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How To Trim A Mustache With An Electric Trimmer

May 26, 2022 · Dilshan
How To Trim A Mustache With An Electric Trimmer

That mustache seed you planted back in Movember is most likely a blossoming beast by now. They may come in all shapes and sizes – thick, fluffy, thin, sparse. But, like us, they all need love. You’re about to learn how to trim a mustache with a trimmer like a pro.

As with a beard, a mustache needs some upkeep in order to look its best. You might have been put off by the tedious task of trimming it with a pair of scissors. Clippers haven’t taken your fancy either; too large and cumbersome. 

Although it does still require a steady hand, using an electric trimmer is a quick and easy way to achieve precise results. 

This article will focus solely on trimmers. Not clippers, and not scissors. It’s important to note that I’m not advocating one method over another. I’m simply giving you the facts and allowing you to make a decision based on personal preference. 

Charge it up – let’s get to work. 

How To Trim A Mustache With Trimmers In 7 Steps

Here’s a comprehensive, step-by-step routine for trimming a mustache with an electric trimmer. You won’t need much to get it done, but be prepared to avoid unnecessary interruptions mid-routine. Disorganization is often a hindrance when it comes to men’s grooming. 

The objectives: 

  • To produce a neat, clean, even mustache with enough length to style as per your wishes. 
  • To lighten the bulk of the mustache. 
  • To create a neat line immediately above the upper lip, leaving no strays crawling toward the mouth. 
  • To ensure that nose hair is swiftly removed as an when needed. 

Although technically a trimmer is all you’ll need, here’s a recommended shopping list:

  • Beard trimmer (of course)
  • A beard brush or mustache comb
  • Beard oil (ideally)
  • Beard wax (ideally)

1. Wash it well and exfoliate if possible

A clean mustache is much easier to trim and subsequently style. You don’t necessarily need to use beard shampoo, as rinsing the mustache with water alone will remove a significant amount of pollutants. 

However, I do recommend using a dedicated beard shampoo around once or twice a week to get rid of the more stubborn bits of debris. Plus, it just smells great. 

Anyway, wash it and gently towel-dry. Although it’s possible to trim when slightly damp, try to remove as much moisture as possible to prevent the hairs from sticking to each other. 

Ideally, an exfoliating scrub should be used before any trimming session. What this does is remove the top layer of dirt and dead cells from the skin. This will allow the trimmer blade to do its business unobstructed. 

It removes irritation, and funnily enough, leads to a more even trim. 

2. Trim the bulk of the mustache

This is the point where you decide upon your length. As mentioned, you’re restricted to the lengths available with your trimmer. The lengths may be numbered like a clipper (i.e #1, #2, etc), or may simply have the lengths stated in millimeters.  

You may already have a style in mind – that’s fine. Just note that if you’re aiming for a particular style, be sure to leave enough length to achieve it. 

Don’t trim down to 4mm if you’re aiming for a Handlebar at the end of it. In that case, for example, here would need to be enough length to curl it upwards at either side. In contrast, if you’re hoping to style a Painter’s Brush, you won’t need so much length. 

Once you’ve chosen a length, prepare your trimmer by adjusting it to the appropriate setting. 

The first step is to reduce the bulk of the mustache itself. I do feel that the most efficient way to do this and still achieve a natural-looking result would be to trim with the grain. 

“With the grain” simply means “in the direction of hair growth”. Broadly speaking, mustache hair grows downward and towards the mouth. 

Hold the trimmer vertically in front of you with the blade facing you. Then, angle the blade downward so that the bottom end of the trimmer points toward the ceiling. This is the angle at which you’ll approach your mustache, trimming from top to bottom. 

This should ensure you don’t remove too much bulk, but still remove enough to be noticeably less substantial. 

Stretching your upper lip over your top teeth (you know the face I’m talking about) should keep the mustache area taut and make it easier for the blade to catch the more stubborn hairs. 

Don’t trim further than where the cheek line of your beard (if you have one) meets the mustache. 

Trim slow and steady. Remember, if you aren’t catching any hairs at all, there’s a good change the length setting you’re using is just too long. Men have a tendency to overestimate facial hair length. 

3. Trim the upper lip line looking straight ahead

Now that you’ve trimmed the bulk of the mustache to your chosen length, it’s time to neaten things up. 

The lip line is the upper border of your upper lip. It’s important to keep this line clear of any stray mustache hairs creeping over it. Although this is more crucial with certain styles, in general, allowing mustache hair to creep over the upper lip is almost universally considered poor grooming. 

The easiest way to clean up the lip line is to use the naked blade of your electric trimmer to trim the tips of any stray mustache hairs you see creeping over the upper lip. 

Making a half-smile face with your mouth slightly open is a good way of making the lip line more horizontal and making it easier to trim. You should be looking straight ahead at this point. 

To do the sides, turn the blade sideways and follow the contour of the upper lip toward the corners of the mouth. Again, all you’re doing is neatening things up here. 

Go nice and slow here. The lip is pretty sensitive, as you’d expect. Nicking it with the blade of a trimmer doesn’t feel great. 

