It’s commonly known as the “stubble and stache”, and learning how to craft it may be the best decision of your entire life.
You’re about to learn how to do it in detail. But in a nutshell, how do you get the mustache with stubble look?
Appreciating that the mustache and the stubble as two distinct entities is the first step. Trim everything other than the mustache down to the desired stubble length, being sure to define the neckline and cheek line. Then, trim the lower and upper borders of the mustache. Reduce the bulk of the mustache being careful not to thin it out too much. Then, moisturize, oil it up, and style it.
Some may call it retrospective, longing for a bygone era of 70s talk show hosts and film actors. But this is wrong.
What we’re seeing on the streets is a modern update of this recognizable 70s aesthetic.
The unkempt cheek lines and “neckbeards” are no longer acceptable. We now combine the laid-back ruggedness of this former fad with the careful grooming habits of the modern beardsman.
This beautifully balanced example of “metro masculinity” is what we’re trying to achieve.
If you’re interested in taking your stubble to the next level, click here to check out my most recommended stubble trimming and grooming products of the year.
Let’s get to it.
How To Get The Mustache With Stubble Look
Before we start, it’s important to have a clear idea of what this look consists of.
A good way of grasping it is to think of it as two distinct facial hair styles combined. This is no deep secret. As the name would suggest, the two styles are:
The Mustache – Yes. The facial hair that perches gracefully above the upper lip. Consider the mustache to be the star of the show. The king, the focus, the piece de resistance.
The Stubble – A favorite topic of this blog, stubble simply refers to facial hair in its shortest form. It’s the interim period before it is considered a “short beard”. For people that like numbers, it typically refers to facial hair between 0.4mm and 5mm. Although long beards are having quite the renaissance, stubble is an evergreen style we champion on this blog. Simple, versatile, and irresistible.
Yes, most stubble beards do contain both a mustache as well as stubble. But with this particular style, the mustache is considerably longer and more prominent than the stubble.
What you’ll need:
A Mirror – apologies for pointing out the obvious. But a man with no mirror should have his trimmer confiscated as fast as humanly possible. Having a handheld mirror is excellent for getting a better view of the neckline as well.
An Electric Beard Trimmer. The choice depends on multiple factors, including whether you want it to be corded or cordless, as well as waterproof or not. The Philips Norelco Oneblade QP6520/70 is a good cordless beard trimmer with a premium dual-sided blade and contouring head. It would sculpt the mustache and stubble look (or any stubbled look for that matter) with no problems whatsoever.
Click here to check it out on
An Electric Shaver or Manual Razor. To get the best results, you want to ensure that the borders of this beard are well-defined. To achieve this, any hair outside the neckline and cheek line must be shaved. Whether you prefer to use a foil or rotary shaver, or a manual safety or cartridge razor is completely up to you.
Mustache Comb. It’s important for getting the mustache hairs neat and uniform before the trim, and also after it’s all done.
Mustache scissors. It’s the most precise way to trim a mustache.
Moisturizing Shaving Gel. Another obvious one. Don’t shave without it.
Post-Shave Moisturizer. The quickest and most effective way to soothe irritation.
Step 1 – Grow it all out
The mustache hairs will be the longest on your face. Before you trim it, you want to grow your beard out to the length you want your mustache to end up.
If once this is all done, you’d like your mustache a little shorter – not a problem. We’ll come to mustache trimming a bit later on.
A problem for some may be growing out a full beard before getting started. Considering you’re just looking for stubble this may not be acceptable.
It’s advisable to grow out a full beard first (to your optimal mustache length) and then trim down to your desired stubble length leaving the mustache intact.
Another benefit of doing this is you give those slacker hairs that take a little longer to sprout, time to grow and mature. This leads to a fuller and less patchy appearance when you trim down.
But if this isn’t tolerable or feasible, just trim down the non-mustache areas of your beard as required. Just be careful not to disturb the desired shape of your mustache as you do it.
Of course the time it will take you to complete this step varies from man to man. It’s dependent not only on the length you want your mustache to be but also on the rate your hair grows.
A very general rule of thumb is to expect it to grow 5mm every 10 days and go from there.
Step 2 – Trim the beard down
It’s simple in principle, but the tricky bit is appreciating your mustache and stubble as two separate entities.
