So you have grown your mustache successfully – now how do you go about maintaining it? More specifically, should you comb your mustache downwards or to the side?
When the mustache hairs are short, it’s better to comb in a downwards direction. Once you reach around two months’ of growth, consider combing to the side as this will train the hairs to lie in position and keep flyaways from getting into your mouth.
Many people don’t realize the effort put into achieving even the natural mustache look, but the reality is not combing regularly can lead to untrained, multidirectional hair growth, which most men would prefer to avoid.
Whether you want an ‘all-natural’ look to your mustache, or aspire to a more manicured handlebar style, combing your mustache regularly is an essential part of mustache maintenance and will ensure that stray hairs and new growth is kept at bay.
If you want to know more about which combing direction is most suitable for you and your mustache, just keep reading on.
4 Situations Where You Should Comb The Mustache To The Side
If any of the following situations apply to you, you will probably want to comb to the side.
1. You Are Sporting A Longer Mustache Style
Once your mustache is established and reaches a certain length, you should consider combing it to the side instead of down.
This is mainly for practical reasons – it is a lot easier to eat and drink without hairs constantly getting in the way of your mouth.
If you do this regularly, eventually the hairs can be trained to stay in this position over time.
Combing to the side also saves you from the temptation of trimming any of these nuisance hairs – this should generally be avoided as trimming these flyaways may lead to an uneven patchy mustache later on.
It is much better to simply comb them out of the way until the hairs are trained to conform to this new direction of hair growth.
You will usually start finding the need to comb to the side at the 2-3 month mark of mustache growth.
Having said this, there is no hard and fast rule and some men with a longer mustache style do still prefer to comb downwards for a different aesthetic.
Just bear in mind that this can be a nuisance with eating and drinking and some people find that the sensation of hair growing into the mouth can be uncomfortable.
2. You Are Aiming For a Handlebar Mustache Look
The classic handlebar mustache look involves growing a mustache which is particularly long at the ends, which can then be fashioned into a twist with the use of some balm or wax.
Part of the process of growing a handlebar mustache includes regular combing and training of the hair growth towards the sides of the mouth.
So if this is the look you are aiming for, combing to the side is going to be the best option for you.
3. You Have A Thick Mustache
If you have a mustache which is well established and is longer in length, it will likely also be thicker and have more volume.
You might even be lucky and have thick hair growth from the outset.
Thicker mustaches are more likely to maintain a full-bodied look with sideways combing, unlike early mustache growth which runs the risk of looking thin and sparse if combed to the side.
As a result, a sideways combing direction is going to suit you well if you have a thicker mustache, and training the hairs to grow in this direction over time will give you a great end result.
4. You Also Have A Long Beard
Having a long beard adds an extra layer of complexity to your grooming – but it can be a great way to balance out your mustache, especially if you have a longer mustache style.
If you have a long beard, combing your mustache to the side can give you great symmetry, and avoids your mustache simply ‘disappearing’ into your beard.
Combing sideways will also add some width to your mustache, making the mustache ends more prominent.
Long beards can often steal the limelight, but by adding some length and style to your mustache using this simple technique, you can avoid this.
This will allow the focus to be shared equally between your mustache and beard, letting them both have the attention that they deserve.
When Should You Comb Your Mustache Down?
So, we have gone through the most common situations in which you should consider choosing a sideways combing technique for your mustache.
But should you ever comb your mustache downwards? Here are a couple of situations where you might want to.
1. Your Mustache Is In The Early Growth Stage
In the very early stages of mustache growth, when your mustache is still young, combing downwards is the best option.
This is because your mustache is more likely to be thin at this stage, with patchy areas becoming more visible if you attempt to comb to the side.
Combing in a downwards direction will make your mustache appear thicker and more even.
The good news is that combing downwards in the early growth stage is unlikely to lead to troublesome flyaways in the nose or mouth, as the hairs will simply be too short for this to happen.
Once this starts to become a problem your mustache will likely have reached a length where you would start to consider combing sideways anyway.
2. You have a short mustache style
If you prefer to keep your mustache short, then combing downwards is the ideal option.
Combing a short mustache in a downwards direction achieves a much neater look than if you were to comb it to the side.
You are also much more likely to be able to train the hair growth of a short mustache to stay in a downwards vertical direction compared with getting it to grow to the side.
This is because the hair fibres are shorter and therefore have less to grip onto.
Similar to above, you will not have the issue of stray hairs getting into your mouth when using the downwards combing technique on a short mustache.
Can I Ever Combine Combing It Down And To The Side?
The short answer to this question is: yes, you can combine combing your mustache down AND to the side.
Some men with a longer mustache do this as part of their regular mustache combing routine.
They will start by combing in a downwards direction and then comb sideways, ultimately training their hair to grow in a sideways direction.
This is basically the sideways combing technique with an added step. Some men prefer this because they can center part their mustache more accurately, but it is not an essential step.
Another situation where you might wish to comb downwards and then sideways is if you have a long mustache which you think is uneven that you wish to fix.
If you feel that your growth is uneven between the two sides, you can comb the mustache downwards to assess whether one side is longer than the other.
You will want the hairs that are directly opposite to be the same length.
Generally it is recommended to avoid trimming stray mustache hairs.
However, in this particular situation you may very cautiously trim your mustache to balance out the length on both sides, trimming millimeters at a time on the side you wish to shorten.
You would then comb in a sideways direction once you have finished adjusting the length.
Additional Mustache Styling Tips
Although combing is an important part of mustache maintenance, it’s not the only thing you can do to maintain and style your mustache.
1. Get Yourself Some Mustache Wax
If you and your mustache are in it for the long haul, it will be worth your while to invest in some mustache wax.
Applying a bit of mustache wax can help keep a longer mustache out of the way of your mouth when eating and drinking.
It will also help to tame your mustache and any stray hairs that have yet to grow out.
And importantly, mustache wax is key when adding a twist to your mustache ends if you are going for a classic handlebar mustache style.
Just remember – there is such a thing as too much wax.
When applying mustache wax do so sparingly, and keep in mind that it is there to improve the natural appearance of your mustache, not the other way around.
2. Use A Blow-Dryer
Never thought you’d use a blow dryer on your ‘stache? Well, this is actually a great way to lock in your desired mustache style.
Simply apply some mustache wax and then using a blow dryer on a medium setting, soften the wax and make it easier to get your mustache into shape.
You can use a comb or round brush to help shape the mustache whilst the blow dryer is on.
Once you’ve achieved your desired style or shape, just switch to a cool air setting. This will harden the wax and lock in that mustache style exactly the way you want it.
So there you have it – there are several things to consider when deciding whether you are going to comb your mustache down or to the side.
Whichever technique you choose, make sure to get comfortable with your own grooming routine and have an end goal in mind for what you want to achieve with your mustache.
By doing this you will find the process of maintaining your mustache can actually be enjoyable.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.