild, or this is one of many looks you’re thinking of trying out, it might be a wise investment.
What to Do Next
There’s more to it than what the rest of the world can see. A beard or mustache becomes part of our identity. The difference between clean-shaven, scruffy, mustached, goateed, or bearded are all entirely different. One person can look like four different individuals with the slip of a razor.
Most of the time, trimming different styles boils down to nothing more than trial and error. Don’t feel discouraged if you’ve made an attempt that didn’t go so well, or if you still have a hard time settling on a style you want to try.
Either way, you’re now armed with the information you need on how to shave a pencil thin mustache. You can even talk about its history to prove you’re worthy of wearing it. The most important thing to do with this or any other style you choose is to be confident in it. You’ve picked the pencil mustache. Rock the pencil mustache, even if you don’t particularly feel like a “gentleman.”
Hair is transient. You can always shave it again tomorrow if you mess it up today. Have fun, experiment, and most importantly, go forth and ‘stache on. Welcome to the team.
If you’ve tried the pencil thin mustache we’d love to see it! Send your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll feature you on our page! And tell us what you think in the comments.