How to Grow a Mustache (With Minimum Shame)

Magnum PI shows off his stylish mustache

If you’ve ever tried to grow a mustache, you’ve realized how…uncomfortable it can be. Mustaches are awesome. Half a mustache just isn’t. (Unless you’re John Waters, and even then, that guy is going for something really specific that is not for everyone.)

john waters and his weird mustache
To help you on your journey, we’ve assembled a list of tips for coping emotionally when it looks like there’s a baby caterpillar on your lip. Strap in and get ready for the ride. The end is worth it.

Get ready for an unflattering look—but keep your eyes on the prize.

giorgio moroder and his awesome mustache
You’re running a marathon, where point A is clean-shaven and point B is Giorgio Moroder. But between point A and B is a minefield. It’s gonna be awkward. You’re gonna look like Michael Cera right after Arrested Development ended. It’s going to be unpleasant. You can power through it, but on some level, you have to come right out and admit upfront that you’re gonna look weird before you look awesome.

Start by not shaving at all.

Grow out a full scruff, at first. Start by going a day or two without shaving at all. In fact, go as long as you can without people coming up to you and asking if you’re okay. This scruff is your launching pad. You want to give yourself as much of a running start as you can before you shave off everything except your upper lip and let that baby mustache fly out of its nest.

Then shave on days you won’t see anyone.

michael cera and his less than perfect mustache
Depending on how fast your hair grows, you’ve got at least a couple of weeks of awkwardness. If you know that nobody’s going to see you on Saturday, shave right before bed on Friday. Your tiny, vulnerable mustache won’t be exposed to the withering glare of human eyes until Monday when backup has shown up in the form of that precious scruff.

Keep to the shadows.

Until such time as your mustache is strong enough to stand on its own, you’re gonna want to operate on vampire rules. If your job will let you, try only going out at night. Keep to dark rooms at parties. Take dates to Italian restaurants where “ambiance” means dimming the lights so low you can barely read the menu.

Alternatively, you could try going forth with confidence and a healthy sense of self-esteem. But…nah, who are we kidding?

Keep photos of scruffy role models handy.

daredevil rocking his almost but not quite there mustache and five o'clock shadow
We said that it’s almost impossible to pull off a half-mustache, and it’s true! But there are lots of cool people who are rocking the “just a little unshaven” look. Like Daredevil. Make Daredevil your computer wallpaper so you can be reminded how gritty and manly it is to not shave for a couple of days, and how it totally doesn’t make you look like your life is falling apart.

Keep what you have looking good.

a mustache and beard trimmer
Investing in some kind of trimmer early on is a solid call. You want whatever’s on your face to look like you meant for it to be there. What you don’t want is for it to look like you fell asleep halfway through getting ready for work. A good trimmer can help you style your nascent lip warmer.


garrett proudly displaying his successful mustache and soul patch
You finally made it through the wilderness! With a little time and patience, you are now rocking the facial hair of your dreams. Celebrate your diligence, friend. It’s finally paid off!

(Images via FacebookFacebook, FacebookInstagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Maegan Steele.)