To ensure you don’t trim the mustache down as well, simply pinch the corners of your mustache (at the length you want) as you trim down your cheeks.
Now would be a good time to decide what length of stubble you want. It’s useful to differentiate it into light (1-2 mm), medium (3mm) and heavy (4-5mm) stubble.
If you aren’t sure, just gradually trim down until you find your optimal stubble length.
Grab your trimmer and use a size setting you’re pretty confident is longer than you’d like.
Then, just go down in 0.5 – 1mm increments until you find the length you’d like. It’s common practice to vary the length slightly (approximately 1mm longer or shorter) in different parts of the beard.
For instance, in the often patchier parts like the cheeks, leaving the hairs 1mm longer could give the stubble beard a thicker appearance as a whole.
But trim down everywhere other than the mustache.
The soul patch is the small patch of hair beneath the lower lip. Depending on what style you’re going for, you may want to keep this intact. Something to experiment with for sure.
What you’ve got now is the mustache with stubble look in its rawest form.
The mustache is intact but hasn’t been groomed yet. The stubble has been trimmed but the borders haven’t been defined yet.
Step 3: Define the neckline and cheek line
Although the mustache is very much the superstar when it comes to the mustache with stubble look, neglecting the cheek line and neckline could be disastrous.
These supporting actors prevent the style from drifting into shabbiness. Well defined borders neaten things up beautifully and also contour the face.
The objective is to be hairless above the cheek line and below the neckline.
For a full tutorial on how to trim the neckline, click here. The aim is to follow the angle of the jaw in a natural manner, while not letting it go too high on the face.
A high neckline can give an odd “double chin” appearance that’s best left avoided.
The ideal cheek line is dependent on personal preference and face shape. More angular faces are generally suited to curved cheek lines.
Rounder faces work well with straighter cheek lines, perhaps with a very slight curve.
If you aren’t sure, try a straight cheek line first. You can always curve it afterward by dipping into the beard if you’re unhappy with it.
A good starting point would be to visualize a straight line going from the bottom corner of your sideburn to the corner of your mouth. This is generally considered an acceptable cheek line.
Experiment with this outline to find what works best for you.
You can outline these borders using the naked blade of your trimmer first. Once you’ve done this, trim everything outside these borders using the same blade.
Some people just leave it at that, but your trimmer can only go so close. For the best results, it’s necessary to shave outside the borders using an electric shaver or manual razor. This will give the borders a nice, sharp edge.
Step 4: Comb the mustache
First things first – comb the mustache. It’s been growing for a while now and it’s highly likely those hairs aren’t as disciplined as you’d like to think.
Combing the mustache vertically downwards will straighten the hairs and let you see exactly how far they extend. It’ll also bring those more elusive, wiry, stray hairs into vision.
The comb you use is important. Beard and mustache hair is coarser than hair, mainly because it’s coarser and thicker. Because of this, the teeth of the comb you use need to be spaced wider to accommodate for it.
Beard and mustache combs are tailor-made with this in mind. Use a comb with narrowly spaced teeth and you’ll struggle to pull through it.
Wooden, hand-cut combs are also of higher quality, last longer, and are gentler on the hair. Overall this results in fewer hair shaft breakages and split ends.
Hunter Jack makes a great one. Click here to take a look on
Step 5: Trim the lower border of the mustache
The tool you use for this is dependent on both personal preferences as well as experience.
When it comes to mustaches, the consensus is that using a good old fashioned pair of mustache scissors will give you the best results. This is because they allow for very precise control, and provide the most natural-looking result.
Step 6: Reduce the mustache bulk
Be very, very, careful. It would be a shame to trim the mustache down too much and to have to wait till it regrows.
The mustache may well be at the length you want it. However, as you may already know, not all hairs grow at the same rate. There will almost certainly be hairs of differing lengths within that mustache, which can cause an unruly appearance.
Trimming down any “excess” and reducing the bulk often gives the mustache a very professional look.
If using scissors, comb up and away from the mustache so that the tips of the hairs are held between the teeth. Then, make tiny cuts at the length required, in the areas required. Remove any excess hair.
Step 7: Moisturize
Skin isn’t a huge fan of shaving. It has never been. Unfortunately, we can’t let this age-old confrontation stifle our facial hair aspirations.
Shaven skin needs moisture.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.