The popularity of the moustache has a chequered history. At some points it was condemned as a sign of ‘going native’ while during others it was acclaimed as a symbol of courage and determination. From 1860 to 1916, British Army soldiers were actually required to grow a moustache as part of their uniform!
Fancy growing a moustache of your own? We spoke to Joe Pomper, Head Barber at Murdock London, and Anthony McGrath of Clothes Make The Man for their professional advice. Whether you’re raising money for charity during Movember or inspired by stylistic dramas like ‘Narcos’, here are some expert tips to get you started…
Are there any secret tricks to help your moustache grow faster?
Former Fashion Editor and the voice behind Clothes Make The Man, Anthony McGrath says: “It might be an old wives tale, but I’ve heard trimming it (and I mean trimming, not cutting) with a pair of scissors, aids growth.”
So how should you go about it? Head Barber, Joe Pomper, a man who’s most at home with a pair of scissors in his hand says: “Trim along the lip line and snip off any stray hairs. This will keep your moustache looking more compact and give the impression of a thicker texture.”
Facial hair grows at a rate of about 3mm per week, so with a little patience you should be well on your way to a rather fine ‘tache by the end of your first month.
What’s your best advice for getting through the early, awkward stages?
When you’re just starting out, sensitive skin can sometimes feel itchy and irritated. Joe’s advice?
“Apply beard moisturiser as often as required to prevent irritation, soften the hair and keep the skin underneath soothed. Quick trims will also help to keep it in shape while it’s growing, and good old-fashioned perseverance goes a very long way.”
Anthony agrees that you’ll need “patience, perseverance and self control” to get through the first few days. But don’t give up, he says – “this stage doesn’t last long.”
What are your favourite products and why?
“Beard Moisturiser is a must-have for the early stages of growing any amount of facial hair,” says Joe, who advocates the products made by Murdock of London. “Once you’ve grown to your desired length, a small amount of wax applied to the corners will add definition and style to your moustache.”
Anthony prefers a traditional beard oil product: “I have to say Lab series has a great beard oil as do Hawkins & Brimble. Plus it’s commonly held that a lot of ingredients, like coconut oil, encourage facial hair growth.”
Whether you opt for a moisturiser or an oil, both contain conditioners that nourish and soften brittle facial hair. If you don’t like the oil’s shine, why not try a combination of the two products? A little oil at night and moisturiser for the day provides the best of both.
Do you need any special grooming tools to grow a moustache?
There’s nothing quite like a trip to the barbers for the ultimate experience, especially if you’re new to facial hair and looking for a shape you can maintain at home. In terms of accessories, Joe says that you need very few:
“A small comb can be very helpful. Kent make some fantastic grooming accessories. Also consider a beard brush if your moustache is particularly thick for shaping. A small beard trimmer for quick touch-ups at home in-between barbershop visits can also come in handy.”
What style of moustache is your favourite?
“Anything goes when it comes to Movember,” says Joe! “Now’s the perfect time to feel free to experiment with your facial hair without worry, and play around before settling on a style you really like.”
Joe’s favourite? “A natural looking ‘tache with a good amount of weight to it, combined with a shorter beard can look really strong. Think Henry Cavill in Mission Impossible – Fallout.”
Any other words of wisdom?
If you’ve decided to forego the razor and sport a stylish moustache, be confident in your decision, says Joe, have an end goal, and go for it! His final piece of advice:
“When trimming, less is more. Moustaches can be the weakest area of facial hair, so you need to make the most of all you can grow. Don’t accidentally cut it all off in a chunk!”
And what are Anthony’s final words of encouragement when it comes to new mo bros?
“Lol! I do admire good, cared for facial hair on a man, it’s manly, virile and masculine. ROAR!”