You’ll quickly notice hair falling into your mouth – this is normal, but always frustrating. Take breaks now and again to wash out your mouth if necessary. 

electric trimmer mustache cut

4. Tilt the head downward and spot any strays

This may sound odd, but bear with me. By now, you’ll most likely have a very reasonably trimmed lip line. You could quite comfortably and confidently leave it at that. 

However, if your objective is perfection, there’s just one extra step. 

Tilt your head downward and have a look in the mirror. It’s quite likely that you’ll see some of the edges of the top layer of mustache hair sticking out toward the upper lip. These are difficult to spot while looking straight ahead. 

Once again using the naked blade of the trimmer, trim these edges to clean up the lip line even more. 

It’s a good time to mention that you should brush or comb your mustache downward now and again to get an up to date visual. This should also remove any loose, trimmed hair from the center. 

5. A final glide from top to bottom

Read through this and decide whether or not you’re truly comfortable with this step. It could get dangerous if you don’t have a steady hand. 

The aim of this step is to make the mustache as neat and as even as possible, particularly when looking at it from the side. 

Using the naked blade of the trimmer, very gently glide and brush across the top layer of the mustache from top to bottom. This should trim any stray hairs that may be sticking out very slightly. 

Although this may seem unnecessary, it does make the mustache look ultra-sleek and uniform. As always, it’s these little nuances that make the difference when aiming for perfection. 

The danger is, of course, trimming into the bulk of the mustache with the naked blade, and undoing all of your hard work. 

So, think long and hard whether you feel comfortable doing it. If so, go for it. 

Once this is done, give the mustache a final brush downward to review the (almost) finished product. This should also, once again, remove any loose and trimmed hairs. 

If you were going to apply beard oil, now would be the time to do it. Beard oil is nourishing and moisturizing, but should always be considered a luxury grooming product for serious beardsmen. 

But if this is you, applying it onto the mustache and brushing or combing it through would be a great way to make sure it’s evenly distributed.  

6. Trim the nose hair

The reason this is so crucially important is that it’s so very often forgotten. Men tend to pay a lot of attention to their mustaches. So much that they forget to groom what’s immediately above it. 

When nose hair is excessive, it can blend quite seamlessly into the mustache itself. This is objectively unattractive every single time. It almost looks as though the mustache itself is flooding out of the nostrils and spreading into the face. 

It needs to be removed. 

The most effective way to do it would be to use a dedicated nose hair trimmer. Many electric trimmers do come with multiple attachments, and occasionally this includes a nose hair trimmer. 

This would be ideal. Once you’ve finished trimming the mustache with your electric trimmer, switch the detachable head over and tackle the mustache. 

7. A little wax goes a long way

Mustache wax is wonderful stuff. Being used so close to the nose, it’s designed to smell amazing usually. 

But it’s scent isn’t its primary purpose, of course. What it does is flatten out any strays that may still be sticking out and keeps them that way. 

Wax has the benefit of having a degree of hold, which means that once it’s applied, you can sort of set it and forget it. It’s particularly great for longer mustaches which can get more and more untidy as the day progresses. 

Trimming A Mustache With An Electric Trimmer Vs Scissors

Here’s the truth – they both work. But that isn’t a very helpful answer. Let’s focus on how they differ. 

Scissors do allow for utmost precision, as you’d expect. Being able to meticulously snip each strand and sculpt the exact shape you’ve got in mind is liberating. It also frequently leads to a more natural-looking result. 

The electric trimmer, on the other hand, isn’t quite so “artistic”. It’s a rough-and-ready, “let’s just get it done” method of achieving quick success. The beauty of it is that it guarantees an even trim. 

Beard trimmer closeup

You just set it to the adjustable length of choice and let the trimmer attachment do the rest. 

The downside of this is that you’re unable to have much control over length, as you’re restricted to the available guard lengths. 

When it comes to ease and comfort, however, the motor does the work when trimming with an electric trimmer. When using scissors, you’re providing the power as well as the technique. This can become tiring, as well as tedious. 

Ultimately, if time is restricted, a trimmer would be a safer way to go. There’s no reason why you can’t reach for the trimmer when you’re in a rush, and treat yourself to a scissor-cut when you’ve got more time. 

If you decide to go for the trimmer, here’s a reminder of what to look for:

  • To minimize irritation, look for a trimmer with hypoallergenic blades.
  • Choose a trimmer with enough length options to meet your needs. 
  • A multi-purpose trimmer is cost-effective. There’s no need for a specific “mustache trimmer”. In fact, some multi-purpose trimmers also come with a nose hair trimmer which would come in very useful as well. 


There you have it. A simple method of trimming your mustache with a trimmer that should guarantee excellent results each and every time. 

You’ll get better over time. Mistakes are common in the early phases, but having a step-by-step routine should minimize them and avoid the need to “wing it”. 

If you aren’t sure whether you’d prefer to use scissors or an electric trimmer, there’s no harm in trying out both. Once you’ve selected a preferred method, take steps to perfect it. 

Hope you found that useful.